The Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church begins today. 253 synod fathers are attending the 3-week synod. The Vatican website offers a list of the participants, general information and a schedule.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a page on the Synod with links to Catholic News Service articles, a blog by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson, and more. I am still adding to this post and hope to add links to the USCCB articles and blog entries to the daily posts below as time permits, along with links to other blogs that have had entries about the Synod. Check back later as the post will continue to expand over the next week or so.
In an earlier post, I wrote about the Vatican's working document on the Synod, the Instrumentum Laboris. More information about the synod is provided on its Vatican web page. Also online is the Lineamenta for the synod, issued last year. A Vatican Radio article from September 6 discusses the Pope's appointment of members and experts for the synod.
Papa Ratzinger Forum has a collection of news articles about the assembly. Catholic News Agency has an article about the ecumenical and international aspects of the assembly. Zenit posted a Vatican translation of a briefing on the synod by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, given on Friday.
The Opening Mass was held this morning at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, marking the Pauline Year which is in process.
The assembly will have an ecumenical aspect as Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, will concelebrate vespers with the Pope and will address the assembly on the Word of God on Saturday afternoon. Others who have drawn news attention for their anticipated addresses to the assembly include Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen of Haifa (Israel) and Brother Alois of Taizé. A Mass on Thursday will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII, whose work furthered the use of Scripture in the Catholic Church and in seminaries.
Some quotations appearing below were taken from summaries of the interventions by those participating in the synod. Those are quotations of what the summaries said, which may or may not be exact quotations of what the speaker actually said.
Opening Mass, Oct. 5:
Reuters and Asia News have articles about today's Opening Mass. The original Italian text of the Pope's homily is posted in the Vatican Press Office's Daily Bulletin, together with the Italian text of his words at the midday Angelus prayer. Speaking from the Parable in today's Gospel reading for Mass (Matt. 21:33-43), he compared the tenants of the vineyard who rejected the Master's servants and eventually even rejected His Son, to the people of our own time in various ways. He found in the parable a message of consolation that "evil and death do not have the last word, but it is Christ who overcomes in the end." He asked, "May the Lord help us to examine ourselves over the next weeks of the synodal work, asking ourselves how we can make the proclamation of the Gospel increasingly effective in our time."
In his words at the Angelus, he spoke about the synod and invited all to "support the work of the synod with your prayers, invoking in a special way the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, the perfect Disciple of the Divine Word."
The Vatican's official translation of the homily and Angelus reflection are now available online. Teresa Benedetta posted early translations of the homily and Angelus reflection at Papa Ratzinger Forum. Zenit also has a translation of the homily.
Monday's Events, Oct. 6:
Asia News has an article about the first day of the synod. In Pope Benedict's Opening Address, he mentioned Jesus' words about a house built on rock and a house built on sand, referencing the present economic crisis and those who have built their lives on money, success, and career. Rather, he said, the word of God is the true reality. Catholic News Agency has an article about the Pope's address, as does Zenit. Sandro Magister has an article from October 17 about the Synod Fathers' wish to have better homilies with Pope Benedict as a model, in which he provides the full text of this address, drawing particular attention to it.
Relator General, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, spoke about secularism and the difficulty of proposing concrete solutions. Faith and evangelism, he said, are impacted by secularism, religious pluralism, globalization, and also by internal difficulties within the Church that affect passing on the faith in families and in catechesis. He also spoke about interfaith dialogue. Catholic News Agency also has an article about Cardinal Ouellet's address. Zenit's article mentions the Cardinal's recommendation that the Pope write an encyclical on the interpretation of Scripture. Sandro Magister has an article about Cardinal Ouellet, Quebec's increasing secularism, and evangelism, which includes an article that Cardinal Ouellet wrote about faith, secularism, and the new evangelization.
Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke about Scripture, understood through the "living ecclesial tradition," as "a guide, norm, and rule of life for the Church and the spiritual growth of believers." Zenit has an unofficial Vatican translation.
