FRANCIS

APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

EPISCOPALIS COMMUNIO

ON THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS

1. Episcopal communion ( Episcopalis communio ), with Peter and under Peter, manifests itself in a peculiar way in the Synod of Bishops, which, instituted by Paul VI on September 15, 1965, constitutes one of the most precious legacies of the Second Vatican Council [1]From then on, the Synod, new in its institution but very old in its inspiration, lends an effective collaboration to the Roman Pontiff, according to the ways established by himself, in matters of greater importance, those that require special science and prudence for the good of the whole Church. In this way the Synod of Bishops, "representing the whole Catholic episcopate, manifests that all the Bishops participate in hierarchical communion of the solicitude of the universal Church" [2] .

 

Over more than fifty years, the Synod Assemblies have proved to be a valuable instrument of mutual knowledge among Bishops, common prayer, loyal confrontation, deepening of Christian doctrine, reform of ecclesiastical structures, promotion of pastoral activity all over the world. . In this way, these Assemblies have not only been configured as a privileged place for interpretation and reception of the rich conciliar magisterium, but have also offered a considerable impulse to the subsequent papal magisterium. 

Even today, in a historical moment in which the Church is introduced into "a new stage of evangelization" [3] , which asks her to become "in all the regions of the earth in a" permanent state of mission "» [4] , the Synod of Bishops is called, like any other ecclesiastical institution, to become increasingly "an adequate channel for the evangelization of the present world, rather than for self-preservation" [5] . Above all, as the Council already hoped, it is necessary that the Synod, in the awareness that "the task of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the world primarily concerns the Episcopal Body", undertakes to promote "with particular solicitude the missionary activity, which is the highest and most sacred duty of the Church " [6]

2. It is providential that the institution of the Synod of Bishops took place in the context of the last ecumenical assembly. In fact, the Second Vatican Council , "following in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council " [7] , deepened the doctrine of the Episcopal Order in the wake of genuine ecclesial Tradition, focusing in particular on its sacramentality and its collegial nature [8] . It thus became clear that each Bishop simultaneously and inseparably holds responsibility for the particular Church entrusted to his pastoral care and concern for the universal Church [9] .

This concern, which expresses the supradiocesan dimension of the episcopal munus , is solemnly exercised in the venerable institution of the Ecumenical Council and is also expressed in the joint action of the Bishops scattered throughout the earth, an action that is either called or freely received by the Roman Pontiff [ 10] . We can not forget that it is up to the latter, according to the needs of the People of God, to identify and promote the forms through which the Episcopal College can exercise its authority over the universal Church [11] .

In the course of the conciliar debate, hand in hand with the maturation of the doctrine on episcopal collegiality, the request to associate some Bishops with the universal ministry of the Roman Pontiff, in the form of a permanent central body, outside the dicasteries of the Curia, emerged several times. Romana, who was able to demonstrate, even outside the solemn and extraordinary form of the Ecumenical Council, the solicitude of the Episcopal College for the needs of the People of God and the communion among all the Churches.   

3. Accepting such solicitations, on September 14, 1965, Paul VI announced to the Conciliar Fathers, gathered for the opening session of the fourth period of the Ecumenical Council, the decision to institute, on his own initiative and with his own power, an organization called the Synod of Bishops, which , "Composed of prelates, appointed for the most part by the Episcopal Conferences, with Our approval, will be convened, according to the needs of the Church, by the Roman Pontiff, for his consultation and collaboration, when, for the general good of the Church, this will seem appropriate to him ".

In the motu proprio Apostolica sollicitudo , promulgated the following day, the Pontiff himself instituted the Synod of Bishops, affirming that, "for whom Bishops chosen in various parts of the world bring a more effective help to the supreme Shepherd of the Church, is constituted such that it is: 1) a central ecclesiastical institution; 2) representative of the whole Catholic Episcopate; 3) perpetuates by its nature; 4) as to its structure, carrying out its tasks in a temporary and occasional manner " [12] .

