Vatican finally releases English translation of official Synod report
October 30, 2014
The Vatican has released the final report from the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, in multiple translations.
Although the Italian-language original of the final document had been released nearly two weeks earlier, official translations were not made available until October 30. The office of the Synod of Bishops released English, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese translations.
The delay in publishing translations of the final report had prompted criticism, particularly in light of the fact that an interim report, containing controversial passages that were not approved by the bishops participating in the Synod, had been made available in multiple languages within hours after it was released.
The final report adopts a more moderate tone than the interim document, reflecting the sharp criticism that some Synod fathers had leveled against the earlier document. After the release of the interim report, Pope Francis had appointed two new bishops to the committee charged with drafting the final report.
The final report, known as the Relatio Synodi, retains a few controversial paragraphs that failed to gain the two-thirds support necessary for formal adoption by the Synod. These paragraphs are nonetheless included in text, although an appendix, showing the votes for each paragraph, will help careful readers to discern that the passages—on pastoral outreach to homosexuals and on the possibility of allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion—were not approved.
These passages—paragraphs 52 through 55 in the final report—were less provocative than the equivalent passages in the interim report. However they still failed to gain the necessary support from the body of bishops participating in the Synod.
Regarding the question of divorce and Communion, the final report suggested that “further theological study.” Some 74 Synod fathers voted against one paragraph in that section, and 64 opposed another—suggesting that a large contingent of bishops did not agree that the “Kasper proposal” merits further consideration.
Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor of the influential Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, offered a different interpretation of the Synod votes. Regarding the rejection of the Kasper proposal, he argued that “it is as if 74 out of 183 fathers didn’t want the discussion to be recorded, pretending it had never even taken place.”
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- "Relatio Synodi" of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” (VIS)
- Where Are the Translations of Synod's Final Report? (National Catholic Register)
- The Synod according to Jesuit periodical La Civiltà Cattolica (Vatican Insider)
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