Zenit has a short article about Shear Yashuv Cohen, chief rabbi of Haifa, and his participation in the first day of the synod as the first Jew to address the synod. Zenit has the text of his address, which was given in English. Vatican Radio has an audio interview with Rabbi Cohen from the sidelines of the synod.
Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, former rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and former secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, also addressed the synod. Zenit has an unofficial Vatican translation of his address as well as an article about the address. He spoke about a 2001 work on the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Bible. He said, "Real anti-Jewish feeling, that is, an attitude of contempt, hostility and persecution of the Jews as Jews, is not found in any New Testament text and is incompatible with its teaching." The New Testament, he said, is in "serious disagreement" with most Jews because it is "a proclamation of the fulfillment of God's plan in Jesus Christ."
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Mariadiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, spoke on Scripture in the Americas.
The Vatican has a summary of the 1st and 2nd General Congregations on Monday morning and afternoon, including the Holy Father's address, presentations about the Word of God in various regions of the world and Cardinal Vanhoye's presentation on the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Bible. There is also a separate summary of Cardinal Rodriguez Mariadaga's address.
Tuesday's Events, Oct. 7:
Zenit has summaries of the Synod Interventions of the 3rd General Congregation from Tuesday morning and the 4th General Congregation from Tuesday afternoon, and an additional article about the address given by Francis Cardinal George on Tuesday morning. The summaries can also be found on the Vatican's website here (3rd) and here (4th). Vatican Radio has a short interview with Cardinal George. Zenit also has a report of the day's events from Basilian Father Thomas Rosica is the Vatican's English-language press attache for the synod. Catholic News Service also has an article. Others who spoke Tuesday morning include Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals; Cardinal Franc Rodé, C.M., Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; Fr. Carlos Alfonso Azpiroz Costa, O.P., General Master of the Order of Preachers; Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris; and Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon.
Cardinal George said, "To speak of the Word of God in the church is to speak of the Word of God in the lives of believers. Pastors should attend to conversion of the imagination, the intellect and the will of those to whom they proclaim the Word of God and for whom they interpret Scripture."
Cardinal Vingt-Trois spoke on "how to read the Bible and how to produce theology so that the theological act finds its principle of life and unity in the Holy Scripture." He said, "The exegete and the theologian, if they are not the same person, are called upon to read the letter together, as the disciples of the “only Teacher” (Mt 23:10). The meaning of the Scriptures is theological; theology is the search for the meaning of the Scriptures."
Cardinal Barbarin said, "At the heart of the Word of God, Scripture is a source that irrigates the path of the Church. The liturgy of the Word must be surrounded by a beautiful solemnity, this is a requirement, because this is the usual meeting place between God and His people." He cautioned against pride that can lead to thinking that the ancient texts are no longer of interest.
John L. Allen, Jr. has a post about discussions on the inerrancy of Scripture, a topic that came up in a Wednesday morning Vatican briefing of Tuesday's events. The issue was reportedly raised by several speakers during the last hour of Tuesday's session, during a time for free discussion. He also has another post about the day's events titled ""Christianity Not a 'Religion of the Book'".
Wednesday's Events, Oct. 8:
Vatican Radio has a 1-1/2 minute audio of Cardinal Peter Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, speaking about the Church and Scripture. Cardinal Turkson is attending the synod. John L. Allen, Jr. has a post titled "Synod: Ambivalence about Modern Bible Scholarship Continues to Swirl". Catholic News Service reports that "Prayer, Homilies, Understanding Emerge as Early Themes at Bible Synod".
The Vatican's summaries for Wednesday include information about the first session of working groups, the 5th General Congregation.
Zenit has a summary of the Synod Interventions of the 5th General Congregation from Wednesday afternoon, including presentations by Abp. Donald William Wuerl of Washington; Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and former Archbishop of San Francisco; and others. Abp. Wuerl spoke about "the opportunities we have in both our· homilies and catechetical efforts to renew a sense of connectedness with Christ and his Word in and through his Church." He said, "The task before is to help our faithful understand that they are part of the Church, a visible community that is also a spiritual communion. The liturgical homily provides the best occasion for our faithful to encounter the living person of Christ from within an authentic ecclesial and communal setting."
