Category Archives: Synod2015

On the Road Together – Invective, Fear and Surprise

“Those voices, clinging desperately to some imagined or ideologised past, cannot point the way into the future. History will have its way, however much we try to cling to illusions of timelessness.”
Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

The Italians are past masters of the art of improvisation. In a restaurant (at least of the more old-fashioned kind) the menu is only a rough approximation of what they actually have on offer. So too with the details of the Synod timetable. At the start we were given a timetable, but there have been many adjustments as we’ve gone along. As a group reporter, you never quite know until the last minute when you’ll have to swing into action, so you just stay tuned and learn to improvise. Nothing is set in concrete; everything seems to be fluid. Continue reading

On the Road Together – Listening is More Than Hearing Synod on the Family 2015

“The world in which we live, and which we are called to love and serve even with its contradictions, requires the Church to develop synergies in every area of her mission. The path of the synod is exactly what God wants from His Church in the third Millennium.”
Pope Francis

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

I’ve written already in my blog about Pope Francis’ remarkable speech a few days ago in the Audience Hall at a celebration of the 50 years of the Synod of Bishops. I mentioned it again this afternoon at the daily press conference on the Synod.
As we await the official translation, here’s an unofficial translation by Monsignor Peter Fleetwood of Liverpool:

Your Beatitudes, Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

It is a joy for all of us, while the Ordinary General Assembly is in full swing, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, for which we praise and thank the Lord. From the Second Vatican Council until the present Assembly, we have experienced more and more intensely the necessity and beauty of “walking together”. Continue reading

On the Road Together – Between Abraham and Moses

“We’re caught at the moment between Abraham and Moses. All of the bishops have a bit of both in them, but some are more Mosaic than Abrahamic, others more Abrahamic than Mosaic. Let’s hope the two patriarchs can embrace by week’s end.”
The skies cleared as the Canonisation Mass continued. The clouds dispersed but the mitres were still everywhere.

The skies cleared as the Canonisation Mass continued. The clouds dispersed but the mitres were still everywhere.

Yesterday, being Sunday, was free from Synod commitments. But that didn’t mean free from praying and eating – both of which are done in considerable quantities during the Synod, free day or not. I had two invitations for Mass – one to the Domus Australia where Cardinal Pell was celebrating the fourth anniversary of the Aussie house in Rome, the other the Canonisation Mass in St Peter’s Square. I decided the Square was closer, so over I went with Bishop Hurley to join the mob of of bishops who gathered around the Pope as he declared four blesseds – among them the parents of Therese of Lisieux – to be saints. Continue reading

On the Road Together – The Pope’s remarkable speech

Here’s the Pope speaking. Note he stands rather than sits as his predecessors tended to do. The Cardinal in front of me is Charles Bo of Myanmar. Not sure who the veiled Orientals in front of him might be.

Here’s the Pope speaking. Note he stands rather than sits as his predecessors tended to do. The Cardinal in front of me is Charles Bo of Myanmar. Not sure who the veiled Orientals in front of him might be.

More out of duty than anything else, I went this morning to the Audience Hall (below the Synod Hall) for a celebration of the 50 years of the Synod of Bishops. Pope Paul VI established the Synod immediately after Vatican II as an attempt to continue its trajectories into the life of the Church beyond the Council.

I knew the celebration would be a classic Roman talkfest – and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. We started shortly after 9am when the Pope just sauntered on to the stage of the Audience Hall. His informal appearances tend to catch everyone off guard, but I suspect that’s the way he wants it. Continue reading

On the Road Together – Local and Universal

Rome and the Vatican can always surprise, even when you think you know the nooks and crannies well. Yesterday morning I arrived at the Hall with Bishop Eugene Hurley, and we bumped into Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh upstairs. He simply opened a door and led us out on to a terrace which I’d never known existed. And it’s his first Synod; Eamon is a quick learner. So out we went on to the terrace overlooking the entrance to the Synod Hall. I felt like giving an Urbi et Orbi. It was an eye-opener for me, and I thought it was worth a video to share my sense of discovery. Continue reading

On the Road Together – In the field of God

Synod Venue, Paul VI Hall, Vatican City, Rome

Synod Venue, Paul VI Hall, Vatican City, Rome

Follow the journey through the Synod on the Family with our blog, ‘On the Road Together‘ featuring daily updates from our Australian representatives.

