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Final Stage of the Synod Explained

2015-10-22

The Synod of the Family is on its final stage. Now Bishops are working on the final document which will include all the proposals of the Synod. Bishops will vote on them on Saturday. So, at this point, Bishops are weighing in and sharing their input. 

Thursday 
On Thursday afternoon, the Synod's Secretary will give Bishops a rough draft of the final document. They will have the chance to read it carefully, make suggestions and even corrections.  On Friday, they will turn their suggestions in. 

CARD. LORENZO BALDISERRI
Synod's Secretary General 
"Bishops taking part in the Synod can also weigh in, either verbally or in writing. There is enough time for one or the other to be carried out.” 

Also on Thursday, the Synod's Council will be elected. It will include 12 Bishops and another three directly appointed by Pope Francis. One of the main goals of the council is to make sure the proposals of the Synod are actually implemented. They will have other responsibilities as well. 

CARD. LORENZO BALDISERRI
Synod's Secretary General 
"The council will also be in charge of organizing the next Synod. It will be a stable entity that will carry on from one Synod to the next. When the next Synod begins their term will automatically end.” 

Friday 
On Friday morning, Bishops will have one hour and a half to share their opinions on the final document. Since time is limited, they will also have the chance to send in their impressions or suggestions in writing. 

The Secretary General will have to take note of the suggestions, so they are included in the final document, which will be presented on Saturday. A commission of ten Bishops will make sure that all points of view are reflected on the document. 

Saturday 
Saturday will be key. The Synod's Secretary explains who it will all pan out. 

CARD. LORENZO BALDISERRI
Synod's Secretary General 
"The final document will be read in the Synod on Saturday morning, so there will still be time for reflections and suggestions. Bishops will have to be prepared to share their input. Then in the afternoon, Bishops will vote on every single point, all the way from the first to the last.” 

If proposals get a two third's majority vote or more, the points will be approved. They will be rejected if they don't get a majority. 

Once the vote is complete, the final document and the voting tally will be given to Pope Francis and he will decide what to do next. There are three main possibilities: To make publish the document and the voting results. To approve the points Bishops approved, or thirdly, to use the document as a base for a future apostolic exhortation. 

CARD. LORENZO BALDISERRI
Synod's Secretary General 
"This will be entirely up to Pope Francis. Last year, he decided to make the document public. This year, we'll see what he decides. It will be only up to him to make that decision.” 

Sunday
After three weeks of the Synod of the Family, everything will come to a close on Sunday, when the Pope celebrates a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to mark the occasion. Pope Francis will of course have the final word on whether the proposals set forth by Bishops are implemented or not. 


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