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The Ongoing Synod on the Family

Oct. 15, 2015

The Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops is taking place from 4th to 25thOctober 2015. This three-week meeting will witness the congregation of 279 Bishops and Priests from across the world to discuss issues following the theme: “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”. The assembly takes place in the Synod Hall in the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican City.

The Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops takes it cue from the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held in preparation of the Synod of 2015. It will further continue to discuss the matters that were taken up in the preceding Synod of 2014 in order to formulate appropriate Pastoral guidelines.

The Clergy participating in the Synod have been divided into small groups, based on language, to discuss and respond to the trials faced by Catholic families.

The topics of discussion include violence against women, the role of parents in the family and the Church, interfaith marriages and the apprehensions of the younger generation towards commitment, amongst others. Of the various issues based on the family and its relevance to the Church, the topics of homosexuality and divorce face a clash of differed opinions which in turn lead to debate and feedback.

At the Inaugural Eucharist of the Synod, Pope Francis focused on the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 10 - “What God has united man must not divide.”

“Families,” he said, “free us from the sea of loneliness and indifference.” Staying true to the theme of the Synod, Pope Francis stated that the family today “requires our (the Church’s) full attention and care, and the Synod must respond to this demand.”

Pope Francis addressed the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, underscoring its purpose , saying that it is neither a mere convention nor a parliament formed to reach compromises, but an Ecclesial expression through which the Church journeys as a whole, to understand reality through the eyes of faith and the heart of God.

Amongst the 18 married couples invited to attend the Synod as auditors, one Indian couple from the Archdiocese of Mumbai, Penelope and Ishwarlal Bajaj, shared with the assembly, the testimony of their marriage as an interfaith couple.

Reinhard Cardinal Marx of Munich and Freising, President of the German Bishops’ Conference said that expectations have never been so high before a Synod and that Pope Francis had contributed to that; but he also emphasized that one should go attend the meetings with openness and with preparedness to learn.

Francis Cardinal Arinze, the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Africa said, “The love of the Church includes our readiness to know what the Church is doing. However, knowledge alone is not enough. We should also pray for the Synod fathers.”

: October 15, 2015



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