Light From the East: Churches in Former Communist Countries Discuss Family Synod

Light From the East: Churches in Former Communist Countries Discuss Family Synod

Christian leaders from the region insist that a sound pastoral approach to family issues must be grounded in authentic doctrinal teaching.

by VICTOR GAETAN 11/14/2014

LVIV, Ukraine — Reverberations from the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family continue to ricochet around the world.

In Ukraine, for example, despite life and death issues preoccupying clergy, implications of the synod are avidly discussed among Catholics.

However, few of the fault lines apparent in Rome divide Christian Churches in a country like Ukraine — making defense of the family a unifying theme for Catholics and the Orthodox who, otherwise, might be lured into politically driven conflict.

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I would highly recommend reading this whole article, it is excellent, and very encouraging:

"Discussing the deliberations of the group of bishops in which he participated during the synod’s second week, he explained, “Our small group had some outstanding personalities: Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state, as well as Cardinals {Walter] Kasper, [Leonardo] Sandri, and [Mauro] Piacenza. We were really disappointed by the Relatio post disceptationem because we thought it didn’t reflect the discussions held during the first week. It’s hard to say how it was created, but we all felt it didn’t represent us.”

“That document had some theological arguments, but it didn’t include the solid doctrinal teaching of the Church,” Archbishop Shevchuk said. Two of the archbishop’s objections center on, first, use of the “law of gradualism” to rationalize permissive attitudes toward sin, and second, the risk that an “ecumenical vision” toward various family arrangements could displace the solid Catholic teaching on the primacy of the nuclear family unit.

“We discussed this a lot, and we realized that neither can be used as a foundation for the new pastoral approach to those issues,” the archbishop explained."

"Archbishop Shevchuk, who is a moral theologian, said during the discussion on homosexuality he raised the question: “Are we supposed to consider homosexual tendencies as a value in itself — a value that is supposed to be shared and received? In my opinion: no.”

Instead, he said, the Church when encountering persons with same-sex attraction should focus on valuing and respecting the human person and “be aware that such a [homosexual] tendency causes a deep pain to the person.”

As for Pope Francis’ response to Archbishop Shevchuk’s intervention, the archbishop recalled, “The Pope looked me in the eyes and he made a good sign to me.”

This is fantastic. Light from the East indeed.

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