Cardinal Levada spoke of "the need to clarify the relationship between the Bible and the Church. . . the correct understanding of the holy Book, and the loving presence of the Book can only promote an ecclesial sense of faith"; "the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures that cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but should always be compared, inserted and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church"; and "the close relationship that exists between Sacred Scripture and ecumenism."
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has posted the text of the address given by Bishop Michael Putney of the Diocese of Townsville, Australia, on the Word of God in Oceania. That Conference's website also posted the text of the address given by Archbishop Mark Coleridge of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Australia, on the need for more powerful missionary preaching for the new evangelization.
Thursday's Events, Oct. 9:
Zenit has summaries of the Synod Interventions of the 6th General Congregation from Thursday morning and the 7th General Congregation from Thursday afternoon. The Vatican website also has the summary of the 6th and 7th General Congregations and the Holy Father's homily for the day's Mass in memory of the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII. Among the afternoon presentations were those of Rev. Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, O.F.M., Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy; Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; and Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Cardinal Arinze spoke about the Liturgy of the Hours, the importance of "the Praenotanda of various rituals, especially of the Ordo Lectionum Missae"; and of "prayers, invocations, hymns, chant, antiphonies, gestures and signs" that "are inspired by the Sacred Scriptures and draw their meaning from these." He said, "I suggest the Synod should also speak of liturgical song: the entrance, offertory and communion hymns are drawn from Sacred Scriptures, as are the antiphonies and responses of the Divine Office. It is not without importance, therefore, that the songs performed in the liturgy are not just any old composition, often improvised, without the approval of the Bishop or the Conference of Bishops."
Zenit also has summaries of the Synod Interventions from Fraternal Delegates given Thursday afternoon. Among them is a presentation by Rev. Robert K. Welsh, President of the Council of Christian Unity of Disciples of Christ
Also from the same day, but not particularly part of the Synod, the Vatican, Zenit and Papa Ratzinger Forum have English translations of the Pope's homily at today's Mass for the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII. Catholic News Agency has an article about the Mass and homily, and another about Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's defense of Pope Pius XII today in L'Osservatore Romano.
In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of Pope Pius XII's long years of service to the Church. He said, "To abandon himself in the merciful hands of God: this was the attitude that this venerated predecessor of mine cultivated constantly. He was the last of the Popes who had been born in Rome and came from a family linked for many years to the Holy See." While in Germany, Benedict said, Pius XII "worked with Benedict XV in the attempt to stop the 'useless massacre' of the Great War" and grasped "the danger represented by the monstrous National-Socialistic ideology with its pernicious anti-Semite and anti-Catholic roots." He was ever aware that "Christ is the only true hope for man." Benedict XVI also spoke of Pope Pius XII's words and actions, as pope, to support the Jewish people during the holocaust and of his opposition to totalitarianism in its various forms. Benedict also spoke of Pope Pius XII's missionary endeavors and of his various encyclicals.
Friday's Events, Oct. 10:
Zenit has a summary of the Synod Interventions of the 8th General Congregation given Friday morning and the 9th General Congregation given Friday afternoon. The Vatican website also provides those summaries here (8th) and here (9th). In the afternoon session, Bishop Dionisio Lachovicz of the Ukraine spoke about the ecumenical implications of Catholic and Orthodox views about the Word in unity with Baptism and the Eucharist. Bishop Kicanas wrote about listening to speakers from other countries who have spoken about the persecution and difficulties suffered in their countries. He also wrote about the importance of the parish in the lives of parishioners.
Saturday's Events, Oct. 11:
The Vatican website's summary of Saturday morning's events includes the Synod Interventions from the 10th General Congregation, as well as the interventions from a fraternal delegate and a special invited guest.
