Mercy emphasis in synod working document

The working document for October’s synod on the family has affirmed the need for the Church to speak its message of mercy more clearly.

The Instrumentum Laboris was released by the Vatican on June 23.

It includes portions of the final document from the 2014 synod and is also informed by responses from bishops’ conferences and others to questions about marriage and family.

The working document tries to balance a sense of openness and mercy with criticism of modern societies and ways of life.

It calls for a style of communication open to dialogue and free from prejudice toward Catholics who do not appear to be living in accordance with Church teaching.

The Church’s role, it says, is to accompany families as Christ did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

“For the Church it’s about starting from the concrete situations of families of today, all are in need of mercy, beginning with those who suffer most.”

It acknowledges there was a “common agreement” among bishops for the discussion of some sort of new process to welcome divorced and remarried people.

The 78-page document mentions suggestions that there could be some sort of “penitential path” for people who have been divorced and remarried without first obtaining annulments, in order to allow them access to the sacraments.

But the document notes other opinions that such a path would require such people to refrain from having sex in their new relationships before they could take Communion.

Archbishop Bruno Forte, special secretary to the synod, said the gathering’s role is not to give a “yes or no” answer to the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion.

Rather, it is to reflect on the questions as bishops.

Elsewhere, the text says that diocesan pastoral plans should offer “accompaniment” to homosexual Catholics and their families.

While reaffirming the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, it says that people with homosexual tendencies must be treated with respect and sensitivity.

The working document covers a wide range of areas affecting family life.

Sources

News category: World.

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