Difficult pastoral situations
· Under examination at the Synod of Bishops ·
“Difficult pastoral situations” and “pastoral challenges regarding openness to life” were at the centre of the 6th and 7th General Congregations of the Synod of Bishops, held on Wednesday evening, 8 October and then the following morning.
The order of the day included themes such as cohabitation, same-sex unions and access to the sacraments for separated and divorced couples who have remarried. The Synod Assembly has welcomed Pope Francis' invitation to speak honestly and to listen regarding these issues. During the discussion various lines of thought emerged; ones which, however, did not negate the indissolubility of marriage. Several proposals were made, especially regarding the need to streamline the canonical procedures for marriage annulments and to check the validity of many marriages celebrated in the Church.
Regarding the possible admission of remarried people to the Eucharist, the Synod Fathers gave detailed explanations for their reasoning. There was, again, a variety of opinions. Several stories were presented of people who live in conditions of suffering and it was recommended that the various situations be discerned so as not to have an “all-or-nothing” pastoral approach. It was a impassioned debate which also touched on mixed marriages and polygamy. The Synod Fathers also affirmed the need for a respectful and welcoming pastoral approach to homosexual persons which includes listening. Finally they underlined the importance of responsible mothers and fathers, in addition to natural birth control and to educating children.
St. Peter’s Square
Nov. 21, 2019
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