Feeds Media Cova - a network of artists and artisans building Catholic culture http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds.html Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:54:54 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Synod fathers seek seeds of truth in every family home http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3825-synod-fathers-seek-seeds-of-truth-in-every-family-home.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3825-synod-fathers-seek-seeds-of-truth-in-every-family-home.html

(Vatican Radio) Synod participants moved another step closer to the conclusion of their two week meeting on Thursday as the results of their small working groups were made public. Church leaders and lay experts in the 10 Circoli Minori, as they’re called, have been poring over the text of a working document on the challenges facing families in the context of evangelisation. Joining Fr Federico Lombardi and his assistants at the press office to explain the next stage of the proceedings was Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, as Philippa Hitchen reports.....

Listen: 

A “key day” in the life of this Synod was how Fr Lombardi described the discussion on Thursday morning as leaders of the 10 language groups (3 in English and Italian, 2 in French and Spanish) presented the fruits of their labours that have been so closely scrutinised by the world’s press. Each group has worked hard to suggest improvements or amendments to be included in a final Synod document that will be discussed and voted on by the whole assembly on Saturday. While certain parts of the media have been depicting a bitter conflict between the so-called traditional and more reform-minded bishops, Canadian Fr Tom Rosica said the sincere and honest discussions have been a vital part of the Pope’s desire for a reform of the Church’s decision making process.

“What I saw this morning was remarkable….people talked very openly and it was an important part of the renewal of the synodal process…”

But what exactly does that reform mean and will this first Synod of the Francis era lead to substantial changes in the Church’s teaching and practice on marriage and family life? Not changes, said Cardinal Schonborn, but a development of doctrine that has always taken place as the Church struggles to face the new challenges of people living in the modern world. Pope Francis, he said, is inviting us to "pastoral conversion" in a Church that is fast becoming a minority in many European countries, just as it is in other parts of the world. That requires the courage to go out of our churches and into the streets, treating all people with respect and welcome, rather than judging  their domestic arrangements or sexual orientation….

“We first look at the person and not at the sexual orientation………….and when the catechism or the document speaks about accoglienza (welcome) this is a basic human and Christian behaviour. But the respect for every human person does not mean respect for every human behaviour”

Cardinal Schonborn also spoke in very personal terms of his experience of suffering as the son of divorced parents, as well as his admiration for the exemplary love and care shown by a gay couple he knows back in his home city of Vienna. The task of the Church, he reminded journalists, is to seek positive seeds of truth in every situation, not peering anxiously behind bedroom doors, but embracing the love that can found in the living rooms of every family home.

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:21:45 +0000
Synod groups work to fine tune document on family life http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3826-synod-groups-work-to-fine-tune-document-on-family-life.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3826-synod-groups-work-to-fine-tune-document-on-family-life.html

(Vatican Radio) Participants at the Synod on the Family continued their work in small language groups on Wednesday, offering amendments or additions to their working document made public earlier this week. At the daily briefing to report on this “work in progress”, the head of the Holy See press office Fr Federico Lombardi was joined by the head of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, by Spanish Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach and by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation. Philippa Hitchen reports:

Listen 

Several bishops I spoke to at the Synod Hall this morning told me they’d been “battling on” to try and find consensus over the most difficult issues of family life and relationships raised in their mid-term report.

At the press conference however, the three speakers were keen to underline the spirit of “communion, fraternity and pastoral concern” which they say is pervading the 10 ‘circoli minori’ or small language groups. These include bishops, religious and lay experts, as well as representatives from eight other Christian Churches, all called to share their perspectives on how the Church can best uphold family values while reaching out to those living in so-called ‘irregular situations’. …

We hope our work will contribute to improved pastoral document…..”

Archbishop Kurtz told journalists about three areas of change that participants in his English language group are hoping to introduce…

One would be to highlight the important witness of sacrificial, loving families today…..second would be to make sure our words are welcoming and come from the heart…and the third would be to make sure our pastoral outreach is located in the beauty of Scripture and Church teaching.

But alongside changes of tone or emphasis, there are some specific points which Synod Fathers are keen to bring into the final report from these two weeks’ work.

