Friday, October 5, 2018

Nothing to see here! + my election as Rapporteur

Today was a two-part day at the Synod. In the morning was a General Congregation, while in the afternoon we were to break out into the "circuli minores" (literally, "small circles") for discussion of part I of the Instrumentum laboris (working document). As I got to the Paul VI assembly hall, the Pope was on hand greeting people as usual. I overheard one of the young people as I approached the door, amazed that walking past the Pope on her way in was becoming a normal event. "On my gosh, nothing to see here!" she said with both wonder and laughter in her voice. At that point, I decided that perhaps I was taking things a bit for granted, so I waited for a moment when the Pope was not surrounded and got this photo with him:

I've decided that I am going to try and get a selfie a day with different people participating in the Synod, to help readers of this blog meet the people I am privileged to spend my days with. Might as well start at the top!

As for the afternoon, it was our first occasion to meet as a small group. It turns out that there was no Moderator or Rapporteur named in advance -- we had to elect such persons from among the "fathers of the Synod" in our group. One of the Cardinals in our group was elected as Moderator for our group, and as it happens, I got elected as the Rapporteur. According to the Synod regulations, my job is as follows:
  • To prepare a synthesis at the end of each session of the expressed opinions, of those in agreement as well as those in disagreement.
  • To preside in the elaboration of the modi (amendments) which reflect the prevalent opinions among the Members of the Small Groups.
  • To prepare a report, at the end of the discussion, which contains all the opinions expressed, both the ones in agreement as well as the ones in disagreement.
  • To read the report in the Hall.
See, this is what happens when you show up to a meeting with your laptop: they make you secretary! Seriously, though, it is quite an honour, and a responsibility I plan to take seriously. In my experience, a good secretary helps provide clarity to the discussion, just as the moderator helps the group move forward. There was a special session at the end of the day for the Moderators and Rapporteurs, giving us a chance to better understand our role. I'm sure we'll get our bearings as we move forward.