10/08/2013, 00.00
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Pope: Synod's Third Extraordinary General Meeting on the 'Pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation'

The theme chosen by Pope Francis was announced today. The meeting is set for 5 to 19 October 2014. In a statement, a Vatican spokesman criticises without mentioning it a document from the Office of Pastoral Care of the Diocese of Freiburg that would allow the sacraments for those remarried divorcés because it "carries the risk of engendering confusion."

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - 'The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation' is the theme Pope Francis chose for the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 19 October 2014, Vatican Radio reported online.

Speaking about the announcement,  Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Press Office of the Holy See, stressed the importance of the Pope's decision to hold a special Synod on the family.

"This," he explained, "is the way in which the Pope intends to promote reflection and to guide the path of the community of the Church, with the responsible participation of the episcopate from different parts of the world."

"It is right," he added, "that the Church should move as a community in reflection and prayer, and that she takes common pastoral directions in relation to the most important points- such as the pastoral of the family-under the guidance of the Pope and the bishops. The convocation of the extraordinary Synod clearly indicates this path."

"In this context," he went on to say, "the proposal of particular pastoral solutions by local persons or offices carries the risk of engendering confusion. It is opportune to emphasise the importance of following a path in full communion with the ecclesial community".

In this last point, Fr Lombardi is referring to a letter from the Office of Pastoral Care from the Diocese of Freiburg (Germany) announcing the possibility that people who divorced and then remarried could, under certain conditions, receive the sacraments and fill positions on parish councils.

In this regard, the director of the Press Office of the Holy See stated in response to a question that "Nothing changes, there are no news for the divorced who remarry. The document comes in fact from a local pastoral office and does not touch the responsibility of the bishop. Therefore, it has jumped the gun, and is not the official expression of diocesan authorities."

The upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod will be the third of its kind after those of 1969 on the relations between the Holy See and the Bishops' Conferences and the one in 1985 on the 20th anniversary of the end of the Second Vatican Council.


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