In a famous speech delivered on December 4, 1962, Cardinal Léon-Joseph Suenens asked, “How do you see yourself?” He was suggesting that the Second Vatican Council address this question to the Church and then frame an answer. The context was the discussion of the schema De Ecclesia, which would give rise to the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium (LG).
It is a question that cannot be answered once and for all. At the beginning of the third millennium, Synod 2021-24 is the way to work out together an answer, through the different stages of a process that, since its opening in October 2021, has challenged the Church on all levels, from local to national, then continental and now global. Following the consultation and listening phase, the process continues with the XVI General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which, by Pope Francis’ decision, is being held in two Sessions (October 2023 and October 2024). The First Session (September 30 – October 29, 2023) opened with the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil “Together” in St. Peter’s Square.
The title of Synod 2021-24, “For a Synodal Church. Communion, Participation, Mission,” makes clear that its theme centers on the identity of the Church, its way of proceeding and its mode of proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel to the men and women of our time. It is this focus on the Church’s missionary identity that is at the root of the ongoing synodal process stemming from the Second Vatican Council, as also evidenced by the wealth of conciliar references, explicit and implicit, that can be found in the Instrumentum Laboris for the First Session (IL). An article recently published in this journal summarized its contents. Here, as the assembly gets underway, we will try to make clear some of the themes that constitute what is at stake at this Synod.
A Dynamic Revival of the Second Vatican Council
Synod 2021-24 comes roughly 60 years after the Council, a historically significant distance, signaling that it is no longer possible to consider Vatican II as a current event, given how much the world has changed in these decades, with the end of the Cold War and bipolarity, the advent of information technologies, the Internet, and now Artificial Intelligence, just to name a few examples. There are several passages in the conciliar documents that, even in the depth of their insights, sound dated. Also, the over-60s are today about 15 percent of the planet’s population, and just over 30 percent in a notoriously elderly country like Italy. For everyone else, the Council belongs to history, to a biographical and existential past. Faced with this realization, we must consider the time of the Council’s reception and application in the strict sense closed, and move on to the time of a rereading, which should constitute both its actualization and revitalization.
This is not, of course, to put the Council in the attic, nor is it to think that this Synod can replace it. In these 60 years, even with all the tensions arising from it – or perhaps because of them – Vatican II has been the “common road” that has enabled the Church to achieve unity in diversity and to carry out its own constant reform. The Council is also the solid foundation on which Synod 2021-24 stands, as shown by the results of the listening and consultation phase with the people of God. For example, the strength with which the centrality of baptismal dignity emerged indicates how deeply the message of the Council has penetrated.
New times bring new signs, which we need to discern in order to remain faithful to the Gospel, while changed circumstances make it possible, even require us to take a step forward from the many tensions that the conciliar documents recorded with an inevitably provisional equilibrium. It is therefore necessary to take them up again, not to resolve them definitively – an impossible task – but to find a way forward and to sow the seeds of a Gospel appropriate to our time.
Synod 2021-24 is not only the occasion, but also the instrument for doing so, through the dynamism of “walking together.” It asks the Church to suggest practical tasks, but above all to stop and reread those already accomplished and those in progress in the light of God’s word. It can then meditate on them in depth, discern what in them seems to come from God and what does not, and reorient itself in the direction in which the Spirit asks it to move. In this way the pope has the opportunity to diachronically “stretch out” tensions and experiment with possible arrangements, verifying their outcomes, listening to the voice of God’s people and the discernment of its pastors.
With the apostolic constitution Episcopalis Communio (September 18, 2018), Pope Francis has given the Synod a distinctly procedural and dynamic character. On the one hand, this makes it possible to escape the need to formulate definitive solutions during the short time of a synodal assembly, solutions that then only need implementing; on the other hand, the extension of the process over time makes it possible to defuse conflicts, allowing them to emerge rather than be kept hidden, thus transforming them “into a link in a new process,” according to Pope Francis’ teaching in No. 227 of the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG). Thanks to the method of conversation in the Spirit, some Continental Assemblies have been able to experience how this is possible and, above all, fruitful.
In the following paragraphs we will explain some of the guidelines on which Synod 2021-24 is called upon to carry on the work of re-reading, re-appropriating and re-launching the Council.
God’s people with their shepherds
The subject of this synodal “walking together” can only be the people of God as a whole, with all its components, including priests and bishops. This is shown by evidence from the phase of listening and consultation, which involved millions of people all over the world, starting from the level of parishes, religious congregations, grassroot groups and associations. In this light, the path traversed to date, thanks to Synod 2021-24, can legitimately be described as a process that allows one to experience and appropriate one of the Council’s basic intuitions, the one that led to presenting the Church through the image of the people of God walking together as a sign of the Kingdom offered to all humanity.
The journey has also allowed us to consider new ways of proceeding – first and foremost the method of conversation in the Spirit – and of structures, such as synodal teams at different levels, and also Continental Assemblies, that have enabled the process to move forward effectively, that is, consistent not with managerial or administrative rules, but with its ultimate purpose: to enable the Church to listen to the voice of her Lord, who today is pointing her in the direction in which to set out together on the journey. No collective experience, even spiritual, no matter how intense, can escape precariousness if it is not embodied in structures. For this reason, among the issues that the IL submits for the Assembly’s discernment, there are some related to the reform in a synodal sense of the Church’s institutions and procedures. These include the generalized adoption of the method of conversation in the Spirit in consultative and decision-making processes and the revision of participatory structures, such as pastoral councils (at various levels), and a strengthening of continental-level bodies alert to their own issues.
The emphasis on the people of God, however, did not lead to filling in the background of what, with a vocabulary inherited from the past, the Council calls the “hierarchical constitution of the Church.” In fact, already the listening and consultation phase provided a central role for the bishops: each of them was responsible for opening, promoting and accompanying the process in the diocese entrusted to him. Subsequently, the bishops, in the ways appropriate to the different levels – diocesan, national and continental – at which the process took place, had the task of validating its results, certifying that they were “the fruit of an authentically synodal path, respectful of the process that took place and faithful to the different voices of the People of God.”
By fostering the participation of all the faithful and requiring pastors to exercise discernment, the synod process helped to articulate in an experiential way the second chapter of LG, dedicated to the people of God, and the third, dedicated specifically to the episcopate. It was also an opportunity to handle effectively the tensions between the two chapters, rooted in the complex process of drafting the text of the Constitution, already mentioned, and in the plurality of visions that animated the different preparatory documents. The result was an awareness that the IL formulates thus: “The Church is, at the same time, synodal and hierarchical, which is why a synodal exercise of episcopal authority suggests one that accompanies and safeguards unity” (IL, Worksheet B 2.5).
At the same time, the need has emerged for a renewal of the forms in which episcopal ministry is exercised, so as to encourage wider participation in decision-making processes within the Church. This prospect, on the one hand, has aroused gratitude and enthusiasm, especially in those Churches whose bishops have initiated participatory experiences without waiting for the results of Synod 2021-2024; on the other hand, it has not failed to give rise to questions, confusion and fears, primarily among the bishops themselves.
The IL situates discernment on this specific point within the broader context of the Church’s ministry and the relationship between the different forms of ministries in it. These are understood within the dynamism of mission, at the service of which all place themselves, thus avoiding the polarizations that often emerge when the different forms are considered in a more static way: as in other cases, “the way forward is found by ‘overflow’,” here represented by the drive toward mission. From this point of view, the Council’s revival by Synod 2021-24 takes the form of discernment with a view to a richer understanding of the relationship between Chapter II and Chapter III of LG, and a re-articulation of the resulting ecclesial practices, starting from the centrality of mission. In this vein, the mutual ordering of common and ministerial priesthood, which LG No. 10 speaks of, can be understood first and foremost as coordination in the service of the common mission, placing the ministry of each within the framework of the sacramentality of the Church, of which LG is the starting point (cf. No. 1).
A Church of Churches
Among the fruits of the conciliar view of the Church is also a renewed emphasis on the local Churches, with their varying differences, “in and from which comes into being the one and only Catholic Church” (LG 23). In the transition from Latin to the vernacular, the liturgical reform was a powerful engine for recognizing the importance of local identity, compared with a previous globally uniform arrangement, and thus also involving the acceptance of a certain level of differentiation, at least linguistic.
