Instrumentum Laboris: Working Document for the Family Synod

24/08/2015 1:14 pm

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops

Here you can download or read the Instrumentum Laboris for the Family Synod. It's basically a working document for the meeting of bishops that takes place in Rome from 4 - 25 October 2015.


Instrumentum Laboris - Family Synod 2015 367.50 kB

This document can also be read on

Here's some background to the document from Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops:

The period between synods is drawing to a close. During this time the Holy Father, Pope Francis entrusted to the whole Church the task "to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the ideas [proposed by the assembly] and to find concrete solutions to the many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront" (Discourse at the Conclusion of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 18 October 2014).

After reflecting on The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization during the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, the XIV Ordinary General Assembly, scheduled to take place from 4 to 25 October 2015, will treat the topic: The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World. This long synodal journey is characterized by three moments which are closely connected, namely: considering the challenges of the family; discerning the family’s vocation; and reflecting on the family’s mission.

A series of question was integrated into the Relatio Synodi, the fruit of the last Assembly, so as to learn how the Relatio Synodi was received and to solicit a thorough examination of its contents. The resulting document served as the Lineamenta which was sent to the Synods of the Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, the episcopal conferences, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors General.

The entire People of God was involved in the process of reflection and study. This also occurred as a result of the Holy Father’s weekly catechesis on the family during his general audiences, as well as on other occasions, when he provided guidance in this shared synodal journey. The renewed interest in the family, brought about by the Synod, is illustrated in the attention the family has received in not only Church circles but also civil society.

The material in the Responses received from the above-listed entities, was further augmented by so-called Observations, which were submitted by many of the Faithful (individuals, families and groups). Various members of the particular churches, organizations, lay groups and other Church entities made important recommendations. Universities, academic institutions, research centers and individual scholars have — and presently continue — to enrich the thorough examination of the topics of the Synod with their Contributions, through symposia, conferences and publications, thus shedding light on new aspects, as "requested beforehand" in the Lineamenta.

The Instrumentum Laboris is comprised of the definitive text of the Relatio Synodi to which a summary of the Responses, Observations and scholarly Contributions have been incorporated. For readability, the numeration reflects both the text of the Relatio and the document’s existing format. The original paragraphs and headings in the Relatio appear in italic print and are indicated by the corresponding number in parenthesis.

The document is divided into three parts, which illustrate the continuity between the two Assemblies, namely, Considering the Challenges of the Family (Part I) which draws more directly from the initial phase of the Synod; The Discernment of the Vocation of the Family (Part II) and The Mission of the Family Today (Part III) which both introduce the topic of the second phase with the intention of offering to the Church and the contemporary world pastoral incentives to spur renewed efforts in evangelization.

Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri
General Secretary, Vatican City, 23 June 2015


Instrumentum Laboris - Family Synod 2015

inst-lab-synod-fam-2015.doc 367.50 kB

Here is the working document, or Instrumentum Laboris, for the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that takes place in Rome from 4 - 25 October 2015.