Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly - The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church (5-26 October 2008)

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Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

In Session: 5 - 26 October 2008

Synod Fathers: 253

Topic: The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church

On 6 October 2006, Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to convoke the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly to treat the topic of “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church”. This Synod was intended to be in continuity with the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist and to set forth the intrinsic connection between the Eucharist and the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

In its preparation phase, the Council members, with the assistance of experts, drafted the customary Lineamenta, released on 27 April 2007, which gave preliminary guidelines on the topic and contained a series of questions for discussion and prayer at the local level. At later meetings the Council analyzed the responses to the questions in the Lineamenta, submitted to the General Secretariat, along with observations submitted by various groups and individuals, and drafted the Instrumentum laboris, which was made public on 12 June 2008.
This synod assembly was the first to take place after the revision of the Ordo Synodi Episcopo­rum, approved by the Holy Father on 29 September 2006, acceding to the counsel of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops on the opportuneness of updating the statutes to conform to the present Code of Canon Law and The Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches.

A distinctive feature of this synodal assembly was its occurrence during the Pauline Year, beginning 29 June 2008. In commemoration, the opening liturgy of the synod was celebrated in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. At the same time, given the topic under discussion, a Rabbi was invited for the first time to address the synod fathers and participants. This synodal assembly equally witnessed for the first time the presence of His Holiness, Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who addressed the synod participants during a Vespers Service in the Sistine Chapel.

As at the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly, the 55 Propositiones, resulting from the collegial work of the Synod Fathers, were released to the public pro hoc vice in an Italian translation. At the synod’s conclusion, the members also issued a Message to the People of God(Nuntius). The XII Ordinary Council subsequently held various meetings to analyze the results of the synodal gathering and draft its contribution for submission to the Holy Father in his composing the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, which was promulgated on 30 September 2010.



S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. William Joseph Levada, Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede (Vaticano)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. George Pell, Arcivescovo di Sydney (Australia)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Odilo Pedro Scherer, Arcivescovo di São Paulo (Brasile)

General Secretary

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

General Rapporteur

S. Em. R. il Sig. Marc Ouellet, Arcivescovo di Québec (Canada)

Special Secretary 

S.E.R. Mons. Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Arcivescovo di Kinshasa (Rep. Dem. del Congo)


Documents of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly 

  • Relatio post disceptationem del Relatore Generale, S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., Arcivescovo di Québec (Canada) (15 ottobre 2008)
  • Relatio ante disceptationem del Relatore Generale, S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., Arcivescovo di Québec (Canada) (6 ottobre 2008)