Within the synodal process, “various Dioceses, Episcopal Conferences, and Continental Assemblies have expressed the wish to be able to re-articulate community life and especially the liturgy in accordance with local cultures” (IL, Worksheet B 1.5), a process which in different regions takes on a distinctive tone and coloring. Synod discernment in this regard is also part of the reviving and relaunching of the dynamism of the Council, which is not interpreted as a definitive normative dictate.
Outside the liturgical sphere, the post-conciliar era has been marked by a remarkable vitality in the construction of what the IL calls “synodality and collegiality in instances involving groups of local Churches that share spiritual, liturgical and disciplinary traditions, geographical contiguity and cultural proximity” (IL, Worksheet B 3.4). The most obvious case is that of bishops’ conferences (regional, national and international). But we should not forget the connecting structures to which they have given rise at the continental level and to which the conduct of the continental stage of Synod 2021-24 was entrusted.
The situation is very different from continent to continent. Worth mentioning here is probably the most mature experience, that of Latin America, thanks in part to the distinctive linguistic unity, apart from Brazil, and the cultural affinity of the countries of the region. The journey of those Churches at the continental level, thanks to the work of CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council), first of all saw the realization of five successive General Conferences, which began before the Council. The journey together of these Churches was further structured along the path of preparation for the Synod for the Amazon (held in 2019), from which CEAMA (Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon), composed not only of bishops, but also of priests, religious and laity, came into being in 2021. Finally, in an increasingly decidedly synodal key, the experience of the first Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean, held between 2020 and 2021, cannot be overlooked.
The ecclesial dynamic at the continental level also relies on stimulus from the conciliar Decree Ad Gentes, which in No. 22 states, “It is therefore desirable, not to say supremely convenient, that the bishops’ conferences should meet together within each vast socio-cultural territory, in order to be able to carry out, in full harmony with one another and in uniformity of decisions, this plan of adaptation.” Synod 2021-24 is thus an opportunity for the experimentation of new ways to implement the Council’s insights. Here, too, the time has come for a relaunch: the re-reading of experiences made will make it possible to focus on how to give these instances of synodality and collegiality, particularly at the continental level, a better structuring and a firmer foundation, including from a theological and canonical point of view. In particular, the question of how to make such instances “subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority” (EG 32, cited in IL, Worksheet B 3.4) in the perspective of mission needs to be addressed. The goal is not to improve the overall performance of the organization by reallocating competencies among the different levels, but to enable the Churches in each area to work out ways of proclaiming the Gospel and responses appropriate to their context, and then to share them with all the others, as part of a circulation of gifts among the Churches (cf. IL, Worksheet B 1.3).
Reflection and especially discernment are combined here with the need to follow up on the invitation to “healthy decentralization” repeatedly formulated by Pope Francis. We thus realize that the Church is also called on to handle another tension, intertwined but not exactly coinciding with that between the local and the global, which we can define as the center-periphery dynamic, borrowing the concept from the social sciences. If the global-local tension identifies mainly cultural and identity dimensions, the center-periphery binomial thematizes organizational, normative and disciplinary dimensions related to the exercise of power, regarding which it is good to be aware. It is not by chance that it is in this context that calls for renewal of the exercise of the Petrine ministry also emerge in the synodal process, along the lines of the already mentioned No. 32 of EG, which the IL revives. After all, it was Pope Francis himself who had brought up in the light of the synodal Church the theme of the “exercise of the Petrine primacy,” among other issues, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Synod of Bishops, and thus with a clear reference to the Council, which was the driving force behind that step.