The Synod of Bishops, which in the name was ideally connected to the ancient and rich Synodal tradition of the Church, held in great honor above all in the Eastern Churches, would normally have a consultative role, offering to the Roman Pontiff, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit , information and advice on the various ecclesial issues. At the same time, the Synod could have also enjoyed deliberative power, if the Roman Pontiff had wanted to confer it on him [13] .

4. Paul VI , in the act of establishing the Synod as a "special permanent council of sacred pastors," declared himself aware that, "as every human institution, as time goes by it will be more perfected" [14] . On the one hand, the progressive development of the fruitful conciliar doctrine on episcopal collegiality and, on the other hand, the experience of the numerous Synodal Assemblies celebrated in Rome since 1967, the year in which a special Ordo Synodi Episcoporum .

Even after the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches , which integrated the Synod of Bishops into universal law [15] , the Synod of Bishops continued to evolve gradually, until the last edition of the Ordo Synod , promulgated by Benedict XVI on 29 September 2006. In particular, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, composed of the Secretary General and a special Council of Bishops, was established and gradually strengthened in its functions so that the constitutive stability of the Synod same was better ensured over time between the various Synod Assemblies.

In these years, noting the efficacy of the Synodal action in the face of issues that require timely and concordant intervention by the Pastors of the Church, the desire has grown that the Synod will become even more a special manifestation and an effective implementation of the concern of the Church. Episcopate for all the Churches. Already John Paul II said that "perhaps this tool can be further improved. Perhaps the collegial pastoral responsibility can express itself even more fully in the Synod " [16] .

5. For these reasons, since the beginning of my Petrine ministry I have paid special attention to the Synod of Bishops, confident that it will be able to know "further developments to further encourage dialogue and collaboration between Bishops and between them and the Bishop of Rome " [17] . To animate this work of renewal must be the firm conviction that all Pastors are constituted for the service of the Holy People of God, to whom they themselves belong by virtue of the sacrament of Baptism.

It is certainly true, as the Second Vatican Council teaches , that "the Bishops, when they teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff, must be listened to with veneration as witnesses of the divine and Catholic truth; and the faithful must agree with the judgment of their Bishop given in the name of Christ in matters of faith and morality, and adhere to it with the religious respect of the spirit " [18] . But it is equally true that "the life of the Church and life in the Church is the condition for every Bishop to exercise his mission of teaching" [19] .

Thus the Bishop is both a teacher and a disciple. He is a teacher when, endowed with a special assistance of the Holy Spirit, he announces to the faithful the Word of truth in the name of Christ the head and shepherd. But he is also a disciple when, knowing that the Spirit is given to every baptized person, he listens to the voice of Christ who speaks through the whole People of God, making him " infallible in believing " [20] . In fact, "the totality of the faithful, having the anointing that comes from the Saint (see Jn2:20 and 27), can not be mistaken in believing, and manifests this property by the supernatural sense of the faith of the whole People, when "from the Bishops to the last lay faithful", shows his universal consent in matters of faith and morals " [21] . For this reason, the Bishop is called to "walk in front, indicating the path, indicating the way; walking in the middle, to strengthen [the People of God] in unity; walking behind, both because no one stays behind, but, above all, to follow the flair that has the People of God to find new ways. A Bishop who lives among his faithful has open ears to hear "what the Spirit says to the Churches" ( Ap2, 7) and the "voice of the sheep", also through those diocesan bodies that have the task of advising the Bishop, promoting a loyal and constructive dialogue " [22] . 

6. Even the Synod of Bishops must increasingly become a privileged means of listening to the People of God: "From the Holy Spirit for the Synodal Fathers we ask, first of all, the gift of listening: listening to God, to hear with him the cry of the people; listening to the People, until you breathe the will to which God calls us " [23] .

Although in its composition it appears as an essentially episcopal organism, the Synod does not therefore live separate from the rest of the faithful. On the contrary, it is a suitable instrument to give voice to the whole People of God precisely through the Bishops, constituted by God "authentic guardians, interpreters and witnesses of the faith of the whole Church" [24] , showing Assembly in Assembly an eloquent expression of synodality as "the constitutive dimension of the Church" [25] .

