Theologians Hold Closed-door Meeting in Rome on Guidance Document for October Synod

Building of the general curia of the Jesuit order on Borgo Santo Spirito, Rome.

Approximately 20 theologians are in Rome for 10 days of preparatory work preceding the drafting of the guiding document for the next assembly of the Synod on Synodality.

The June 4–13 closed-door gathering of experts in theology, ecclesiology, and canon law is being held at the Jesuit general curia down the street from the Vatican. The Secretariat of the Synod expects to release a document on the June meeting in early July.

This initial text will “prepare the way” for the drafting of the document — dubbed the “Instrumentum Laboris 2” — that will guide the work of the second session of the Synod on Synodality in October, Father Giacomo Costa, SJ, said in a June 5 press release.

Costa, the special secretary for the Synod on Synodality, said the group of theologians is meeting to carry out “an initial analysis” of reports from local communities and to discern on their “questions and theological reflections.”

The October synod assembly is a continuation of the multiyear Synod on Synodality, which began in October 2021 and has included stages of discernment and discussion at various levels of the Church. The first session of the Vatican assembly on synodality took place in October 2023. 


Theologians and other Church experts at the June meeting are reading and discussing new reports from local Churches reflecting on the 41-page Synthesis Report released at the end of the October 2023 gathering. Participants are also considering the question “How to be a synodal Church in mission.”

The international experts are also reading and reflecting on material shared by women’s religious orders, university faculties, religious associations, and others, as well as reports from a listening session with 300 parish priests held near Rome in the town of Sacrofano from April 28–May 2.

“The material received often adds real testimonies on how the particular Churches not only understand synodality but also how they are already putting this style into practice,” synod secretary general Cardinal Mario Grech said in a press release.

“We are not leaving anything to chance,” Grech said. “Each document is to be carefully read with the aim that at the end of this meeting, the group will present a text that reflects the work, questions, and insights received from the grassroots.”

The gathering of theologians began with a half-day spiritual retreat and also includes daily Mass and time for personal prayer, the synod office said.

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Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.