We Are Church Intl.

Synod on the Family

IMWAC Press Conference - 4 October 2014

 

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Our people in Rome have been busy engaging with journalists so we are appreciative of this account from FutureChurch

 

FutureChurch’s Deb Rose-Milavec participated in an international press conference today entitled, “Synod on the Family; Expectations of the people of God.”  Seven speakers from three continents talked about the issues that will be addressed at the Synod.

 

With seven speakers talking about different issues that will be addressed at the Synod, Rose-Milavec cited the “Voices of the People” survey and the overwhelming support by Catholics for alternatives to Humanae Vitae and the Church’s current teaching regarding Natural Family Planning.  “When it comes to the acceptance of Humanae Vitae, Catholics have spoken,” said Rose-Milavec.

 

In the “Voices of the People” survey only 7 percent of respondents said they strictly abide by current Church teaching.  And respondents in this survey believed only 1 percent of Catholics followed Church teaching on the issue.

 

These responses are anything but unique.

 

Univision conducted a survey of 12,000 Catholics across 5 continents in February 2014.   While there were marked differences across regions on issues like same sex relationships and optional celibacy, on the issue of contraception, there was a remarkable consensus. Overall, 78% of Catholics in Europe, Africa, Latin America, the U.S. and the Philippines opposed the teachings of the Catholic Church on this issue.

 

And while a number of bishops’ conferences reported overwhelming evidence indicating a rejection of the teaching, many prelates easily discount those voices, making sense of the numbers by characterizing those Catholics as secularized, morally deficient and therefore, easily dismissed.

 

“What is important in terms of this synod is that the “sense of the faithful ” is fairly represented on this and other issues at the Synod and in the working group discussions. ” said Rose-Milavec.  According to Rose-Milavec, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida said it best when he quipped, “On the matter of artificial contraception the responses might be characterized by saying, ‘That train left the station long ago. Catholics have made up their minds and the sensus fideliumsuggests the rejection of Church teaching on this subject.'”

 

Christian Weisner and Dr. Martha Heizer of the International Movement We are Church who organized the press conference asked, “What is a family?” and “What images of the family will be used?”

 

Paul Collins, a journalist from Church historian from Australia commented on the problems with mandatory celibacy while  Marylin Hatton, representative of Women’s Ordination Worldwide (Australia) spoke about women’s rights in the Church.  Miriam Duignan, representing the London-based Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research summarized the flaws in natural law theorgy and Dr. Michael Brinkschroeder, Co-President of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups spoke about human dignity in the tradition of the Church.  Oliviero Arzuffi of Noi Siamo Cheisa Italia spoke on the topic of divorce, remarriage and the sacraments.

 

The conference was picked up by the Washington Post and a number of news agencies. 

 

Homily of Pope Francis - Opening Mass of the Synod on the Family

 

 

 

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Today the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel employ the image of the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord’s vineyard is his "dream", the plan which he nurtures with all his love, like a farmer who cares for his vineyard. Vines are plants which need much care!

 

God’s "dream" is his people. He planted it and nurtured it with patient and faithful love, so that it can become a holy people, a people which brings forth abundant fruits of justice.

But in both the ancient prophecy and in Jesus’ parable, God’s dream is thwarted. Isaiah says that the vine which he so loved and nurtured has yielded "wild grapes" (5:2,4); God "expected justice but saw bloodshed, righteousness, but only a cry of distress" (v. 7). In the Gospel, it is the farmers themselves who ruin the Lord’s plan: they fail to do their job but think only of their own interests.

 

In Jesus’ parable, he is addressing the chief priests and the elders of the people, in other words the "experts", the managers. To them in a particular way God entrusted his "dream", his people, for them to nurture, tend and protect from the animals of the field. This is the job of leaders: to nuture the vineyard with freedom, creativity and hard work.

But Jesus tells us that those farmers took over the vineyard. Out of greed and pride they want to do with it as they will, and so they prevent God from realizing his dream for the people he has chosen.

 

The temptation to greed is ever present. We encounter it also in the great prophecy of Ezekiel on the shepherds (cf. ch. 34), which Saint Augustine commented upon in one his celebrated sermons which we have just reread in the Liturgy of the Hours. Greed for money and power. And to satisfy this greed, evil pastors lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move (cf. Mt 23:4)

 

We too, in the Synod of Bishops, are called to work for the Lord’s vineyard. Synod Assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent… They are meant to better nuture and tend the Lord’s vineyard, to help realize his dream, his loving plan for his people. In this case the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity.

 

We are all sinners and can also be tempted to "take over" the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings. God’s dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants. We can "thwart" God’s dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us that wisdom which surpasses knowledge, and enables us to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity.

 

My Synod brothers, to do a good job of nurturing and tending the vineyard, our hearts and our minds must be kept in Jesus Christ by "the peace of God which passes all understanding" (Phil4:7). In this way our thoughts and plans will correspond to God’s dream: to form a holy people who are his own and produce the fruits of the kingdom of God (cf. Mt 21:43).

 

 

"Wir sind Kirche" fordert von Bischöfen Reform der Sexualmoral

 

Rom, 04.10.2014 (KAP) Die Initiative "Wir sind Kirche" hat die am Sonntag beginnende Weltbischofssynode zu einer umfassenden Reform der kirchlichen Sexualmoral aufgerufen. Es sei, "höchste Zeit, dass die Sexuallehre der Kirche in Einklang mit den Erkenntnissen der modernen Humanwissenschaften neu entwickelt wird", sagte Christian Weisner, einer ihrer Sprecher, am Samstag in Rom. Die Initiative fordert von der Synode unter anderem eine kirchliche Zulassung künstlicher Empfängnisverhütung, eine Aufhebung des verpflichtenden Zölibats für Priester und größere Rechte für Frauen in der Kirche.


Read more at Kathweb