Therefore, as John Paul II said , "every General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is a strong ecclesial experience, even if in the modalities of its procedures it remains always perfectible. The Bishops gathered in the Synod first of all represent their own Churches, but they also keep in mind the contributions of the Episcopal Conferences from which they are designated and whose opinions about the issues to be treated become bearers. Thus they express the vow of the hierarchical Body of the Church and, in some way, that of the Christian People, of which they are Pastors " [26] .

7. The history of the Church amply testifies to the importance of the consultative process, to know the opinion of Pastors and of the faithful in what concerns the good of the Church. It is so of great importance that, even in the preparation of the Synodal Assemblies, the consultation of all the particular Churches receives special attention. In this first phase, the Bishops, following the indications of the General Secretariat of the Synod, submit the questions to be addressed in the Synodal Assembly to Priests, Deacons and lay faithful of their Churches, both individually and in association, without neglecting the precious contribution that can come from the Consecrated and the Consecrated. Above all, the contribution of the bodies of participation of the particular Church, especially the presbyteral council and the pastoral council, may prove to be fundamental.[27] .

The consultation of the faithful follows, during the celebration of each Synodal Assembly, discernment by the specially designated Pastors, united in the search for a consensus that stems not from human logic, but from the common obedience to the Spirit of Christ. Beware of the sensus fidei of the People of God - "who must know how to distinguish carefully from the often changing flows of public opinion" [28] -, Members of the Assembly offer their opinion to the Roman Pontiff, so that he may be able to help him in his ministry as universal pastor of the Church. In this perspective, the fact that "the Synod normally has a merely consultative function does not diminish its importance. In fact, in the Church, the aim of any collegial, advisory or deliberative body that is, is always the search for the truth or the good of the Church. When it comes to the verification of the same faith, the consensus Ecclesiae is not given by the counting of the vows, but is the fruit of the action of the Spirit, the soul of the one Church of Christ " [29] . Therefore, the vote of the Synod Fathers, "if morally unanimous, has an ecclesial quality weight that overcomes the merely formal aspect of the consultative vote"[30] .

Finally, at the celebration of the Synod Assembly, it must follow the phase of its implementation, with the aim of initiating in all particular Churches the reception of the Synodal conclusions, accepted by the Roman Pontiff in the manner which he judged to be more convenient. In this regard it is important to bear in mind that "cultures are very different from each other and every general principle [...] needs to be inculturated if it is to be observed and applied" [31] . In this way, it is shown that the synodal process has not only its starting point, but also its point of arrival in the People of God, on which the gifts of grace bestowed by the Holy Spirit through the assembly of the Pastors must be poured out. .

8. The Synod of Bishops, which from the Ecumenical Council portrays "in some way the image" and reflects "the spirit and the method" [32] , is composed of Bishops. However, as already at the Council [33] , some others may be called to the Synod Assembly without being vested with the episcopal munus , whose role is determined from time to time by the Roman Pontiff. In this last regard, it is necessary to consider especially the contribution that can come from those who belong to Institutes of consecrated life and Societies of apostolic life.

In addition to the Members, the Synod Assembly may participate, as guests and without voting rights, Experts ( Experts ), who cooperate in the preparation of documents; Auditors ( Auditores ), who have a particular competence on the issues to be dealt with; Fraternal Delegates ( Fraternal Delegates ), belonging to Churches and Ecclesial Communities that are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. To these can be added some Special Guests ( Invited Speciales ), designated by virtue of their recognized authority.

Il Sinodo dei Vescovi si riunisce in diversi tipi di Assemblea[34]. Qualora le circostanze lo suggeriscano, la stessa Assemblea del Sinodo può svolgersi in più periodi tra loro distinti. Ciascuna Assemblea, indipendentemente dalle sue modalità di svolgimento, è un momento importante di ascolto comunitario di ciò che lo Spirito Santo «dice alle Chiese» (Ap 2, 7). È perciò necessario che, nel corso dei lavori sinodali, ricevano particolare risalto le celebrazioni liturgiche e le altre forme di preghiera corale, per invocare sui Membri dell’Assemblea il dono del discernimento e della concordia. È altresì opportuno che, secondo l’antica tradizione sinodale, il libro dei Vangeli sia solennemente intronizzato all’inizio di ogni giornata, rammentando anche simbolicamente a tutti i partecipanti la necessità di rendersi docili alla Parola divina, che è «Parola di verità» (Col 1, 5). 

