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Addressing Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Baldisseri calls for free discussion

October 06, 2014

On the first day of discussion at Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, called for free discussion.

The prelate previously served as a nuncio, as Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops (2012-2013), and as Secretary of the College of Cardinals (2012-2014) until his September 2013 appointment as Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.

In his October 6 address, Cardinal Baldisseri discussed developments that have taken place since the 2012 synod on evangelization and the preparation for the current synod.

The preparatory phrase, he said, was characterized by “a spirit of freedom and sincerity which was desired. This broad freedom of expression must also characterize this synodal assembly, because expressing one’s convictions is always positive as long as it is done in a respectful, loving and constructive manner.”

“We are all aware that in freedom fraternal communion grows, discussion is enriched and the most appropriate pastoral choices regarding the family are singled out,” he continued. In fact, it is important for a person to express himself without fear or suspicion. Feeling free to express what is believed or what it is doubtful shows what distinguishes a human being from other creatures and makes him a responsible person before God and men.”

“Consequently, discussion at the synod is to be open,” he added. “When differences arise, participants in their various roles are called not to stress their own interests or point of view but to seek the truth which is not an abstract concept or the result of philosophical or theological speculation, but the person of Christ, the God-man, man born-in-time, and Son of the Father: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (Jn 14:6). He is the point of departure. The first evangelizer is Jesus, who came down to walk among us and came to be known by his word and signs and, finally, with the witness of his life.”

Cardinal Baldisseri discussed the ways in which the current synod is different from previous ones. Instead of presenting a list of proposals to the Holy Father, the synod fathers will vote on a final document (the relatio synodi) which will be presented to the Pope for his consideration.

“I pray that this synodal Assembly might be the privileged place of this synodal collegiality, which proclaims the Gospel by walking, and that it might be imbued with a new openness to the Spirit, by an approach and manner of life and witness which ensures a unity in diversity and apostolicity in catholicity,” he added in his concluding remarks.


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