More recently, the issue of the renewal and pluralism of forms of the exercise of primacy has become topical again in the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, being one of the points covered in the Alexandria Document Synodality and Primacy in the Second Millennium and Today, published in early June 2023. A few weeks later, Pope Francis commented on it in these significant words, “Today, mindful of the lessons of history, we are called to seek together a modality of exercising the primacy that, within the context of synodality, is at the service of the Church’s communion on the universal level. In this regard, a clarification is fitting it cannot be thought that the same prerogatives that the Bishop of Rome enjoys with regard to his own Diocese and the Catholic community should be extended to the Orthodox communities. When, with the help of God, we shall be fully united in faith and love, the form in which the Bishop of Rome will exercise his service of communion in the Church at the universal level will have to be the result of an inseparable relationship between primacy and synodality.” What is at stake in synodality, then, is the building of a Church capable of ever better living unity in diversity, in a drive toward overcoming the confessional boundaries we inherit from history and in the awareness that “synodality and ecumenism are two paths to be traveled together, with a common goal: a better Christian witness” (IL, Worksheet B 1.4). On this point, too, it is not difficult to recognize the legacy of the Second Vatican Council, where “promoting the re-establishment of unity among all Christians [was] one of the main purposes.”
In this way we encounter another theme that emerges powerfully from the synod process: that of the “boundary” of the ecclesial community, first and foremost in the tension – far from new in the history of the Church – between a welcome that translates God’s unconditional love for all his sons and daughters and the demands of proclaiming the Gospel. The goal is clear: to be able to live out that tension in the way the Lord did, without opposing the two poles or interpreting them as alternatives. “The call is to better live the tension between truth and mercy, as Jesus did […]. The dream is of a Church that lives more fully a Christological paradox: to boldly proclaim its authentic teaching while at the same time offering a witness of radical inclusion and acceptance through pastoral accompaniment based on discernment.” With honesty and realism we must recognize that this is not what we as a Church experience, given the emphasis on delimiting the perimeter of the Church community, and thus identifying who is in and who is not.
The question of the “boundary” seems to be one on which we need to register a growing distance today from a collective imagination about the Church that revolves around the Latin expressions ad intra and ad extra. It has its roots in the age of Christendom and also emerges in the conciliar documents, but its meaning seems to be evaporating more and more rapidly.
In the age of Christendom, it was easy to translate the centrality of reference to God with the affirmation of the primacy of the knowledge of faith – that is, theology – over all sciences, and with the placing of the ecclesial institution and its authority at the center, in a position from which it could also judge social and political structures at all levels. As French theologian Christoph Theobald notes, this idea still emerges to some extent in the structure of the conciliar Constitution Gaudium et Spes (GS), which in the first part offers a description of Christian anthropology, on the basis of which it proposes a doctrinal regulation of specific issues (family and marriage, culture, economic-social life, politics and the international community), which it addresses in the second. One could derive from it the image of a homogeneous and unidimensional universe, structured around a theologically grounded anthropological doctrine, while “the singular – that individual, that culture or language, that people – finds no place in it or, let us rather say, is not taken into consideration, is not the object of interest.”
This image is inadequate to express the centrality of God in the plural contexts and cultures in which we live today: the thrust of the Council obliges us to update our imagery. For this reason, in a famous passage from the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis proposes the image of the polyhedron: “Here our model is not the sphere, which is no greater than its parts, where every point is equidistant from the center, and there are no differences between them. Instead, it is the polyhedron, which reflects the convergence of all its parts, each of which preserves its distinctiveness” (EG 236).
But this step forces each person to abandon his or her claim to centrality and to recognize the partiality of his or her own point of view. If we add that the polyhedron should be imagined as an irregular solid that is constantly in the process of being completed, we realize how complicated it becomes not only to draw its boundary, but also just to identify who can do so, since they would have to transcend their own partiality. Then again, to ensure stability in a multifaceted reality, the connections and links between its faces are far more important than the perimeter, that is, the boundary. All this seems consistent with the dynamic character of Church as a “synodal” People of God, that is defined in relation to “walking together,” while the boundary is an undoubtedly more static notion: how can one draw the frontier of a collective subject that is not only in motion, but within which, unlike a traditional military formation, the members do not necessarily move in the same direction and especially at the same speed.
Here again, to continue the reflection, let us recover a Council suggestion, which can only remain as such, lacking the space for any elaboration. There is a passage – one of the most difficult to understand in the entire Council – in which the drawing of the boundary is what poses problems in interpreting and even visualizing what the text states. This is No. 8 of LG, dedicated to the distinctive relationship between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church expressed by the Latin term subsistit. The problem stems from the fact that in the text the question of the boundary, that is, the definition of what is inside and what is outside, seems to lose the twofold aspect usually involved. The hypothesis to be tested is that rereading that passage in a perspective that is no longer spherical but polyhedral and within the synodal dynamism of walking together may prove particularly fruitful.
