"THE SYNOD should be seen as a positive achievement," said Cardinal Basil Hume this week on his return from Rome.
"It said Yes to the Council; it acknowledged that the Holy Spirit is still at work in the Church; it was a good preparation for the Synod on the Laity," the cardinal told journalists.
The Synod fulfilled its first two objectives of celebration and verification, he added; it also gave some indications, mostly general in nature, of how better to implement the teachings of the Council.
The affirmation given by the bishops to the concept of the Church as communlo was, in Cardinal Hume's view, "of great significance".
"I expect to see in the years to come further theological attention directed to this concept and its consequences. 11 will be of very great importance for progress in Christian unity between the Churches."
The cardinal described the character of the Synod as "very, representative and authoritative", and the atmosphere as "very positive, friendly and free".
"There were no restrictions on what could he raised and the discussions among the bishops were characterised by mutual respect," he emphasised.
"BetWeen the Pope and the bishops I sense a real closeness and sympathy which was shown not only In the Assembly Hall but in the meals hosted by the Pope to which all the bishops were invited in small groups in the course of the Synod.
"The occasion was a demonstration of how the Spirit of collegiality manifests itself."' see Synod round-up, pages four and five