Vatican City, 26 February 2014 (VIS) – The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops met on 24 and 25 February to discuss the results of the enquiry opened in November 2013 with the distribution of a questionnaire on themes relating to the family to episcopal conferences around the world. There has been a very high percentage of responses, and observations from individuals and groups from all over the world have been added.
On the afternoon of 24 February the Council was presided over by the Holy Father Francis, who also emphasised in this way the importance he attributes to both the Synod structure as an expression of episcopal collegiality and the theme that will be considered by the upcoming Extraordinary Assembly of 2014 and the Ordinary Assembly of 2015.
The draft synthesis of the answers received was unanimously appreciated. It enables the voice of the Church to be heard in all her components and in a variety of contexts and situations, both with regard to the urgency of proclaiming the Gospel of the family with renewed zeal, and in relation to the challenges and difficulties connected with family life and the crises it may face.
The observations made during the discussion will be considered in the drafting of the Instrumentum laboris from which the work of the Synod will proceed. The unitary character of the two stages expected for synodal reflection on the family, so that at the end of the Ordinary Synod proposals will be presented to the Holy Father, on the basis of which he will prepare his Apostolic Exhortation.
The Ordinary Council was attended by the relator general, Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and the special secretary, Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto.
During the meeting the Holy Father blessed the new wing of the seat of the Secretariat General along with the Chapel and new offices.