Boston Archdiocese Asking for Your Input Toward 2015 Synod

February 28, 2015

For readers wanting to give input toward the 2015 Synod on the Family, the Boston Archdiocese is asking for our input.

In view of the mountain of evidence that the synod is under the control of people at the highest levels of the Catholic Church who want to change Church practices around the indissolubility of marriage while pretending to not change doctrine, many readers may think they should just throw up their hands in frustration and not bother responding to the input survey. BCI suggests you still take the time to complete the survey and do either of two things with it: a) Give it to your local parish pastor, or b) Send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at

Below is a message from Catholic Citizenship about the opportunity to give your input. It points folks to the synod questionnaire, which you can download here.

 Archdiocese Inquires with Laity before 2015 Ordinary Synod

Dear friends,

Cardinal O’Malley has asked pastors to send a questionnaire to parishioners for the upcoming Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and contemporary world this October.  Pope Francis will convene an Ordinary Synod with Cardinals and Bishops around the world to discuss how the Church can better articulate Catholic teaching about the family.

The questionnaire is composed of 15 sections and 46 questions which highlight the anthropological, social, cultural and ecclesiastical understanding of the family.  This document is designed to help facilitate discussion about the Church’s teaching and how it may be effectively taught.

It’s important that the church hear from individuals who support its traditional teachings, as those who wish to alter them will surely make their voices heard.

Furthermore, the Boston Archdiocese has developed a mini-site which contains short videos on the following topics: evangelizing the family, how to better reach young people, encouraging cohabitating couples to marry, ministering to divorced Catholics, and pastoral care for those with homosexual tendencies.

Please visit the website to download a copy of the questionnaire and view instruction material at:

Thank you.

Editorial comment from BCI.  We wanted a few of the videos by Fr. Mark O’Connell. We found them mostly disappointing. They talk about how to have a cordial “dialogue” with those committing grave mortal sin (e.g. cohabitating outside of marriage, self-identify as homosexuals), but he avoids mentioning the grave state of sin in which those people place themselves and the consequences of that for their own salvation.  When and where does that get mentioned?

Once again, BCI suggests you take the time to complete the survey and either give it to your local parish pastor or send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at

Boston Church politicizing New Year’s vigil with secular agenda

January 2, 2015

With Christianity being wiped out in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East and so many truly important things to pray for in the New Year consistent with our Catholic faith and what the Catholic Church teaches us to pray for, we regret to inform you that a church in the Archdiocese of Boston under Cardinal Sean O’Malley is holding a prayer vigil this Saturday with 7 hours of prayer “to express our desire to be free of prejudice and fear of difference,” including fear of difference with respect to sexuality, race and gender.

The flyer below from last weekend’s parish bulletin at St. Marys in Foxboro can be found below. The pastor is Fr. Steven Madden, known for constantly citing the New England Patriots in his homilies. It appears that he and the organizers are confusing what is appropriate for Catholics to pray for.  The flyer says there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 4-11pm on January 3, with individual hours for prayer, including for “Those hated because of sexuality.”  Yup.  They are not praying that those who suffer from homosexual attractions or engage in homosexual activity experience conversion to God’s plan and a life of holiness.  Their other prayer intentions include to be free of prejudice for refuFoxboro Vigilgees, immigrants, and those oppressed by race.

A parishioner commented to BCI in disbelief about how their local parish was subtly yet blatantly endorsing secular societal view points and using the Blessed Sacrament for “their propaganda…Am I supposed to support this?”

We would advise parishioners to pray elsewhere, and we would express the concerns a little differently. The Catechism of the Council of Trent says the following about what we should pray for:

What We Should Pray For

Under the head of each Petition we shall point out in its proper place, what is, and what is not a proper object of prayer. Hence it will suffice here to remind the faithful in a general way that they ought to ask of God such things as are just and good, lest, praying for what is not suitable, they may be repelled in these words: You know not what you ask. Whatever it is lawful to desire, it is lawful to pray for, as is proved by the Lord’s ample promise: You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you, words in which He promises to grant all things.

Spiritual Goods

In the first place, then, the standard which should regulate all our wishes is that we desire above all else God, the supreme Good. After God we should most desire those things which unite us most closely to Him; while those which would separate us from Him, or occasion that separation, should have no share whatever in our affections.

Goods Of The Mind

It is also lawful to pray for the goods and adornments of the mind, such as a knowledge of the arts and sciences, provided our prayers are accompanied with this condition, that they serve to promote the glory of God and our own salvation.

The only thing which can be absolutely and unconditionally the object of our wishes, our desires and our prayers, is, as we have already observed, the glory of God, and, next to it, whatever can serve to unite us to that supreme Good, such as faith and the fear and love of God, of which we shall treat at length when we come to explain the Petitions.

The Prayer Of Petition Should Be Offered For All

We are to pray for all mankind, without exception of enemies, nation or religion; for every man, be he enemy, stranger or infidel, is our neighbour, whom God commands us to love, and for whom, therefore, we should discharge a duty of love, which is prayer. To the discharge of this duty the Apostle exhort: when he says: I desire that prayer be made for all men. In such prayers we should first ask for those things that concern spiritual interests, and next for what pertains to temporal welfare.

Those For Whom We Should Especially Offer Our Petitions: Pastors, Rulers Of Our Country, The Just, Enemies And Those Outside The Church (those that persecute us), The Dead, Sinners

In short, we should most desire those things which unite us most closely to God. Praying for those marginalized by society is fine.  But if the parish and pastor cannot or will not pray for intentions such as spiritual goods, goods of the mind, the conversion of sinners, for Catholics and Christians persecuted because of their faith, the protection of life from the moment of conception to natural death, or the intentions referenced above from the Catechism, then there seems to a fundamental misunderstanding of the Catholic faith at this church.  Pray for the conversion of heart of the pastor, Fr. Steven Madden.  Forward this blog post to him at

Thank Cardinal Burke for his Vatican Service

November 11, 2014

From the perspective of BCI and many other Catholics, Cardinal Raymond Burke is a hero.  Featured ImageHis courageous stands in defense of the indissolubility of marriage and in preserving Catholic doctrine over the years–in particular, before, during and after the Extraordinary Synod on the Family–have made him a standout bishop.  Lifesite News has a petition to thank Cardinal Burke, which will be hand-delivered to him in Rome.  Please take a moment to sign it.



On Nov. 8, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had removed Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the strongest pro-life and pro-family voices in the Catholic Church, from his position as the prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura. Cardinal Burke has instead been named patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a largely ceremonial role.

For the past 6 years, Cardinal Burke has served at the Vatican, after he was called there by Pope Benedict, heading up the highest court of the Catholic Church.

Among Cardinal Burke’s many actions in defense of the truths of life and family has been his courageous stance in support of canon 915, which states that ministers of communion “must” refuse the Eucharist to public and “obstinate” sinners. The cardinal himself has most frequently advocated the use of this canon in the cases of pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

Most recently, he exerted his influence during the Vatican’s Synod on the Family, publicly decrying efforts by some bishops to hijack the synod to push a radical agenda, and steering the Synod towards a more orthodox conclusion.

