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The Second Assembly of the Synod begins in October (Vatican News)

The most important outcome of the current Synod of Bishops on Synodality, Pope Francis says, is the synodal process itself and not the hot-button topics discussed. Source: CNS.

With the second Synod assembly scheduled for October, the Pope said the Synod process is approaching its “most challenging and important” stage – the point at which it must become “prophetic”.

“Now it is a matter of translating the work of the previous stages into choices that will give impetus and new life to the mission of the Church in our time,” he told members of the Italian Catholic Action lay association in a packed St Peter’s Square on April 25.

But he noted that “the most important thing of this Synod is synodality, the subjects and topics (discussed) are there to advance this expression of the Church that is synodality.”

“For this, there is a need for people forged in the Spirit, for ‘pilgrims of hope,’ “ Francis said, “men and women capable of charting and walking new and challenging paths.”

In March, Francis decided that some of the most controversial issues raised at the first Synod assembly “requiring in-depth study” will be examined by study groups; the groups are to issue preliminary reports to the Synod assembly in October and give their final reports to the Pope by June 2025.

The 10 themes to be explored by the study groups include the guidelines for priestly formation, the role of women in the Church and their participation in community leadership, listening to the poor and the criteria for selecting bishops.

While some questions require deeper study, Francis told the crowd to “be athletes and standard bearers of synodality in the dioceses and parishes of which you are part, for a full implementation of the (synodal) path taken so far.”


Pope asks lay Catholics to prepare for Synod’s ‘prophetic’ stage (By Justin McLellan, CNS)