Family synod could see radical moves, in line with tradition

The relator of the synod on the family says it is possible to find radical ways to address difficult pastoral problems and not infringe Church discipline.

The Crux website reported Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo saying the synod is a place for an honest discussion over the difficulties families face.

The cardinal said that legal and theological efforts are being made to find answers.

He warned, however, that “all the possible solutions will be rooted in the faith”.

Cardinal Erdo was questioned by reporters last week about the gap between teaching and practice, specifically on the Church’s ban on artificial contraception and on access to Communion for the divorced and the remarried.

The cardinal said this is nothing new, and has already been addressed by popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

“These pastoral problems exist, and they deserve a very delicate attention,” Cardinal Erdo said.

He insisted that a bishop’s work must be rooted in Church teaching, without disregarding the work done in the past.

“We need to make a list with the possible solutions that already exist, rooted in the faith,” he said.

The cardinal argued that it’s possible to find “radical” measures without setting aside the Church’s traditional discipline.

But Crux also reported him saying that talk of revisions on those fronts is the result of “a pressure with no foundation to change Church teaching”.

He said the tough questions surrounding the family are being confronted “with love and sensibility”, but also with “responsibility toward the unity of the Church”.

“We need to reason with a great sense of tradition, and a great sensibility toward the possibilities that are within the theological and institutional heritage,” Cardinal Erdo said.

He added that the theological foundations for the family and marriage are clear and “regarded as such” by Pope Francis.

Cardinal Erdo was relator-general – a type of chairman – at last year’s extraordinary synod on the family.

The ordinary synod on the family is scheduled for October.


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