The transfer of Cardinal Burke from his Vatican post is undoubtedly a loss to the pro-life and pro-family movement, with his role at the Vatican having helped to amplify the cardinal’s prophetic voice.

However, we are confident that the transfer will do little to silence the cardinal, and that we may look forward to years more of close collaboration with and support for the pro-life and pro-family movement.

We offer this petition to give people an opportunity to express their personal thanks to the cardinal. The names and signatures on this petition will be personally hand-delivered to Cardinal Burke in Rome. 

Here is the petition:

To: Cardinal Raymond Burke 

I would like to express my personal gratitude for your faithful service these past years as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. In particular, I wish to thank you for being a strong and uncompromising voice in defense of the truths of life and the family.

Though I, and countless fellow Catholics and pro-life and pro-family advocates, will miss your voice and presence at the Vatican, I know that a transfer of position will do nothing to dissuade you from courageously proclaiming the truths of the Gospel of Life.

You have inspired me to stand up for the truth in charity despite all costs. I pledge myself to be a voice like yours – a voice of truth in season and out of season.

I offer you my heartfelt prayers and well wishes as you go through this period of transition. May God bless you.

[Your name]

Click here to sign the petition, and do pass this along to friends and family.

Boston priest puts GLBTQ rainbow flag on Catholic chapel

October 30, 2014

In our last post, we reported on how Boston priest, Fr. Walter Cuenin, promoted a petition to have the gay “rainbow” flag cover the Oval Office in Washington, but we learned hours later that we missed some even more scandalous things this priest has done.

For the month of October, Fr. Cuenin has had what he describes as “an enormous gay pride flag” displayed outside the chapel to “recognize both Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History Month. A photo is below.


Here is what Fr. Cuenin had to say about this in an interview with the Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice:

In an interview with the Justice, Rev. Walter Cuenin, the University’s Catholic chaplain and coordinator of the Interfaith Chaplaincy, explained the chapel’s display and its significance in detail. He described the flag right beside the chapel as an “enormous gay pride flag.” He also mentioned that a pink cloth covers the altar and added that there are also pink candles in the chapel. Cuenin said that he wanted students to be aware of issues regarding discrimination pertaining to the LGBTQ community and breast cancer awareness and research.

Cuenin acknowledged that a priest hanging an LGBTQ pride flag outside of the chapel might be a bit of a surprise, stating that many believe “a priest would never do that,” given the Catholic Church’s stance that homosexuality is morally wrong. He said he feels deeply that there needs to be more focus on how people act outside of the Church as opposed to good deeds and social activism being confined to the Church.

As we all know the gay rainbow flag is a symbol of “gay pride”  and LGBT social movements.  This is commonly associated with gay pride parades and gay pride weeks, where the following is typically on display:

  • Sado-masochism
  • Profanity and vulgarity, much of it in an angry tone
  • Homosexual sex; condoms and anal lubricant given out almost everywhere
  • Horrible “gay” diseases and psychological problems
  • The problem of “gay” domestic violence
  • Hatred of traditional religion, particularly Catholicism
  • Perversions such as cross-dressing and transsexual body mutilation
  • An obsession with children and teenagers

This is what Fr. Cuenin promoted outside the church in October.  One article reports that when one enters the church, inside the foyer year-round he also proudly displays a multicolored gay pride flag, while this article says he has the rainbow flag inside the chapel. The article continues, “Father Cuenin is also a official LGBT ally on campus, through his work with Trisk (Brandeis’ GLBTQA student group). He also continuously makes himself available and accessible to struggling students in his role as a confidential resource.  This article says, “Father Cuenin has always displayed a rainbow peace flag inside the chapel, as a statement that the chapel is friendly to people of all sexualities. That will continue to be the case when the pride flag outside is taken down at the end of the month. Cuenin also commented that he takes his role as a confidential resource on campus very seriously, and hopes that more students will feel welcome to talk with him as a result of these displays.”

There are so many things wrong with what is going on there, it is tough to express in words. How can a Catholic priest be allowed to promote “gay pride” and gravely sinful, immoral behavior and remain in active ministry?  Imagine a 17 or 18-year-old child away from home for the first time who might be confused about their sexual identity going to talk to Fr. Cuenin for a Catholic perspective–and instead of hearing about how Christ calls them to chastity and holiness, they see the gay pride flag there with a Catholic priest advocating for the gay lifestyle and the sinful, disordered, medically unsafe behaviors that are a part of it.  (The matter of the pink cloth on the altar for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and using the altar to advance his own ideology and agenda is an entirely different issue).

This crap from Fr. Cuenin has been going on for at least 12-15 years, if not longer. His public testimony to the Mass Legislature in 2002 opposing a ban on “gay marriage” should have gotten him permanently removed from ministry then.  Write to the following people and ask for his immediate removal.

Dir. of Campus Minisry, Fr. Richard Clancy:
Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto:
Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications:
Cardinal Sean O’Malley: archbishopsean_o’
U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano:



Boston priest promotes petition for LGBTQ banner over White House

October 30, 2014

This came in to BCI in mid-October and we are just getting to post it.  Fr. Walter Cuenin (call me “Walter”), currently Catholic Chaplain at Brandeis University and formerly pastor at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton sent the following email to members of the Brandeis Catholic Student Organization promoting an initiative to have the gay “rainbow” flag covering the Oval Office in Washington. But there’s more beyond that.  Read on below, and also see our most recent post about how he is displaying the gay pride flag over the Catholic chapel.

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Walter Cuenin
Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:41 PM
Subject: [cso] PETITION for GLBTQ awareness month
To: cso

One of our students is trying to organize an initiative to have the gay flag or banner to cover the Oval Office in Washington.  He is a fine young man and a senior and a friend to me.I am sending you a link so that if you wanted you could lend your voice via email. They need a lot of people to sign up. Thanks
The message:  For the full month of October, we the people respectfully request that LGBTQ History month be honored publicly by hanging a full sized banner – to cover the entire White House oval office exterior – as a  show of solidarity and support from the Executive branch of our government. Men, women and ungendered Americans across the country are often marginalized from their communities due to their personal identification. A strong message of support- by way of visual symbolism- would make hundreds of thousands of Americans feel represented in our Capitol, and has the potential to save the lives of those who are struggling with their  identities.   email https://  THANKS

(Thankfully, in the end, the petition failed to get enough signatures). Still, Fr. Cuenin has long been a supporter of the GLBT agenda and other agendas other than what the Catholic Church teaches. In 2002 he provided testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature opposing a ban on same-sex marriage. This piece from the Brandeis Hoot gives more background on him. Here are a few excerpts:

It may be rare to encounter a multicolored gay pride flag upon entering a church. But Brandeis’ Catholic chaplain, the Rev. Walter Cuenin, proudly displays the rainbow flag in the Bethlehem Chapel’s foyer. With the word “Peace” written across the middle, the flag symbolizes a proclamation of acceptance and unity for each person who may walk through the Bethlehem Chapel’s doors.

