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The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family will take place at the Vatican from October 5th to 19th, 2014.
The theme of this Synod is "The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization."

The second session will take place in Rome October 4th to 25th, 2015 with the theme:  The vocation and mission
of the family in the church and the modern world.

The purpose of this page is to provide links to various news articles, documents and web sites that discuss the
Synod on the Family as well as Catholic Church teaching on family life.

New Zealand Related Content on the Synod
Synod of the Family Documents
Texts of the Magisterium
Resources and Articles

New Zealand Related Content on the Synod

NZCBC:  Pastoral Letter on the Responses to the Preparatory Document for the Extraordinary
of the Synod of Bishops
13 September 2014
The Preparatory Document for the Assembly, Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evagelization, 
was received in October 2013, and included a list of questions.  We decide to make the Document and the questions
available in two ways:  the usual way through national, diocesan and parish channels, and for the first time, online with
 the opportunity to provide an online response. 

Pompallier's People - Blog
Archbishop John Dew is blogging his thoughts frequently on the Synod of the Family.  He is the only New Zealand
representative at the Synod in Rome. 

Archbishop John Dew's Interview with Vatican Radio
Vatican Radio's Emer McCarthy interviewed Archbishop John Dew about his intervention at the Synod.  
The full audio at Vatican Radio, where there is also a written summary of the interview.

Archbishop John Dew's Interview with Salt and Light Media

Synod on the Family Documents

Preparatory Document:  Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization
Vatican City 2013
The mission of preaching the Gospel to all creation, entrusted directly by the Lord to his disciples, has continued in the
Church throughout history.  The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today's world, is becoming a pastoral challenge
in the Church's evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community.  
Never before has proclaiming the Gospel of the Family in this context been more urgent and necessary.  Read more...

Instrumentum Laboris:  The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization
Vatican City 2013
On 8 October 2013, Pope Francis convoked the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to treat the
topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.  The General Secretariat of the Synod of
Bishops began its preparation by sending the Preparatory Document, which generated significant reflection among the
People of God.  The results of that consultation are presented in this Instrumentum Laboris.  Read more...

Relatio Post Disceptationem
Rome, October 13 2014
Unofficial Translation
During the prayer vigil held in St Peter's Square on 4 October 2014 in preparation for the Synod on the family, Pope Francis
evoked the centrality of the experience of family in all lives, in a simple and concrete manner:  "Evening falls on our assembly.
It is the hour at which one willingly returns home to meet at the same table, in the depth of affection, of the good that has been
done and received, of the encounters which warm the heart and make it grow, good wine which hastens the unending feast in
the days of man.  It is also the weightiest hour for one who finds himself fact to face with his own loneliness, in the bitter twilight
of shattered dreams and broken plans; how many people trudge through the day in the blind alley of resignation, of
abandonment, even resentment: in how many homes the  wine of joy has been less plentiful, and therefore, also the
zest - the very wisdom - for life [...].  Let us make our prayer heard for one another this evening, a prayer for all."  

Synod 14 - Circoli Minori (Reports from the language group meetings)
The reports from the language groups discussions re the Relatio Post Disceptationem can be found here.  The English language
reports are named "Circus Anglicus" - A, B and C.  

Synod14 - Message of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 18.10.2014
We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,
greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  We admire and
are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.  Read more...

Pope Francis' speech at the closing of the Synod
Vatican Radio has the full text of the final speech by Pope Francis to those gathered for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of
the Synod of Bishops.

Relatio Synodi
The final Report of the Synod in Italian can be found here.  

The ENGLISH translation of the Relatio Synodi has been released (31.10.2014).  Follow this link.

A quick translation of the paragraphs on homosexuality and communion for the divorced and civilly remarried (which did not receive
enough votes to be included, yet were still left in the final document)  can be found at Rorate Caeli.  

Texts of the Magisterium

Code of Canon Law
The link takes you to the table of contents for the Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law.  Read more...

Familiaris Consortio:  On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World
Pope St John Paul II - 22 November 1981
The family in the modern world, as much as and perhaps more than any other institution, has been beset by the many
profound and rapid changes that have affected society and culture.  Many families are living this situation in fidelity to
those values that constitute the foundation of the institution of the family.  Others have become uncertain and bewildered
over their role or even doubtful and almost unaware of the ultimate meaning and truth of conjugal and family life.  Finally,
there are others who are hindered by various situations of injustice in the realization of their fundamental rights.  Read more...

