Archive for category Synod on the Family
A ‘tremendous synergy’ has been created by the concerns, insights, hopes and ideas shared by nearly 2,000 participants in parish grassroots listening sessions and follow-up working groups over recent months leading up to this weekend’s San Diego diocesan synod on marriage and family life, according to synod coordinator Paulist Fr. John Hurley.
“Focus of the gathering will be seeking consensus on ways to best address the pastoral challenges laid forth in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (‘The Joy of Love’), Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and family released April 8.
“In a follow-up pastoral letter issued a month later, ‘Embracing the Joy of Love,’ San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy announced plans for a local synod to be held in the fall.
“‘A diocesan synod is the most significant level of dialogue, discernment and decision in the life of a diocese,’ McElroy explained in the letter.”
By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Some have called Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, or ‘The Joy of Love,’ his reflection on the two recent Synods of Bishops on the family, a ‘love letter’ to families. We believe that Francis’ teaching on conscience in that letter is one of the most important teachings in the apostolic exhortation. As various church bodies announced plans about how to implement Amoris Laetitia, it is instructive to see how they will present Francis’ teaching on conscience.
“To spread the teaching of Amoris Laetitia though U.S. dioceses and parishes, the U.S. bishops have appointed a working group led by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. The work of this group isn’t yet public, but Chaput has issued guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia in his own archdiocese.
“In the Philadelphia guidelines, which went into effect in July, Chaput comments on the indissolubility of marriage and admission to Communion for the divorced and remarried without an annulment. He noted that pastors have an obligation to educate the faithful, since ‘the subjective conscience of the individual can never be set against objective moral truth, as if conscience and truth were two competing principles for moral decision-making.’ The ‘objective truth,’ according to magisterial teaching, is that couples living in this situation are committing adultery and cannot receive Communion and that their subjective consciences must adhere to this truth.
“Chaput’s comment highlights theological debates in the Catholic tradition on the interrelationship between conscience and objective norms in moral decision-making …”
By Michael G. Lawler and Todd Salzman, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.
Acting on Pope Francis’ wish for a more ‘synodal’ church at all levels and keying on four major themes of the pope’s recent exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy announced May 11 that he will convene a diocesan synod in October focused on marriage and family life.
“McElroy’s approach leans heavily on the attitudes expressed in Amoris Laetitia, or ‘The Joy of Love,’ in which the highest ideals of the Catholic view of marriage are tempered with the realities of contemporary life and the everyday challenges faced by married couples. McElroy’s pastoral message, in that regard, acknowledges some of the most daunting challenges facing the church in relating to millennials and incorporating them into the life of the church.
“On the thorny issue of divorced and remarried Catholics, McElroy embraces Francis’ elevation of an ancient foundational church teaching, that of discernment of conscience in determining an individual’s level of participation in the church, that has been somewhat de-emphasized in recent history. Francis, says McElroy, ‘widens the focus of this internal reflection of conscience.'”
By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In its statement regarding Amoris Laetitia, Voice of the Faithful pointed to the role of conscience in moral decision-making and quoted Pope Francis, who said, “We also find it hard to make room for consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.” James Martin, S.J., is concerned in the article below that some critics of the Pope’s letter are missing “… the notion that God can deal with people directly. The way that this notion is framed in the document is primarily through the lens of ‘conscience.'”
What some critics of “Amoris Laetitia” are missing
By James Martin, S.J., Editor at Large, America
Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” has been accepted by most Catholics as a breath of fresh air. Its warm encouragement to families to place love at the center of their lives, its clear invitation to pastors to accompany Catholics in the ‘complexity’ of their situations and its strong reminder that the church needs to recover an appreciation of the role of conscience have been welcomed by millions of Catholics as a sign that the church wants to meet them where they are.
“But not by all Catholics. In a few quarters of the church it has not been received warmly at all. In fact, it was greeted with a vituperation that seemed to approach apoplexy.
“Many critics were frustrated, alarmed and angered by the same thing. They claimed that Francis had muddied the clear moral waters of the church by elevating a concept that had landed St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order to which the pope belongs, in jail: the notion that God can deal with people directly.
“The way that this notion is framed in the document is primarily through the lens of ‘conscience’ …”
Click here to read the rest of this article.
In what could be an important moment for his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is scheduled to issue a major document on Friday (Apr. 8) regarding family issues. It is titled ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ Latin for ‘The Joy of Love.’
“In the document, known as an apostolic exhortation, the pope could change church practice on thorny subjects like whether divorced Catholics who remarry without having obtained annulments can receive holy communion. He might address debates over same-sex relationships, cohabitation and polygamy, an issue in Africa. Or, he could sidestep such divisive topics and stick to broader philosophical statements.