Cuenin bases his decision to exhibit a gay pride flag on a tale about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. According to Christian tradition, when Mary and Joseph arrived at a Bethlehem inn, Mary was forced to have her baby in an outside stable since there were no rooms left at the inn. Cuenin connects this story to Brandeis’ Bethlehem Chapel by using the multicolored flag to portray that “in this Bethlehem, there’s always room for everyone in the inn.”

Cuenin is currently an ally of Brandeis’ LGBT group, Triskelion. He claims that while the Catholic Church does not support gay marriage, it does welcome gay people to its churches. In fact, when he was a pastor for a larger church nearby, Cuenin had even performed a baptism for the baby of a gay couple.

“The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage, so I cannot directly say I support it, but I have seen from my experience that for many people it creates a much healthier environment … For example, if you were to go to Provincetown in the summer time, where a lot of gay people go, it’s a radically different place today than it was 20 years ago,” Cuenin said. “They are there with children and married, raising kids, so they go home at night. In other words, it has transformed the whole gay scene … it hasn’t led to total debauchery. In some ways, it has pulled people back together,” Cuenin said.

“When I was a pastor of a large church … I would always say I welcome everybody to this church, whether you’re gay or straight, divorced or remarried. Sometimes people in authority can take that the wrong way, but my understanding of being Christian is someone who welcomes everybody.”

No, Fr. Cuenin, your understanding is missing something important. Jesus commanded his disciples to go out into the world and preach the gospel. The mission is to save souls by carrying out the saving ministry of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15 (1-4) says: “Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”  You as a priest are to be a shepherd and help save lost souls. You will be held accountable for that before God. It is fine to welcome people, but you need to let them know about sin, discipleship, taking up the cross, confession, conversion, and how the path to salvation of souls comes by rejecting sin.

Beyond that, it is heresy and scandalous to equate the birth of Jesus Christ by the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bethlehem with welcoming gay people committing grave sins. That Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston Archdiocese allows Cuenin to continue leading souls astray like this is also scandalous. What does it say about Cardinal O’Malley?

It is obvious that Fr. Cuenin should not be in any position of teaching or public ministry. We ask readers to send a message to the Director of the Boston Archdiocese’s Campus Ministry, Fr. Richard Clancy <> and the Archdiocese of Boston Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto <>. Forward this blog post and ask them to take action to remove Cuenin from a position of public ministry. Please let us know what kind of response you get.

Final Relatio Synodi: Synod on the Family 2014?

October 18, 2014

BCI is not sure if this is the final document or not, but we share with you something posted at RORATE CÆLI that sure looks like it could be the final synod report in Italian.   IMPORTANT NOTE: Paragraphs 52, 53 and 55 are reportedly not part of the final text; they were rejected, having not reached 2/3 of the Fathers for required approval (123 votes). However, it appears that the Vatican is sharing the rejected paragraphs publicly, despite their being rejected.

BCI ran the Italian through Google translate, so the translation and formatting is crude.  We just share this for the benefit of readers.  A final version in English will no doubt be available soon.