9. The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops - composed of the General Secretary, who presides over it, the Undersecretary, who assists the Secretary General in all his functions, and some special Bishops' Councils - deals chiefly with the obligations relating to the Assembly synodal celebrated and to be celebrated. In the phase preceding the Assembly it contributes to the identification of the issues to be discussed in the Assembly of the Synod among those proposed by the Episcopate, to their exact determination in relation to the needs of the People of God, to the start of the consultative process and to the drafting preparatory documents drawn up on the basis of the results of the consultation. In the phase that follows the Assembly, instead, it promotes for its part, together with the Dicastery of the competent Roman Curia,

Among the Councils which make up the General Secretariat, conferring upon it a particular structure of its own, the Ordinary Council is first of all composed, made up for the most part by diocesan Bishops elected by the Fathers of the Ordinary General Assembly. Since it was established in 1971 for the preparation and implementation of the Ordinary General Assembly, it has amply demonstrated its usefulness, responding in a certain way to the desire of those Council Fathers who asked for the cooptation of certain Bishops, engaged in the pastoral ministry in the various regions of the earth, as stable cooperators of the Roman Pontiff in his ministry as universal pastor. In addition to the Ordinary Council,

At the same time, the General Secretariat is at the disposal of the Roman Pontiff in all matters that he will want to submit to them, in order to benefit from the daily advice of Bishops daily in contact with the People of God even outside the Synodal convocations.

10. Also thanks to the Synod of Bishops it will be gradually clear that in the Church of Christ there is a profound communion between the Pastors and the faithful, since every ordained minister is a baptized person among the baptized, constituted by God to feed his Flock, both among the Bishops and the Roman Pontiff, since the Pope is a "Bishop among the Bishops, called at the same time - as Successor of the Apostle Peter - to lead the Church of Rome which presides in love all the Churches" [35] . This prevents each subject from being able to exist without the other.

In particular, the Episcopal College never exists without its Head [36] ; but also the Bishop of Rome, who possesses "in the Church a full, supreme and universal power, which he can always exercise freely" [37] , "is always united in communion with the other Bishops and with the whole Church" [38] . In this regard, "there is no doubt that the Bishop of Rome needs the presence of his Brother Bishops, their advice and their prudence and experience. The Successor of Peter must proclaim to everyone who is "the Christ, the Son of the living God", but at the same time he must pay attention to what the Holy Spirit raises on the lips of those who welcome the word of Jesus declaring: "You are Peter ..." (see Mt.16, 16-18), participate fully in the Apostolic College " [39] .

I also trust that, precisely by encouraging a "conversion of the papacy [...] that makes it more faithful to the meaning that Jesus Christ intended to give him and the current needs of evangelization" [40] , the activity of the Synod of Bishops will in its own way contribute to the re-establishment of unity among all Christians, according to the will of the Lord (see Jn 17 : 21). In doing so, it will help the Catholic Church, according to the hope formulated by John Paul II years ago , to "find a form of exercise of primacy that, while not renouncing in any way the essentials of its mission, opens itself to a situation new » [41] .

In keeping with the canon 342 of the CIC and taking into account what has been considered so far, I dispose and establish what follows.

I. Assemblies of the Synod

Art. 1

Presidency and typology of the Synod Assemblies

§ 1. The Synod of Bishops is directly submitted to the Roman Pontiff, who is its president.

§ 2. It meets:

1 ° in the Ordinary General Assembly, if matters concerning the good of the universal Church are dealt with;

2 ° in the Extraordinary General Assembly, if the matters to be treated, which concern the good of the universal Church, require urgent consideration;

3 ° in the Special Assembly, if subjects are dealt with that mostly concern one or more specific geographical areas.

