Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What's going to happen at the Extraordinary Synod in October?

With all of the recent hype and speculation about the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, you would think the doctrines of the Catholic Church are about to change. Reading the just-released "Instrumentum Laboris" -- a summary of the world's bishops' reflections on the status of marriage and the family today -- gives a different picture. Here's my take at Aleteia.

Just to get you started:
The world’s bishops have taken stock of today’s cultural landscape with respect to marriage and the family and have found a serious lack of understanding–and therefore, living–of the Church’s teaching. It comes as no surprise to those in the trenches, (or even to those who just pick up a newspaper occasionally). We’ve all seen headlines about the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” We’ve all observed a blasé attitude toward marriage among family, friends, neighbors or colleagues, attitudes that non-judgmentally condone contraception, cohabitation and divorce. But for the Church’s hierarchy to acknowledge the difference between the faith and how it’s lived is an important admission. 
There are plenty of questions regarding who might be to blame–Are parents catechizing their children? Were the parents ever formed? Are priests preaching or advising properly in confession? Are bishops promoting defense of the family as a priority? Are marriage preparation programs adequate?

The tone of the document, however, is not to find a scapegoat; it is to acknowledge that something must be done. The victims of our marriage-destructive culture are many and are identified in the document–children of divorce, single mothers, spouses remaining faithful to wedding vows though separated, abused women and children, those living in canonically irregular situations and so forth. The document reveals that the bishops are aware of the grave challenges now facing the world and of the way these challenges converge and relate to the family, the fundamental cell of society.

Read the rest here.

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