Part I
Listening to: the context and challenges on the family
The socio-cultural context
The relevance of emotional life
The challenge for the pastoral
Part II
The gaze of Christ: The Gospel of the family
The look on Jesus and the divine pedagogy in the history of salvation
The family in God’s saving plan
The Family in the Documents of the Church
The indissolubility of marriage and the joy of living together
Truth and beauty of family and compassion toward families wounds and fragile
Part III
Comparison: pastoral perspectives
Proclaiming the Gospel of the family today, in various contexts
Driving the engaged in the process of preparation for marriage
Accompany the first few years of married life
Pastoral care of those who live in the civil marriage or cohabitation
Caring for families wounds (separated, divorced and not remarried, divorced and remarried, single-parent families)
The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation
The transmission of life and the challenge of falling birth rates
The challenge of education and the family’s role in the evangelization
* *
1 The Synod of Bishops gathered around the Pope addressed his thoughts to all the families of the world with their joys, their hardships, their hopes. In particular feels the need to thank God for the generous fidelity with which so many Christian families respond to their vocation and mission. They do this with joy and faith even when the way the family poses in front of obstacles, misunderstandings and suffering. These families should be appreciation, gratitude and encouragement of the whole Church and of this Synod. In the prayer vigil celebrated in St. Peter’s Square Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 in preparation for the Synod on the Family Papa Francesco evoked in a simple and concrete the centrality of family in everyone’s life, speaking thus: “It comes down now the evening on our assembly . It is the time when you willingly return home to find themselves at the same table, in the thickness of the affections, the good done and received, meetings that warm the heart and make it grow, good wine anticipates that in the days of man party without sunset. It is also the heaviest for those who now finds himself face to face with his own loneliness, bitter in the twilight of broken dreams and projects: how many people drag their days in the blind alley of resignation, abandonment, if not resentment; in how many houses has failed the wine of joy and, therefore, the flavor – the same wisdom – of life […] Of the one and the other tonight we make our voice with prayer, a prayer for all. ”
Lap 2 of the joys and trials of deep affections and relationships sometimes wounds, the family is really “school of humanity” (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 52), which is strongly felt the need. Despite the many signs of the crisis of the family institution in the various contexts of the “global village”, the desire of the family remains alive, especially among young people, and motivates the Church, expert in humanity and true to its mission, to proclaim ceaselessly and with deep conviction the “Gospel of the family” who has been entrusted with the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and constantly taught by the Fathers, the masters of spirituality and the Magisterium of the Church. The family has, for the Church and of particular importance at a time when all believers are invited to come out of oneself is necessary that the family rediscover how essential subject for evangelization. Our thoughts go to the missionary witness of so many families.
3 On the reality of the family, decisive and precious, the Bishop of Rome has called to reflect the Synod of Bishops in its Extraordinary General Assembly in October 2014, then to deepen the reflection Ordinary General Assembly which will be held in October 2015 as well as the full year that elapses between the two events Synod. “Yeah, the arrangement in unum around the Bishop of Rome is an event of grace, in which episcopal collegiality is manifested in a journey of spiritual and pastoral discernment” Thus Pope Francis has described the experience of the Synod, citing their duties in the dual listening signs of God and of human history and in the dual and unique loyalty that follows.
4 In the light of the same speech we have gathered the results of our reflections and our dialogues in the following three parts: listening, to look at the reality of the family today, in the complexity of its lights and its shadows; his gaze fixed on Christ to rethink with renewed freshness and enthusiasm as the revelation transmitted in the faith of the Church, tells us about the beauty, the role and dignity of the family; the comparison in the light of the Lord Jesus to discern the ways in which to renew the Church and society in their commitment to the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman.
Listening to: the context and challenges on the family
The socio-cultural context
5 Faithful to Christ’s teaching we look at the reality of the family today in all its complexity, in its lights and its shadows. Think of the parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, relatives near and far, and the bond between two families who weaves every wedding. The change in the anthropological-cultural influence today all aspects of life and requires an analytical approach and diverse. Should be emphasized first of all the positive aspects: the greatest freedom of expression and the better recognition of the rights of women and children, at least in some regions. But, on the other hand, we must also consider the growing danger posed by an exaggerated individualism that perverts the family ties and eventually consider every member of the family as an island, making prevail, in some cases, the idea of a subject that is built according to his wishes taken as an absolute. Added to this is also the crisis of faith that has affected many Catholics and that is often at the root of the crisis of marriage and the family.
6 One of the greatest poverty of contemporary culture is the loneliness, the result of the absence of God in people’s lives and the fragility of relationships. There is also a general feeling of impotence in the face of socio-economic reality that often ends up crushing families. So is the growing poverty and job insecurity that is sometimes experienced as a nightmare, or because of a too heavy tax that certainly does not encourage young people to the wedding. Families often feel abandoned by the neglect and lack of attention on the part of the institutions. The negative consequences from the point of view of social organization are obvious: the demographic crisis to educational difficulties, fatigue in welcoming the new life all’avvertire the presence of the elderly as a burden, to the spread of an emotional discomfort that sometimes comes violence. It is the responsibility of the state to create the conditions laid down by law and working to ensure the future of young people and help them realize their project to found a family.
7 There are cultural and religious contexts that pose particular challenges. In some societies still maintain the practice of polygamy, and in some contexts the traditional custom of “marriage by stages.” In other contexts remains the practice of arranged marriages. In countries where the presence of the Catholic Church is a minority are many mixed marriages and disparity of cult with all the difficulties that they entail with regard to the legal form, the baptism and education of children and mutual respect from the point of view of diversity of faith. In these marriages there may be a danger of relativism or indifference, but there may also be the opportunity to foster the spirit of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in a harmonious co-existence of communities living in the same place. In many contexts, and not just Westerners, is spreading widely the practice of cohabitation before marriage or even cohabitation is not geared to take the form of an institutional constraint. Added to this is often a civil legislation that undermines marriage and the family. Because of secularization in many parts of the world the reference to God is greatly diminished and the faith is no longer socially shared.
8 There are many children who are born out of wedlock, especially in some countries, and many who then grow up with only one parent or in an extended family or reconstituted. The number of divorces is increasing and it is not unusual to choices dictated solely by economic factors. Children are often the subject of contention between parents and children are the real victims of family snags. Fathers are often absent not only for economic reasons where instead we feel the need that they assume more clearly the responsibility for the children and for the family. The dignity of women still needs to be defended and promoted. Today, in fact, in many contexts, being a woman is the subject of discrimination and also the gift of motherhood is often penalized rather than being presented as a value. Not to be forgotten even the increasing instances of violence of which women are the victims, unfortunately, sometimes even within families and the serious and widespread genital mutilation of women in some cultures. Sexual exploitation of children is also one of the most outrageous and perverse today’s society. Even companies crossed by violence due to war, terrorism or the presence of organized crime, they see familiar situations deterioratee especially in large cities and their suburbs grew the so-called phenomenon of street children. The migrations are also another sign of the times to deal with and understand all the load of an impact on family life.
The relevance of emotional life
9 In view of the social framework outlined is found in many parts of the world, in the individual a greater need to take care of his own person, to know inwardly, to live better in tune with their emotions and feelings, to seek emotional relationships of quality; such a just aspiration could open the desire to engage in building relationships of reciprocity and gift creative, empowering and supportive as those family members. The danger individualist and the risk of living in Key selfish are relevant. The challenge for the Church is to help couples in the maturation of the emotional dimension and emotional development through the promotion of dialogue, of virtue and trust in the merciful love of God. Required full commitment in Christian marriage can be a strong antidote to the temptation of selfish individualism.
10 In today’s world there is no shortage cultural trends that seem to impose a limitless affection that you want to explore all sides, even the more complex ones. In fact, the issue of emotional fragility is very timely: affectivity narcissistic, unstable and changeable that does not always help the parties to reach a greater maturity. Worried about a certain spread of pornography and marketing of the body, also favored by a distorted use of the Internet and must be denounced the situation of those people who are forced to practice prostitution. In this context, the couples are sometimes uncertain, hesitant and are struggling to find ways to grow. Many are those who tend to remain in the early stages of emotional and sexual life. The crisis of the pair destabilizes the family and can go through separation and divorce to have serious consequences on adults, children and society, weakening the individual and social ties. The population decline, due to anti-birth mentality and policies promoted by the world’s reproductive health, not only leads to a situation in which the alternation of generations is no longer assured, but is likely to lead over time to an economic impoverishment and a loss of hope for the future. The development of biotechnology has also had a strong impact on the birth rate.
The challenge for the pastoral
