Cardinal Dew tells synod of need to befriend families

In his intervention at the synod on the family in Rome, Cardinal John Dew reinforced the message that when families are struggling, they need friends.

In an interview with the Catholic News Service, Cardinal Dew said that during his intervention he quoted from a letter issued by the Oceania bishops in 1994.

Cardinal Dew said he told the assembly: “Surely, the Church needs to realise that we are there to be friends to people who are struggling or are in difficulty in any way.

“And even if there is something there which is against Church teaching, we put it in such a way that we’re being friendly to them, we’re being helpful to them and being supportive.

“It’s not denying any teaching or any doctrine, but saying, ‘Look, we’re here to help you, to work with you’.”

Cardinal Dew also spoke to CNS about his intervention at last year’s extraordinary synod.

“I said when we have documents, which talk about ‘intrinsically disordered’ (as the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes same-sex attraction) or being evil, that’s not going to help people.

“We have to find a way to express what the teaching actually says, but not putting it in ways that people feel they are being branded and they are being told that they are bad or evil,” the cardinal told CNS.

Cardinal Dew acknowledged that many bishops at the current synod have used their interventions to insist on the need to “protect Church teaching”.

Cardinal Dew’s small group at the synod went through the working document, he said, and one member suggested reading the text and every time it referred to “the family”, substituting the words, “our family”.

“We tried it for a couple of paragraphs and it made a difference because it made it real,” the cardinal said.

In recent blog posts and interviews, Bishop Charles Drennan of Palmerston North and Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane also emphasised the need for change in Church language around marriage and the family.

Church language was also a hot topic in some of the small group discussions in the synod’s second week.

Sources

News category: New Zealand.

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