On the anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, October 11, members of the Synod on Synodality joined in prayer to begin their discussions.
Synod delegates, divided into language-based and issue-based small groups, sat around small tables with notebooks, laptops, and binders in the Paul VI Audience Hall. Participants were led in chant, a responsorial psalm, and prayer.
Cardinal Arthur Roche read from St. John XXIII’s opening speech at the Second Vatican Council in 1962.
“Christ Jesus always holds the central place in history and in life. People either adhere to him and his Church and so enjoy the fruits of light… or they live without him or act against him… and so they cause confusion among themselves,” Roche read from the speech.
This confusion spans from “relationships” to “bloody wars,” he continued.
“It is evident … that the truth of the Lord will remain forever,” the speech continued.
“The Church has never failed to oppose these enemies and has even condemned them often with the greatest severity. But at the present time, the spouse of Christ is pleased to apply the medicine of compassion rather than take up the weapons of severity… By demonstrating more than anything,” Roche said, “the power of her teaching, rather than by condemning.”
Overlooking the hall, there is a large bronze and copper monument depicting Jesus rising from a nuclear crater. The sculpture, by Pericle Fazzini, is meant to convey the horrors of the threat of nuclear war, and is 23 ft tall and 66 ft wide.