For the President of the Commission for Information of the Synodal Assembly, the Synod on Synodality this October in Rome is not only a time for dialogue but also an opportunity to pause and profoundly listen to one another.
According to Dr. Paolo Ruffini, also the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, the Synod’s time of quiet and respectful listening “can help the world on other fronts as well: the war, the climate crisis, to stop, to listen to one another."
He echoed Pope Francis’ call to give priority to listening and refrain from speaking throughout the four-week assembly in the Vatican.
Dr. Ruffini made the statement as he addressed a group of journalists in a briefing Thursday afternoon.
The Prefect told them that the news they produce can also be considered a “suspension of time” and a “silence” that gives way to listening and discernment, just like the Bible and Gospel.
"The way in which an institution as great as the Church allows itself a moment of silence in faith, in communion, and in prayer is news," he said.
"As journalists, it's normal that we try to imagine the end of anything; it can be either the soccer game or a political election," Dr. Ruffini also said. "But you can't give an answer as to what the end will be because we're really only at the beginning."
During the same briefing, Dr. Ruffini also explained the process of the Synod’s 35 working groups, or “'circuli minores,” who are currently reflecting on Section A of the Instrumentum laboris, concerning "the characteristic signs of a Synodal Church" and "conversation in the Spirit."
He said that four minutes were allotted to each participant to introduce themselves and share how their local Church handled the first phase of the Synodal journey, which involved the consultations.
A “rapporteur” was then elected for each working group who “will report convergences, divergences, and ideas that came up.”
Dr. Ruffini noted that there was “a lot of freedom” in the dialogue of the working groups, as “anyone can speak in General Congregation and send their text to the Secretariat of the Synod.”
"It is not important what this or that participant says, but what the Church decides in its spirit of communion," he said. "It is a complex process, but it ensures that everyone can express their own points of view."
The prefect told journalists that press conferences would be held at the end of each module of the assembly.
Furthermore, Dr. Ruffini reminded everyone that the more sensitive issues listed in Instrumentum Laboris are yet to be discussed as the Synod is still in its early stages.
He also said that the Synod’s final report will be formulated at the end of October, which will be more like Instrumentum laboris than the final document of the past Synods. Luke Godoy
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