By a Special Correspondent
Pope Paul will open the fourth World Synod of Bishops on September 27 with a Mass in the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican announced last week. The bishops will discuss the state of evangelisation in the world, and among the speakers on this subject will be Dr Philip Potter, Protestant secretary-general of the World Council of Churches. The synod will last about four weeks.
The document is a general guide to work to he undertaken. It was sent out at the end of June to those already known to be part of the forthcoming Synod, the first to be held in three years.
A Synod of Bishops is designed tel assist the Pope and the Vatican to deal with major problems facing the Church today. Taking part in the Synod will be 144 delegates named by Bishops' conferences around the world, representatives of the Catholic Eastern rites, delegates from male religious orders, top officials of the major offices of the Roman Curia, the Church's central ad
ministrative offices, and people selected by Pope Paul himself.
The purpose of a Synod of Bishops is to present the Pope and the Church's central administration with the thoughts, feelings and hopes of local Churches around the world.
Apart from the plenary assembly meetings, synodal discussions will take place in individual language group work sessions. It is understood that these language groups will be an important part of the Synod.
The Vatican was especially careful to stress that the document is only a "working document" and not "an outlined agenda." The document is composed of two parts. it was reported by L'Osservatore Romano. the Vatican daily newsnaner.
The first part presents an exchange of' experiences regarding the problem for evangelisation today, drawn from a lengthy correspondence among the world's bishops. According to the newspaper: "This exchange of experiences, which was asked for by many Bishops' conferences, does not cover all the questions posed by the subject of evangelisation.
The second part contains a number of theological questions which have resulted from pastoral experiences and which. therefore need to be clarified, the Vatican press office reported.
Certain of the duties involved in this forthcoming synod have already been allocated.Pope Paul has named the relators and the special secretaries for each of the two parts into which the agenda theme under discussion has been divided.
Five reporters representing the five continents will introduce the first part dealing with exchanges of experiences. These are Bishop James D. Sangu of Mbeya, Tanzania, for Africa; Bishop Eduardo Pirot'io of Mar del Plata, Argentina, for Latin America: Archbishop Bernardin of Cincinnati for North America. Australia and Oceania; Cardinal JoSeph Cordciro of Karachi, Pakistan, for Asia, and Archbishop Roger Etchgearav of Marseilles. France, for Europe.
Their task, said the synod announcement, would be to illustrate the theme through a general presentation of the present state of evangelisation in the pal t of the world each
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Dr Potter — P3