Archbishop Fisichella said his Italian language group wants the Church to be clear that the annulment process for those seeking to show the invalidity of their marriage must be free and not just work for those who can afford to pay. Another important issue, he said, is the large number of families who choose to adopt children if they are unable to have their own, displaying an important gesture of love which must the Church must not forget.

Some journalists at the briefing asked about the impact of lobby groups who’ve converged on Rome to try and influence the bishops and others meeting inside the Synod Hall. That’s not an issue right now, they were told, but don’t forget this is a discussion which will continue in dioceses around the world throughout the coming year, until the Ordinary Synod on the Family which will be held back here in the Vatican at this same time next year.

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:21:43 +0000
Pope at Santa Marta: In praise of God http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3827-pope-at-santa-marta-in-praise-of-god.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3827-pope-at-santa-marta-in-praise-of-god.html

(Vatican Radio) It’s easy to pray for a grace, it’s far more difficult to pray in praise of the Lord, but this is the prayer of true joy, said Pope Francis at Mass Thursday morning in Santa Marta.

Reflecting on St Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, which joyfully elevates a prayer of blessing to God, the Pope noted that this is something “we don’t normally do”: Instead giving "praise to God is pure gratuity" and in doing so we enter into "a great joy".

"We know very well how to pray when we want to ask for things, even when we want to thank the Lord, but a prayer of praise is a bit more difficult for us: we are not used to praising the Lord. We can do this better by remembering all of the things that the Lord has done for us in our lives: 'In Him - in Christ - He chose us before the creation of the world'. Blessed are you, Lord, because You chose me! It is the joy of a paternal and tender closeness”.

"Prayers of praise" - he continued - bring us this joy, [the joy of ] being happy before the Lord. Let’s make a real effort to rediscover this!”. However, continued Pope Francis the "starting point" is "remembering” this choice: "God chose me before the creation of the world”.

"This is impossible to understand or even imagine: The fact that the Lord knew me before the creation of the world, that my name was in the Lord’s heart.  This is the truth! This is the revelation! If we do not believe this then we are not Christian!  We may be steeped in a theist religiosity, but not Christian! The Christian is a chosen one, the Christian is someone who has been chosen in God’s heart before the creation of the world. This thought also fills our hearts with joy: I am chosen! It gives us confidence".

"Our name - said the Pope - is in God’s heart, is in God’s bowels, just as the baby is inside its mother. Our joy lies in our being elected". Pope Francis continued that we cannot understand this with our head alone. [We cannot understand this] even with our heart. To understand this we must enter into the Mystery of Jesus Christ. The Mystery of His beloved Son: 'He has poured out his blood for us in abundance, with all wisdom and intelligence, making known to us the mystery of His will'. And this is a third attitude to have: entering into the Mystery ":

"When we celebrate the Eucharist, we enter into this Mystery, that one cannot fully understand: the Lord is alive, He is with us, here, in His glory, in all His fullness and gives His life for us once again. We must learn this attitude of entering into the Mystery every day. The Christian is a woman, a man, who endeavors to enter into the Mystery. The Mystery cannot be controlled: this is the Mystery! I enter [into it]".

A prayer of praise – concluded the Pope - is therefore first and foremost a "prayer of joy", then a "prayer of remembrance: ‘How much the Lord has done for me! How tenderly He has accompanied me, how he has lowered Himself: like a father bows down over a child to help him walk”.  And finally a prayer to the Holy Spirit that we may receive the grace “to enter into the Mystery, especially when we celebrate the Eucharist".

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:21:43 +0000
Conference planned to mark anniversary of restoration of the Sistine Chapel http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3828-conference-planned-to-mark-anniversary-of-restoration-of-the-sistine-chapel.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3828-conference-planned-to-mark-anniversary-of-restoration-of-the-sistine-chapel.html

(Vatican Radio)  It has been 20 years since the restoration of Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel was completed and unveiled.  It was the final chapter in a painstaking restoration of the entire chapel which began in 1980.

To mark this anniversary, the Vatican Museums are hosting a two-day international conference on October 30-31 called “The Sistine Chapel 20 years later: New breath, new light.”

The details were discussed at a press conference in the Vatican on Thursday.