11 In this context, the Church feels the need to say a word of truth and hope. It should start from the belief that man comes from God and that, therefore, a reflection able to revive the big questions about the meaning of being human, may find fertile ground in the deepest longings of humanity. The large values ​​of marriage and the Christian family are looking through human existence even in a time marked by individualism and hedonism. It should welcome people with their concrete existence, learn to support research, encourage the desire for God and a desire to feel fully part of the Church even in those who have experienced bankruptcy or is in the most diverse situations. The Christian message has always within himself the reality and dynamics of mercy and truth, which converge in Christ.
The gaze of Christ: The Gospel of the family
The look on Jesus and the divine pedagogy in the history of salvation
12 In order to “check out our step on the ground of contemporary challenges, the decisive condition is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, pausing in contemplation and adoration of his face […]. In fact, every time we go back to the source of the Christian open new avenues and possibilities unimagined “(Pope Francis, Sermon of October 4, 2014). Jesus looked to the women and men who met with love and tenderness, accompanying their steps with truth, patience, and mercy, in announcing the demands of the Kingdom of God.
13 Given that the order of creation is determined by the orientation to Christ, we must distinguish without separating the different degrees by which God communicates to mankind the grace of the covenant. By reason of the divine pedagogy, according to the order of creation evolves into that of redemption through successive stages, we need to understand the newness of the Christian sacrament wedding in continuity with the natural marriage of origins. So here means the way of God’s saving act, both in Creation and in the Christian life. In creation because all things were made through Christ and in the sight of Him (cf. Col 1:16), Christians are “delighted to discover and ready to respect those seeds of the Word which lie hidden; let them look to the profound transformation that occurs in the midst of the peoples “(Ad Gentes, 11). In the Christian life: as in baptism the believer is inserted into the Church through the Domestic Church which is his family, he embarks on the “dynamic process, which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 11) by the ongoing conversion to the love that saves us from sin and gives fullness of life.
14 Jesus himself, referring to the drawing on the primal human pair, reaffirms the indissoluble union between a man and a woman, while saying that “for your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so “(Mt 19,8). The indissolubility of marriage (“What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” Mt 19,6), is not to be understood as “yoke” imposed on men, but as a “gift” made ​​to persons in the United marriage. In this way, Jesus shows how the divine condescension always accompany the human journey, heal and transform hardened hearts with his grace, orienting it towards its beginning, through the way of the cross. It is clear from the Gospels that Jesus’ example is paradigmatic for the church. In fact, Jesus took a family, started to signs in the wedding party at Cana, announced the message on the meaning of marriage as the fullness of the revelation that recovers the original plan of God (Mt 19,3). But at the same time put into practice what has been taught thus manifesting the true meaning of mercy. This appears clearly in the meetings with the Samaritan woman (Jn 4.1 to 30) and with the adulteress (Jn 8.1 to 11) in which Jesus, with an attitude of love toward sinful person, leads to repentance and conversion (“Go ‘and sin no more”), a condition for forgiveness.
The family in God’s saving plan
15 The words of eternal life that Jesus gave to his disciples included the teaching on marriage and the family. This teaching of Jesus allows us to distinguish three basic stages to God’s plan for marriage and the family. At first, there is the family of origin, when God the Creator instituted marriage between primordial Adam and Eve, as the solid foundation of the family. God has not only created human beings male and female (cf. Gen 1:27), but he also blessed because they were fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28). For this reason, “a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This union has been corrupted by sin and has become the historical form of marriage in the People of God, which Moses gave the opportunity to issue a certificate of divorce (cf. Dt 24, 1 ff.) This form was prevalent in the time of Jesus. His advent, and the reconciling of the world fell through the redemption effected by Christ, ended the era inaugurated by Moses.
16 Jesus, who has reconciled all things to himself, reported the marriage and the family to their original form (cf. Mc10,1-12). The family and marriage have been redeemed by Christ (cf. Eph 5.21 to 32), restored in the image of the Holy Trinity, the mystery from which flows all true love. The spousal covenant, inaugurated in creation and revealed in the history of salvation, receiving the full revelation of its meaning in Christ and in his Church. By Christ through the Church, marriage and the family receive the necessary grace to witness to the love of God and live the life of communion. The Gospel of the family through the history of the world since the creation of man in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1: 26-27) until the completion of the mystery of the Covenant in Christ at the end of time with the wedding of ‘lamb (cf. Ap19,9, John Paul II, Catechesis on Human Love).
The Family in the Documents of the Church
17 “Over the centuries, the Church did not miss his constant teaching on marriage and the family. One of the highest expressions of this Magisterium has been proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to the promotion of the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 47-52). It has defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48), putting love at the center of the family, showing at the same time, the truth of this love in front of the various forms of reductionism in the contemporary culture. The “true love between husband and wife” (Gaudium et Spes, 49) implies the mutual self-giving, inclusion and integration of the gender dimension and affectivity, corresponding to the divine plan (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48-49). In addition, Gaudium et Spes 48 emphasizes the rootedness in Christ of the spouses is Christ the Lord “is now encounters Christian spouses in the sacrament of marriage,” and with their remains. In the incarnation, He takes on human love, purifies it, brings it to fulfillment, and gives the bride and groom, with his Spirit, the ability to live it, pervading all their life of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the bride and groom are as consecrated and, through his grace, build up the Body of Christ and are a domestic Church (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11), so that the Church, in order to fully understand its mystery, look to the Christian family , which manifests itself in a genuine way “(Working Paper 4).
18 “In the wake of Vatican II, the papal Magisterium has deepened the doctrine on marriage and the family. In particular, Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae with, has highlighted the close connection between conjugal love and generation of life. Saint John Paul II has dedicated special attention to the family through his catechesis on human love, the Letter to Families (Gratissimam Sane) and especially with the Exhortation ApostolicaFamiliaris Consortio. In these documents, the Pontiff called the family “the way of the Church”; offered an overview of the vocation to love of man and woman; has proposed the fundamental guidelines for the pastoral care of the family and for the presence of the family in the society. In particular, treating the conjugal charity (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 13), described the way in which the spouses, in their mutual love, receive the gift of the Spirit of Christ and live their call to holiness “(Working Paper, 5 ).
19 “Benedict XVI, Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, he returned to the theme of the truth of the love between man and woman, who lights up fully only in the light of the love of Christ crucified (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 2) . He stresses such as: “Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa: God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love” (Deus Caritas Est, 11) . Moreover, in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, highlighting the importance of love as a principle of life in society (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 44), the place where you learn the experience of the common good “(Working Paper 6) .
20 “Papa Francesco, in the Encyclical Fidei Lumen addressing the link between family and faith, writes:” The encounter with Christ, and let themselves be guided by his love widens the horizon of existence, gives hope solid that does not disappoint. faith is not a shelter for people without courage, but the expansion of life., it reveals a great call, the vocation to love, and ensures that this love is reliable, that is worth to surrender to it, because its foundation is in God’s faithfulness, stronger than all our weakness “(Lumen Fidei, 53)” (Working Paper 7).
The indissolubility of marriage and the joy of living together
21 The gift of mutual incorporation of sacramental marriage is rooted in the grace of baptism, which establishes the basic alliance of every person to Christ in the Church. In the mutual acceptance and with the grace of Christ the engaged promise total gift, loyalty and openness to life, they recognize as constituent elements of the wedding gifts that God gives them, taking seriously their mutual commitment, in his name and in front of the Church. Now, in faith, you can take the goods of marriage as the best sustainable commitments through the help of the grace of the sacrament. God consecrates the love of spouses and confirms its indissolubility, offering their help to live faithfully, integration and mutual openness to life. Therefore, the Church’s gaze turns to the spouses as the heart of the whole family that also turns his gaze to Jesus.
22 In the same perspective, making our teaching of the Apostle that the whole creation has been designed in Christ and for Him (cf. Col 1:16), the Second Vatican Council wished to express appreciation for the natural marriage and for the valid elements present in other religions (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2) and in cultures despite the limitations and shortcomings (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 55). The presence of the seeds of the Word in the cultures (cf. Ad Gentes, 11) could be applied, in some ways, even to marriage and the family of so many cultures and people of non-Christian. So there are valid elements in some forms outside of Christian marriage -However based on the relationship stable and true of a man and a woman – which in any case we are driven to it. With an eye to the human wisdom of peoples and cultures, the Church also recognizes the family as the basic cell of human society necessary and fruitful.
Truth and beauty of family and compassion toward families wounds and fragile
23 With deep joy and deep consolation, the Church looks to the families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, encouraging them and thanking them for the testimony they offer. Thanks to them, in fact, is made ​​credible the beauty of the indissoluble marriage and faithful forever. In the family, “you might call the domestic Church” (Lumen Gentium, 11), the first mature experience of ecclesial communion between people, which is reflected, for grace, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. “It is here that one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, forgiveness, generous, always renewed, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1657) . The Holy Family of Nazareth, it is a wonderful model, whose school we “understand why we have to keep a spiritual discipline, if we follow the doctrine of the Gospel and become disciples of Christ” (Paul VI, Address to Nazareth, 5 January 1964). The Gospel of the family, also feeds on the seeds that are still waiting to mature, and must take care of those trees that are dried and need not be neglected.
