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ROME - When roughly 300 Catholic leaders gather in Rome Oct. 6-27 to talk about the Amazon, it will be the 29th time since 1965 a pope has convoked a Synod of Bishops. For most of that span, the body’s role could have been described in the same ironic terms Bob Dole once used about the Vice Presidency: “It’s indoor work, and no heavy lifting is involved.”
A Synod of Bishops is merely consultative, lacking the power to do anything other than make recommendations to a pope. Frankly, for most of its history, even that role seemed terribly anemic, with outcomes generally determined well in advance. During the St. John Paul II years, the Polish pontiff would sit on the dais during synods with his prayer book, and the running joke was that he was actually reading the conclusions of the event before it was even over.
Francis - Odds - Way - Synods
You have to give this to Pope Francis: Against all odds, he’s found a way to make synods really, really interesting.
This week, an official of Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations actually had to go on national television, flanked by a Catholic cardinal, to assure his countrymen that the government of President Jair Bolsonaro isn’t threatened by the looming Synod on the Amazon and doesn’t think the meeting violates a treaty between the Vatican and Brazil governing the Church’s status in the country.
Government - Role - Church - Formation - Choice
The government “recognizes the historic role of the Church in Brazilian formation, and very much appreciates the active and constant choice of the Church in favor of the less fortunate,” said Ambassador Kenneth da Nóbrega, an official in charge of relations with the Middle East, Africa and Europe, whose brief therefore includes the Vatican.
Nonetheless, Nóbrega conceded the government has been concerned about language in the working document for the synod, called the Instrumentum Laboris,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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