A synodal Church is a Church of discernment
There is one last point, revolving around the theme of discernment, in which the intensity and generativity of the relationship between Synod 2021-24 and Vatican II stands out. In particular, discernment of the signs of the times constitutes one of the most well-known and controversial concepts emerging from the Council. No. 4 of GS states that “the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which people ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other.” Synod 2021-24 can legitimately be referred to as the way to fulfill that conciliar mandate today. In fact, we can describe it as a series of mutually articulated processes of discernment, which in its different phases involved different subjects: the people of God, the college of bishops, the bishop of Rome, each with its own functions. At different levels, this dynamism has unfolded through the rereading of the experiences of the people of God, in the light of Scripture, living Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium, with the aim of grasping the direction in which the Holy Spirit is asking the Church to set out and to begin to do so.
Here again we move in the line of revival far more than simple application. In fact, it must be acknowledged that the reception of that passage of GS has not been simple, because of the basic conflicts it brings up in the Church, at various levels: from the identification of the subjects to whom it pertains to the method by which to carry it out, from the place of faith and Scripture in the analysis of reality to the contribution of the social sciences and the question of the anthropological foundations underlying them. St. Paul VI, who returns to the point in No. 4 of the apostolic exhortation Octogesima Adveniens (1971), seems to indicate a series of “stakes” to delimit a perimeter, without, however, adding more detail.
From this point of view, Synod 2021-24 allows us to take a step forward, thanks to the method of conversation in the Spirit, whose fruitfulness constitutes an “emergence” of the consultation and listening phase, a true “sign of the times.” In its simplicity, which has made it applicable in all contexts, this method offers the basic structure for the implementation of community discernment: it allows each participant to listen to and open up to God’s word, to feel welcomed, to perceive that his or her contribution is taken into account, and thus to be able to recognize himself or herself in the final result, even when it does not perfectly reflect that person’s point of view. The method does not ignore conflicts, but it does not become trapped in them, and it also escapes the polarization between “winners” and “losers” that increasingly accompanies majority decisions found in democratic systems.
If the Second Vatican Council asks the whole Church to engage in discernment of the signs of the times, the synod process shows that it is possible. This does not mean that it is necessarily easy, nor exempt from the risks of errors or shortcuts that must be monitored and managed. Above all, however, it has enabled us to discover that it constitutes an opportunity for encounter with the Lord, and thus a source of joy.
Here lies the confidence with which we look to the two Sessions (October 2023 and October 2024) of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and especially to the year between them. The time is ample enough to be able to organize processes of common ecclesial discernment, provided that we really want to play the game and not just muddle through, that is, that the will to do so is effective and not just a mere matter of words. The first phase of the process has already enabled the training of the ability of all members of God’s people to recount their own experiences, and then reread them and together trace the signs of the Spirit’s action. Above all, it has allowed the maturation of the awareness that either we all go forward together, or we go nowhere: the future of the Church is at stake, but above all the mission of proclaiming the Gospel, which the men and women of our time need and have the right to hear in a way that is meaningful and attractive to them. In the face of this purpose, assigned to the Church by Jesus, Christ, the Son of God, all other things – institutions, structures, procedures, norms, customs and traditions, theological and doctrinal systems – can only be a means, to be evaluated according to their effectiveness and docility to the breath of the Spirit. This is the central criterion of the Church’s journey of reform in a synodal sense, which is united with each person’s conversion to the authenticity of discipleship.