Thailand’s Catholic Bishops Prepare for Synod on Synodality

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Church leaders in Thailand prepare for the 2023 Synod on Synodality, as the Vatican released a preparatory document for dioceses’ consideration ove

Sep 18, 2021

Pope Francis addresses priests, nuns and consecrated men and women at St. Peter’s Parish on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, November 22, 2019 (LiCAS. News photo / Pinyo Tawinwat)

By José Torres Jr
Church leaders in Thailand are preparing for the 2023 Synod on Synodality, as the Vatican released a preparatory document for dioceses to consider over the next six months.

Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok announced that the Archdiocese will begin the first phase of the process next month, which will include consultation meetings and reflection sessions.

He said an online “pre-synod” meeting will be held later to come up with proposals for submission to the Thai bishops’ conference.

Cardinal Kovithavanij made the announcement following the orientation meeting on September 8, before the next synod at the diocesan level.

The cardinal explained that the 2023 Synod of Bishops will be different from previous meetings, as it will involve the whole Church in a process of “listening and discerning”.

The 2023 Synod will have to go through diocesan, national and continental phases before culminating in the phase of the Universal Church in Rome in October 2023.

Cardinal Kovithavanij has declared that the bishops of Thailand will have to undergo a “period of discernment” on the proposals they will receive from the dioceses before proposing a document which will be submitted to the Vatican.

The Vatican released a preparatory document and manual for the Synod on Synodality on September 7, which will be reviewed by all Catholic dioceses over the next six months.

The 22-page preparatory document, For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission, is accompanied by a 42-page vade-mecum for the diocesan phase.

The manual includes prayers, a description of synodality, the goals of the synod process and the main issues on which local Catholic communities are invited to give their opinion.

He says dioceses should focus on “maximum inclusion and participation” among baptized Catholics in the process of the diocesan synod.

The preparatory document has been published for a period of “pre-synodal discernment” which will influence a second draft of the text which will be published before June 2023.

According to the Vatican, the preparatory document is “a tool to facilitate the first phase of listening to and consulting the People of God in the particular Churches” for the diocesan phase of the synod.

During the diocesan phase, each bishop is invited to undertake a process of consultation with the local Church from October 17 to April 2022.

The vademecum says that dioceses should organize local gatherings for “synodal consultation” and also allow individuals to give their opinion directly to the diocese. CNA


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