§ 3. If the Roman Pontiff considers it opportune, particularly for ecumenical reasons, he can convoke a synodal Assembly according to other modalities established by himself.

Art. 2

Members and other participants in the Synod Assemblies

§ 1. The Members of the Synod Assemblies are those provided for in can. 346 of the CIC .

§ 2. According to the theme and the circumstances, some others may be called to the Assembly of the Synod, who are not awarded the episcopal munus , the role of which is determined from time to time by the Roman Pontiff.

§ 3. The designation of the Members and of the other participants in each Assembly takes place according to the particular law.

Art. 3

Periods of the Synod Assembly

§ 1. According to the theme and the circumstances, the Synod Assembly can be celebrated in several separate periods at the discretion of the Roman Pontiff.

§ 2. In the time between different periods, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, together with the General Relator and the Special Secretary of the Assembly, has the task of promoting the development of reflection on the theme or on some aspects of particular importance. emerged from the assembly work.

§ 3. Members and other participants remain in office continuously until the dissolution of the Synod Assembly.

Art. 4

Phases of the Synod Assembly 

Each Synod Assembly develops according to successive phases: the preparatory phase, the celebratory phase and the implementation phase.

II. Preparatory phase of the Synod Assembly

Art. 5

Start and purpose of the preparatory phase

§ 1. The preparatory phase begins when the Roman Pontiff indicates the Assembly of the Synod, assigning one or more themes to it.  

§ 2. Coordinated by the General Secretariat of the Synod, the preparatory phase is aimed at consulting the People of God on the theme of the Synod Assembly.

Art. 6

Consultation of the People of God

§ 1. The consultation of the People of God takes place in the particular Churches, through the Synods of the Bishops of the major patriarchal and archiepiscopal Churches, the Councils of the Hierarchs and the Assemblies of the Hierarchs of the Churches sui iuris and of the Episcopal Conferences.

In each particular Church, the Bishops carry out the consultation of the People of God by availing themselves of the participation Bodies provided for by law, without excluding any other modalities that they consider opportune.

§ 2. The Unions, Federations and Masculine and Feminine Conferences of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and of the Society of Apostolic Life consult the Major Superiors, who in turn may question their own Councils and also other Members of the aforementioned Institutes and Societies.

§ 3. Likewise also the Associations of the faithful recognized by the Holy See consult their members.

§ 4. The Dicasteries of the Roman Curia offer their contribution taking into account their respective specific competences.

§ 5. The General Secretariat of the Synod can also identify other forms of consultation of the People of God.

Art. 7

Transmission of the preparatory contributions to the General Secretariat of the Synod

§ 1. Each particular Church sends its own contribution to the Synod of Bishops of the major patriarchal and archiepiscopal Churches, or to the Council of the Hierarchs or to the Assembly of the Hierarchs of the Churches sui iuris, or to the Episcopal Conference of its territory.

These bodies, in turn, transmit a summary of the texts received from them to the General Secretariat of the Synod.

In the same way they make the Union of Superiors General and the International Union of Superiors General with the contributions elaborated by Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The Dicasteries of the Roman Curia directly transmit their contributions to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

§ 2. The right of the faithful, individually or associated, to send their contributions directly to the General Secretariat of the Synod remains integral.

Art. 8

Convocation of a pre-Synodal meeting

§ 1. According to the theme and the circumstances, the General Secretariat of the Synod can promote the convening of a pre-Synodal Meeting with the participation of some of the faithful designated by it, so that they, in the diversity of their conditions, offer to the Assembly of the Synod their contribution.

Even some others can be invited.

§ 2. This Meeting may also be held at regional level, involving, if necessary, the Synods of the Bishops of the major patriarchal and archiepiscopal Churches, the Councils of the Hierarchs and Assemblies of the hierarchs of the Churches sui iuris and the Episcopal Conferences of the territory concerned, as well as the related International Meetings of Episcopal Conferences, in order to take into account the historical, cultural and ecclesial characteristics of the various geographical areas.