Zenit has a separate summary of the Synod Interventions of the 10th General Congregation given Saturday morning, including presentations by Cardinal Daniel Di Nardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston; Cardinal James Francis Stafford, Penitentiary Major; Fr. José Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., Minister General of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor; and Fr. Pascual Chavez Villanueva, S.D.B., President of the Union of Superiors General, Rector of the Salesian Society of St.John Bosco.
Cardinal Di Nardo recommended the preparation of a compendium to provide the faithful with "a clear and direct guide that would highlight the rich and useful methods of the Church for reading and sharing the Sacred Scriptures."
Cardinal Stafford said that "Healing is one of the central motifs of the word of God. However, the Instrumentum Laboris does not elaborate on the relation between the Sacraments of Healing - Penance and Anointing of the Sick - and the Word of God. A much stronger and longer treatment of these two sacraments regarding the Word of God is needed." He also spoke of the need for a greater treatment of the Sacrament of Marriage and the Word of God.
In a separate post, Zenit also has a summary of the Fraternal Intervention and Intervention of a Special Invited Guest given Saturday morning. The latter of those was from Br. Alois, Prior of the Ecumenical Community of Taizé. Concerning the transmission of the faith to youth, Br. Alois spoke of Taizé's efforts to "welcome them in a climate of trust, so that they may discover that God is already in them, even when their faith is small"; to make the place of prayer more welcome, such as by allowing several minutes of silence after the reading; and to recognize that Christians are united in the Word of God and Baptism.
Zenit has a summary of the Synod Interventions of the 11th General Congregation, Saturday afternoon, also on the Vatican website. Bishop Kicanas offered his own thoughts about the day's presentations, including thoughts about ministry to the youth (Br. Alois' topic), fostering vocations to the priesthood, and the importance of catechists.
Sunday's Events, Oct. 12:
There is a separate post on Sunday's Canonization Mass in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father's homily and words at the Angelus are available in official translation on the Vatican website. The Vatican's pages on the Synod included a summary and early unofficial translation of that homily.
Monday's Events, Oct. 13:
Zenit has a summary of the Synod Interventions of the 12th General Convention, Monday morning, also on the Vatican website. Among them, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, spoke of the formation of young adult lay teams to witness to Christ; contemporary equivalents of the medieval Mystery Plays to bring the Word of God to the people, such as the World Youth Day Ways of the Cross; online Catholic social networks in cyberspace; a central Institute for Bible Translation so the Bible can be translated more quickly and accurately into local languages in Asia, Africa and Oceania; and a request for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to produce guidelines on inerrancy in Scripture.
Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; President of the Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, requested a great and fruitful correlation between the study of Scripture and social doctrine. He said that the Church's view of man in Church social doctrine considers him “not only in the light of historical experience, not only with the aid of the many methods of scientific knowledge, but in the first place in the light of the Word revealed by the living God.”
Cardinal Seán Baptist Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, said that the "contribution of the Protestant tradition to Biblical scholarship has been immense. It may assist the healing of memory to affirm that the emphasis in the Reformation on improving access to the Scriptures was a bonus from which all Christians have benefited."
Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, spoke of "inculturation and interreligious dialogue" in evangelization. Evangelizing cultures from within, he said, "is valid for all cultures -- for those in mission lands, but also where traditional Christian cultures have been infected with the pernicious viruses of secularism, spiritual indifference and relativism." On the subject of interreligious dialogue, he spoke of the "seeds of the Word" that are present even in non-Christian religions.
Vatican Radio has an audio discussion with Archbishop Diarmiud Martin of Dublin, who also spoke October 13, about how the Gospel is preached in today's society. John Allen has an interview (published October 12) with Cardinal Daniel Di Nardo, of Galveston-Houston.
On Monday afternoon, according to a Vatican summary, the 13th General Congregation was held by pilgrimage to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in observance of the Pauline Year. In the evening, at the Holy Father's invitation, the Synod Fathers enjoyed a concert by the Wiener Philharmonker dedicated to the Pauline Year and the Synod.
Bishop Kicanas wrote about the morning's speakers, the concert, and the opportunity to visit the tomb of St. Paul.
