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The synod of bishops (To save the family)

04 Oct 2015, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Events

In recent times, Pope Francis has laid emphasis on the family life, a very vital organ of the Church and to the society at large; it is the “first Church.” The family and the institution of marriage is been threatened today by all kinds of satanic tendencies that are manifesting in forms of homosexuality, lesbianism, same-sex marriage and other forms of sexual abuses and domestic violence.The pope If the institution of marriage and family life as ordained by God are allowed to be broken down completely as a result of bad government policies, socio-cultural influences, religious negligence and other possible satanic agents, the Church will feel the impact and the world will no longer be a safe place to live in.

It is to savage these dangerous tendencies towards family life that Catholic Church called for a synod of bishops which begins today (Sunday 4 October 2015).

A synod in the Catholic Church is what we can synonymously call a council, it is an authoritative gathering of Catholic bishops from around the world for the purpose of Church administration; to teach the truth, to defend the truth, to correct erroneous teachings and other matters of moral and discipline. In synods, the Church relies on the Holy Spirit for inspiration and directions.

The synod which begins today in the Vatican, centers on the family, we pray for the Pope and other members of the synod to be open to the Holy Spirit and act in promptness to his directions.

The L’Osservatore Romano, published the methodology for this synod which I copied directly with just one or two adjustment for your understanding.

The Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme of the family, will be structured in a way that allows ample space for the voices of the 270 bishops to be heard. This was announced by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, in a press conference on Friday morning, 2 October, in the Holy See Press Office.The bishops will be joined by around 90 religious, auditors, experts, collaborators and fraternal delegates. The Synod commences today, Sunday 4 October with a mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s basilica.

Cardinal Baldisseri highlighted three ways in which participants can take action during the work: through programmed participation during the general congregations, the space reserved for free interventions at the end of each day, and small group discussions divided into different languages.

One of the novelties of this fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod, which has been dedicated to the theme “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”, is the number of Circuli minori, which are thirteen (one German, four Englishmen, three Spaniards, two Italians and three French), and are five more than the previous ordinary meeting which took place in 2012. Another novelty is that at the end of each week the Working Groups will make their reports public. Considering that the work will be divided into three parts, one for each section of the Instrumentum laboris (dedicated to listening to the challenges faced by the family, and to discerning its vocation and mission today), in total 39 reports will be made public.

At the end of the work a final text will be presented to be approved by the Synod Fathers. To ensure transparency, the Commission for the Elaboration of the Final Report was established and appointed by Pope Francis. The Commission will oversee the development of each of the three parts of the report, the final text of which will be presented in plenary session. Cardinal Baldisseri said that this will “harmonise the various positions that emerge. The Commission of the ten will ensure greater transparency.” If there are amendments “they will be added in the final text that will be read in its entirety, followed by the voting.” At the end of the three weeks, “a text will result as the fruit of the reflections and various interventions of the Synod Fathers.” There will be no obstacles to discussion.