Sidrak said that “at the beginning, it was not easy,” as many felt “a little disoriented” by the novelties of a multiyear synodal process that aimed for global participation. Grech also added that some whom he had encountered during earlier stages were “wary” of the process, and even said that his mother had recently asked him “why I ‘waste’ so much [time] in the secretariat offices if it doesn’t help me preach the Gospel.”
“She was right! And I don’t want to forget this question of hers even now that we are called to pause dynamically in prayer and listening for an entire month.”
However, synod leaders also said the proceeding stages of the synod legitimized the current assembly. Grech said that “the whole Church and everyone in the Church had the opportunity to participate in the synodal process,” while Sidrak added the synod assembly “was prepared by a consultation of the people of God, of each and every baptized person, each according to his or her own charism, in an even more vivid, real and concrete way.”
Hollerich said that the assembly’s task of discovering a contemporary grammar of synodality would “not start from scratch” but would be built upon the Church’s “rich theological tradition on synodality,” as well as the magisterium of the popes, especially Pope Francis.
The synod’s relator general also added that the process would be guided by “basic rules which never change”: baptismal dignity, the Petrine ministry, episcopal collegiality, ordained ministry, the common priesthood of the faithful, and “their interrelation.”
Hollerich also said that the synod’s “work of common discernment” should not be a parliamentary debate — “a battle between position A and B” and between so-called conservatives and so-called progressives — but “walking with Christ within his Church.”
With the opening day of the Synod on Synodality now complete, participants enter into a series of discussions and votes — with limited press access or media availability. Four “modules” will be devoted to the issues included in the Instrumentum Laboris, the document crafted based on the results of the previous synod stages, with a final session devoted to discussing and approving a final “synthesis report.”
Hollerich said his “heartfelt hope” is that the October 2023 assembly will develop a “road map” for the following year.
“Ideally this road map should indicate where we feel consensus has been reached among us and above all within the people of God, laying down the possible steps to undertake as a response to the voice of the Spirit,” he said. “But it should also say where deeper reflection is needed and what could help that process of reflection.”