Sunday, 8 November 2015

Something the Synod said (1)....

I have been waiting patiently for an English translation to appear on the Vatican website of the final relatio of the recent Synod of Bishops dedicated to the family. Alas, patience has not yet been rewarded, so I am having to start a systematic reading of the Italian (though that appears to be courtesy of the L'Osservatore Romano).  UPDATE: Just after posting, I have found a "working English translation" at the website of Lancaster Diocese, courtesy of Bishop Campbell, and have substituted his translation for mine.

In the very first paragraph - a preamble - we find the Synod Fathers saying (Bishop Campbell's translation, and my own emphasis added):
We thank the Lord for the generous fidelity with which so many Christian families respond to their vocation and mission, even in the face of obstacles, misunderstandings and sufferings. To these families go the encouragement of the whole Church, which united to its Lord and guided by the action of the Spirit, knows that it has a word of truth and of hope to offer to all people. Pope Francis recalled this in the celebration which opened the last stage of this synodal journey dedicated to the family: “God has not created human beings to live in sadness or solitude, but to share their journey with another person to complement them…..It is the same plan which Jesus..…sums up in these words:”From the beginning of creation (God) made them male and female; for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and the two will become a single flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mk.10;6-8; CF. Gen. 1:27; 2:24)” God “unites the hearts of a man and a woman who are in love, bonding them in unity and indissolubility. This means that the object of married life is not only to live together for ever, but to love each other for ever! Jesus therefore re-establishes the original and originating order (…..) only in the light of the folly of the gratuitousness of the paschal love of Jesus does the folly of the gratuitousness of a single married life until death make sense” (homily of the opening Mass of the Synod, 4th October 2015).
 A bit by accident, I noticed something else. It is easy to pick up the idea of "accompaniment" for those who are suffering breakdown in their marriages and have perhaps entered into new relationships and see this as in some way a derogation from the integrity of marriage. This is particularly true when our own ecclesial experience does not include knowledge of ministries of accompaniment that already exist in different parts of the Church. But there are such ministries already active in different countries and movements. If we are familiar with these ministries, the words of the Synod Fathers about "accompaniment" take on a different light.

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