Synod update: Instrumentum laboris calls for welcoming Church that embraces diversity

The General Secretariat of the Synod has published the Instrumentum laboris – the document that will be the basis for the work of the participants in the General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, which begins in the Vatican in October 2023 and concludes with a second Assembly one year later.

Deliberately conceived as a starting point and not a point of arrival, the Instrumentum laboris (Working Document) brings together the experiences of dioceses around the world over the last two years, starting from 10 October 2021, when Pope Francis set in motion a journey to discern what steps to take “to grow as a synodal Church.”

The Instrumentum laboris is intended as an aid for discernment “during” the General Assembly, while at the same time serving as a means of preparation for participants as it looks ahead to the gathering.

“Indeed, the purpose of the synodal process,” the document says, “is not to produce documents but to open horizons of hope for the fulfilment of the Church’s mission.”

The Instrumentum laboris is composed of an explanatory text and fifteen worksheets that reveal a dynamic vision of the concept of “synodality.”

Pope Francis launched the Synod process in 2021 to hear what ordinary Catholics from around the world think should be the future direction of the Church. New Zealand Catholics joined the Synod process with a series of parish and diocesan gatherings that led to a document of New Zealand responses being produced at a national hui in Wellington last year. This was followed by a meeting of the Oceania bishops in Fiji in February which produced a regional synthesis sent to the Synod Office in Rome with other such “continental stage” documents.

Download or read Instrumentum laboris here in PDF format.

An FAQ and Synthesis with detailed information about Instrumentum laboris is available here in PDF format.

Read a Vatican News article about Instrumentum laboris here.

The Synod's webpage is here.