Art. 9

Involvement of the Institutes of Higher Studies

The Institutes of Higher Studies, especially those who have a special competence on the subject of the Synod Assembly or on specific issues related to it, may offer studies, either on their own initiative or at the request of the Synods of Bishops of the major patriarchal and archiepiscopal Churches; of the Councils of the Hierarchs and Assemblies of the Hierarchs of the Churches sui iuris and of the Episcopal Conferences, or at the request of the General Secretariat of the Synod.

Such studies can always be transmitted to the General Secretariat of the Synod.

Art. 10

Constitution of a Preparatory Commission

§ 1. For the deepening of the theme and the drafting of any Documents prior to the Assembly of the Synod, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops may avail itself of a preparatory Commission, made up of experts.

§ 2. This commission is appointed by the General Secretary of the Synod, who presides over it.

III. Celebration phase of the Synod Assembly

Art. 11

Delegate President, General Relator and Special Secretary

Before the Synod Assembly begins, the Roman Pontiff appoints:

1 ° one or more Presidents Delegates, who preside over the Assembly in his name and for his authority;

2 ° a General Relator, who coordinates the discussion on the theme of the Synod Assembly and the preparation of any documents to be submitted to the same Assembly;

3 ° one or more Special Secretaries, who assist the General Relator in all his functions.

Art. 12

Experts, Auditors, Fraternal Delegates and Special Guests

§ 1. The Assembly of the Synod can be invited, without the right to vote:

1 ° Experts, who cooperate with the Special Secretary on the basis of their competence on the theme of the Assembly of the Synod, to which some Consultors of the General Secretariat may be added;

2 ° Auditors, who contribute to the assembly work by virtue of their experience and knowledge.

3rd Fraternal Delegates, representing Churches and Ecclesial Communities not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.

§ 2. In certain circumstances, some Special Persons may be designated without voting rights, to whom a particular authority is recognized with reference to the theme of the Synod Assembly.

Art. 13

Beginning and conclusion of the Synod Assembly

The Assembly of the Synod begins and ends with the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by the Roman Pontiff, to which the Members and the other participants in the Assembly take part in the diversity of their conditions.

Art. 14

General Congregations and Sessions of the Minor Circles

The Assembly of the Synod meets in plenary sessions, called General Congregations, in which the members, the Experts, the Auditors, the Fraternal Delegates and the Special Guests participate, or in the Sessions of the minor Circles, in which the participants in the Assembly they subdivide according to the particular law.

Art. 15

Discussion of the theme of the Synod Assembly

§ 1. In the General Congregations, Members keep their interventions according to the norm of particular law.

§ 2. There is also a period of free exchange of views among Members on the topics under discussion. 

§ 3. Even the Hearers, the Fraternal Delegates and the Special Guests may be invited to take the floor on the theme of the Assembly of the Synod.

Art. 16

Set up of study commissions

According to the theme and the circumstances, according to the norm of the particular law, some Study Commissions can be constituted, made up of Members and other participants in the Assembly of the Synod.  

Art. 17

Elaboration and approval of the final document 

§ 1. The conclusions of the Assembly are gathered in a Final Document.

§ 2. For the preparation of the Final Document, a special Commission is set up, composed of the General Relator, who presides over it, the General Secretary, the Special Secretary and some Members elected by the Synod Assembly taking into account the different regions, others are added by the Roman Pontiff.

§ 3. The Final Document is submitted to the approval of the Members under the norm of the particular law, seeking as far as possible moral unanimity.

Art. 18

Delivery of the Final Document to the Roman Pontiff

§ 1. Having received the approval of the Members, the final Document of the Assembly is offered to the Roman Pontiff, who decides to publish it.

If expressly approved by the Roman Pontiff, the final document participates in the ordinary Magisterium of the Successor of Peter.

§ 2. If the Roman Pontiff granted the deliberative power to the Assembly of the Synod, in accordance with can. 343 of the Code of Canon Law, the Final Document participates in the ordinary Magisterium of the Successor of Peter once ratified and promulgated by him.

