The Vatican has published the 22-page preparatory document, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” and the 42-page vademecum, or handbook, for the diocesan phase of the synod.
Questions that Dioceses will be asked for the Synod
Questions are included at the end of handbook, which says that the “fundamental question” to be considered by the dioceses and the bishops over this multi-year process is as follows:
“A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together?’”
In considering this, dioceses will receive and report feedback on the following:
- What are the difficulties, obstacles, and wounds in the local Church?
- What is the Holy Spirit asking of us?
- In our local Church, who are those who “walk together”? Who are those who seem further apart?
- How is God speaking to us through voices we sometimes ignore? How are the laity listened to, especially women and young people? What facilitates or inhibits our listening?
- How does the relationship with the local media work (not only Catholic media)? Who speaks on behalf of the Christian community, and how are they chosen?
- How do prayer and liturgical celebrations actually inspire and guide our common life and mission in our community?
- What hinders the baptised from being active in mission? What areas of mission are we neglecting?
- To what extent do diverse peoples in our community come together for dialogue? What are the places and means of dialogue within our local Church?
- How are divergences of vision, or conflicts and difficulties addressed? What particular issues in the Church and society do we need to pay more attention to?
- What relationships does our Church community have with members of other Christian traditions and denominations?
- How does our Church community identify the goals to be pursued, the way to reach them, and the steps to be taken? How is authority or governance exercised within our local Church?
- How do we promote participation in decision-making within hierarchical structures? Do our decision-making methods help us to listen to the whole People of God?
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