Vatican releases working document for Synod on Family

Here is the Vatican Radio article:

Vatican releases working document for Synod on Family

Here is the document itself:

And here are some early articles/reactions to it:

We knew we could count on you, MC, to keep us informed. Many thanks for this thread.

Believe it or not, at the moment, I have no comment. :stuck_out_tongue:

Good to see. I’ll have to look through it later.

This is a pretty good explanation of the two upcoming Synods (2014 and 2015) and how they relate to each other and the topic of the family:


Let’s discuss the general information about the Synod here. Use other threads for the press and general public’s reactions to the news. For example, this one:

A good excerpt:a vast majority of responses highlight the growing conflict between the values on marriage and the family as proposed by the Church and the globally diversified social and cultural situations. The responses are also in agreement on the underlying reasons for the difficulty in accepting Church teaching, namely, the pervasive and invasive new technologies; the influence of the mass media; the hedonistic culture; relativism; materialism; individualism; the growing secularism; the prevalence of ideas that lead to an excessive, selfish liberalization of morals; the fragility of interpersonal relationships; a culture which rejects making permanent choices, because it is conditioned by uncertainty and transiency, a veritable “liquid society” and one with a “throw away” mentality and one seeking “immediate gratification”; and, finally, values reinforced by the so-called “culture of waste” and a “culture of the moment,” as frequently noted by Pope Francis.


Brilliant idea to separate out discussion of what the Instrumentum Laboris says versus what the media says it says.


When reading this document, remember that it is only an Instrumentum Laboris, a working document that summarizes the responses of the various episcopal conferences to the points raised by the Lineamenta. It is a document published in preparation for the upcoming Extraordinary Synod. It is not a Magisterial Document and does not have the authority discussed in Can. 752.

What will be of more importance is the Relatio Post Disceptationem, read after the discussion at the Synod, itself…more importantly, the Propositiones (Propositions) that summarize the teaching of the synod, and of far more importance, any Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that may be issued in the wake of the synod.

For more information on how all of this is put together, please refer to the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum

Having said the above, it is very gratifying to read examples where all the various Episcopal Conferences are in full agreement. Rather heartening.

How does this thread not have more posts? Really???

Good summary of the way the synods work. Even the working documents of the Synods are often very insightful, but they are still just working documents. It’s just the next step on the journey towards a really awesome apostolic exhortation. :slight_smile:

For those who prefer, I found a pdf version of the document posted by Whipsersintheloggia. For those who like to print things out, it prints out more neatly, though it comes out to more pages.

Found this quote from Card Baldisseri at the press conference that I think is pretty encouraging:

"He (Baldiserri) also took special note that the instrumentum “offers real knowledge” of the situation of remarried divorcees, stating that from this knowledge “the Church is required to find solutions compatible with her teaching and which lead to a serene and reconciled life.”

“In this respect, the need to simplify the judicial procedures for the annulment of marriage would appear relevant.”"

This makes me think (or hope) that they are looking away from doctrinal questions and more towards administrative/canonical questions, which I think is good news.

That’s always what this has been about. It is only the media that has framed the upcoming synod as though it will involve doctrinal changes.

Well, for the most part I agree.

But, IMO, the presentation made at the consistory back in February did advocate for doctrinal change, and it wasn’t just media hype.

Maybe it would be more accurate for me to say they are hopefully moving away from the kinds of changes suggested at the consistory, and that, IMO, is a good thing.

Are you talking about Cardinal Kasper’s presentation? I don’t think he’d describe it as a “doctrinal change”. But you’re right; there isn’t anything about it in the document that I could find. I do think the media coverage was overblown. They made it sound like Communion for the divorced and remarried was the entire purpose of the Synod. Cardinal Kasper’s comments were quite a bit more nuanced than the media reports. I am happy for that issue not to take center stage, though.

The only part that I think touches on it is this:

“In this regard, some recommend considering the practice of some Orthodox Churches, which, in their opinion, opens the way for a second or third marriage of a penitential character. In light of this suggestion, countries having a major number of Orthodox Christians noted that, from their experience, this practice does not reduce the number of divorces. Others request clarification as to whether this solution is based on doctrine or is merely a matter of discipline.”

But this is only noting that such things have been suggested, and it also downplays the suggestion by the two sentences that follow it.

Also, after this paragraph, the document goes right into talking about streamlining the anullment process and better educating people on anullments.

The end of that section seems encouraging too, in that it frames the whole issue of “accompanying” remarried people in the context of supporting people that can’t receive communion, rather than changing things in order to give them communion:

“With great mercy, the Church is called to find forms of “accompaniment” which can support her children on the path of reconciliation. With patience and understanding, she must explain to these people that their not being able to celebrate the sacraments does not mean that they are excluded from the Christian life and a relationship with God.”

Ah, thanks. I missed that part. I need to read through the whole thing. What I’ve seen so far looks good.

I think this is a pretty good explanation of the document and the process of the Synod:

The Explainer: what does the new synod working document tell us about what will happen in October?

Among other things, it says this:

"Does the document foreshadow a change in Church teaching?

The theme of October’s synod is “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”. The working document therefore focuses on pastoral rather than doctrinal questions. Throughout it assumes that it is the Church’s pastoral approach, rather than its fundamental teaching, that is up for debate in October.

Even on the question of whether some remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion – the most widely discussed possible change – the text implicitly supports the current practice."

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