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.32009/22072446.1023.12 . A little less than a year later, Paul VI, without asking the same question verbatim, pointed to the definition of the concept of the Church as a priority for the Council: cf. Paul VI, Allocution for the Solemn Commencement of the Second Session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, September 29, 1963, no. 4. . Cf. G. Sale, “From De Ecclesia to Lumen Gentium”, in Civ. Catt. En.Nov. 2017, https://www.laciviltacattolica.com/from-de-ecclesia-to-lumen-gentium/ . More information regarding the initiative “Together – Gathering of God’s People” initiative can be found at https://together2023.net . Cf. M. S. Winters, “Synodal working document is deeply rooted in Vatican II”, in National Catholic Reporter (www.ncronline.org/opinion/ncr-voices/synodal-working-document-deeply-rooted-vatican-ii), June 26, 2023. . Cf. XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Instrumentum laboris for the First Session (October 2023), May 29, 2023. . Cf. G. Costa, “The ‘Instrumentum laboris’ for the first session of Synod 2021-2024”, in Civ. Catt.En., 2023. https://www.laciviltacattolica.com/the-instrumentum-laboris-for-the-first-session-of-synod-2021-2024/ . The seven Continental Assemblies, held in the first quarter of 2023, are the culmination of the listening and consultation phase. They enabled the Churches of the same geographical area to establish a dialogue. Their Final Documents constituted the main source for the elaboration of the IL. For more information on the articulation of the different phases and stages of the synod process, please refer to the synod’s official website www.synod.va . Reasons of space prevent us here from giving a detailed explanation of it. We therefore refer to the section of the IL devoted to it (nos. 32-42) and to the presentation offered by the already cited contribution of G. Costa, “The ‘Instrumentum laboris’ for the First Session of Synod 2021-2024”. . General Secretariat of the Synod, Working Paper for the Continental Stage, October 2022, no. 108. . Francis, Post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia, February 2, 2020, no. 105. . The first General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate was held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1955, followed by those in Medellín (Colombia) in 1968; Puebla (Mexico) in 1979; Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) in 1992; and Aparecida (Brazil) in 2007. . In this regard, cf. A. P. Orozco, “Conferenza ecclesiale dell’Amazzonia (CEAMA): frutto e laboratorio del cammino sinodale”, in Aggiornamenti Sociali 73 (2022) 553-560. . Cf. P. R. Barreto – M. López Oropeza, “The First Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean. Experiences of a synodal process”, in Civ. Catt.En., March 2022, https://www.laciviltacattolica.com/the-first-ecclesial-assembly-of-latin-america-and-the-caribbean-experiences-of-a-synodal-process/ . Cf. Francis, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio Competentias Quasdam Decernere, February 11, 2022. . Cf. Id., Address for the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops, October 17, 2015. Along these lines, and in view of the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea in 2025, the then Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPUC) prepared a study document entitled The Bishop of Rome. Primacy and Synodality in Ecumenical Dialogues and in Responses to the Encyclical Ut unum sint, discussed by the Council’s own Plenary Assembly on May 3, 2022 (cf. “First Day of the PCPUC Plenary Assembly 2022”, at www.christianunity.va/content/unitacristiani/it/news/2022/2022-04-03-assemblea-plenaria-pcpuc.html). Cardinal Koch, who was president of the PCPUC, referred to it in his greeting to the pope at the May 6 Audience, stating that through that document “we thus align ourselves with the conviction expressed by Your Holiness that even the Petrine ministry of the Bishop of Rome can receive greater light in a synodal Church” (www.christianunity.va/content/unitacristiani/en/dicastero/assemblee-plenarie/2022-assemblee-pleniere/audience-with-holy-father/saluto-del-cardinale-koch.html). . International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church (as a whole), “Synodality and Primacy in the Second Millennium and Today”, Alexandria, Egypt, June 7, 2023. . Francis, Address to the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, June 30, 2023. . Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, November 21, 1964, no. 1. . In this regard, cf. IL, Worksheet B 1.2 and General Secretariat of the Synod, Working Paper for the Continental Stage, cited above, nos. 29-31. . General Secretariat of the Synod, Working Paper for the Continental Stage, op. cit., no. 30. . Curiously, Cardinal Suenens reflected on this in the already mentioned speech to the Council of December 4, 1962; cf. G. Sale, “From De Ecclesia to Lumen Gentium”, op. cit. . Cf. C. Theobald, Fraternità. Il nuovo stile della chiesa secondo papa Francesco, Magnano (Bi), Qiqajon, 2016, 52f. . Ibid., 52. . In this regard, cf. D. Hercsik, “Il ‘subsistit in’: la Chiesa di Cristo e la Chiesa cattolica”, in Civ. Catt. 2006 III 111-122.