The Holy See Press Office has published the following list of rapporteurs and moderators of the synod’s Circuli Minori, or Language Groups: Gallicus (French), Anglicus (English), Italicus (Italian), Hibericus (Spanish) and Germanicus (German). The language groups met for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

It was noted at a press briefing in the Holy See Press Office today that while a group may be labeled as English, French, etc., not all members of that group would be native English- or French-speakers. For example, Archbishop Charles Chaput of English Group D said that, in his group, there were people from Canada, France, India, Bangladesh, Australia, Belgium and Uganda and several people from United States.


Circulus Gallicus “A”:     Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Lille, France

Circulus Gallicus “B”:     Msgr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier S.J.

Circulus Gallicus “C”:     Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher

Circulus Anglicus “A”:   Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz

Circulus Anglicus “B”:   Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Circulus Anglicus “C”:   Bishop Mark Benedict Coleridge

Circulus Anglicus “D”:   Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Circulus Italicus “A”:     Rev. Fr. Manuel Jesus Arroba Conde, C.M.F.

Circulus Italicus “B”:     Cardinal Mauro Piacenza

Circulus Italicus “C”:     Bishop Franco Giulio Brambilla

Circulus Hibericus “A”: Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R.

Circulus Hibericus “B”: Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo

Circulus Germanicus:     Archbishop Heiner Koch


Circulus Gallicus “A”:   Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, elected

Circulus Gallicus “B”:   Cardinal Robert Sarah, elected

Circulus Gallicus “C”:     Maurice Piat, C.S.Sp., elected

Circulus Anglicus “A”:   Cardinal George Pell, elected

Circulus Anglicus “B”:   Cardinal Vincent Nichols, elected

Circulus Anglicus “C”:   Eamon Martin, elected

Circulus Anglicus “D”:   Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins, elected

Circulus Italicus “A”:     Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, elected

Circulus Italicus “B”:    Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, elected

Circulus Italicus “C”:     Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, elected

Circulus Hibericus “A”: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B. elected

Circulus Hibericus “B”: Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, elected

Circulus Germanicus:     Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P.,elected


Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., says the opening days of the Synod of Bishops are going smoothly. “I think we’re moving along very well. We’ve had very good discussions in the Aula (hall). Many, many of the points that were raised contribute positively to trying to find a better way to say what we want to say. The rest of them reinforced what’s already there. So far, this has been a very positive meeting.” (Reuters photo)


In an interview in the synod hall with Vatican Radio’s Bernd Hagenkord, S.J., Cardinal Wuerl spoke about the atmosphere in the small groups, which began their discussions on Tuesday afternoon. “Now we’re in the small language groups. We’re just beginning. And I think we’re already beginning to sense, in our small group, a sense of solidarity around what it is we want to say, and a consensus where are the major points to be underlined. We’re just beginning, but we’re off to a good start.”

Asked about his predictions for the synod, Cardinal Wuerl said he hoped that, “out of this whole discussion will come a recognition that while we have a very clear doctrinal basis for our appreciation of marriage, equally part of the revelation is God’s mercy.” He also expressed his hope that the Synod would address the need to respond pastorally “to all of the people whose marriage is not the ideal, whose lives more reflect the brokenness of the human condition than they reflect the beauty of the ideal.”


Catholic News Agency, CNA, in a piece appearing online yesterday, wrote that a day earlier, the opening day of the 2015 Synod on the Family, Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, the synod’s relator general, gave an introductory speech to the synod fathers. Drawing from the working document for the synod as well as recent magisterial documents, Cardinal Erdo surveyed the work the assembly is called to do. He examined current challenges to the family and marriage, the vocation of the family, and the family’s mission today.

Cardinal Erdo’s remarks have been criticized since he spoke Monday and many, in fact, share the opinion of Archbishop Coleridge who wrote on his blog that some “are uneasy about the impression given by the presentation of Cardinal Erdo in the morning that some key questions are already decided and seemingly off the table. They felt that such a stance was premature.”

The cardinal himself, at a press conference Monday, explained that his introductory address had followed the structure of Instrumentum Laboris. “I tried to systematize all the data which was received from the Church around the world, including families and individuals who wrote to us, following the themes already in Instrumentum Laboris.”

And here is what Edward Pentin wrote – in part – in the National Catholic Register about the Erdo talk:

“In his speech, Cardinal Erdö reasserted much of the Church’s teaching, and cast doubt on the prospect of a controversial proposal to readmit civilly remarried divorcees to Communion.

“The proposal, first raised by Cardinal Walter Kasper, a German and the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, at a consistory in February 2014 and which is based on the practice of Eastern Orthodox Churches, was one of the most controversial issues at last year’s extraordinary synod on the family.

“The current gathering, which runs until Oct. 25 and is being attended by 279 bishops and priests from around the world, is to discuss the theme “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.”

“In his 2014 proposal, Cardinal Kasper said divorced-and-remarried Catholics could be readmitted to the sacraments after a period of penitence for their first marriage. Critics said it undermined the indissolubility of marriage, amounted to an attack on the sacrament of the Eucharist, and would precipitate many other abuses of Church teaching.

“Cardinal Erdö, 63, whose position as general relator makes him responsible for underlining the goals of the synod at the beginning of the three-week meeting, stressed that civilly remarried Catholics “must be given merciful pastoral guidance,” but this “does not call into question the indissolubility of marriage as taught by Jesus Christ himself.”

“He added that ‘God’s mercy offers forgiveness to sinners but requires conversion’,” and, in this case, “a couple’s sin does not lie first and foremost in whatever behavior may have led to the breakup of the first marriage.”The reason they cannot receive the Eucharist “is not because of the failure of their first marriage, but because of the cohabitation in their second relationship,” he said.”

The cardinal’s speech appeared on Vatican web pages in Italian but it has now been translated into English by some of the CNA staff: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-cardinal-erdos-introductory-report-for-the-synod-on-the-family-67404/