From the Synod — October 22, 2008

Today, we worked in the circulo minore (small groups) to formulate amendments to the propositions that were presented to the Synod Fathers yesterday.

We have a very active group that includes Synod Fathers from several different countries, as well as experts and auditors who have been very engaged in the discussions. It is interesting that many of the Synod Fathers studied at the Biblicum (Pontifical Biblical Institute), a place of advanced study in the bible located in Rome. They have spent years studying the Word of God, so they have brought expert background to our reflections.

Only Synod Fathers can formulate amendments, but certainly the voice of others helped give assistance to the conversation. Everyone felt invited to participate.

In our group, we reviewed two texts of the propositions, one in Italian and one in Latin. This presents challenges, since in any translation there are always ambiguities. But it was helpful that simultaneous translations were given the day before as the General Relator and Secretary read the propositions in Latin.

Ours is a thoughtful and perceptive group, and so a number of amendments surfaced, some minor, but others quite helpful in clarifying or enhancing the proposition. Our task was not to totally modify, eliminate or add a text proposition, but simply to amend it for clarity or improvement, as I indicated yesterday.

People speak freely and openly in the group. There is a comfortable give and take as well as some hearty laughs.

In the end, we felt good about our work, formulating about 43 amendments for consideration. Those amendments will be reviewed by the relators of each small group and the officers of the Synod tomorrow. A final text of the propositions will be presented to the Synod on Friday.

While the Synod will not be meeting tomorrow, Thursday, the relators have our work cut out for us as we gather the amendments and consider which will help improve the original text.

The process of the Synod has been interesting and has provided much opportunity for input and having one’s voice heard.

We have been blessed throughout the Synod with marvelous, beautiful fall weather. One day is nicer than the other; today is no exception. I suspect many Synod Fathers have felt like school children longingly looking out of the classroom windows and eager to go outside. Our wish came true today as our small group finished our work by the end of the morning session. Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., gave us the rest of the day off. What a blessing! We ran for the street and the chance to walk around Rome.

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