Synod of bishops – The pastoral challenges of the family In the context of evangelisation

The Vatican has today published the results of the consultation it had requested bishops to make in preparation for the synod to be held in Rome on 05 Ootober. A group of 150 bishops will meet to discuss the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation.
Link to the full text  below and also the table of contents for your information.

Table of Contents
Part I
Communicating the Gospel of the Family in Today’s World

Chapter I
God’s Plan for Marriage and the Family

The Biblical Teaching on the Family (1-3)
The Family in the Documents of the Church
Chapter II
The Knowledge and Acceptance of the Teachings on Marriage and the Family from Sacred Scripture and Church Documents 
The Knowledge of the Bible on the Family (9-10) 
The Knowledge of the Documents of the Magisterium
The Necessity of Properly Prepared Clergy and Ministers
A Diversified Acceptance of Church Teaching
Some Reasons for the Difficulty in Acceptance
Fostering a Greater Knowledge of the Magisterium
Chapter III
The Gospel of the Family and the Natural Law

The Relation of the Gospel of the Family to the Natural Law (20)
Present-Day Problems Related to the Natural Law
Practical Objections to the Natural Law concerning the Union between a Man and a Woman
A Call for a Renewal in Terms of Language
Chapter IV
The Family and Vocation of the Person in Christ

The Family, the Person and Society (31-34)
In the Image of Trinitarian Life
The Holy Family of Nazareth and Learning to Love
The Differences, Reciprocity and Manner of Living as a Family
The Family and the Integral Development of a Person
Guidance in the Renewed Desire to Marry and Form a Family and the Related Crises
Ongoing Formation
Part II
The Pastoral Program for the Family in Light of New Challenges

Chapter I
The Pastoral Program for the Family: Various Proposals Underway

The Responsibility of Bishops and the Clergy and the Charismatic Gifts in the Pastoral Care of the Family (50)
Marriage Preparation
Popular Piety and a Familial Spirituality
Support for a Familial Spirituality
Testimony on Behalf of the Beauty of the Family
Chapter II
The Pastoral Challenges of the Family
a) The Crisis of Faith and Family Life
Pastoral Action in the Crisis of Faith (62-63)
b) Critical Situations within the Family
Difficulty in Relationships / Communication (64)
The Break-Up and Breakdown of Families
Violence and Abuse
Dependence, the Media and the Social Network
c) External Pressures on the Family
The Impact of Work on the Family (70-71)
Migration and the Family
Poverty and the Struggle for Subsistence
Consumerism and Individualism
Counter-Witness in the Church
d) Special Situations
The Weight of Societal Expectations on the Individual (76)
The Impact of Wars
Disparity of Cult
Other Critical Situations
Chapter III
Difficult Pastoral Situations

a) Situations in Families (80)
Cohabitation (81-82)
De facto unions (83-85)
Persons Separated, Divorced and Divorced and Remarried
Children and Those Who Are Alone
Teen Mothers
Situations of Canonical Irregularity
Concerning the Reception of the Sacraments
Other Requests
Concerning Separated and Divorced Persons
Streamlining the Processing of Marriage Cases
Pastoral Care in Difficult Situations
The Request for Marriage by Non-Practicing Catholics and Unbelievers
b) Concerning Unions of Persons of the Same Sex
Civil Recognition (110-112)
An Evaluation of the Particular Churches
Some Pastoral Guidelines
The Transmission of the Faith to Children in Same Sex Unions
Part III
An Openness to Life and Parental Responsibility in Upbringing

Chapter I
The Pastoral Challenges concerning an Openness to Life
Knowledge and Acceptance of the Magisterium concerning a Mentality of an Openness to Life (123-125)
Some Causes of Difficulty in Acceptance
Pastoral Recommendations
Concerning Sacramental Practice
Promoting a Mentality of an Openness to Life
Chapter II
The Church and the Family in the Challenge of Upbringing

a) The Challenge of Upbringing in General
The Challenge of Upbringing and the Family Today (132)
The Transmission of the Faith and Christian Initiation
Some Specific Difficulties
b) Christian Education in Difficult Family Situations (138)
An Overview of the Situation of Upbringing (139-140)
Requests Addressed to the Church
The Response of the Particular Churches
The Time and Manner of the Christian Initiation of Children
Some Specific Difficulties
Some Pastoral Guidelines
Conclusion (158-159)

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  1. Eddie Finnegan says:

