Archbishop Kurtz Discusses the Synod’s Road Ahead

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Archbishop Kurtz Discusses the Synod’s Road Ahead

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the Vatican’s preparatory document for next October’s gathering should be made available this month.

by BRIAN FRAGA 12/15/2014

WASHINGTON — The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that met this October identified some of the challenges facing Catholic families in the modern world.

When the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops meets next October in Vatican City, the participating bishops and delegates will be looking to propose specific pastoral guidelines and initiatives to care for families.

“The synod is not to make new legislation. They are simply proposals,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky.

Archbishop Kurtz, also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Register that the year between the synod gatherings in Rome will be an extremely busy time of preparation. Over the next several months, bishops across the world will be consulting with priests and lay faithful in their dioceses as part of the process of preparing a working document for the next synod.

“It will be a challenging time for us as bishops to receive the consultation within our dioceses, and to allow that to influence properly the way in which we respond to the document that is called the lineamenta,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

The lineamenta, which the Vatican distributed Dec. 9 to bishops’ conferences around the world, will help them get ready for the 2015 synod, which will be held Oct. 4-25 in Vatican City. The synod will mark the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops.

The lineamenta is comprised of the relatio, the 62-paragraph final document that the Vatican published upon the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod, which met Oct. 5-19 in Rome and reflected on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”

The lineamenta – which was sent to bishops conferences, the Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches, the Union of Religious Superiors and the dicasteries of the Roman Curia — also includes a series of 46 questions that ask for reflections on promoting authentic family values, training clergy in family ministry, and on how the Church can be present to individuals whose lives do not comport to Catholic moral teachings, such as those who are cohabitating or in same-sex relationships.

The 2015 synod’s theme will be the “Vocation and the Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.”

“One synod was concentrating on challenges. Now we’re looking on concentrating on the vocation and mission of the family,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

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