50 years since the Synod of Bishops began

New Zealand particpants will be sending posts from the Synod on Marriage and the Family in Rome this month. Here is a post from Cardinal John Dew.

Yesterday we had a kind of break from the Synod itself and spent the whole morning in the Paul VI Audience Hall for a "Celebration" of 50 years since the Synod of Bishops began as a result of the Second Vatican Council. Thee were many speeches and Cardinal Mafi of Tonga spoke very well of what Synods have done for the Church in Oceania.

Pope Francis spoke at the end of the morning for about 20 minutes and made it very clear that he has called for a Church that is far more decentralised, where the laity play a greater role, bishops conferences take care of certain problems and even the papacy is rethought.

He recalled that the institution of the Synod of Bishops was really meant to be a consultative body formed during the Second Vatican Council that was intended precisely to encourage more collegiality in the running of the Church by inviting bishops to offer their advice to Rome.

It is very clear that Pope Francis has sought to re-energise the Synod. It is therefore very important that he is supported and prayed for as he works hard to make the Synods what they were really envisioned to be by the Second Vatican Council.

This weeks work will not be easy as we try to come up with a Final Document to present to the Holy Father on the last full working day next Saturday. Please continue your prayers for us and for the Church.

Cardinal John Dew is Archbishop of Wellington and President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.