The two-day conference will be divided into five sections which will examine the current state of  frescoes, as well as new methods being taken to protect the priceless artistic treasure.

“We could only honor the anniversary  with  an exhibition, or a series of lectures by the top specialists in the world. Instead,  thought it better to deliver a more lasting memorial, as opposed to something ephemeral,” said Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums.

“We are going to protect, from a climatological point of view, Michelangelo’s greatest masterpiece, as well as giving it proper lighting,” he said.

Paolucci explained the Sistine Chapel receives 6 million visitors a year, with as many as 20,000 in a day.  He said this requires required a “radical intervention” to allow for air circulation, dust suppression, and temperature-humidity control.   

The US-based company CARRIER will provide a state-of-the-art heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system for the Sistine Chapel, specially designed to address the challenges of protecting Michelangelo’s masterpieces against deterioration.

In addition, THE OSRAM lighting company will be retrofitting the chapel with LED-based fixtures to highlight the frescoes. The project will involve custom-designed fixtures optimized for beam control and with a color spectrum that will highlight the pigmentation in the frescoes.

Paolucci said without the new HVAC  system, there might be a “dangerous drift” preventing the proper preservation of the frescos.  He also praised the proposed lighting system, calling it “non-invasive” and “respectful  of the complex reality” of the iconography displayed in the Sistine Chapel.

As for the restoration completed 20 years ago, the Director of the Vatican Museums said it has stood the test of time.

 “How can we forget the furious controversy that accompanied this great project? “ Paolucci asked. “Today, no one questions it, and everyone recognizes that it was scientifically exemplary -  and a technically impeccable -  endeavor, probably the most important and happiest of the 20th century.”

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:34:43 +0000
Twelfth General Congregation: evaluation and suggestions based on the post-discussion report http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3829-twelfth-general-congregation-evaluation-and-suggestions-based-on-the-post-discussion-report.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3829-twelfth-general-congregation-evaluation-and-suggestions-based-on-the-post-discussion-report.html Vatican City, 16 October 2014 (VIS) – The twelfth General Congregation included the presentation, in the Assembly, of the Reports of the ten Small Groups, divided according to language: two in French, three in English, three in Italian and two in Spanish. In general, the Small Groups presented both an evaluation of the “Relatio post disceptationem” (RPD), a provisional document published at the midway point during the Synod, as well as proposals to incorporate in the “Relatio Synodi” (RS), the definitive and conclusive document of the Assembly.

Firstly, some perplexity was voiced regarding to the publication, although legitimate, of the RPD since, it was said, this is a working document that does not express an opinion shared univocally by all the Synod Fathers. Therefore, after expressing their appreciation of the work involved in drawing up the text and regarding its structure, the Small Groups presented their suggestions.

It was first underlined that in the RPD there is a focus on the concerns of families in crisis, without broader reference to the positive message of the Gospel of the family or to the fact that marriage as a sacrament, an indissoluble union between man and woman, retains a very current value in which many couples believe. Therefore, the hope was expressed that the RS may contain a strong message of encouragement and support for the Church and for faithful married couples.

Furthermore, it was remarked that it is essential to underline more clearly the doctrine on marriage, emphasising that it is a gift from God. It was further proposed that elements not contained in the RPD be integrated in the RS, such as the theme of adoption, expressing the hope that bureaucratic procedures be streamlined, both at national and international levels, and also the themes of biotechnology and the spread of culture via the internet, which may condition family life, as well as a note regarding the importance of policies in favour of the family.

In addition, it was said that greater attention should be paid to the presence of the elderly within families, and to families who live in conditions of extreme poverty. The grave problems of prostitution, female genital mutilation and the exploitation of minors for sexual purposes and for labour were denounced. It is important, it was said, to underline the essential role of families in evangelisation and in the transmission of faith, highlighting their missionary vocation. Overall, the aim is to offer a balanced and global idea of the “family” in a Christian sense.

