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Synod, October 28: participants approve synthesis report; some advocates for change in Catholic teaching express disappointment

October 30, 2023

On October 28, the penultimate day of the first session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod’s 364 voting members approved a 37-page synthesis report intended to summarize their three weeks of discussion.

The status of the report—which the Synod’s secretariat has yet to make available in languages other than Italian—was downgraded during the course of the Synod’s first session (October 4-29):

  • On October 5, Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, announced that the synthesis report of the October 2023 session of the Synod would form the agenda of the Synod’s second session in October 2024.
  • On October 18, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, the Synod’s relator general, modified Ruffini’s announcement and said that the synthesis report would not be the working document of the second session.
  • On October 26, Ruffini described the synthesis report as merely “transitory,” and said that its “main purpose is to help us understand where we are, to remember what has been said in these weeks of discernment, and to restart, in a circular process, a journey that began at the beginning of this Synod and will end in October 2024.”

Synthesis report: topics

Vatican News, operated by the Dicastery for Communication, offered brief summaries of the synthesis report’s discussion of the following topics:

  • Listening to all, beginning with victims of abuse
  • The face of a synodal Church
  • Mission
  • The poor at the center
  • Commitment of believers in the field of politics and for the common good
  • Migrants
  • Combating racism and xenophobia
  • Eastern Churches
  • On the road to Christian unity
  • Women in the life and mission of the Church
  • Clericalism
  • Opening the diaconate to women?
  • Discrimination and abuse
  • Consecrated life
  • Deacons and formation
  • Celibacy
  • Bishops
  • Abuses
  • Listening
  • Polygamy
  • Digital culture

Synthesis report: roundup of coverage

While the synthesis report proposed potentially far-reaching changes in discipline to foster synodality, some advocates of changes in Catholic teaching expressed disappointment in the synthesis report. Here is a roundup of coverage of the synthesis report:

Earlier coverage


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