    So who among the 150 Synod Members will begin his intervention with this schemata-dumping declaration on the Instrumentum Laboris? “We must help the Holy Father (Francis) achieve his goals for this Synod and next year’s, the ones he expresses at Domus Sancti Marthae and Copacabana . . .”
    But who am I to judge . . .?
    In October 1962, it was a German Jesuit Cardinal Augustin Bea (Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity) who launched his intervention: “We must help the Holy Father (John XXIII)achieve his goals for the Council, the ones he expresses in his radio messages and in his exhortations. These are not the same as those of the (10) schemas, either because the Theological Commission which directs them, is closed to the world and to ideas of peace, justice and unity; or because of the division of the work and a lack of co-ordination. They’ve made room for everything except the Holy Spirit . . .”
    Naturally, after a few minutes of that, both Ottaviani and Archbishop Lefebvre were fit to be tied. And the rest, at least for a brief window of hope, was Church history.

  2. Joe O'Leary says:

    I see that gays have been promoted from “those people” to “these people”!

  3. Sean O'Conaill says:

    Is there a cartoonist somewhere who could sketch all these mitred heads, with three speech bubbles overhead, from left to right:
    Bubble 1: “This is what married Catholics have told us about our teaching!”
    Bubble 2: “What should we do?”
    Bubble 3: “TEACH LOUDER!!!”

  4. Mary Cunningham says:

    For context of ‘these people’ (#3) see
    Chapter III
    Difficult Pastoral Situations
    b) Concerning Unions of Persons of the Same Sex
    Some Pastoral Guidelines
    116. ‘When considering the possibility of a ministry to these people, a distinction must be made between those who have made a personal, and often painful, choice and live that choice discreetly so as not to give scandal to others, and those whose behaviour promotes and actively — often aggressively — calls attention to it.’
    So ‘these people’ are better off to live ‘discreetly’. Secrecy, hiding the truth, fear of ‘scandal’, has the Vatican learned nothing? This mind set is not only ‘bonkers’ but downright dangerous bonkers for mental well-being.
    Have a look at this short documentary ‘Novena’ broadcast on 23/6/14

  5. Joe O'Leary says:

    Rome consulted the laity in a widely distributed questionnaire. But the laity did not realize that this was a cheap form of inquisition. Rome now have our “Dubia” and is giving its “Responsa” according to the time-honoured format of the Holy Office. The Responsa sound quite familiar — “Negative ad omnes questiones,” “non licet,” “omnino improbandum et habendum pro falso et damnato,” “errores gravissimae, haeresi proximae.” In short, another episode in the ever-popular long-running series, “Rome Says No”.

  6. Joe O'Leary says:

    Let’s hope Francis adds a lot of laity and women to the Synod personnel.

  7. Anthony Murphy says:

    @Sean – teach louder???? Do you mean the teaching will progress from silence to a whisper??

  8. Eddie Finnegan says:

    So does Cardinal Baldisseri’s synod secretariat include a Bea, a Liénart, a Frings, a Congar or even a young Ratzinger, with sense enough to advise him to bin his ‘instrumentum laboris’ in good time for someone to write a new one over the next three months?

  9. I think, Father Joe, that Pope Francis has accomplished as much change as he, alone, can do! I do not hold out hope for any more remarkable change….

  10. Joe O'Leary says:

    Darlene, if he cannot invite women and laity to sit in on the Synod, he must be a very weak pope indeed.

  11. I suspect Pope Francis is feeling physically taxed and perhaps, if there is much truth to there being resistance to him at the Vatican, then he might also be weary from opposing the negativity. I do believe, his faith is great and that he wanted to accomplish the overhaul, as he called it, but it just may not be possible.

  12. Reyanna Rice says:

    If you read this document keeping in mind the many key phrases Francis uses in his writings and speeches/homilies, getting past the initial negative verbiage of the document, in the later sections I see “Francis Fingerprints” throughout it, quite significantly so in some sections. Some of the wording comes directly out of his recent speeches. For example in one section, it talks about kids who are left to fend for themselves for long parts of the day. In his speech to the St Egidio community recently, Francis spoke many of these same words talking about these kids as virtual orphans. The document has a very herk-jerky feel to it because of this but I find great hope in the fact that the “Francis ” Fingerprints” are on it. He speaks about the many groups that are in the peripheries of the church for various reasons, socioeconomic reasons, life choice reasons etc. I think he is viewing the cohort of the world’s bishops, most of them, on the peripheries of the church in their thinking in relation to the rest of us who stand very close to Francis in his “big tent” vision of the church.

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