Archbishop Dew says family synod freedom a welcome change

Archbishop John Dew has contrasted the freedom of speech prevailing at the synod on the family with the atmosphere at a past synod.

The Archbishop of Wellington told Vatican Radio that what is happening is very different from a synod on the Eucharist nine years ago.

“ . . . I talked [then] about the possibility of Communion for the divorced and remarried, and got a lot of criticism, and now at this synod, it is being spoken about openly, by many, many people.”

He said Pope Francis’s invitation to synod members to speak boldly and not to be afraid is creating a new dynamic.

The fact that topics like Communion for the divorced and remarried are even being discussed is giving people hope, the archbishop said.

But he dampened down any prospects of overnight changes flowing from the synod, saying there is a long way to go.

In an intervention last week, Archbishop Dew pressed for recognition that people come to moral perfection gradually.

This concept was mentioned St John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, the archbishop said.

“So what do we do to help people on this journey to God and particularly help people who are often in very difficult and complex family situations?” Archbishop Dew said on Vatican Radio.

In his intervention, he said some of the language used in Church documents – terms like “intrinsically evil”, “irregular situation” and “abortive mentality” – don’t help this process.

“[I] said we need to find a language that still speaks the truth of the Gospel and the truth of the doctrine, but makes it in such a way that it is not all about rules and sanctions, but it is about helping people find their way to God.”

Archbishop Dew is writing a daily blog about his synod experience.

An audio of his interview with Vatican Radio can be accessed here.


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