10/18/2014, 00.00
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Synod Message: Admiration and gratitude to the families who follow Christ, Way, Truth and Life

The Message (which we publish in full) is addressed to "ordinary" families and speaks of the beauty of the love between a man and a woman. Little or no space to the issues discussed in the media: communion to remarried; gay families. A prayer to the Father, in union "with the family of Nazareth," which shows the family as the transforming cell of society and the world.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Admiration and gratitude for the daily witness" offered by "all the families of the different continents," and especially "those who follow Christ, Way, Truth and Life" This is what the Synod Fathers expressed in the Message of the third extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of bishops, of which we publish the full text below.

The Message, discussed yesterday and this morning, was presented today in the Vatican Press Office by Card. Gianfranco Ravasi, is the result of collaboration of bishops who were representatives of the various continents.

For the first time in the history of the Synods, the message does not contain all of the problems and discussions, which will instead be outlined in a final report presented later this evening. For this reason, the message is short and aims to "console and exhort" families in the words of Ravasi.

The first part focuses on "consolation", enumerating the many problems that families face: the weakening of faith, individualism, the difficulties of the couple, new unions, which create "complex and problematic family situations for the Christian choice". Added to these are the humanitarian and social challenges: children with disabilities, deterioration of old age, death, but also the economic problems, wars, refugees, migration.

This part which speaks of "dramatic trials" and "darkness", is followed by an "exhortation" which speaks of  a light, which "shines and warms bodies and souls.." And here, a lyrical and Bible language described the grace given to man and woman in falling in love, in their engagement, in their marriage, in their fecundity, in their capacity to generate and educate in the faith, in the charity and mission of families in the world.

The message ends with a prayer, to the "Father," in union "with the family of Nazareth", which speaks of  the family as the bedrock for personal renewal and that of society as a whole.

In recent days, several interventions at the Synod had stressed that the reports - especially media reports - over emphasized problems and special cases (divorced and remarried couples, gay unions, ...) and did not take into account the life the majority of families. The message seems to have understood this criticism by focusing on the lives of ordinary families, with their lights and shadows, but above all full on God's blessing in the encounter between man and woman, speaking of indissoluble conjugal love as "
one of the most beautiful miracles, though it is also the most common".

Of the rivers of ink that have flowed from mass media two sentences remain: one in which it is recalled that "
in the first leg of our synodal process, we reflected on assisting access to the sacraments and pastoral care of the divorced and remarried" and that (probably referring to gay people) which says that "Christ has willed that his Church was a house with the door always open for comfort, without excluding anyone".

Below the full text of the Message:

We synod fathers gathered in Rome around Papa Francesco Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, we cater to all the families of the different continents and in particular to those who follow Christ, Way, Truth and Life. We express our admiration and gratitude for the daily witness that you offer to us and to the world with your loyalty, your faith, hope, and love.

We, the pastors of the Church, we are born and brought up in a family with diverse stories and events. By priests and bishops we have met and we lived next door to families who have narrated in words and in deeds we have shown a long series of splendor but also labors.

The same preparation of this synodal assembly, from answers to the questionnaire sent to the Churches throughout the world, has allowed us to listen to the voice of so many family experiences. Our dialogue in the days of the Synod we were then mutually enriched, helping us to look at the whole vivid and complex reality in which families live.

We present to you the words of Christ: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me "( Rev. 3: 20). As he used to do during his paths along the roads of the Holy Land, entering the houses of the villages, Jesus continues to pass even today in the streets of our cities. In your case you experience light and shadow, exciting challenges, but sometimes even dramatic evidence. The darkness is even more dense until it becomes darkness when it creeps into the very heart of the family evil and sin.

There is, first of all, the great challenge of fidelity in marriage. Weakening of faith and values, individualism, depletion of relationships, stress of a frenzy that ignores the reflection also mark family life. We are witnessing, so, quite a few marital crises, often dealt with summarily and without the courage of patience, audit, mutual forgiveness, reconciliation and even sacrifice. The failures damage, so rise to new relationships, new couples, new partnerships and new marriages, creating complex family situations and problems for the Christian choice.

Among these challenges, we want to also mention the fatigue of existence. Think of the suffering that can appear in a child with a disability, a serious illness, neurological deterioration in old age, death of a loved one. It is admirable loyalty of many generous families who live these tests with courage, faith and love, not considering them as something that is torn or inflicted, but as something that is given to them and that they give, seeing the suffering Christ in those diseased meat.