Tuesday's Events, Oct. 14:
The Pope addressed the Synod on October 14. The Vatican page on the synod published an unofficial English translation of the Holy Father's reflection. John Allen and Zenit have also posted it, and Sandro Magister posted a full translation from Matthew Sherry. Allen and Zenit also have articles about it. He spoke about the need for a closer relationship between exegesis and theology, to avoid reading Scripture without faith. The Holy Father offered two suggestions, as reported by Zenit: "developing not only historical exegesis, but also theological; and broadening the education of exegetes in this sense so as to broaden the vision of exegesis."
Zenit has a summary of the Synod Interventions for the 14th General Convention on Tuesday morning, also in the Vatican website. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., the Vatican Secretary of State, encouraged young people to become familiar with the Bible and to have it at hand as a compass pointing out the road to follow, with the meeting with the Bible to become a meeting with Christ. He spoke of the importance to young people of "adults working who go to them as patient teachers and credible witnesses of the greatest figure, who is Jesus; in other words, people who when they say the Word of God, demonstrate it with their own life." Zenit has an article about Cardinal Bertone's address.
Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Head of the Synod of the Chaldean Church (Iraq), spoke of life in some parts of Iraq today as a Calvary in which "all fear kidnapping, abduction, and intimidation. . . . To live the Word of God means to us to bear witness to it to the cost of our own lives, as has occurred and still occurs till now with the sacrifice of the bishops, priests and faithful." John Allen called it "one of the most moving speeches in the Synod of Bishops so far."
Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, spoke of the goal of the heights of divine perfection, referring to Matt. 5:48, and of the Beatitudes that the saints imitate, understanding that they are "the essence of the Gospel and the portrait of Christ Himself."
Zenit also has a summary of the auditors at the 14th General Congregation Tuesday morning, and a summary of the Synod Interventions for the 15th General Congregation on Tuesday afternoon. The Vatican's summary of the 15th General Congregation is accompanied by a separate summary of Bishop Silva Retamales' "Explanatory Exposition of Lectio Divina." Among the Fraternal Delegates' Interventions from the 15th General Congregation was Anglican Bishop Tom Wright. John Allen called him the "star of the show". Zenit also has an article about the explanation of Lectio Divina given Tuesday afternoon by Auxiliary Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales of Valparaiso, Chile.
Vatican Radio's audio broadcast is with Bishop Ronald Fabbro, from London, Ontario, in Canada, on the subject of parish life and the communications by priests.
John L. Allen, Jr. discusses basic themes that have emerged as the bishops' respective addresses are nearing completion. Bishop Kicanas wrote about the Pope's address and about other speakers of the day.
Wednesday's Events, Oct. 15:
On October 15, the Synod entered a new phase, with meetings in small groups. In the afternoon session, they began discussing the interventions from the previous week. Vatican Radio addresses this topic with Bishop Gerald F. Kincanus of Tucson, the Vice-President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
John Allen has an interview with Cardinal Francis George of Chicago about the ongoing Synod.
Zenit continued to offer a summary of the Synod Interventions of the 16th Synod Congregation on Wednesday morning and a summary of the Auditors' Interventions that morning, also on the Vatican website. Among the Synod Fathers who spoke, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Archbishop of Toledo, Spain, spoke of catechesis. He said, "It is necessary that catechesis as the evangelizing work of the Church, finds its foundation in the nature of Christian revelation and the living Tradition of the Church, as expressed in the Constitution Dei Verbum of Vatican Council II. When catechesis places itself in this perspective, it inspires the adoration and together with it, the admiration and the wonder in the presence of God."
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, also spoke Wednesday morning. He spoke about a bishop's duty to be a herald of the word of God; "to do all that he can to ensure that the Word of God is maintained living, entire, and fruitful"; and "to nourish himself on the Word of God."