In this case the Final Document is published with the signature of the Roman Pontiff together with that of the Members.

IV. Implementation phase of the Synod Assembly

Art. 19

Reception and implementation of the conclusions of the Assembly

§ 1. The diocesan or eparchial bishops are responsible for the reception and implementation of the conclusions of the Synod Assembly, as implemented by the Roman Pontiff, with the help of the participation bodies provided for by law.

§ 2. The Synods of the Bishops of the major patriarchal and archiepiscopal Churches, the Councils of the Hierarchs and Assemblies of the hierarchs of the Churches sui iuris and the Episcopal Conferences coordinate the implementation of the aforementioned conclusions in their territory and to this end may prepare joint initiatives.

Art. 20

Tasks of the General Secretariat of the Synod

§ 1. Together with the competent Dicia of the Roman Curia, and according to the theme and circumstances, to the other Dicasteries in various ways concerned, the General Secretariat of the Synod promotes for its part the implementation of the Synodal guidelines approved by the Roman Pontiff.

§ 2. The General Secretariat can prepare studies and other initiatives suitable for this purpose.

§ 3. In special circumstances, the General Secretariat, with the mandate of the Roman Pontiff, may issue application documents, after hearing the competent Dicastery.

Art. 21

Establishment of a Commission for implementation 

§ 1. According to the theme and the circumstances, the General Secretariat of the Synod can avail itself of an Implementation Commission, made up of experts.

§ 2. The General Secretary of the Synod appoints the Members, after hearing the Head of the Dicastery of the competent Roman Curia, and presides over it.

§ 3. The Commission assists with special studies the General Secretariat in the task referred to in art. 20 § 1.

V. General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops

Art. 22

Constitution of the General Secretariat

§ 1. The General Secretariat is a permanent institution at the service of the Synod of Bishops, directly submitted to the Roman Pontiff.

§ 2. It is composed of the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, who assists the Secretary General in all his functions, and the Ordinary Council, as well as, if they have been constituted, by the Councils referred to in art. 25.

§ 3. The Secretary General and the Undersecretary are appointed by the Roman Pontiff and are Members of the Synod Assembly.

§ 4. For its activities the General Secretariat avails itself of an adequate number of officials and consultors.

Art. 23

Duties of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops

§ 1. The General Secretariat is competent in the preparation and implementation of the Synod Assemblies, as well as in the other matters that the Roman Pontiff will wish to submit to them for the good of the universal Church.

§ 2. To this end, it cooperates with the Synods of the Bishops of the major patriarchal and archiepiscopal Churches, the Councils of the Hierarchs and Assemblies of the Hierarchs of the Churches sui iuris and the Episcopal Conferences, as well as with the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

Art. 24

The Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat

§ 1. The Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat is competent for the preparation and implementation of the Ordinary General Assembly.

§ 2. It is made up mostly of diocesan bishops, elected by the Ordinary General Assembly, representing the various geographical areas in accordance with the particular law, one of which is the Heads or the eparchial Bishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches; as well as the Head of the Dicastery of the Roman Curia competent for the theme of the Synod established by the Roman Pontiff and by some Bishops appointed by the Roman Pontiff.

§ 3. Members of the Ordinary Council take office at the end of the Ordinary General Assembly which elected them, they are Members of the subsequent Ordinary General Assembly and cease from their mandate upon the dissolution of the latter.

Art. 25

The other Councils of the General Secretariat

§ 1. The Councils of the General Secretariat for the preparation of the Extraordinary General Assembly and of the Special Assembly are composed of Members nominated by the Roman Pontiff.

§ 2. The Members of these Councils participate in the Synod Assembly according to the particular law and cease from their mandate to the dissolution of the latter.

§ 3. The Councils of the General Secretariat for the implementation of the Extraordinary General Assembly and of the Special Assembly are composed mostly of Members elected by the Synod Assembly in accordance with the particular law, plus other Members appointed by the Roman Pontiff.

§ 4. These Boards remain in office for five years after the dissolution of the Synod Assembly, unless the Roman Pontiff establishes otherwise.

