Who will draft the youth synod's final report?

By Hannah Brockhaus

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Synod of Bishops press briefing Oct. 10, 2018. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/EWTN.

The 2018 Synod of Bishops has selected a group of bishops and priests who will draft the synod’s final document on young people, faith, and vocational discernment.

The writing commission was assembled Oct. 9 as the youth synod wrapped up its treatment of the first third of the working document and moved on to discussing the second part, which is focused on faith and vocational discernment.

Among the 12 clerics on the committee are the bishops elected to represent each of the five continents, among them three cardinals: Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Carlo Aguiar Retes, archbishop of Mexico City; and Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay and president of the India bishops’ conference.

Cardinal Aguiar Retes told journalists Oct. 10, one of the main challenges to drafting the synod’s final report will be staying faithful to the discussions of the participants and what was agreed upon in the language-specific working groups.

The second major challenge will be time, he said, since a lengthy document needs to be written in a relatively short time-frame. This is because the working groups, in general, indicated they want to compose a new document for the conclusion of the synod, not just rework the Instrumentum laboris.

One of the English-language groups, chaired by Cardinal Blase Cupich, indicated they would like, in addition to the final report, a separate message directed specifically at young people and written by two Synod Fathers together with two youth auditors.

The message, they wrote in their report, “should be inspirational and missionary in character. It should be scripturally based and start from Christ.”

The working groups also generally noted that they would like Pope Francis to write a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, and not simply adopt the assembly’s final document as his own, as he may choose to do according to new norms he established last month.

It was decided as well that the Synod Fathers on the information committee will begin recording short video messages for young people to be broadcast beginning Oct. 11 and continuing every few days until the end of the synod.

Other members of the writing commission are three papal appointments: His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church; Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, secretary of the Vatican department for laity, family, and life; and Fr. Eduardo Gonzalo Redondo, leader of a pastoral vocation program in Cuba.

Representing Europe on the committee is Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy and from Australia, Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, as secretary general and Cardinal Sergio da Rocha as relator general of the Synod of Bishops, are automatic members of the writing commission. The other members are the special secretaries Jesuit Fr. Giacomo Costa and Salesian Fr. Rossano Sala, both directors of Italian Catholic periodicals.

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