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Pope Francis prays with participants in the assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican yesterday (CNS/Vatican Media)

The Church must continue discerning its future by listening to everyone, starting with the poorest and excluded, Synod on Synodality participants said in a letter addressed to the “People of God”. Source: CNS. 

The two-and-a-half-page letter recounted the spirit and activities of the Synod assembly’s first session, held at the Vatican from October 4-29, and looked ahead to the second session, expressing hope that the months leading up to October 2024 “will allow everyone to concretely participate in the dynamism of missionary communion indicated by the word ‘synod’.”

“This is not about ideology, but about an experience rooted in the apostolic tradition,” the Synod assembly wrote.

While the letter does not raise specific topics or questions to be addressed in the assembly’s next session – a synthesis report reflecting the work of the first session and next steps is expected to be published on Saturday – it did say that to “progress in its discernment, the Church absolutely needs to listen to everyone, starting with the poorest”.

“It means listening to those who have been denied the right to speak in society or who feel excluded, even by the Church,” the letter said, specifying the need to listen to victims of racism, particularly Indigenous populations. “Above all, the Church of our time has the duty to listen, in a spirit of conversion, to those who have been victims of abuse committed by members of the ecclesial body and to commit herself concretely and structurally to ensuring that this does not happen again.”

The letter made special reference to the need for listening to the laity, catechists, children, the elderly, families and those who want to be involved in lay ministries and “participate in discernment and decision-making structures” of the Church.

The drafting of the letter was approved by the Synod assembly and was discussed both during small group working sessions and among the entire assembly on Monday, the Synod general secretariat said.


As the Synod’s first session closes, assembly addresses letter to the ‘people of God’ (By Justin McLellan, CNS via America Magazine)


Synod letter to Catholics highlights role of women, listening to abuse victims (NCR Online)

Synod on Synodality addresses the Church in letter to the people of God (CNA