With regard to difficult family situations, the Small Groups highlighted that the Church should be a welcoming home for all, in order that no-one feel refused. However, greater clarity was advocated, to avoid confusion, hesitation and euphemisms in language, regarding for example the law of gradualness, so that it does not become gradualness of the law. Various Groups, furthermore, expressed perplexity regarding the analogy made with paragraph 8 of “Lumen Gentium”, inasmuch as this could give the impression of a willingness on the part of the Church to legitimise irregular family situations, even though these may represent a phase in the itinerary towards the sacrament of marriage. Other Groups expressed their hope for a more in-depth focus on the concept of “spiritual communion”, so that it may be evaluated and eventually promoted and disseminated.

With regard to possibility of divorced and remarried persons partaking in the sacrament of the Eucharist, two main perspectives emerged: on the one hand, it was suggested that the doctrine not be modified and to remain as it is at present; on the other, to open up the possibility of communication, with an approach based on compassion and mercy, but only under certain conditions. In other cases, furthermore, it was suggested that the matter be studied by a specific interdisciplinary Commission. Greater care was suggested in relation to divorced persons who have not remarried, and who are often heroic witnesses of conjugal fidelity. At the same time, an acceleration of the procedures for acknowledging matrimonial nullity and the confirmation of validity was advocated; furthermore, it was emphasised that children are not a burden but rather a gift from God, the fruit of love between spouses.

A more “Christ-centric” orientation was required, as well as clearer emphasis of the link between the sacraments of marriage and baptism. The vision of the world must be one which passes through the lens of the Gospel, to encourage men and women to the conversion of the heart.

Furthermore, it was emphasised that, despite the impossibility of equating marriage between a man and a woman with homosexual unions, persons of this orientation must receive pastoral accompaniment and their dignity must be protected, without however implying that this may indicate a form of approval, on the ...]]> Feeds Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:13:00 +0000 At the General Audience Pope Francis speaks of the Church awaiting the meeting with her Spouse http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3830-at-the-general-audience-pope-francis-speaks-of-the-church-awaiting-the-meeting-with-her-spouse.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3830-at-the-general-audience-pope-francis-speaks-of-the-church-awaiting-the-meeting-with-her-spouse.html “The Church is called to become a city, the symbol par excellence of human coexistence and relatedness” where “there will no longer be isolation, dishonesty or distinctions of a social, ethnic or religious nature”. These concepts were highlighted by Pope Francis at the General Audience on Wednesday, 15 October, in St Peter’s Square. After his reflections dedicated to the Church, the Pontiff spoke of the expectation of a bride meeting her spouse. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s address, which he spoke in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good morning,

During this period we have spoken of the Church, of our Holy Mother hierarchical Church, the People of God on the journey. Today we would like to ask ourselves: at the end, what will happen to the People of God? What will happen to each of us? What should we expect? The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians of the Thessalonian community, who were asking themselves these questions, and after his explanation they said these words, which are among the most beautiful of the New Testament: “And so we shall always be with the Lord”! (1 Thes 4:17). They are simple words, but laden with such great hope! It is emblematic that John, prophesying in the Book of Revelation, describes the final, definitive dimension in terms of the “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rv 21:2). That is what awaits us! This, then, is who the Church is: she is the People of God who follows the Lord Jesus and who prepares herself day by day for the meeting with Him, as a bride with her spouse. And this is not just an expression: there will be actual nuptials! Yes, because Christ, by becoming a man like us and making us all one with him, with his death and his Resurrection, he truly wedded us and constituted us, as a people, his bride. This is none other than the fulfilment of the plan of communion and of love woven by God throughout history, the history of the People of God and also the very history of each one of us. It is the Lord who is in the lead.

There is another aspect, however, which further comforts us and which opens the heart: John tells us that in the Church, the Bride of Christ, the “new Jerusalem” is made visible. This means that the Church, in addition to bride, is called to become a city, the symbol par excellence of human coexistence and relatedness. How beautiful, then, already being able to contemplate, according to another very suggestive image of Revelation, all people and all peoples gathered together in this city, as in a tent, “the tent of God” (cf. Rv 21:3)! And in this glorious framework there will no longer be isolation, prevarication or distinctions of any kind — of a social, ethnic or religious nature — but we will all be one in Christ.

