The option for the pope to adopt the final synodal document as his own, including it as official Church teaching, was part of changes the pontiff made to synod rules in 2018. Since that year, canon law has permitted the pope to give a specific and deliberate kind of approval to a final synodal document that would incorporate the text into the pope's ordinary magisterium, or official teaching.
However, Baldisseri said that article 18 of Episcopalis Communio, which established that law, makes clear that the pope needs to give his approval "expressly."
"The apostolic exhortation does not speak of approval of the final document. It does not speak [of it]. It speaks of presentation, but not of approval," Baldisseri continued. "There is not a clear canonical word of approval, as in article 18 of Episcopalis Communio. It speaks of express approval, not indirect, imagined."
The final document of the Amazon synod "has a certain moral authority, sure," he added, "but not magisterial."
Synods of bishops convened by the pope serve a mainly consultative role, as indicated in the Code of Canon Law.
Their main purpose is to foster unity between the pope and the bishops around the world, and to offer their input as the pope considers questions pertaining to the Church's activity in different parts of the world, on issues of faith and morals, and "in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline."
"It is," the Code says, "for the synod of bishops to discuss the questions for consideration and express its wishes but not to resolve them or issue decrees about them unless in certain cases the Roman Pontiff has endowed it with deliberative power, in which case he ratifies the decisions of the synod."
Czerny said he thinks the best way to understand the synod's debate of the possibility of the ordination of married priests in the Amazon region is to see it "as part of a process and as part of a journey."
"That's why it's called a synod," he noted, adding that "we are at a very important part in this synodal process and there are long roads ahead as well as long roads already traveled."
"And so the questions you are returning to are questions 'on the road,' and the Holy Father has not resolved them in any way beyond what he has said in the exhortation," the cardinal underlined.
"So if there are questions you feel are open, or that the Church feels are open, thanks to the exhortation they will continue to be discussed, debated, discerned, prayed over, and when mature, presented to the appropriate authority for decision," he said.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"There are decisions that can be made in a diocese, in a [bishops'] conference, and there are decisions that are made here [in the Vatican]."
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.