24 The Church, as a teacher safe and caring mother, while recognizing that for the baptized, there is another constraint that the sacramental wedding, and that any breach of it is against the will of God, is also aware of the fragility of many of its children who are struggling in the journey of faith. “Therefore, without diminishing the value of the evangelical, must accompany mercy and patience with the possible stages of growth of the people that are being built every day. […] One small step, in the midst of great human limitations, it may be more pleasing to the God of life outwardly correct anyone who spends her days without facing significant difficulties. All must reach the consolation and encouragement of the saving love of God, who works mysteriously in every person, beyond his faults and his falls “(Gaudium Evangelii, 44).
25 In order for a pastoral approach to people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or who simply live together, the responsibility of the Church to reveal to them the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and help them to reach the fullness of the plan God in them. Following the gaze of Christ, whose light illumines every man (cf. Jn 1,9; Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns with love to those who participate in its life so incomplete, recognizing that the grace of God works also in their lives by giving them the courage to do good, to take care with love for one another and be at the service of the community in which they live and work.
26 The Church looks with apprehension at the distrust of many young people to the marital commitment, suffers from the haste with which many of the faithful decide to put an end to the obligation assumed, instaurandone another. These faithful who belong to the Church in need of pastoral attention merciful and encouraging adequate separation situations. Young people should be encouraged to not hesitate baptized before the wealth that their projects of love procures the sacrament of marriage, the strong support they receive from the grace of Christ and the opportunity to participate fully in the life of the Church.
27 In this sense, a new dimension of family ministry today is to pay attention to the reality of civil marriages between men and women, in traditional marriages and, in due differences, even at cohabitation. When the union reached a remarkable stability through a public bond, is characterized by deep affection, from liability in respect of offspring, from the ability to pass the tests, can be seen as an opportunity to accompany the development of the sacrament of marriage. Very often instead coexistence is established not in view of a possible future marriage, but without any intention to establish an institutional relationship.
28 Complies with the merciful gaze of Jesus, the Church must accompany with attention and care his children are most vulnerable, wounded and marked by love lost, restoring hope and confidence, as the beacon light of a port or a torch carried in among the people to enlighten those who have lost their route or are in the midst of the storm. Aware that the greatest mercy is to tell the truth in love, we go beyond compassion. The merciful love, as it attracts and unites, so transforms and elevates. Invite to conversion. So in the same way we mean the attitude of the Lord, who does not condemn the adulterous woman, but asks her to sin no more (cf. Jn 8.1 to 11).
Comparison: pastoral perspectives
Proclaiming the Gospel of the family today, in various contexts
29 The dialogue focused on synodal some instances the most urgent pastoral to be entrusted to the realization in the individual local Churches in communion “cum Petro et sub Petro”. The proclamation of the Gospel of the family is an urgent need for a new evangelization. The Church is called to implement it with the tenderness of the mother and teacher of clarity (cf. Eph 4:15), in fidelity to the kenosis of the merciful Christ. The truth is embodied in the human frailty not to condemn, but to save it (cf. Jn 3:16 -17).
30 Evangelizing is the responsibility of the whole people of God, each according to his ministry and charism. Without the joyful witness of married couples and families, house churches, the proclamation, even if correct, is likely to be misunderstood or submerged in the sea of ​​words that characterizes our society (cf. NMI, 50). The Synod Fathers have repeatedly stressed that Catholic families in virtue of the grace of the sacrament wedding themselves are called to be active subjects of family ministry.
31 The decisive factor will be to emphasize the primacy of grace, and therefore the possibility that the Spirit gives the sacrament. It is to experience that joy is the gospel of the family that “fills your heart and your whole life,” because in Christ we are “freed from sin, from sorrow, from inner emptiness, isolation” (Gaudium Evangelii 1). In the light of the parable of the sower (Mt 13,3), our task is to cooperate in planting the rest is the work of God. Nor should we forget that the Church that preaches about the family is a sign of contradiction.
32 To achieve this requires the whole Church a missionary conversion: you must not stop at an ad purely theoretical and uncoupled from the real problems of the people. It should never be forgotten that the crisis of faith led to a crisis of marriage and the family, and as a result, it is often interrupted the transmission of the same faith from parents to children. Faced with a strong faith for the imposition of some cultural perspectives that weaken the family and the marriage has no effect.
33 The conversion is also that of language because it it is actually significant. The announcement has to experience that the Gospel of the family is answer to the deepest longings of the human person and his dignity to the full realization of reciprocity, in communion and fruitfulness. It is not only to present legislation but to propose values​​, responding to the need for them that is found today even in the most secularized countries.
34 The Word of God is the source of life and spirituality for the family. The whole family ministry must be modeled within and train members of the domestic Church through the prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture and the Church. The Word of God is not only good news for the private lives of individuals, but also a criterion of judgment and a light to the discernment of the various challenges faced by spouses and families.
35 At the same time many Synod Fathers have insisted on a more positive approach to the wealth of different religious experiences, not concealing the difficulties. In these various religious and cultural diversity which characterizes nations should first appreciate the positive possibilities and evaluate them in the light of limitations and shortcomings.
36 The Christian marriage is a vocation that is welcomed with adequate preparation in a journey of faith, with a mature discernment, and should not be considered only as a cultural tradition or social or legal requirement. Therefore need to be conducted paths that accompany the person and the family so that the disclosure of the contents of faith to unite the experience of life offered by the entire ecclesial community.
37 It has been repeatedly drawn to the need for a radical renewal of pastoral practice in the light of the gospel of the family, overcoming the optical individualistic that still characterize it. For this he has often insisted on the renewal of the formation of priests, deacons, catechists and other pastoral workers, through greater involvement of the same families.
38 It has also underlined the need for Evangelization members reporting frankly cultural conditioning, social, political and economic, as the excessive space given to the logic of the market, preventing a true family life, resulting in discrimination, poverty, exclusion and violence. To this must be developed dialogue and cooperation with social structures, and should be encouraged and supported the laity who are committed, as Christians, in the cultural and socio-political.
Driving the engaged in the process of preparation for marriage
39 The complex social reality and the challenges that the family is facing today require a greater commitment of the entire Christian community in the preparation of engaged couples for marriage. You need to remember the importance of virtue. Among them, the condition of chastity is valuable for growth genuine interpersonal love. About this need, the Synod Fathers were unanimous in stressing the need for greater involvement of the entire community focusing on the testimony of the same families, as well as a grounding of marriage preparation in the way of Christian initiation, emphasizing the relationship of marriage with baptism and the other sacraments. It has also highlighted the need for specific programs for the preparation for the marriage to be genuine experience of participation in ecclesial life, and deepen the various aspects of family life.
Accompany the first few years of married life
The first 40 years of marriage are a vital and delicate period during which couples grow in awareness of the challenges and significance of marriage. Hence the need for a pastoral accompaniment to continue after the celebration of the sacrament (cf. Familiaris Consortio, Part III). It is of great importance in this pastoral presence of married couples with experience. The parish is regarded as the place where experienced couples can be made ​​available to the younger ones, with the possible competition of associations, ecclesial movements and new communities. It should encourage the couple to a fundamental attitude of welcoming the great gift of children. Please note the importance of family spirituality, prayer and participation in the Sunday Eucharist, encouraging couples to meet regularly to promote the growth of the spiritual life and solidarity in concrete demands of life. Liturgies, devotions and Eucharistic celebrations for families, especially on the anniversary of marriage, were cited as vital to promote evangelization through the family.
Pastoral care of those who live in the civil marriage or cohabitation
41 While it continues to announce and promote the Christian marriage, the Synod also encourages the pastoral discernment of the situations of many who no longer live this reality. It is important to enter into dialogue with these pastoral people in order to highlight the elements of their lives that can lead to a greater openness to the Gospel of marriage in its fullness. Pastors need to identify elements that can promote evangelization and the human and spiritual growth. A new awareness of the pastoral care today is to grasp the positive elements present in civil marriages and, in due differences in institutional households. It is necessary that the proposal of the Church, while stating clearly the Christian message, we will also indicate structural elements in those situations that do not match or even not more to it.
42 It was also noted that in many countries a “growing number of couples living together experimentally, no marriage nor canon nor civil” (Working Paper, 81). In some countries, this is especially the case in traditional marriage, agreed between families and often celebrated in several stages. In other countries, on the other hand is growing the number of those having lived together for a long time calling for the celebration of marriage in the church. The mere cohabitation is often chosen because of the general mentality is contrary to the institutions and firm commitments, but also to the expectation of existential security (labor and fixed salary). In other countries, finally, de facto unions are very numerous, not only to the rejection of the values ​​of family and marriage, but also for the fact that marriage is perceived as a luxury, and social conditions, so that the material poverty pushing to live facto unions.
43 All of these situations need to be addressed in a constructive manner, trying to turn them into opportunities of moving toward the fullness of marriage and the family in the light of the Gospel. This is to reflect and accompany them with patience and gentleness. For this purpose it is important to witness attractive authentic Christian families as agents of evangelization of the family.
