[From Austen Ivereigh in Rome]
In stark contrast to the headlines outside about division and chaos, the synod has drawn to a close today with its members saying they are happy with both process and results and expressing confidence that its conclusions will be approved with an overwhelming majority this afternoon.
This morning, the synod voted on a message to the People of God, which was later released. They also listened to the relatio synodi, or concluding document, as it was read out by members of the eight-man drafting team. The job of that team has to been to absorb changes called for by the language groups, which met over three days this week.
Both Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, said today that the synod had been useful, had achieved its objectives, and that they full expected that it would be approved this afternoon.
Although there were differences among them, said Cardinal Gracias, the synod fathers “have been basically walking in the same direction”, seeking to find new ways of bringing church teaching into the lives of today’s society, faithful to the Magisterium while being attentive to the specific challenges many people faced. He said the document did not pretend to have all the answers, but committed the Church firmly to find new pastoral approaches.
“Our task was to determine the agenda for the ordinary synod meeting next year, and I think we have done that”, he told journalists.
Cardinal Damasceno Assis agreed that the revision process had been successful because the small group amendments had been largely absorbed into the final text.
Cardinal Ravasi said that the small-group revisions were an “intense” and necessary part of the synod process, as a result of which the document is “very rich”, he said.
On the question of Communion for the divorced and remarried, it was clear that no conclusion had been reached and that the issue will need further study.