Married couples to address bishops at family synod

Married couples will have a prominent role in the upcoming synod on the family, the event’s organiser has revealed.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary general of the synod, said that married couples will address the gathering immediately after each topic is opened by a bishop.

The synod runs from October 5-19 in Rome and Pope Francis has streamlined its operation.

Each day will deal with a theme from the Instrumentum Laboris, a working document on the synod that was published on June 26.

Topics will include polygamy and abandoned women, but are also expected to cover the challenges posed by the Church’s teaching on contraception and abortion in modern society.

The cardinal told the agency Rome Reports: “We will discuss the problems that have also been highlighted by the media, regarding failed marriages, separations, divorces, etc.

“The topics that are relevant to the West, are much more sensitive without a doubt.

“But I would like to point out that each continent has its own specific issues.”

Speeches by bishops will be limited to a maximum of four minutes.

At the end of each day, there will be one hour of open debate, but each participant will be allowed to speak only once a day.

Small group sessions will make up most of the second half of the synod and are meant to be the heart of the gathering.

National Catholic Reported editor Dennis Coday expects Pope Francis will be actively involved as president of the synod.

“When Pope John Paul II attended synod assemblies, he was known to pray his breviary,” Coday wrote.

“Pope Benedict XVI was a quiet observer. Francis, on the other hand, at meetings likes to engage speakers with questions, jokes and comments.”

Coday wrote that this synod will discuss the lived experiences of families today.

It is expected to produce a summary report be sent to dioceses around the world in preparation for another synod next year.

“Any changes to Church practices on marriage and family life will come not this year, but next,” Coday wrote.

He quoted Rome reporter Robert Mickens who stated: “Francis has repeatedly said he wants to develop the Synod of Bishops as one of the major components for the governance of the universal Church”.


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