Caring for families wounds (separated, divorced and not remarried, divorced and remarried, single-parent families)
44 When the bride and groom are experiencing problems in their relationships, must be able to count on the help and coaching of the Church. The ministry of charity and mercy tend to the recovery of people and relationships. Experience shows that with proper help and with the action of the grace of reconciliation a large percentage of marital crises are overcome in a satisfactory manner. Knowing how to forgive and be forgiven is a fundamental experience in family life. Forgiveness between spouses allows you to experience a love that is forever and never goes out (cf. 1 Cor 13,8). Sometimes it is difficult, however, for those who have received God’s forgiveness have the strength to offer genuine forgiveness to regenerate the person.
45 In the Synod resounded a clear need for pastoral options courageous. Strongly confirming the fidelity to the Gospel of the family and recognizing that separation and divorce are always an injury that causes deep suffering to spouses and children who live there, the Synod Fathers have warned of the urgency of new pastoral programs, which start from the effective reality of the fragility of family, knowing that they are often more “suffered” with suffering that choice freely. Those situations are different factors, both personal and cultural and socio-economic factors. We need a differentiated look like St. John Paul II suggested (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 84).
46 Every family should first be listened to with respect and love making companions on the journey as the Christ with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Apply in a particular way for these situations the words of Pope Francis: “The Church will begin its members – priests, religious and laity – to this” art of accompaniment, “because everyone always learn to take off his shoes in front of the sacred land of ‘another (cf. Ex 3,5). We have to give way to our healthy pace of proximity, with a look of respectful and compassionate but at the same time healthy, free and encourage them to mature in the Christian life “(Gaudium Evangelii, 169).
47 A particular discernment is essential to accompany pastorally separated, divorced, abandoned. It should be welcomed and appreciated especially the suffering of those who have suffered unjustly separation, divorce or abandonment, or have been forced by ill-treatment of a spouse to break the cohabitation. Forgiveness for the injustice is not easy, but it is a journey that grace makes possible. Hence the need for a ministry of reconciliation and mediation also through specialized counseling centers to be established in the diocese. Likewise, should always be emphasized that it is essential to bear in a fair and constructive consequences of separation or divorce on children, in any case, the innocent victims of the situation. They can not be an “object” to contend and go look for the best ways for them to overcome the trauma of family separation and grow in a manner as possible serene. In any case, the Church must always emphasize the injustice that comes very often from the divorce situation. Special attention should be given to the accompaniment of single-parent families, in a particular way to be helped women who have to carry alone the responsibility of the home and raising children.
48 A large number of the Fathers stressed the need to make it more affordable and agile, possibly totally free, the procedures for the recognition of cases of nullity. Among the proposals were indicated: the overcoming of the need for two conforming decisions; the possibility of determining an administratively under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop; a summary trial to be undertaken in cases of nullity notorious. Some fathers, however, are opposed to these proposals because they would not provide a reliable assessment. It must be emphasized that in all these cases is ascertaining the truth about the validity of the bond. According to other proposals, should then be given the opportunity to give importance to the role of the faith of those to be married to the validity of the sacrament of marriage between baptized by holding that all marriages are valid sacrament.
Approximately 49 of the Matrimonial streamlining the procedure, required by many, in addition to the preparation of sufficient operators, clerical and lay with dedication priority, demands to emphasize the responsibility of the diocesan bishop, who in his diocese could hire consultants who properly prepared free will advise the parties on the validity of their marriage. This function can be performed by a qualified person or office (cf. Dignitas Connubii, art. 113, 1).
50. divorced but not remarried, which are often witnesses of marital fidelity, should be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the food that sustains them in their state. The local community and the pastors must accompany these people with care, especially when there are children or serious their situation of poverty.
51. situations of divorced and remarried require careful discernment and accompaniment of great respect, avoiding any language and attitude that makes them feel discriminated against and promoting their participation in community life. Caring for them is not for the Christian community to a weakening of his faith and his testimony about the indissolubility of marriage, rather it expresses itself in this its charity care.
[52 Have you considered the possibility that the divorced and remarried have access to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. A number of Synod Fathers have insisted in favor of the current rules in force of the fundamental relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church and its teaching on marriage indissoluble. Others were not generalized to welcome the Eucharistic table, in some special situations and under strict conditions, especially when it comes to cases irreversible and related to moral obligations towards their children that would suffer unjust sufferings. Any access to the sacraments should be preceded by a penitential under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop. It is still the issue in-depth, bearing in mind the distinction between the objective situation of sin, and extenuating circumstances, given that “the imputability or responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified” by various “psychological or social factors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735). [NOTE: This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 104 in favor, 74 against]]
[53 Some have argued that fathers are divorced and remarried or cohabiting may have recourse to the fruitful spiritual communion. Other fathers have wondered why then can not gain access to the sacraments. It then called for a deepening of the topic can bring out the peculiarities of the two forms and their connection with the theology of marriage. [This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 112 in favor, 64 against]]
54 The issues related to mixed marriages are often returned in the interventions of the Synod Fathers. The diversity of matrimonial discipline of the Orthodox Churches in some contexts poses problems on which you need to think in the ecumenical field. Similarly for interfaith marriages will be a major contribution to the dialogue with other religions.
The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation
[55 Some families live the experience of having their internal people with homosexual orientation. In this regard, we have questioned on pastoral care which is appropriate to deal with this situation by referring to what the Church teaches: “There is no foundation whatsoever to assimilate or to establish even remotely analogous, including same-sex unions and the plan of God for marriage and the family. “Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. “In their regard should be avoided every sign of unjust discrimination” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4). [NOTE: This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 118 in favor, 62 against]]
56 It is totally unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church suffer the pressures in this matter and that international bodies to condition financial aid to poor countries, the introduction of laws that establish the “marriage” between persons of the same sex.
The transmission of life and the challenge of falling birth rates
57 It is not difficult to see the spread of a mentality that reduces the generation of life to a variable of planning individual or couple. The economic factors exert a burden sometimes decisive contributing to the sharp decline in the birth rate, which weakens the social fabric, compromises the relationship between the generations and makes it look more uncertain about the future. Openness to life is an intrinsic requirement of conjugal love. In this light, the Church supports families who welcome, educate and affectionately surround their children with disabilities.
58 Even in this context, one must begin by listening to people and giving the reason for the beauty and truth of unconditional openness to life as what human love needs to be lived in fullness. It is on this basis that we can stand adequate teaching about natural methods for responsible procreation. It helps to live in a harmonious and conscious communion between the spouses, in all its dimensions, along with the responsibility generative. It should be re-discovered the message of the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI, which stresses the need to respect the dignity of the person in the moral evaluation of the methods of birth regulation. The adoption of children orphaned and abandoned, accepted as their own children, is a specific form of family apostolate (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, III, 11), repeatedly invoked and encouraged by the Magisterium (cf. Familiaris Consortio, III, II; Evangelium Vitae, IV, 93). The choice of foster care adoption and expresses a particular marital fertility experience, not just when it is marked by infertility. This choice is an eloquent sign of the family, an opportunity to witness to their faith and to restore dignity branch which has been private.
59. help you live the emotions, even in the marital bond as a journey of maturation, in ever deeper acceptance of others and in a donation ever fuller. It should be stressed in this context the need to offer training paths that feed into married life and the importance of the laity that provides an accompaniment made ​​of a living witness. It is a great help an example of a true and deep love made ​​of tenderness, respect, able to grow over time and in its concrete open to the generation of life is the experience of a mystery that transcends us.
The challenge of education and the family’s role in the evangelization
60 One of the key challenges facing families where they are today is definitely that of education, made more challenging and complex cultural reality of the present and of the great influence of the media. Must be taken into due account the needs and expectations of families to be in daily life, places of growth, practical and essential transmission of the virtues that give shape to existence. This indicates that parents can freely choose the kind of education to be given to children according to their beliefs.
61 The Church plays a valuable role in supporting families, starting with Christian initiation, through welcoming communities. It is asked today even more than yesterday, in complex situations such as in the ordinary ones, to support parents in their educational efforts, accompanying children and young people in their growth paths through customized capable of introducing the full meaning of life and elicit choices and responsibilities, lived in the light of the Gospel. Mary, in her tenderness, mercy, maternal sensitivity can feed the hunger of humanity and life, which is invoked by the families and by the Christian people. The pastoral care and a Marian devotion are a starting point should be to proclaim the Gospel of the family.