Wednesday afternoon, Relator General Cardinal Marc Ouellet gave a Report after the Discussion (Relatio post disceptationem), presenting a synthesis of the discussion for the Working Groups, in order to simplify the preparation of pastoral propositions to be delivered to the Holy Father. The Vatican has a summary of the 17th General Congregation and the presentation of that report. Zenit has an article with more information on the various parts of that report. In his blog written from the Synod, Bishop Kicanas wrote about some of the themes and recommendations he heard over the past 1-1/2 weeks.
Thursday's Events, Oct. 16:
Vatican Radio has an audio report on a press conference given by four of the Synod Fathers Thursday morning on the Synod's progress to date.
Summaries of written synod interventions can be found at the Vatican website and Zenit, as are summaries of the working group reports from the 18th General Congregation Thursday morning (Vatican, Summary #1, Vatican, Summary #2, and Zenit, Summary #1, Zenit, Summary #2), and summaries of auditors' interventions (Vatican and Zenit)that morning.
John Allen posted an interview with Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, about the Synod.
Friday's Events, Oct. 17:
While the Synod Fathers met in Working Groups, Vatican Radio provided three short audio reports on Friday related to the Synod. They include audios with Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem about the need to bring the Word of God back to its roots; Australian Bishop Michael Putney on the challenges of the Church in Australia; and Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya on concerns of the bishops in the Synod.
Bishop Kicanas, who was relator of on of the Working Groups, English Group B, wrote about giving the summary report for his group, and about the experience of addressing the Synod, with the Pope present. He also wrote about the different perspectives of Synod Fathers from different countries, and the give and take of reaching a consensus.
Saturday's Events, Oct. 18:
The summary (Vatican website) of the 19th General Congregation mentions the First Voting for the election of the 12 Members of the XII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi's reading of the draft of the Message of the Synod, with discussion of the Message following a break.
That evening, a vespers service was held in the Sistine Chapel, in the context of the Synod, with Pope Benedict XVI presiding. Both the Holy Father and also Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I spoke during the service. The Vatican's synod web pages includes a summary of the Ecumenical Patriarch's address and the Holy Father's words. Sandro Magister has an English translation of the entire address by Bartholomew I together with the text of the Pope's introduction and the Pope's words following the address. Zenit has the text of the address delivered by Bartholomew I. Vatican Radio has an audio report that features short audio excerpts from the service.
Monday's Events, Oct. 20:
As the Synod Fathers discussed the Interventions of the previous two weeks, Vatican Radio provided an audio interview with Auxiliary Archbishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Archdiocese of San Fernando in the Philippines about the great importance of the Word to Philipinos, even when they are living in countries like Saudi Arabia where there is no religious freedom.
Vatican Radio also provided an audio interview with Cardinal George Pell about lessons that could be learned from the recent World Youth Day, hosted by his archdiocese. He said that when people see Christians living according to Christian principles, they are interested and attracted. That was true, he said, in the Australian reaction to the youth at World Youth Day, who were so good, pleasant, life-giving and joyful. He said it has changed the climate in Australia.
Tuesday's Events, Oct. 21:
The Synod Fathers presented a list of 53 propositions for Saturday's voting over what will be included in the Synod's final report. Vatican Radio has an audio report. The summary from the Vatican Synod Web Page mentioned the presentation of the integrated list of propositions, taken from propositions of the various working groups. Each Father may present proposed amendments to his small group for discussion and examination.
Bishop Kicanas wrote about the work being done by his small group, the propositions, and the Holy Father's attentive listening to the speakers as they made their presentations. He wrote, "One of the oft-repeated themes of this Synod has been the need to recover the gift of listening. Pope Benedict has modeled that for us in a marvelous way."
Voting for the 12-member Council was completed on Tuesday.
Vatican Radio also had an audio interview with Archbishop Lawrence Huculak, the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, about how the Eastern Church uses the Word of God.
Wednesday's Events, Oct. 22:
As the working groups continued working on proposed amendments to the propositions, in preparation for Saturday's voting, the Vatican provided summaries of more written interventions (also available on Zenit. Among them was a written intervention by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper spoke of the Bible as the greatest source of unity among Christians, and as the "main instrument of ecumenical dialogue from the doctrinal as well as the spiritual and pastoral aspects."
