In his second interview with Gerard O’Connell from America Magazine, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe speaks about the recent first assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held in Rome.
In the Gospels, highlights Archbishop Costelloe, we’re constantly being presented with the way Jesus approaches people, individual people.
“We see him encountering different people in the concrete reality of their own situations and responding to them in their situation. That’s what we’ve got to learn: the way of Jesus.”
The 41-page synthesis report, voted on paragraph-by-paragraph on 28 October, described its purpose as presenting “convergences, matters for consideration and proposals that emerged from the dialogue” on issues discussed under the headings of synodality, communion, mission and participation.
The two-and-a-half-page letter published on 25 October recounted the spirit and activities of the Assembly’s first session, held at the Vatican from 4 – 29 October and looked ahead to the Assembly’s second session, expressing hope that the months leading up to October 2024 “will allow everyone to concretely participate in the dynamism of missionary communion indicated by the word ‘Synod.'”
Synod Member Renee Kohler-Ryan, Dean of the School of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame has this week said that “there is a sense that things are tightening up, emerging, but through that process of hopeful patience.”
In opening the work of the Synod of Bishops at the First Assembly, Pope Francis has repeated what he has said many times that “the synod is not a parliament” where the ideas of opposing parties will be debated and voted up or down along party lines.
The Holy Father acknowledged that some people have fears about the Synod, but he asked them to remember that it is “not a political gathering, but a convocation in the Spirit; not a polarised parliament, but a place of grace and communion.”
Reports on the discussions, voted on in each working group to ensure they accurately reflected the work of the group, were shared with the entire Assembly on 6 October followed by individual remarks made to the assembly, each expected to last about three minutes.
Seated before the San Damiano cross, in front of which St Francis of Assisi said he heard Jesus tell him to “rebuild my church,” Pope Francis prayed that “the synod be a ‘kairos’ (moment) of fraternity, a place where the Holy Spirit will purify the church from gossip, ideologies and polarization.”