Vatican City, Feb 12, 2020 / 07:56 am
Pope Francis' post-synodal exhortation on the Amazon is part of the Church's ordinary magisterium -- that is officially a kind of Church teaching -- while the final document of the Vatican’s 2019 Amazon synod is not, Cardinal Michael Czerny, special secretary of the Amazon synod, said Feb. 12.
The distinction in the authoritative weight of the two documents was also emphasized Wednesday by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and by Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office.
Bruni emphasized that “the apostolic exhortation is magisterium, the final document is not.” He later added that “anything in the final document should be read in the lens of the apostolic exhortation,” including any “application.”
“So we have two documents of two different kinds,” Czerny said in a presentation to journalists.
“The final document, consisting of proposals made and voted by the Synod Fathers, has the weight of a synodal final document,” he said, whereas the apostolic exhortation, “reflecting on the whole process and its final document, has the authority of ordinary magisterium of the Successor of Peter.”
Pope Francis released Feb. 12 the apostolic letter Querida Amazonia, which presents his response to the discussion of the Amazon synod, which took place in Rome over three weeks in October.
This synod ended with the presentation to Pope Francis of a final document, which was voted on by synod members setting out a series of recommendations based on the issues discussed during the preparation phase and synodal sessions.
The final document of the synod assembly is what Czerny and Baldisseri said does not have the weight of ordinary magisterium, noting the pope’s “presentation” of the document.