Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, spoke at a briefing this morning about Pope Francis’ address to the assembly. The Holy Father noted that the doctrine on marriage is not in question and that the communion for divorced and remarried people is not the only problem facing the synod.
Father Lombardi went on to say that Francis noted that "one has to experience the Synod in continuity with last year’s extraordinary synod, and that the documents to be considered official are the two speeches by the pope, the one at the beginning and the one at the end, as well as the Relatio Synodi, studied by the Council of the Synod, to which the contributions sent between the two assemblies were added. This constitutes the Instrumentum laboris, approved as a document of the Synod which we are conducting at present.” From this, “we can continue with the contribution of the Working Groups,” the pope said, “which help the work towards the Final Report".
"Many speeches" expressed concern about "the growth of the couple and the family and the treatment needed to help this growth." This raises some questions, such as "how can the Church be a welcoming community that supports families in need."
Other important issues in the discussion were the relationship between generations, the importance of the elderly, and "issues related to migration", raised especially by Eastern fathers and patriarchs.
Participants looked as well at the "momentous cultural revolution that we are experiencing, which is what the Synod is about; at the appropriate language the Church can use to describe situations and people;” following in this, “the language the pope uses in his catechesis, as a concrete, simple, clear and positive way to talk about the family in today's world."
Some participants spoke about violence in the family and society, particularly against women. Several spoke about the role of women in marriage and family.
The prelates also focused on immigration and refugees, on how the family acted in persecutions, child labour, the difficult situations related to extreme poverty or conflict, traditional marriage and polygamy in Africa.
So far the Synod saw some 72 participants take the floor from every continent, including 10 from Latin America, 7 in North America, 26 from Europe, 12 from Africa, 8 from Asia and Oceania and 6 from the Middle East.
Most of the speeches were in Italian, but some were also in English, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.
In last night’s meeting, an hour was dedicated to free exchanges. During this session, some participants talked about the Synod’s methodology.
Finally this morning, Card George Alencherry, president of the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church (India), addressed the issue of celibacy during his homily at the Mass that opened the second day of the Synod.
Citing the Prophet Jeremiah, who heard, “Do not take a wife,” the prelate said that “He must experience loneliness, as Yahweh experiences loneliness”. Hence, “The pastors of the Church in the present times are called to take upon their lives a prophetic role of suffering and kenosis, similar to that of prophet Jeremiah.”