Yesterday morning the Pope wasn’t in the Synod Hall because he was out in the rain in St Peter’s Square at the General Audience. I thought he might say something about the Synod, but he didn’t. Perhaps he thought it would be premature or that his words, whatever they were, would be pounced upon and misinterpreted in a way that wouldn’t be helpful at this delicate midpoint of the Synod process. Continue reading

Journeying through the Synod on the Family

Bishop Eugene Hurley and Archbishop Mark Coleridge - speakers on the videos.

Bishop Eugene Hurley and Archbishop Mark Coleridge – speakers on the videos.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference created a series of short videos below to share some of the thoughts, hopes and prayers of the two Bishops representing the Catholic Church in Australia, Bishop Eugene Hurley and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, at the Synod in Rome from 4th – 25th October 2015.

The videos discuss and explain a number of topics including; What is a Synod? Hopes for the Synod, the Place of the Holy Spirit and Prayer, and the Church as a place of mercy.

Take a moment to watch our Australian representatives speaking about their journey to the Synod: https://www.catholic.org.au/synod2015/synod-videos

On the Road Together – The Search for Focus

In the chapel at the Augustinian house, beautifully renovated with wonderful Rupnik mosaics. The silhouetted figure is Fr Tony Banks OSA, Vicar of the Order. I'd always thought he was Aussie, but it turns out he's Kiwi born and bred!

In the chapel at the Augustinian house, beautifully renovated with wonderful Rupnik mosaics. The silhouetted figure is Fr Tony Banks OSA, Vicar of the Order. I’d always thought he was Aussie, but it turns out he’s Kiwi born and bred!

By Archbishop Coleridge

Today we had the first full day of small group work.  We hacked our way through the first two chapters of Part I of the Instrumentum Laboris: the challenges of the family.  The method being used in this Synod is, as one bishop said,  “cumbersome”.  That’s putting it mildly.  

We moved through the working document paragraph by paragraph, asking what we should emend, delete or add.  In other words, we re-wrote the document, trying wherever possible to abbreviate rather than lengthen a document that’s already too long and repetitive.  When we’ve finished our reworking of Part I, I have to report to the plenary assembly on our work; and when we’ve finished the three Parts, we hand it all over to the group of 10 whom the Pope has asked to compose the final document of the Synod.  I wish them luck.   Continue reading

On the Road Together – The power of words

Saint Peter's Square. Vatican CityBy Archbishop Coleridge

This afternoon we finally moved into the small groups, which was a bit messy but refreshing.  I say messy because the first challenge was to find the room where your group was to meet.  That may sound easy, but (with 4 English groups, 3 French, 3 Italian, 2 Spanish-Portuguese and 1 German) it wasn’t.  

Having found the room, the challenge was then to find enough space in the room to accommodate the 20+ people in the “small” group.  As well as the Synod bishops, there were experts, auditors and ecumenical reps.  It was definitely economy rather than business class.  Keep the elbows down. Continue reading

On the Road Together – Widen the Horizon

By Archbishop Coleridge

The video accompanying this post gives you a sense of the Synod Hall just before we began work this morning.  It’s time to meet and mingle – and you can see Pope Francis up the front shaking a few hands.  I was too busy videoing to head his way: later.  You can hear the PA at the end telling us all to take our seats in the Hall: stop the chatter and start praying before working.

Continue reading

On the Road Together – A time to speak

Pope Francis chats with bishops during day two of Synod on the Family.

Pope Francis chats with bishops during day two of Synod on the Family.

By Archbishop Coleridge

The sun rises on Synod Day two.  In the afternoon yesterday we began the long haul of the 3-minute interventions, with Cardinal Vingt-Trois beginning with the very lengthy list of those who’d been called to speak.  The two Kiwis and I were among those called, so we all rushed to our bag to find our text, hoping we hadn’t left it back at the house.

The procession of speeches was rapid-fire compared with earlier Synods where they were longer.  Many of the speakers – including myself remarkably – were under the 3-minute limit.  I must have spoken faster than I planned.  But it’s hard to be substantial in such a short space: you can certainly say something, but it has to be very concise.  Bit like a Tweet. Continue reading

Australian Bishops to speak at Family Synod

Bishop Hurley at Paul Vi Hall, the #Synod2015 venue

Bishop Hurley at Paul Vi Hall, the #Synod2015 venue

Australia’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Bishop Eugene Hurley are preparing to speak at the Synod on the Family in Rome.

On Sunday 4th October, the Australian representatives lodged what’s called the petitio loquendi, which means a request to speak for three minutes at the Synod in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican.

The XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops commenced on Sunday 4th October with an opening Mass in St Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Pope Francis who will lead the Synod over the next three weeks until it concludes on Sunday 25th October. Continue reading