The Vatican's summary of working group sessions for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is discussed below under October 24. Bishop Kicanas today wrote about his small group and its work.
Vatican Radio provided an audio interview with Anglican Bishop Thomas Wright, who is attending the Synod as a guest, and whose intervention was mentioned above on October 14.
Thursday's Events, Oct. 23:
The Vatican's summary of working group sessions for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is discussed below under October 24. Bishop Kicanas wrote about the process of the amendments and about visits that he, as vice-president of the USCCB, was able to make to various dicasteries for Conference business, together with Cardinal Francis George and Msgr. David Malloy.
Meanwhile, Vatican Radio posted an audio interview with Indian Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil about the ongoing persecution of Christians in India. There is also another audio interview with the Archbishop Fouad Twai, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, about the difficulties of Christians in the Middle East. Another audio interview featured Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington about two currents, theological expertise and pastoral perspective, which merge and overlap. Abp. Wuerl said that the richness of this Synod has been the mingling of those two perspectives, and that he thinks that what comes out of it will be very helpful to the Church.
Friday's Events, Oct. 24:
A Final Message of the Synod was approved by a vote of the Synod Fathers on Friday. The Vatican's summary of the 21st General Congregation mentioned the presentation and voting on the Message, as well as the presentation of a Final List of Propositions for voting on Saturday. It also includes a summary of the Message. Vatican Radio has an audio report about the Message, which includes Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who shared how the bishops developed the Message around four images.
The full text of the Message of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God was separately posted on the Vatican's Synod Pages (also on Zenit). The four images employed by the Message are: "The Voice of the Word: The Revelation," "The Face of the Word: Jesus Christ," "The House of the Word: the Church," and "The Roads of the Word: the Mission."
The Vatican's summary of the 22nd General Congregation held Friday afternoon mentions the reading of the Final Propositions in the presence of the Holy Father.
Saturday's Events, Oct. 25:
A Vatican summary discusses the voting on the Propositions in the 23rd General Congregation on Saturday, and another summary mentions that the Holy Father has authorized the publication of an unofficial Italian language version of the Propositions in the Vatican Press Office's Bulletin. In the end, there were 55 propositions, as discussed by Bishop Kicanas' Blog. John Allen has a ""rush NCR translation" of the final 55 propositions submitted to the Pope. Allen explains, "The propositions are advisory only, meaning it is up to the pope to decide what action, if any, to take on the basis of these recommendations."
Bishop Kicanas mentions that the last event of the day was lunch with the Holy Father, with the Synod Fathers seated with their own language groups. At the end of the luncheon, the Pope addressed them. His address was published at the Vatican page on the Synod, and can also be found on Zenit. Here is an excerpt from it:
"I do not know if the Synod was more interesting or more edifying. In any case, it was moving. We are enriched by this mutual hearing. In listening to the other, we may also hear the Lord better. And in this dialogue of hearing, we then learn the deeper reality, obedience to the Word of God, conforming to our thought, our will to think turning to God’s thought and will. This obedience is not an attack on freedom, rather it develops all the possibilities of our freedom."
A Zenit article by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, spoke of "Synodal Heartburn," saying, "Witnessing the final voting on the synodal propositions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning was a real lesson in the collegiality of the Church," and that "the degree of unanimity for each proposition was striking." He provided his insights and experiences during the course of the three-week Synod, including Saturday's voting and a press conference.
Vatican Radio had an audio interview with Archbishop Douglas Young of Papua, New Guinea, who said he was pleased with how the Propositions reflected the bishops' presentations and discussions. He said they came from a "wide and deep consultation process." Another audio report discussed an appeal by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and several other Synod Fathers for justice and peace as essential to peace in the Middle East, India and Asia.
Sunday's Events, Oct. 26:
Pope Benedict presided at a Closing Mass for the Synod. A separate post on this blog discusses the Holy Father's homily and his reflection at the midday Angelus, drawing the Synod to a close. An English translation of the text of the homily appears on the Vatican page on the Synod.