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„THE POPE SEEKS TO IDENTIFY TODAY’S FAMILY“. Brasiliens wichtigster Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto.


 The Extraordinary Synod on the Family is meeting in Rome between October 5 and 19, 2014. Summoned by Pope Francis in October 2013, this meeting of bishops from around the world was preceded by a debate around a document on challenges to the Church, which included new family profiles. The subject will be taken up again in the Ordinary Synod in 2015.

The document states: “Today we find problems unknown until recently, from the diffusion of de facto couples who do not accept matrimony and at times exclude the very concept, to unions between persons of the same sex, who are often allowed to adopt children. Amongst the numerous new situations which demand the attention and the pastoral commitment of the Church, we need only recall: mixed or interreligious marriages; single parent families; polygamy; arranged marriage with the consequential problem of dowry sometimes regarded as the price paid for a woman; the caste system; the culture of non commitment and of presumed instability in the bond; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migratory phenomena and the reformulation of the very idea of family; relativist pluralism in the notion of marriage; the influence of the media on popular culture in the understanding of marriage and family life; tendencies of subjacent thought in legislative proposals which undervalue the permanence and the fidelity of the marriage pact; the diffusion of the phenomenon of substitute mothers (“surrogacy”); and new interpretations of human rights. But, above all, in the more strictly ecclesial sphere, the weakening or abandonment of faith in the sacramentality of marriage and in the therapeutic power of sacramental penance.”

Francis goes directly to the point, as opposed to other popes who, not wanting to create friction with conservatives, preferred to leave burning issues such as abortion, women’s ordination, the return of married priests to priestly ministry, homosexuality, obligatory celibacy etc. all of which urgently demand a position from the Church.

The preparatory document explained the pope’s concerns, such as how to evangelise children of divorced parents who are forbidden from approaching the sacraments? Can divorcees participate in the Eucharist?

The document sent questionnaires to dioceses in the whole world whose responses now serve as the base for the Extraordinary Synod. Amongst them the topic of “unions between persons of the same sex: a) Does your country have a civil law recognising unions of persons of the same sex, in some way equivalent to marriage? b) What attitude do local Churches have either towards the civil state, promoting civil unions between persons of the same sex, or towards persons involved in this type of union? c) What pastoral attention is it possible to give to persons who choose to live according to this type of union? d) In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who adopted children, how is it necessary to act pastorally, so as to transmit the faith?”

It is not expected that this meeting will produce decisions which overnight will change the Catholic Church’s pastoral action for it is a bi-millennial institution, which advances cautiously.

Notwithstanding, Francis makes haste. He is aware of the scandals within the Church: shocking cases of paedophilia (which he punishes rigorously); religious congregations which have become large corporations hungry for profit; married couples who have sexual relations with no intention to procreate (vetoed by the present doctrine); young people who lose their virginity before marriage; relativising the notion of sin, etc.

The basis of the family is love. “God is love” and “everyone who loves is begotten by God”, says John in Chapter 4 of his first letter. What is the worth of a family which lacks love? Does God not belong in every true loving relationship, even when it belongs in the very model of the modern family?


I dream of the day when a young couple, falling in love for the first time, will know that they have experienced God!

*Frei Betto é is a writer, author of “Aldeia do silêncio” (Village of Silence, a novel) (Rocco

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Dienstag, 21. Oktober 2014 um 15:45 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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