THE SERVANT GENERAL
COMMENTARY ON RELATIO FINALIS - 2
The English version has not come out and so we cannot read
the text directly as yet.
My comment is that the Relatio Finalis passed by
a thread!! If there had been one more vote not in favor (thus
176), it would not have passed with the required 2/3 majority!
This is intriguing, given that the two contentious paragraphs
on irregular unions actually passed with more votes, 178 and
180. I can imagine the tension if the last pro vote came towards
the end of the voting.
What does the final vote mean? For one thing, 1/3 of our prelates
are not happy with the result! Are these the liberals or the
conservatives, or cuts across the board? And so the tensions
within our Church will continue. We continue on our path?
We continue on a tumultuous path. The intent of the liberals
will not change.
Even just with this write-up below, we can see the potential
for future challenges. I cite two of them.
“There must be no discrimination against people
with homosexual tendencies.” While the Church
affirms opposition to same-sex unions, the language on discrimination
has been abused and so used to get acceptance of the gay
lifestyle in its fullness, including the legalization of
same-sex marriage, giving transgenders access to women’s
bathrooms, and the like.
text includes extensive reflection on the need to modify
the language of the Church.” If this means becoming
politically correct and not confronting people with their
sin, then this is very dangerous (see Synodos Part 101).
Now the Relatio Finalis has been passed on to Pope
Francis for his disposition. We continue to pray for the Holy
Father, that the Holy Spirit will guide him in whatever document
he comes out with. We also pray that the Spirit thwart the
designs of those liberal prelates around the pope and so protect
Final Document: 'We Continue on Our Path'
of 94 paragraphs given approval by 2/3 majority of synod fathers
The Synod Fathers approved by
177 votes out of 265, a two-thirds majority, the final Relatio
of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod on the
Family, made up of 94 paragraphs, each one of which was voted
on individually. The director of the Holy See Press Office,
Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., gave a briefing on the document,
which was authorised for publication in Italian by Pope Francis.
Fr. Lombardi remarked that the text takes into account the
many difficulties faced by the family, but also its great
capacity for facing and reacting to them. The conclusive document
of the Synod includes many of the amendments to the Instrumentum
Laboris presented by the Synod Fathers and therefore reflects
the voice of the Assembly.
With reference to the two paragraphs dedicated to complex
family situations, which were approved by a very slender majority
of 178 and 180 votes, Fr. Lombardi noted that they regard
the pastoral approach to wounded families or those that are
irregular from a canonical point of view and in terms of the
discipline of the Church: in particular, cohabitation, civil
marriage, divorced and remarried persons and the way of pastorally
addressing these situations.
Fr. Lombardi underlined that the tone of the document is positive
and welcoming, and that it has greatly enriched the Instrumentum
Laboris. Similarly, the Pope's Motu Proprio on the reform
of marriage annulment procedures made an effective and decisive
contribution to the theme of the Synod.
final Relatio reaffirms the doctrine of the indissolubility
of sacramental marriage, which is not a yoke but rather a
gift from God,
a truth based in Christ and in His relationship with the Church.
At the same time, it underlines
that truth and mercy converge in Christ, which
leads to welcome to wounded families. Without expressly mentioning
access to the Eucharist for remarried divorcees, the Synod
document recalls that they are not excommunicated and refers
the analysis of complex family situations to the discernment
of pastors. This discernment, the text underlines, must be
applied in accordance with the teaching of the Church, with
trust in God's mercy that is denied to no-one. With regard
to cohabiting couples, the text reiterates that this situation
should be faced constructively, seeking to transform it into
an opportunity for a path to conversion towards the fullness
of marriage and family, in the light of the Gospel.
Other salient points of the document refer to homosexuality.
There must be no discrimination against people with homosexual
tendencies, but at the same time the text states that the
Church is contrary to same-sex unions and external pressure
on the Church in relation to this matter is not accepted.
There are special paragraphs dedicated to immigrants, refugees
and persecuted families who are often divided and whose members
can become victims of trafficking. A welcoming approach was
invoked for them too, recalling their rights and also their
duties in their host countries.
There are specific paragraphs on women, men and children,
the mainstays of family life: the text emphasises the need
for the protection and the recognition of the value of their
respective roles. It is hoped that a more prominent role will
be identified for women in the formation of ordained ministers,
while in relation to children mention was made of the beauty
of adoption and fostering, practices which reconstruct ruptured
family bonds. The Synod does not forget widows and widowers,
the disabled, the elderly and grandparents, who enable the
transmission of faith in the family and must be protected
from the throwaway culture. Unmarried people must also be
acknowledged for their commitment to the Church and society.
Among the “shadows” that are frequently cast on
the family, the Synod notes the presence of political and
religious fanaticism hostile to Christianity, growing individualism,
gender ideology, conflicts, persecution, poverty, precarious
employment, corruption, economic difficulties that can exclude
families from education and culture, the globalisation of
indifference in which humanity's place at the centre of society
is usurped by money, pornography, and the declining birth
The Relatio therefore gathers together suggestions for strengthening
preparation for marriage, especially for the young who appear
intimidated by it. They are in need, says the Synod, of an
adequate emotional formation, following the virtues of chastity
and self-giving. In this regard, mention was made of the bond
between the sexual act and procreation between spouses, of
which children are the most precious fruit, since they bear
the memory and hope of an act of love. Another bond is that
between the vocation of the family and the vocation to consecrated
life. Education in sexuality and corporeality and the promotion
of responsible parenting would also be central, in accordance
with the teachings of Paul VI's encyclical “Humanae
Vitae” and the primary role of parents in the education
of their children in faith.
An appeal is launched to institutions to promote an support
policies in favour of the family, and Catholics engaged in
politics are exhorted to protect the family and life, as a
society that neglects them loses its openness to the future.
In this respect, the Synod reaffirms the sacredness of life
from conception to natural death, and warns against the grave
threats posed to the family by abortion and euthanasia. Further
paragraphs are dedicated to mixed marriages, whose positive
aspects in relation to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue
are underlined, while confirming the need to protect religious
freedom and the right to conscientious objection in society.
The text includes extensive reflection on the need to modify
the language of the Church, making it more meaningful so that
the proclamation of the Gospel of the family may truly respond
to the deepest human aspirations. This means not only presenting
a series of regulations but rather announcing the grace that
gives the capacity to live well the good of the family.
Finally, the Relatio emphasises the beauty of the family:
as a domestic church based on marriage between a man and a
woman, the fundamental cell of the society whose growth it
contributes, a safe entry to the deepest sentiments, the sole
point of connection in a fragmented age, and an integral part
of human ecology, it must be protected, supported and encouraged,
also by the authorities.
The document concludes by a plea to the Synod Fathers by the
Pope, regarding the possibility of producing a document on
the family. As Fr. Lombardi explains, “The Synod Fathers
do not say that all is complete, but affirm that they offer
the Relatio to the Holy Father to enable him to evaluate whether
to continue on this route with a document, on the basis of
the Synod text, to further examine the theme of the family
from the perspective he wishes to offer. 'We continue on our
(October 26, 2015) © Innovative Media Inc.