The synod saw the representation of two Chinese bishops as a subtle warming in Holy See-China relations.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, representation from mainland China in various Asian Church initiatives remained absent. Last year, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Bangkok saw no delegate from mainland China.
The forthcoming week sees the synod gearing up for Sunday when the Commission for the Drafting of the Final Summary convenes for the first time. The commission aims to craft a comprehensive text reflecting the discussions, encapsulating inputs from smaller circles and independent interventions.
On the evening of Oct. 17, the reports from the “minor circles” or small discussion groups will be finalized, with discussions on module B3 of the Instrumentum Laboris concerning “Participation, tasks of responsibility, and authority in a missionary synodal Church” slated for Oct. 18.
A prayer event for migrants and refugees is scheduled on Oct. 19 in St. Peter’s Square, with smaller circles revisiting the B3 reports on Oct. 21.
The commission for drafting the synthesis report reconvenes on Oct. 22 with a follow-up meeting on Oct. 25.
Prayer service to focus on migration
The migrant prayer event on Oct. 19 highlights the recurring theme of migration. His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, voiced the plight of millions who have fled Ukraine.
Synodality is another focal point, with many prelates valuing the insights of Eastern-rite bishops. The synod encourages personal dialogues and spiritual discernment, stimulating debates on the assembly’s conduct.
The anecdote from a prelate likened adjusting to new methods to “wearing new trousers” — it’s initially uncomfortable compared with the familiar old pair.
Despite a hiccup last week when a cloud error exposed the minor circles’ reports online, Pope Francis’ call for prudence and confidentiality remains paramount, ensuring the essence of discussions remains within the holy confines.
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