In sight of this wonderful and unprecedented scene, our heart cannot help feeling strongly confirmed in hope. You see, Christian hope is not simply a desire, a wish, it is not optimism: for a Christian, hope is expectation, fervent expectation, impassioned by the ultimate and definitive fulfilment of a mystery, the mystery of God’s love, in which we are born again and are already experiencing. And it is the expectation of someone who is coming: it is Christ the Lord approaching ever closer to us, day by day, and who comes to bring us at last into the fullness of his communion and of his peace. The Church then, has the task of keeping the lamp of hope burning and clearly visible, so that it may continue to shine as a sure sign of salvation and it may, for all humanity, illuminate the path which leads to the encounter with the merciful face of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, here then is what we are awaiting: Jesus’ return! The Church as bride awaits her Spouse! We must ask ourselves, however, with total sincerity: are we truly luminous and credible witnesses to this expectation, to this hope? Do our communities still live in the sign of the presence of the Lord Jesus and in the warm expectation of his coming, or do they appear tired, sluggish, weighed down by fatigue and resignation? Do we too run the risk of exhausting the oil of faith, and the oil of joy? Let us be careful!

Let us invoke the Virgin Mary, Mother of Hope and Queen of Heaven, that she may always keep us alert, listening and expectant, so that we may, already now, be permeated by Christ’s love and to one day take part in the unending joy, in the full communion of God. Always remember, never forget: “and so we shall always be with the Lord”! (1 Thes 4:17).

]]>
Feeds Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:13:04 +0000
Synod concludes first phase of debate on family life http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3819-synod-concludes-first-phase-of-debate-on-family-life.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3819-synod-concludes-first-phase-of-debate-on-family-life.html

(Vatican Radio) Bishops and lay experts attending the Synod on the Family are coming to the end of their first week’s work and moving into their different language discussion groups for the second phase of their meeting.  With Pope Francis present at almost every session, a vast variety of family issues have been under the spotlight over the past five days. At the briefing for journalists in the Vatican press office on Friday, Fr Lombardi and his assistants were joined for the first time by three lay experts, Jocelyne Khoueiry, from the Lebanese bishops’ commission for family and life, and Alice and Jeffrey Heinzen, advisors on natural family planning to the U.S. bishops’ conference, as Philippa Hitchen reports:

Listen: 

Supporting children of separated families, reaching out to the widowed and lonely, and accompanying couples searching for reconciliation and healing in their lives. Those are some of the practical questions being discussed in the Synod Hall by participants who’ve come from all corners of the globe to share their perspectives on the problems facing family life today. Central to these debates are the very real experiences of men and women serving as experts and auditors. People like Jocelyne Khoueiry, a former leader of a female Christian militia group during Lebanon’s civil war and founder of an organisation for lay women in her country.

We fought in the past,” she said, “to protect our sovereignty and our country but now we’re fighting to rebuild our culture and our identity, based on the values and principles that we have always dreamed  of.”

Those values include the central role of the family as the foundation of society. But how can the Church also reach out to men and women whose marriages have broken down? How can it help children of separated families, learning to deal with new parental figures in their lives? For the first time today I also heard how the Church needs to be more attentive to those who are widowed, a condition that will effect one member of every couple at some point in their lives.

Another hot button issue that emerged from the questionnaires ahead of this Synod was family planning and the very high numbers of Catholics who ignore the Church’s ban on artificial methods of contraception. Alice and Jeffrey Heinzen urged couples to look again at the advantages of natural methods of fertility regulation, which they say can now prove up to 99% effective, if they are properly understood and practised

“You know there has been so much new research since 1968 when Humanae Vitae was first introduced…..it’s time for couples to take a second look…..when we step aside from the faith part, the practical side of a husband and wife understanding more about their fertility… when I’ve talked to men over the years…..the level of trust raises to a different level….why would you not want to have some information that can keep your wife happy all the time?

After a summing up session on Monday morning, participants now move into 10 smaller groups where they must try and reach some agreement to be presented at the end of this 2 week meeting. But as Canadian Fr Tom Rosica underlined, this meeting may be less about results and more about the radical new listening method that Pope Francis has introduced. 

"The opennes, the dialogue, the discussions....and also the listening style of Pope Francis have caused something new to come about."

