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How to prepare the diocesan synthesis

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 (19:13)

Today the newsletter of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops (#ForASynodalChurch) contained detailed Suggestions for Dioceses and Episcopal Conferences on the preparation of the synthesis.

Haha, this reminds me when I naively wanted to imagine this phase with the sinoditiim already in November, and how they had to explain me that it was too early for this step! How right they were! I am glad that I won’t be alone when this phase starts in April!

I love the approach in this document, which give inspiring instructions and then adds “but you are invited to do it differently if you prefer”. Here are some excerpts:

  • This document is intended primarily to support the Episcopal Conferences/Synods of the Churches sui iuris in the elaboration of their synthesis, but it could also be useful to the facilitators of the synodal process within each local Church, at the level of individual dioceses/parishes, parishes, grassroots communities, associations and movements, and spontaneous groups. Each local reality is invited to creatively adapt it to its own context.

  • The purpose of the synthesis is not to present a chronology of the stages of the synodal process that were followed, nor to draw up a report that lists indiscriminately all the points that emerged during the work. Rather, as the culmination of a communal spiritual discernment, the synthesis aims to gather and express the fruits of the synodal process in a way that is understandable even to those who did not participate, indicating how the Holy Spirit’s call to the Church has been understood in the local context.

  • 3.2 Choice of drafting group: From a synodal perspective, it makes sense for a group to draft the synthesis, in which it might be appropriate to involve the synod team. Other members of the drafting group could be chosen based on their condition (age, sex, state of life), geographical or cultural origin, experience and/or competence in different fields (sacred sciences, human and social sciences, textual editing, etc.), with particular attention to the presence of people capable of listening to and understanding the voice of minorities, the poor and the excluded. Similarly, it will be important to ensure the presence of a smaller core group (e.g., 2-3 people) with expertise in writing, to whom the task of drafting can be materially entrusted.