Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly - The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church (2-23 October 2005)

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Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

In Session: 2 - 23 October 2005

Synod Fathers: 258

Topic: The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church

On 29 November 2003, taking into consideration the opinion of the members of the Tenth Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, based on the consultation of the episcopal conferences worldwide and the other parties concerned, Pope John Paul II decided to convoke the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly to treat the topic of the Eucharist. That the Pope’s choice came briefly after the publication of his encyclical on the same subject deserves attention. This synodal assembly was convoked to provide the Pope with the pastoral reflections of the world’s bishops on a subject vital to the life and mission of the Church.

The Lineamenta, composed by the Tenth Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat with the assistance of theologians, was sent to the episcopal conferences, the Eastern Churches sui iuris, the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the Union of Superiors General and other concerned parties on 31 March 2004. At a subsequent meeting the Council analyzed the responses to the questions in the Lineamenta and, again with the help of experts, drafted the Instrumentum Laboris, which was made public on 7 July 2005.
After his election, Pope Benedict XVI reconfirmed the dates of the synodal assembly and, at the same time, approved the following innovations in synodal procedure: a reduction of the length of the synodal assembly to three weeks; an hour of open discussion, during the intervention phase, at the conclusion of the evening plenary sessions; an electronic vote by the members - in addition to the customary written ballot - on the Propositiones or synodal recommendations; and the release to the public pro hoc vice of an Italian translation of the Propositiones.

A special session was held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, during which various synod fathers spoke on the theological, juridical and historical aspects of the synod. Subsequently, these presentations, along with reference material on synodal assemblies, were published in a book entitled Il Sinodo dei Vescovi: 40 Anni di Storia (“The Synod of Bishops: 40 Years of History”) by the Lateran University Press.

The official documentation resulting from this synodal assembly includes a Message to the People of God (Nuntius), composed during the assembly and approved by the Synod Fathers, and the Holy Father’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis” of 22 February 2007.


S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Francis Arinze, Prefetto della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti (Vaticano)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Arcivescovo di Guadalajara (Messico)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Arcivescovo di Ranchi (India)

General Secretary

S.E.R. Mons. Nikola Eterović, Arcivescovo tit. di Sisak (Vaticano)

General Rapporteur

S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Angelo Scola, Patriarca di Venezia (Italia)

Special Secretary

S.E.R. Mons. Roland Minnerath, Arcivescovo di Dijon (Francia)


Documents of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly