February 13, 2015

Archbishop Tobin invites faithful to take part in synod consultation

CNS and Criterion staff report

Archbishop Joseph W. TobinPope Francis will meet with representative bishops from around the world on Oct. 4-25 in the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to discuss the topic: “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World.” Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin is inviting the faithful of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to take part in a consultation to help the bishops prepare for this synod. (Learn more)

The upcoming synod continues the work begun by bishops who met with the Holy Father in October 2014. A document containing background information, reflections and questions for the synod later this year can be found by going to www.archindy.org/synod. The questionnaire must be returned to the archdiocese by March 5.

Archbishop Tobin said the questionnaire is designed to invite a broad consultation among every component of the Church, including lay people, clergy and religious, academic institutions, lay movements and other ecclesial associations. The questionnaire is lengthy, and not everyone will be able to answer all of the questions.

Pope Francis formally approved the delegates to October’s synod on the family elected by 28 bishops’ conferences, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; other conferences have yet to elect their delegates or have done so only recently. The pope approved the U.S. bishops’election of: Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., conference president; Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, host of the World Meeting of Families in September; Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston; and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles. The U.S. bishops’ alternates also were approved. They are Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco. The Vatican announced on Jan. 31 the names of the delegates approved by the pope.

The number of delegates that each bishops’ conference elects to a world Synod of Bishops depends on the size of the conference. Those with fewer than 25 members elect one delegate; those with 26-50 members elect two; those with 51-100 elect three; and those with more than 100 members elect four.

In addition, the Union of Superiors General of men’s religious orders elects 10 members.

The heads of the offices of the Roman Curia are automatically members, as are the heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches, which elect additional delegates according to the size of their Church synods.

Pope Francis also will appoint members; papal appointees usually are chosen to improve the geographical mix of the synod’s voting members and to include bishops with a special expertise in the topic under discussion.

Pope Francis asked Catholics to join him in praying that “Mary would help us make the decisions necessary to provide more and better assistance to families.” †

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