Archbishop Dew summarises synod on family

Archbishop John Dew says the discussion at and after the synod on the family is ultimately about people’s lives and it is clear that people are hurting.

In a summary statement on the synod, Archbishop Dew said “if the Church is to be a mother that consoles, encourages, reaches out, supports it must listen to what is emerging from the discussion”.

But the Archbishop of Wellington noted that things will not change overnight and that the synod is only the start of a process.

He recalled that in the days before leaving for Rome he was astounded at the messages he received, offering prayerful support and expressing hope and enthusiasm about the synod.

“This hasn’t happened before previous synods,” he said, noting how the issues were very important to people.

The archbishop said his own intervention on behalf of the New Zealand Church “focussed on the need for Church language to be changed so that it gave people hope and encouragement”.

“To find a language that speaks the truth of the Gospel, but in a way that doesn’t make them simply sanctions, but draws people to God.”

He also noted that the concept of graduality, which was much discussed at the synod, did not refer to graduality of doctrine, faith or morals.

“It recognises that none of us are perfect, but we’re all on a journey, so what are we doing to help (or hinder) others on that journey, who are often in very difficult and complex family situations?” he asked.

Archbishop Dew said the fact that the topic of homosexuality was discussed so openly at the synod was a “change from previous discussions”.

His highlight for the whole synod was the presentation by Pope Francis before the closing Mass.

This address received a five-minute standing ovation.

“I highly recommend people reading his speech . . . , it is available online and I know I will be meditating on it for a long time to come.”

Sources

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