Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, speaks during a press conference at the Vatican June 26. The press conference was held to unveil the working document for the October extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. Pictured from left are: Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy; Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, one of three cardinals Pope Francis chose to serve as synod presidents; Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, synod relator; Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, synod general secretary; Father Lombardi; and married couple Francesco Miano and Pina De Simone, both university professors involved in the Italian Catholic Action movement. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
City, 26 June 2014 (VIS) A press conference was held in the Holy See
Press Office this morning to present the Instrumentum Laboris of the 3rd
Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October
2014) which will focus on “pastoral challenges to the family in the
context of evangelisation”. The speakers were Cardinal Lorenzo
Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Peter
Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and relator general of
the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal
Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France and delegate president;
Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, and special secretary,
and Professors Francesco Miano and Pina De Simone.
Baldisseri explained that the Instrumentum Laboris consists of three
parts, conforming to the themes of the Documento Preparatorio. “The
first, dedicated to the Gospel of the family, relates to God's plan,
biblical and magisterial knowledge and their reception, natural law and
the vocation of the person in Christ”, he said. “The difficulties that
arise in relation to natural law can be overcome through more attentive
reference to the biblical world, to its language and narrative forms,
and to the proposal to thematise and deepen the biblically-inspired
concept of the 'order of creation', like the possibility of
reinterpreting 'natural law' in a more existentially meaningful way.
Furthermore, the role of the family, 'fundamental cell of society, where
we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to
one another', is that of a privileged space for values such as
fraternity, love, respect and solidarity between generations, where
dignity is promoted, overcoming individualism and contributing to the
common good of society”.
“The second part relates to the pastoral
challenges inherent in the family, such as the crisis of faith,
critical internal situations, external pressures and other problems. The
responsibilities of the pastor include preparation for marriage,
increasingly necessary nowadays to enable engaged couples make their
decision in terms of their personal adhesion to faith to the Lord, to
build their families on solid foundations”.
He emphasised that
special consideration would be given to difficult pastoral situations,
such as unmarried couples who live together and de facto unions,
separated and divorced couples, remarried divorcees and eventual further
children, single mothers, those who are in canonically irregular
situations and non-believers or non-practising Catholics who wish to
marry”. The prelate added that with regard to the phenomenon of
unmarried couples who live together and de facto unions, increasingly
widespread, “the Church has the duty to accompany these couples in the
trust that they are able to bear a responsibility, such as that of
marriage, that is not too great for them”. In relation to the question
of remarried divorcees, whose irregular condition within the Church is a
source of suffering, the Instrumentum Laboris “offers real knowledge of
their situation, from which the Church is required to find solutions
compatible with her teaching and which lead to a serene and reconciled
life. In this respect, the need to simplify the judicial procedures for
the annulment of marriage would appear relevant”.
same-sex unions, a distinction is made between the contexts in which
civil legislation is more or less in favour; there is a need for
pastoral care on the part of the particular Churches in these
situations, including matters relating to children who may be present”.
third part first presents themes linked to openness to life, such as
knowledge and difficulties in receiving the Magisterium, pastoral
suggestions, sacramental praxis and the promotion of a mentality open to
life. … With regard to the educative responsibility of parents,
difficulty emerges in terms of transmitting faith to children, which is
then made concrete in Christian initiation; finally, this is a matter of
Christian education in difficult family situations, in which the
effects on the children extend to the sphere of faith and methods of
celebration of the sacraments”.
Cardinal Baldisseri mentioned
that the themes not included in the document will be considered in the
Ordinary General Assembly scheduled for 4-25 October 2015, based on the
theme “Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the family”.
This will be the third stage in the process of reflection on the family,
which began with the Consistory held on 20 February 2014.
he explained that the Instrumentum Laboris offers a vision of the
reality of the family in the current context, which represents the
beginning of a profound reflection, which will take place in the two
stages of the Extraordinary General Assembly (2014) and the Ordinary
General Assembly (2015), which are closely linked by the theme of the
family based on the light of Christ's Gospel. The results of the first,
the Extraordinary Assembly, will be used in the preparation of the
Instrumentum Laboris of the subsequent Ordinary Assembly, which will be
made known only after the publication of the final document, subject to
the decision of the Holy Father.
Given the importance of the
Synod, a Day of Prayer for the Synod will be held on Sunday 28
September, and the Eucharist will be celebrated every day during the
work of the Synod in the Salus Populi Romanii Chapel in the Basilica of
St. Mary Major in Rome.