Vatican publishes working document for Synod’s second session

The Vatican has published the working document for the Second Session of the Sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome in October.

The document – the Instrumentum Laboris or Working Instrument – is based on 108 national summaries provided to the General Secretariat by bishops’ conferences around the world, including one from the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference.

The General Secretariat also considered submissions from the 300 parish priests from around the world who attended a three-day working session in Rome in April, among them Whanganui Parish Priest Fr Craig Butler, representing the Catholic priests of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Among the focuses of the document are the need for transparency and accountability, and the role of women in the Church, according to the Vatican Press Office.

The Instrumentum Laboris is not a magisterial document or a catechism, but a way to encourage prayer, dialogue, discernment and the “maturing of a consensus”, according to an explanatory paper.

It consists of five sections – an introduction; a section on “foundations” of the understanding of synodality; and three “perspectives” sections covering relationships, paths and places.

The October assembly will follow modules corresponding to Instrumentum Laboris sections and will include times for prayer and presentations. The assembly will conclude with a final document, continuing the synodal process as "the entire People of God in each local Church will be called to concretise the call to grow as a synodal missionary people."