Think of the economic difficulties caused by perverse systems, the 'fetishism of money and the dictatorship of the economy faceless and aimless truly human "( Evangelii gaudium , 55), which humiliates the dignity of people. Think of the father or mother, unemployed, powerless in the face of even the primary need of their families, and young people who are faced with empty days and no waiting, and which may become the prey of the deviations in drugs or crime.

Consider, as well, the crowd of poor families, to those who cling to a boat to reach a goal of survival, to the refugee families that migrate without hope in the deserts, to those persecuted simply for their faith and their spiritual values and human, to those affected by the brutality of war and oppression. We also think women who suffer violence and are subjected to exploitation, trafficking in persons, children and teens abused by even those who had to guard them and make them grow in confidence and to members of many families humiliated and distressed. "The culture of wellness and numbs us [...] all these lives cut short due to lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle that does not trouble us in any way" ( Evangelii gaudium , 54). We call on governments and international organizations to promote the rights of the family for the common good.

Christ has willed that his Church was a house with the door always open for comfort, without excluding anyone. We are so grateful to the pastors and faithful community ready to accompany and take care of the interior and social lacerations of couples and families.

* *

However, there is also the light that shines at night behind the windows in the houses of the city, in modest homes in the suburbs or in the villages and even in the huts: it shines and warms bodies and souls. This light, in the story of the wedding couple, turns on the encounter: it is a gift, a grace that is expressed - as the Genesis (2:18) - when the two faces are one "in front of" all ' another, in a "helper corresponding", ie equal and mutual. The love of man and woman teaches us that each of them needs the other to be himself, while remaining different from the other in its identity, that opens and reveals itself in the mutual gift. This is expressed in a suggestive way the woman in the Song of Solomon : "My beloved is mine and I am his ... I am my beloved's and my beloved and my" ( Ct 2:16; 6.3).

The route, because this meeting is authentic, it starts with the engagement time of waiting and preparation. Is realized in its fullness in the sacrament where God puts his seal, his presence and his grace. This path also knows sexuality, tenderness, beauty, that persist well beyond the vigor and freshness of youth. Love tends by its nature to be forever, even to giving his life for the person you love (cf. Jn 15:13). In this light, conjugal love, unique and indissoluble, persists despite the many difficulties of the human limit; is one of the most beautiful miracles, though it is also the most common.

This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which is not only procreation, but also the gift of divine life in baptism, catechesis and education of their children. It is also the ability to offer life, love, values, experience also possible to those who could not generate. Families living this adventure become a bright testimony for everyone, especially for young people.

During this journey, which is sometimes a high-level hike with fatigues and falls, you always have the presence and accompaniment of God. Family experiences it in the love and in the dialogue between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters. Then he lives in, together, the Word of God and in prayer together, a small oasis of the spirit to create for some time every day. So there is a daily commitment to education in the faith and life is good and beautiful of the Gospel, to holiness. This task is often shared and exercised with great affection and dedication even grandparents and grandmothers. So the family is presented as a true domestic Church, which widens the family of the family which is the Church community. Christian couples are then called to become teachers in faith and love for young couples.

Then there is another expression of fraternal communion and that of charity, the gift, the proximity to the needy, the marginalized, the poor, the lonely, the sick, foreign, other families in crisis, aware of the word the Lord: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" ( Acts 20:35). It is a gift of goods, for companionship, love and mercy, as well as a witness of truth, of light, of the meaning of life.

The summit, which collects and summarizes all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucharist, with the whole Church when the family sits at the table with the Lord. He gives to all of us pilgrims in history toward the ultimate goal of the meeting "when Christ will be all in all" ( Col 3:11). For this reason, in the first leg of our synodal process, we reflected on assisting access to the sacraments and pastoral care of the divorced and remarried.

We Synod Fathers, we ask you to walk with us to the next synod. Upon you hovers the presence of the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in their modest home. We, too, uniting the Family of Nazareth, we raise the Father of all our prayer for the families of the earth:

Father, give to all the families of the bride and groom presence strong and wise, that they are the source of a free and united family.

Father, gives parents to have a house to live in peace with their family.

Father, give to the children to be a sign of trust and hope and courage to young people undertaking stable and faithful.

Father, give everybody the chance to earn their bread with their hands, to enjoy the serenity of the spirit and to keep alive the flame of faith even in the time of darkness.

Father, grant us all to see the blossoming of a Church ever more faithful and credible, a town just and humane, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy.


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