Final provisions

Art. 26

The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will issue, according to the spirit and the norms of the present Apostolic Constitution, an Instruction on the celebration of the Synodal Assemblies and the activity of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and, on the occasion of each Synod Assembly, a Regulation on the performance of the same.

Art. 27

A tenor of can. 20 of the CIC and of the can. 1502 § 2 of the CCEO , with the promulgation and publication of the present Apostolic Constitution all the contrary provisions are repealed, in particular:

1. the CIC and CCEO canons which, in whole or in part, are directly contrary to any article of this Apostolic Constitution;

2. the articles of the motu proprio Apostolica sollicitudo of Paul VI , September 15, 1965;

3. the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum , 29 September 2006, including the Adnexum de modo procedendi in Circulis minoribus .

I establish that what is resolved in this Apostolic Constitution is fully effective from the day of its publication in L'Osservatore Romano , despite anything to the contrary, although deserving of special mention, and that it be published in the official Commentary Acta Apostolicae Sedis .

I urge everyone to welcome the dispositions of this Apostolic Constitution, with the help of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles and Mother of the Church.

Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on September 15, 2018, the sixth year of the Pontificate.

Francis


 

[1] See Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Decr. Christus Dominus  (October 28, 1965), 5.

[2] Ibid .; see St. John Paul II , Esort. ap. postsin. Pastores gregis  (16 October 2003), 58.

[3] Exhortation ap. Evangelii gaudium (24 November 2013), 1.

[4] Ibid. , 5 .

[5] Ibid. , 27 .

[6] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Decr. Ad gentes (7 October 1965), 29; cfr. Id., Cost. Dogm. Lumen gentium (21 November 1964), 23.

[7] Ibid . , 18.

[8] See the bid . 21-22; Decr. Christus Dominus , 4.

[9] See Lumen gentium , 23; Christus Dominus , 3.

[10] See Lumen gentium , 22; Christus Dominus , 4; Codex Iuris Canonici (January 25, 1983), can. 337, §§ 1-2 ; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium (October 18, 1990), can. 50, §§ 1-2 .

[11] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici , can. 337 , § 3; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium , can. 50, § 3 .

[12] NI

[13] See ibid. II.

[14] Ibid. Proemio.

[15] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici , cann. 342-348 ; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium , can. 46 .

[16] Homily at the Mass at the conclusion of the 6th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops  (October 29, 1983).

[17] Address to the Members of the XIII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops  (13 June 2013).

[18] Lumen gentium , 25.

[19] Exhortation ap. postsin. Pastores gregis , 28.

[20] Exhortation ap. Evangelii gaudium , 119 .

[21] Lumen gentium , 12.

[22] Address to the Participants of the Conference for the new Bishops promoted by the Congregation for Bishops and by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (September 19, 2013). See Evangelii gaudium , 31 .

[23] Speech in the prayer vigil in preparation for the Synod on the family (October 4, 2014).

[24] Speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops (October 17, 2015).

[25] Ibid .

[26] Exhortation ap. postsin. Pastores gregis , 58.

[27] Speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops . See Evangelii gaudium , 31 .

[28] Speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops .

[29] Exhortation ap. postsin. Pastores gregis , 58.

[30] St. John Paul II , Address to the Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops (April 30, 1983).

[31] Concluding speech of the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 24, 2015).

[32] B. Paul VI , Speech for the beginning of the work of the First Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (September 30, 1967).

[33] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici , can. 339 , § 2; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium , can. 52, § 2 .

[34] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici , can. 346 .

[35] Speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops i .

[36] See Lumen gentium , 22.

[37] Ibid .

[38] Codex Iuris Canonici , can. 333, § 2 ; cf. Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium , can. 45, § 2 ; Pastores gregis , 58.

[39] Letter to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops on the occasion of the elevation to the episcopal dignity of the Under-Secretary (1 April 2014).

[40] Evangelii gaudium , 32 .

[41] Enc. Ut unum sint (25 May 1995), 95.

 
 
 

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