Letter to Families
Pope St John Paul II - 2 February 1994
The celebration of the Year of the Family gives me a welcome opportunity to knock at the door of your home, eager to greet
you with deep affection and to spend time with you.  I do so by this Letter, taking as my point of departure the words of the
Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, published in the first days of my ministry as the Successor of Peter.  There I wrote that man
is the way of the Church.  
With these words I wanted first of all to evoke the many paths along which man walks, and at the
same time to emphasize how deeply the Church desires to stand at his side as he follows the paths of his earthly life.  The
Church shares in the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of people's daily pilgrimage, firmly convinced that it was
Christ himself who set her on all these paths.  Christ entrusted man to the Church; he entrusted man to her as the "way" of
her mission and her ministry. 

Letter of Pope Francis to Families
2 February 2014
Dear families, 
With this letter, I wish, as it were, to come into your homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this
 coming October.  It is the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is being convened to discuss the
theme of "pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization."  Indeed, in our day the Church is called to proclaim
the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs facing the family.  Read more...

Pope Francis Angelus Address
29 December 2013 - The Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth
After this Angelus Address, Pope Francis gives the Prayer for the Synod on the Family.  Download the prayer here.  Read more...
Address of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Council for the Family

24 January 1997
This speech by Pope St John Paul II addresses the topic of "The Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried."  Read more...

Humanae Vitae:  On the Regulation of Birth
Pope Paul VI - 25 July 1968
The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the
Creator.  It has always been a source of great joy to them, event though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.  

Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful
Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - 14 September 1994
The International Year of the Family is a particularly important occasion to discover anew the many signs of the church's love
and concern for the family and, at the same time, to present once more the priceless riches of Christian marriage, which is the
basis of the family. In this context the difficulties and sufferings of those faithful in irregular marriage situations merit special
attention.  Pastors are called to help them experience the charity of Christ and the maternal closeness of the church, receiving
them with love exhorting them to trust in God's mercy and suggesting with prudence and respect, concrete ways of conversion
and participation in the life of the community of the church.  Read more...

Concerning Some Objections to the Church's Teaching on the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced
and Remarried Members of the Faithful
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) 
The Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of 14 September 1994 concerning the reception of Holy
Communion by divorced and remarried members of the faithful was met with a very lively response across wide sections
of the Church.  Along with many positive reactions, more than a few critical voices were also heard.  The fundamental
objections against the teaching and practice of the Church are outlined below in simplified form.  Several of the more
significant objections - principally, the reference to the supposedly more flexible practice of the Church Fathers which
would be the inspiration for the practice of the Eastern Churches separated from Rome, as well as the allusion to the
traditional principles of epicheia and of aequitas canonica - were studied in-depth by the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith.  Articles by Professors Pelland, Marcuzzi and Rodriguez Luno, among others, were developed in the course
of this study.  The main conclusions of the research which suggest the direction of an answer to the objections, will be
briefly summarized here. 

On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The issue of homosexuality and the moral evaluation of homosexual acts have increasingly become a matter of public
debate, even in Catholic circles.  Since this debate often advances arguments and makes assertions inconsistent with
the teaching of the Catholic Church, it is quite rightly a cause for concern to all engaged in the pastoral ministry, and this
Congregation has judged it to be of sufficiently grave and widespread importance to address to the Bishops of the Catholic
Church this Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.  Read more...

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  The Sacrament of Matrimony
The link takes you to the teaching on the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catechism of the Catholic Church beginning at
number 1601. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  The Moral Law
The link takes you to the teaching on the Moral Law in the Catechism of the Catholic Church beginning at number 1950.  
The Natural Moral Law, The Old Law and The New Law or the Law of the Gospel are all discussed.  Read more...

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  The Fourth Commandment
The link takes you to the teaching on the Fourth Commandment - honour your father and your mother.  The Family in God's
Plan, The Family and Society, The Duties of Family Members, The Family and the Kingdom and The Authorities in Civil
Society are all discussed.  The link begins at number 2197.  Read more...

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  Respect for the Dignity of Persons

The link takes you to the teaching on Respect for the Dignity of Persons, in particular Respect for the souls of others:  scandal.  
The link begins at number 2197. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  The Sixth Commandment
The link takes you to the teaching on the Sixth Commandment:  You shall not commit adultery.  This section covers "Male and
female He created them...", the Vocation to Chastity, The Love of Husband and Wife and Offenses Against the Dignity of Marriage.  

