The Holy See held a news conference on November 5, 2013, to present the Preparatory Document for the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will meet at the Vatican, 5-19 October 2014. The theme of this Third Extraordinary General Assembly is “The pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization”. The news conference involved the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, the Most Reverend Lorenzo Baldisseri; the Relator General of the Synod, His Eminence Peter Cardinal Erdo, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; and the Special Secretary of the Synod, the Most Reverend Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy. The three provided important background about the Synod, as well as about the preparatory questionnaire which the Holy See asked the world’s Episcopal Conferences to send to their member Bishops.
The General Secretariat of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has already forwarded the Preparatory Document to the Bishops of Canada, who will be consulting the clergy and laity in their dioceses with regards to the preparatory questionnaire. The diocesan responses will be sent to the CCCB, which will prepare a draft synthesis. As customary in preparations for previous Synods, the draft synthesis will be reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee, in consultation with the CCCB Permanent Council, and forwarded to the Holy See. All the responses from around the world will be used by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops to prepare the discussion document for the Synod. The staff of the CCCB are already gathering information, especially of a statistical nature, from various offices, institutes and experts in Canada, to assist the Bishops and their Conference in responding to the preliminary questionnaire.
The Vatican Website provides the specific information on the survey which was sent to the Episcopal Conferences of the world. Should you wish to express any personal opinions in this regard, our Executive Officers suggest that you send them to your own diocesan Bishop, as you would in any other case.
(Rev.) Msgr. Patrick Powers, P.H.