Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri

July 7, 2014

VATICAN CITY – Representatives of the world's Catholic bishops, meeting in a synod, are not expected to make any formal proposals about the Church's pastoral care of families until after a second, larger gathering in 2015.

The extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family will meet at the Vatican Oct. 5-19, bringing together the presidents of national bishops' conferences, the heads of Eastern Catholic churches and Vatican officials.

The world Synod of Bishops, which will include more bishops – many elected by their peers – will meet at the Vatican Oct. 4-25, 2015.


Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, introduced the working document for the first synod assembly.

Participants, Baldisseri said, will examine the information, testimonies and recommendations received from around the world in response to a questionnaire sent out in November.

The responses to the questionnaire, submitted by about 90 per cent of the world's bishops' conferences and about 800 Catholic organizations or individuals, formed the basis for the working document for the extraordinary assembly.

The results of the extraordinary assembly will form the basis for the working document for the 2015 meeting, he said.

The general assembly in 2015, "representing a great part of the episcopate and continuing the work of the previous synod, will reflect further on the points discussed so as to formulate appropriate pastoral guidelines," the cardinal said.

Only the suggestions of the 2015 synod will be forwarded to the pope as formal proposals for Church action, he said.

The 2014 synod will have about 190 voting members while the one in 2015 is expected to have about 250, Baldisseri said.

Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, special secretary of the extraordinary synod, told reporters June 26, "the doctrine of the Church is not up for discussion."

Synod members will, however, be called upon to find ways to improve the "pastoral application" of Church teachings, ways to explain it and to help Catholics live it, Forte said.