62 The ideas proposed, the result of the work of the synod held in great freedom and a way of listening to each other, intend to ask questions and give perspective to be gained and specified by the reflection of the local churches in the year that separates us by the Ordinary General of the Synod of Bishops scheduled for October 2015, dedicated to the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world. These are not easy decisions or perspectives. However, the way college of bishops and the involvement of the whole people of God under the action of the Holy Spirit, looking at the model of the Holy Family, will lead us to find ways of truth and mercy for all. It is the hope that from the beginning of our work Papa Francesco addressed to us by inviting us to the courage of faith and humble and honest acceptance of the truth in charity.



Take Action: Sign Petition to Pope, Synod Fathers to Defend the Faith

October 17, 2014

URGENT: Faithful Catholics concerned about the confusing and troubling messages coming out from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family are urged to sign a petition that will send an immediate message to Pope Francis and the Synod Fathers drafting the synod document in Rome. Below is the text of the petition. Click on the “Act Now” button to go directly to the petition page.


I am writing to respectfully ask for a clear statement from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family & the Holy Father that defends Catholic teaching around marriage & family and confirms the Catholic faith & practice regarding marriage. After reading the reports from the synod, I would ask that any statements or communications around the synod clearly address & articulate the following:

  1. No distinction between Catholic doctrine & Catholic discipline. It should be clear that Catholic discipline upholds doctrine, with no implications that Catholic moral practices have been or can be altered.
  2. Supporting and maintaining Jesus Christ’s teaching and Catholic doctrine that marriage is indissoluble; excluding proposals which undermine & contradict that teaching by making it easier to dissolve marriages.
  3. Commenting about sin, discipleship, taking up the cross, confession, conversion, and the path to salvation of souls by rejecting sin.
  4. Confirming the teaching of the Church that a chaste life is part of the good news of Jesus Christ.
  5. Affirming Church teaching that a homosexual inclination is disordered, and that homosexual acts are gravely contrary to chastity & the natural law. The synod should not suggest a homosexual inclination is to be embraced or praised.
  6. Avoiding distortion of the law of gradualness, and instead affirming the definition in ‘Familiaris Consortio’ that presupposes a definitive break from sin.
  7. Publishing summaries of each contributor’s paper & intervention, and making full texts available upon request.

St. Paul said, ‘Do not conform yourself to this world,’ and ‘neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers shall possess the kingdom of God.’ Catholic faithful need the synod to preserve the deposit of faith and maintain absolute fidelity to the received teachings of the Church. I would ask that you do everything possible to publicly defend & protect Catholic teaching around marriage & family life and avoid any comments in documents that suggest or imply Catholic moral teachings or practices have been altered or worked around.In Christ,

Click on this link or the Act Now button, just fill in your name on the form on the right side of the page, then click “Sign the Letter”, confirm your info is correct, and hit “Send emails” on the next page.

Please share this blog post with friends and family members, on Facebook, and to every faithful Catholic blogger and news source you can ASAP.  And please pray a Rosary tonight for the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the authentic teachings of the church and doctrine are in no way undermined by the synod.




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