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:52:54 +0000
Pope Francis: Make an examination of conscience http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3820-pope-francis-make-an-examination-of-conscience.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3820-pope-francis-make-an-examination-of-conscience.html

(Vatican Radio) To prevent evil from entering into our hearts, there is an ancient, but very good, practice: the examination of conscience. That was Pope Francis’ message during the morning homily Friday at Santa Marta.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

The Gospel of the day reminds us that the devil always comes back to us; he never stops tempting man. “The devil has patience,” Pope Francis said. “He never leaves that which he wants for himself,” that is, our souls:

“After the temptations, in the desert, when Jesus was tempted by the devil, in Luke’s version it says that the devil left Him for a time, but during the life of Jesus he returned again and again: when they put Him to the test, when they tried to trap Him, in the Passion, finally on the Cross. ‘But if you are the Son of God… but you come, you come from us, so we cannot believe.’ And we all know that these words touch the heart: ‘But can you do it? Let me see! No, you can’t.’ That’s how the devil even to the end [dealt] with Jesus… and likewise with us.”

We need to guard our hearts, where the Holy Spirit dwells, the Pope said, “so that other spirits do not enter. To guard the heart, as a house is guarded, with a key.” And then to watch the heart, like a sentinel: “How often,” he asked, “do wicked thoughts, wicked intentions, jealousy, envy enter in? So many things that enter in. But who has opened that door? Where do they enter from? If I do not realize [how much] enters into my heart, my heart becomes a piazza, where everything comes and goes. A heart without intimacy, a heart where the Lord cannot speak and cannot even be heard.”

“And Jesus says something else here – doesn’t He? – that sounds a little strange: ‘He who does not gather with me scatters.’ He uses the word ‘to gather.’ To have a gathering heart, a heart in which we know what happens, and here and there you can perform a practice as old as the Church, but good: the examination of conscience. Who of us, at night, at the end of the day, remains by himself, by herself, and asks the question: what happened today in my heart? What happened? What things have passed through my heart? If we don’t do this, we have truly failed to know how to watch and guard [our hearts] well.”

The examination of conscience “is a grace, because to guard our heart is to guard the Holy Spirit, Who is within us”:

“We know – Jesus says clearly – that the devil always returns. Even at the end of life, He, Jesus, gives us an example of this. And to guard, to watch, so that the demons don’t enter in, we must be able to gather ourselves, that is, to stand in silence before ourselves and before God, and at the end of the day ask ourselves: ‘What happened today in my heart? Did anyone I don’t know enter? Is the key in its place?’ And this will help us to defend ourselves from so much wickedness, even from that which we could do if these demons, who are very clever and at the end would cheat all of us, even if they enter.” 

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:52:51 +0000
Synod issues message to families in conflict zones http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3821-synod-issues-message-to-families-in-conflict-zones.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3821-synod-issues-message-to-families-in-conflict-zones.html

(Vatican Radio) The Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops issued a message on Friday for families who suffer as a result of conflicts. Below is the Vatican Information Services English translation of the message.  

 

Message of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for families who suffer as a result of conflicts

Gathered around the Successor of the Apostle Peter, we the Synod Fathers of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, along with all participants, share the paternal concern of the Holy Father, expressing our profound closeness to all the families who suffer as a consequence of the many conflicts in progress.

In particular, we raise to the Lord our prayers for Iraqi and Syrian families, forced on account of their profession of the Christian faith or their belonging to other ethnic or religious communities, to abandon everything and flee towards a future without any form of certainty. We join with the Holy Father Francis in emphasizing that “no-one may use the name of God to commit violence”, and that “To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege!” (Address to leaders of other religions and other Christian denominations, Tirana, 21 September 2014).

Offering thanks to international organisations and countries for their solidarity, we invite persons of good will to offer the necessary assistance and aid to the innocent victims of the current barbarism, and at the same time we implore the international community to act to re-establish peaceful coexistence in Iraq, in Syria, and in all the Middle East.

Equally, our thoughts go to those families that are torn apart and suffering in other parts of the world, and who suffer persistent violence. We wish to assure them of our constant prayer that the Lord may convert hearts and bring peace and stability to those who are now in need.

