What happened at the Synod this week?
Delegates discussed Section B2 of the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the Synod and began section B3, which is the final part of the document.

What was the theme?
The B2 theme was Co-responsibility in Mission and discussions included how the church can properly value ordained ministry, the dignity of women and the raising of  awareness of the meaning of mission.

Bishop Brian McGee, left, with members of his group at the Synod on Wednesday.

What questions did delegates actually discuss in B2?

  • How can we walk together towards a shared awareness of the meaning and content of mission?
  • What should be done so a synodal Church is also an ‘all ministerial’ missionary Church?
  • How can the Church of our time better fulfil its mission through greater recognition and promotion of the baptismal dignity of women?
  • How can we properly value ordained Ministry in its relationship with baptismal Ministries in a missionary perspective?
  • How can we renew and promote the Bishop’s ministry from a missionary synodal perspective?

What questions are delegates currently discussing in B3?

  • How can we renew the service of authority and the exercise of responsibility in a missionary synodal Church?
  • How can we develop discernment practices and decision-making processes in an authentically synodal manner, that respects the protagonism of the Spirit?
  • What structures can be developed to strengthen a missionary synodal Church? How can we give structure to instances of synodality and collegiality that involve groupings of local churches?
  • How can the institution of the Synod be strengthened so that it is an expression of episcopal collegiality within an all-synodal Church?

Why have delegates been asked not to share the content of their talks?
Bishop Brian McGee, the delegate for Scotland, explained in a Facebook post: "The simple reason is because we have been asked only to communicate our experiences during the Synod but not what is actually being said. Why is this?

1. "To protect discernment. The Synod is not a Parliament where one group or another is trying to get its way. Rather we are trying to discern God’s Will. Therefore, we need a prayerful and reflective atmosphere where we are not caught up in external controversies.
2. "Fruitful Conversations in the Spirit depends on confidentiality. People will only share, and even (allow themselves to) be vulnerable, within a trusted environment. Confidentiality is not the same as secrecy.

"So I am happy to share my personal experiences so that you can feel engaged while, at the same time, protect the integrity of the Synod."

Some of the women delegates at the Synod.

What else happened this week?
The Holy Father invited Synod members to a prayer service for Migrants and Refugees last night (Thursday) in St Peter's Square.

What else has Bishop Brian McGee said about the Synod this past week?
He said that before he went to the Synod that he was "saddened" by predictions of discord at talks. " The Synod is not about personal (or communal) preferences or agendas but seeking the Spirit’s guidance, he posted of Facebook. " This has been my consistent desire, prayed for regularly each day. Interestingly I’m not the only person who thinks like that. The Church is of divine origin and God knows what the Church needs more than we do. Humility and listening are key for discernment."

The Holy Father enjoys a refreshment during a break in Synod discussions.

What happened in the first week?
See our Week 1 FAQs here.

What happened  in the second week?
See our Week 2 FAQs here.

What happens next?
The Commission will meet to draw up the summary report. The draft of the first part of this report is scheduled to be read at the general meeting on Monday. The draft of the second part will be read on Wednesday 25 October. At each stage, participants will be able to send their opinions to the General Secretariat. The final report will be read on Saturday 28 October and presented by the 364 members entitled to vote. The meeting will conclude with a closing mass on Sunday 29 October at 9am (UK) in St Peter’s Basilica.

Does that conclude the Synod?
No, a second General Assembly is scheduled for October 2024.

Where should I go for more news about the Synod
Vatican News has regular updates in a section of its website dedicated to the Synod here. An official Facebook page has been set up here. A Twitter account is here.

What other updates are there?
Vatican briefings are held most days 1:15pm. These are press conferences where media can ask questions about the Synod. Watch them live on Vatican Media's YouTube.

All images: Vatican Media.