“For the past two years, Francis has guided the church through a sweeping exercise of self-examination that some scholars have compared to the Second Vatican Council. Catholics around the world filled out detailed questionnaires about whether the church meets their families’ needs. Bishops and other church officials spent two tumultuous meetings at the Vatican, known as synods, debating and arguing.
“The broad topic was whether the Catholic Church should reposition itself, and how. Francis listened, prodded and sometimes steered the process, but he mostly kept his own counsel. Until now.
“Having led Catholics into such delicate terrain, Francis has stirred hope and fear. Some religious conservatives warn he could destabilize the church and undermine Catholic doctrine. Some liberals, though, are hoping Francis will directly address same-sex marriage and contraception in a way that would make the church more responsive to today’s realities.
“‘I’m sure he knew he would touch some nerves,’ said John Thavis, a longtime Vatican analyst and the author of ‘The Vatican Diaries.’ ‘He may not have appreciated how much opposition there could be.’
“But both sides might be disappointed.”
By Laurie Goodstein and Jim Yardley — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Pope Francis celebrated a Mass for the Holy Family on Sunday (Dec. 27), designed as a reminder of the spiritual and pastoral importance of the family in the context of his Holy Year of Mercy. Plans called for similar Masses to be held around the world in basilicas where there’s a holy door for the jubilee year …
“In terms of Church politics, however, Sunday’s Mass was also a reminder that we’re on a countdown to perhaps the biggest decision of Francis’ papacy, on a question that arises directly from his two recent Synods of Bishops on the family.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The leader of the umbrella group for some 600,000 global Catholic women religious has said that in the wake of this month’s Synod of Bishops the women are called to carry forth the pastoral work that the official church is sometimes not able to do.
“Maltese Sr. Carmen Sammut — who participated in the Oct. 4-25 Synod as one of 32 women who took part in non-voting roles alongside the 270 prelate-members — said the women religious should engage with people church institutions may not even know need help.
“‘I think that we should not give up our role at the frontiers of the church,’ said Sammut, who heads the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Synod offers striking softening to remarried, proposing individual discernment / National Catholic Reporter
A worldwide gathering of some 270 Catholic bishops has recommended softening the church’s practice towards those who have divorced and remarried, saying such persons should discern decisions about their spiritual lives individually in concert with the guidance of priests.
“Pope Francis also closed the meeting with a strong renewal of his continual emphasis of the boundless nature of divine mercy, saying: ‘The Church’s first duty is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim God’s mercy.’
“Although the final document from the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops says discernment for remarried persons can ‘never overlook the demands of truth and love in the Gospel,’ it seems to significantly move decision-making for how they can participate in the church to private conversations in dioceses around the world.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
One of the prelates responsible for drafting the final document from the ongoing Synod of Bishops has said he does not anticipate that it will propose changes in the Catholic church’s practices towards the divorced and remarried. Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias — one of ten prelates who co-drafted the document after three-weeks of intense deliberations among some 270 bishops at the Oct. 4-25 Synod — said in particular that one specific proposal that might have allowed the remarried to take Communion would likely not be mentioned.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
The rows of seats in the synod hall, where Catholic bishops are meeting to discuss family issues, are filled with bishops and cardinals — all male. To find any women, look to the back of the room. The women’s distance from the heart of the synod hall reflects fears raised by women’s groups that their participation is a mere token on the Vatican’s part.” By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service, on Cruxnow.com
In Rome —
Pope Francis had encouraged bishops from more than 120 countries to speak freely when they gathered at the Vatican nearly three weeks ago for a broad discussion of family matters to guide the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. And speak freely, they have.
“The result has been the most momentous, and contentious, meeting of bishops in the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, which brought the church into the modern era. The meeting has exposed deep fault lines between traditionalists focused on shoring up doctrine, and those who want the church to be more open to Catholics who are divorced, gay, single parents or cohabiting …
“‘This is a pivotal moment of this pontificate,’ said Roberto Rusconi, who teaches the history of Christianity at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, a state school. Pope Francis is sounding out the world’s bishops ‘to better understand whether they are going to follow his line or not.’”
By Laurie Goodstein and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times
In Australia —
The Church has described its history regarding child abuse in Australia as “shameful, corrosive and complicit” and says it now expects its liability exposure to be potentially $1 billion on top of payments already made.
The CEO of the Truth justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, said in a speech in Canberra on Tuesday (Oct. 20) night the Church’s history was ‘littered with examples of cover-ups and crimes and of Church leaders failing in one of the very basic tenets of their calling.’