just about a year ago I wrote a note here about an important Synod on the family that Pope Francis was to convene in October 2014. I invited folks to make their ideas and opinions known by answering an extensive Archdiocesan survey. Well, here we go again. This time, however, there is a lot more background material available—but no specific survey questions.
In October of this year the second session of the Pope Francis Synod on the Family will gather bishops and delegates from around the world in Rome to recommend various ways the Catholic Church should helping our families— including families struggling through a wide variety of sensitive situations. And, again, the Pope has asked “people in-the-pews” for their thoughts and suggestions.
At the Archdiocese’s website (Archchicago.org) right at the top of the first page is a section titled “Synod of the Bishops on the Family.” Click on that section and you will find a very long explanation of the issues to be considered next October in Rome along with additional explanations. I suggest you go to that site and scroll through to find sub-titles that interest you and read those over, then take some time to reflect before forming your ideas.
Here are just 6 very broad, summery questions I’ve cobbled together on a few of the most far-reaching and, likely, disputed issues to be dealt with at the Synod. Please—take a little time to write down your thoughts. The Synod needs “people in-the-pews” comments to be gathered this month so they can be complied for the bishops and delegates to study before their October meeting. If you answer one, some or all 6 questions and turn them in at Mass or to the rectory A.S.A.P, I will forward them to those responsible for gathering you responses either at Archdiocese, or Rome, or both. Your responses will be anonymous.
- The well-being of children, youth, adults and societies as a whole is intimately connected to the health, strength and happiness of families?
- How can and should the Church promote healthy family life and help families with their real-life problems?
- How can and should the Church better prepare couples who are planning to be married?
- In what ways can the Church practically and persuasively bring to individuals and to families at various stages of life the values taught by Jesus in the Gospel regarding generosity, dedication, forgiveness, hope and love?
- Many unmarried couples are in stable, loving, responsible unions and often, also, are deeply committed to raising their children. How can and should the Church best care for these families?
- How can and should the Church care for the spiritual and personal needs of the people who are divorced, divorced and remarried, and their children even when—for various reasons—an annulment of the previous marriage is not a viable option?
- How can and should the Church be sensitive, compassionate, just and respectful in caring for people in stable, loving, and committed homosexual unions?