Broad themes emerge during family synod first week

Mercy towards those not following Church teaching is emerging as a prominent theme at the synod on the family.

According to a media briefing on Saturday, another prominent issue in the first week of synod discussions was the Church’s vision on the indissolubility of marriage.

Vatican Radio journalist Romilda Ferrauto told the briefing that the bishops are broadly presenting two schools of thought.

One is to think that before judging others “you must judge yourself, because we are always people that accuse others of weaknesses while we are not able to see our own”, Ms Ferrauto said.

The other is to speak clearly about negative aspects of modern life, she said.

Another spokesperson, Fr Thomas Rosica, said at the briefing that one synod prelate had said: “Mercy cannot be encountered unless it is measured against an eternal law.”

“One must seek truth in order to experience mercy,” Fr Rosica quoted that prelate.

Another synod prelate, Fr Rosica related, had said: “Unless we acknowledge openly people’s situations, we will not be able to address those situations clearly.”

“Mercy towards sinners is not a form of weakness, nor an abandonment of Church teaching,” Fr Rosica quoted that prelate.

“We have to learn how to speak the truth in love in many situations, because in many situations people are completely powerless over what has befallen them,” he said.

“And our communities of faith have to be communities that welcome people.”

English Cardinal Vincent Nichols told The Tablet that finding practical ways to support families and discovering a new language for the Church to talk about marriage have emerged as themes at the synod.

Participants spent the first week discussing the synod working document’s section titled “Listening to the challenges of the family”.

The second week will focus on “Discernment of the family vocation”.


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