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Vatican City, Oct 13, 2018 / 06:13 pm (CNA).- Recent changes to canon law have left some bishops attending the 2018 Synod of Bishops uncertain about the meeting’s procedural rules. Unanswered questions about the synod’s norms could have significant effect on how the meeting’s final documents are regarded in the Church, and by the synod fathers themselves.
The synod’s undersecretary, Bishop Fabio Fabene, told reporters in early October that because of changes Pope Francis made to synod policies Sept. 15, the Vatican had not yet decided on the exact rules for this month’s synod.
Synod - Participants - Provisions - Document - Meetings
Asked whether synod participants would be able to vote on individual provisions of the document as they have in prior meetings, Fabene said it would depend on what emerged from the synod, adding that “as we move along, we will decide.”
But two weeks into the gathering, decisions about the synod’s procedural and voting rules have not yet been announced. Several synod fathers have told CNA they are confused about the rules, or uncertain about how the synod’s voting process will actually work.
Absence - Norms - Observers - Synod - Consultation
In the absence of clear norms, some observers have begun to ask whether the 2018 synod will prove to be an authentic consultation of the world’s bishops, or an exercise only in the appearance of “synodality.”
Synods are meetings of bishops gathered to discuss a topic of theological or pastoral significance, in order to prepare a document of advice or counsel to the pope. The discussion at a synod is framed around an instrumentum laboris- a working document- developed before the meeting by a small working committee of Vatican officials and diocesan bishops.
Synod - Bishops - Comments - Observations - Document
During a synod, bishops make comments and observations on the working document, and meet in small discussion groups to propose changes to the text, or to suggest new texts, or additional areas for consideration.
The 2018 synod,...
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