May the Holy Family of Nazareth, which suffered on “the painful road of exile” (Angelus, 9 December 2013), make every family a “community of love and reconciliation” (ibid.), a source of hope for the whole world.

 

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:47:54 +0000
Eighth General Congregation: Christian education in difficult family situations http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3822-eighth-general-congregation-christian-education-in-difficult-family-situations.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3822-eighth-general-congregation-christian-education-in-difficult-family-situations.html Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) – During the eighth general Congregation, held yesterday afternoon, the general debate continued to follow the agenda of the Instrumentum Laboris, focusing on the theme “The Church and the Family in the Challenge of Upbringing (Part III, Chapter 2). The Challenge of Upbringing in General / Christian Education in Difficult Family Situations”.

Firstly, the vocation of life as a basic element of the family was emphasised; this led to an invitation to the faithful to deepen their knowledge of Paul VI’s Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, thus better understanding the meaning of the use of natural methods of fertility control and the non-acceptance of contraception. Union and procreation, it was said, are not separate from the conjugal act. The condemnation of genetic manipulation and cryopreservation of embryos was therefore reiterated forcefully.

From various quarters there emerged the tendency of several states and organisations based in the Western world to present, especially in the context of Africa, various concepts (including abortion and homosexual unions) as “human rights”, linked to economic aid and strong pressure campaigns for the promotion of such concepts. In this respect, it was highlighted that the expression “rights to sexual and reproductive health” does not have a precise definition in international law and ends up encompassing mutually contradictory principles such as the condemnation of forced abortion and the promotion of safe abortion, or the protection of maternity and the promotion of contraception. Also without any binding value, the promotion of such “rights” represents a risk, as it may influence the interpretation of other norms, especially in combating discrimination against women.

The Assembly reiterated the importance of adequate preparation for marriage, as its celebration seems to be increasingly reduced to the social and legal status, rather than a religious and spiritual bond. The preparatory course, it was noted, is often perceived by couples as an imposition, a task to complete without conviction, and as a result it is too brief. Since marriage is a vocation for life, preparation for it should be long and detailed, as in the case of preparation for religious life. It was also shown that, among couples, there is a frequent lack of awareness of the sacramental value of the marriage bond, so much so that the celebration of the marriage rite, it was said, is not automatically the celebration of the marriage sacrament.

With regard to the streamlining of procedures for the process of verifying matrimonial nullity, it was recalled that a special study Commission for the reform of the canonical marriage nullification process was instituted by the Holy Father Francis on 20 September 2014, and the hope was expressed that it will enable a simpler procedure to be put into effect, which must however be single and uniform for all the Church. Furthermore, with regard to the double confirming sentences consequent to mandatory appeal, it was asked whether the possibility had been raised of leaving the decision of recourse to appeal to the discretion of the bishop. At the same time, the hope was expressed that there would be a greater presence of suitably prepared lay judges, women in particular.

The Assembly went on to insist on the importance of good preparation for priests in relation to the pastoral care of marriage and the family, and remarked that homilies can be used as a special and effective moment for proclaiming the Gospel of the family to the faithful. It was commented that there is a need for formation and information, as the spiritual holiness of the priest, his creativity and his direct relationship with families are particularly appreciated by the faithful.

There were further reflections on the relationship between migration and family, in which it was reiterated that the family unit is a fundamental right to be accorded to every migrant, and the importance of protection for the right to family unity through international migratory policies was emphasised. It was said that the family is an essential element for the integration of migrants in host countries.

During the hour dedicated to free discussion – between 6 and 7 p.m. – three themes emerged in particular: with regard to divorced and remarried persons, the need for a penitential path was highlighted, to be accompanied by reflection on the case of divorced persons who remain alone and suffer in silence, at the margins of social life. Secondly, mention was made of the need to protect the children of divorced couples from suffering the psychological affects of their parents’ divorce. In this respect, it was recalled that adequate pastoral care of children often causes their parents to draw closer to the Church.

Thirdly, the importance of the relationship between the family and the education of children was affirmed, with particular reference to parents’ right to choose the m...]]> Feeds Fri, 10 Oct 2014 06:38:00 +0000