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Key reports due as Synod sharpens focus

The Synod of Bishops in Rome is entering its decisive phase as it focuses on the key topics addressed during its early sessions at the beginning of the month.

The close to 300 participants, divided in 12 linguistic groups, spent Monday discussing the most important conclusions from the many addresses delivered at the synod.

Each group prepared a report, and all 12 were presented yesterday to the general assembly.

In evaluating the synodal sessions, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, told Vatican Radio: "I have been taking part in synods for the past 20 years, but I think this one is totally extraordinary, following that dark day for humanity, 11 September."

"We have lived those days of anguish together, analyzing the main topic: the bishop, servant of the Gospel of Christ in hope," the French cardinal said.

He added that the synod has shown many aspects of the bishop: "pastor, fisherman, father, brother, friend, servant, teacher, man of faith, of hope ... but the most frequently repeated word has been communion."

The synod ends on 27 October.