Parish groups gather to further family synod discussions

The Archbishop of Paris has urged parishes in his diocese to form “synodal teams” to continue discussions launched by Pope Francis at the family synod.

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois wants these groups to report back to him by Pentecost.

He explained that the teams should have six to 12 members, chosen by priests with their parish council.

He wrote: “Married couples, single parents, widows or widowers . . . the main thing is that they can work together.”

The parish teams are to send him a report that focuses not on Church teaching about families, but on concrete problems that families face and what the diocese can do for them.

Last week, the English translation of the final report from the Synod on the Family became available.

This included the three paragraphs that did not get the traditional two thirds majority vote, but which were put into the final report by Pope Francis anyway, as well as the voting tallies.

A note at the end of the document stressed it was a work in progress that looked forward to next October’s larger synod.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told media that: “The doors are open – wider than they have ever been since the Second Vatican Council.”

Cardinal Marx, who is a member of the Pope’s advisory council of cardinals added: “Francis wants to get things moving.”

He said it was the Pope’s explicit wish that ordinary Catholics take part in the reform process.

The cardinal said: “We are all Church together and we want to move ahead together on this way forward, so ‘Avanti’, as Pope Francis always says.”

Synod secretary-general Cardinal Lorenzo Baldissieri told British lawmakers that “a very important aspect of the Church’s life is based on our understanding that the Spirit of the Risen Christ is given to all the baptised”.

“Synods are not about taking a poll or voting in a democratic way on Church teaching and practice, but they embody a humble openness to the fact that the Lord is leading the pilgrim Church through the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said.


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