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  • John Thavis

Pope Francis makes an important move at the synod

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

UPDATE: This post is amended to reflect the fact that the six papal nominees will be helping write the synod’s final relatio, which will be handed to the pope at the end of the assembly.

The Vatican just announced that Pope Francis has named six additional prelates to help write the final relatio for the Synod of Bishops. At the risk of oversimplifying, they all seem to be on the pope’s wavelength when it comes to promoting pastoral mercy.

They will assist Cardinal Peter Erdo, the primary drafter of the relatio, and two other synod officials, in the task of summing up the spirited synod debate in a document that will form the basis for future discussion.

Sources in Rome view the relatio as the key document going forward, and there is particular interest in how it treats some of the more controversial issues at the synod, including proposals to admit divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments.

The papal appointees to the drafting group are:

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C. Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and one of the pope’s top theological advisors. Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico, president of CELAM, the Latin American bishops’ council. Archbishop Peter Kang U-Il of South Korea. Father Adolfo Nicolás Pachón of Spain, superior general of the Jesuit order.

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