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  The Ninth Commandment
The link takes you to the teaching on the Ninth Commandment: you shall not covet your neighbour's wife.  Purification of the Heart
and The Battle for Purity are discussed in this section.  Read more...

A comprehensive list of documents on the Church's teaching on marriage can be found on the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop's website.

Resources and Articles

Texts of the Magisterium on the Subject of the Divorced and Remarried Faithful
Pontifical Council for the Family
This pdf document has quotes from various texts by the Magisterium on the subject of the divorced and remarried faithful.
Download here.

Gradualness:  A Solution for the Synod?
Fr Dominic Legge, OP
According to an official Vatican press briefing on Tuesday, October 7, the discussion at the Synod over proposals for
communion for divorced and remarried persons has shifted to "gradualness."  It seems that some are now arguing from
the principle of gradualness that those who are not yet able to live according to the Church's teachings could still receive
Holy Communion as a step on the way towards a more perfect conversion.  Read more...

Pondering "Gradualism" and the "Midterm" Report
Monsignor Charles Pope
Note:  This article is very valuable and a must-read on the concept of "gradualism".
The so-called "midterm" report of the Synod is out.  Please remember, it is only a rough draft and the final report may in
fact look very different.  Frankly, I am not sure why we are even being permitted to look at a rough draft.  Nevertheless,
presuming the Pope is serious about inviting discussion, let me consider a certain aspect of the report and a few particulars.  
A governing principle that seems to permeate the report's reflections is one that some refer to as "gradualism."  As a pastoral
strategy, gradualism can be an effective, even necessary approach in order to lead people more deeply into the moral and
spiritual life of the Church.  However, as with any pastoral strategy, there are serious concerns and pitfalls to avoid.  Read more...




The Extraordinary Synod on the Family (Vatican)
This website is the official Vatican website to communicate what is happening during the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.  
It includes live video streams and news.  The page is in Italian.  You will need to translate it.  Go.
Vatican Website

The official website of the Holy See.  The texts for encyclicals, homilies and prayers are available on this site.  Go.
The official Vatican news service.  Go.

Life Site News
This site provides news and views on life, faith, family and culture issues from all around the world.  They will be providing
extensive coverage of the Synod on the Family.  Go.

Voice of the Family
An initiative of Catholic laity from major pro-life/pro-family organisations throughout the world.
The following truths are at the heart of Voice of the Family's work:
•  Sacramental marriage, binding parents together in an indissoluble union, is the greatest protector of children both born and unborn.
•  The artificial separation of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the sexual act is a major catalyst of the culture of death.
•  Parents are the primary educators of their children and it is through the education and formation of parents, and future parents, that the culture of life will be built.  Go.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
A comprehensive site with great resources.  This link takes you directly to the page on Marriage and Family.  Go.

World Meeting of Families
The official page for the World Meeting of Families which will take place in Philadelphia 2015.  Go.

Pontifical Council for the Family 
The web page for the Pontifical Council for the Family.  Provides various links and documents.  Go.



     Prayer of Pope Francis for the Synod of Families

      Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
       in you we contemplate the splendour of true love.
       to you we turn with trust.

       Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too
       may be places of communion and prayer,
       authentic schools of the Gospel
       and small domestic Churches.

       Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again
       experience violence, rejection and division:
       may all who have been hurt or scandalized
       find ready comfort and healing.

                                                                      Holy Family of Nazareth,
                                                                      may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful
                                                                      of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God's plan.

                                                                      Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer.

Crusade for the Family Prayer
Mary, Mother of God, at your request, Jesus worked His first miracle.
He changed water into wine for the wedding guests at Cana in Galilee.

Over the centuries you have not ceased to obtain
countless signs and wonders for the poor, exiled children of Eve.

We therefore ask you to intercede with your Divine Son
for the miraculous graces which the modern world so desperately needs:

•  For the conversion and reconversion of whole nations to
   Jesus Christ and His teaching on marriage and the family.

•  For the heroic preservation among Christians of their faith in the indissolubility of marriage,
   marital fidelity and the loving acceptance of children, as the bedrock of the Christian family.

•  For the courage of martyrs in all of us followers of Christ,
   that we may witness to His power to overcome the powers of darkness
   that are bent on destroying the human family and the moral law.

Mary, Mother of the Holy Family, and Mother of our families, pray for us.

~ Fr John Hardon, SJ

Disclaimer:  Links to resources and articles on this page may not necessarily reflect the views of Family Life International NZ.

Last Updated 31 October 2014