Home » Posts tagged 'family'

Viewpoint: Pope puts out the welcome mat

By

 

I don’t know if there are Home Depots in Rome, but an enterprising household goods sales person over there might call on Pope Francis to sell him a gigantic welcome mat for St. Peter’s Basilica. “You’re welcomed in the church” has been the pope’s continuing theme since his pontificate began in 2013.

He extended that welcome again last week when he released his postsynodal apostolic exhortation “‘Amoris Laetitia’ (“The Joy of Love”) on Love in the Family.”

The document’s title might be unwieldy, but its message is positive, clear-eyed and traditional. Read more »

Comments Off on Viewpoint: Pope puts out the welcome mat

Vatican Letter: Pope Francis’ “The Joy of Love” sees the nitty gritty of family life

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ hymn to love and family life is more like a country song than a Disney tune.

In “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis’ postsynodal apostolic exhortation on the family, there is passion and devotion, but also heartache and sweat. The “magic” he wrote about is not momentarily sparkly, but the result of prayer, grace, hard work and a willingness to apologize, time and time again.

Pope Francis embraces Humberto and Claudia Gomez, who are married civilly but not in the church, during a meeting with families at the Victor Manuel Reyna Stadium in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Feb. 15. Pope Francis' postsynodal apostolic exhortation on the family, "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"), was released April 8. The exhortation is the concluding document of the 2014 and 2015 synods of bishops on the family. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis embraces Humberto and Claudia Gomez, who are married civilly but not in the church, during a meeting with families at the Victor Manuel Reyna Stadium in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Feb. 15. Pope Francis’ postsynodal apostolic exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), was released April 8. The exhortation is the concluding document of the 2014 and 2015 synods of bishops on the family. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Committing oneself exclusively and definitively to another person always involves a risk and a bold gamble,” he wrote. But the payoff is huge.

The papal reflection on love, family life and the importance of marriage and child-rearing has sections that are deeply theological, pristinely poetic or even homiletic, like his reflection on the meaning of each line of the passage from the First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, used at millions of weddings each year: “Love is patient, love is kind ….”

But it also got into the nitty-gritty business of life when a man and a woman leave their parents’ home and try to make one of their own. However, while it quoted from some of his past speeches on family life, it did not include references to “plates flying” during arguments and refrained from making mother-in-law jokes, as he has been known to do.

Pope Francis reviewed the whole arc of married life from new and exciting young love to old age, sitting on the porch watching the grandkids play.

“Young love needs to keep dancing toward the future with immense hope,” he wrote. “Hope is the leaven that, in those first years of engagement and marriage, makes it possible to look beyond arguments, conflicts and problems and to see things in a broader perspective.”

While realistic about late nights and colic, the papal document is lyrical in its reflections on the blessings and challenges of welcoming children into families. He invited readers to join him standing in awe of God’s gift of children, marveling that “God allows parents to choose the name by which he himself will call their child for all eternity.”

Running after toddlers, supervising homework, trying to figure out how to be close to adolescents without smothering them and, finally, negotiating the “empty nest” syndrome all feature in the papal text.

Reaching together the later stage of family life, he insisted, is possible and beautiful.

“Although the body ages,” he said, “it still expresses that personal identity that first won our heart. Even if others can no longer see the beauty of that identity, a spouse continues to see it with the eyes of love and so his or her affection does not diminish.”

The path to the porch won’t be easy, the pope wrote. But “each crisis has a lesson to teach us; we need to learn how to listen for it with the ear of the heart.”

The pope’s hymn includes the twang of yearning for that perfect, forever love. That yearning, present in most people from every culture and religion, shows that a stable, faithful union is what responds to human nature and to God’s plan for humanity.

“Lovers do not see their relationship as merely temporary,” he wrote. “Those who marry do not expect their excitement to fade. Those who witness the celebration of a loving union, however fragile, trust that it will pass the test of time.”

To turn that dream into reality, try a little tenderness, the pope advised. Tenderness is a virtue “often overlooked in our world of frenetic and superficial relationships.”

A loving gaze also is essential, he wrote. “How many things do spouses and children sometimes do in order to be noticed! Much hurt and many problems result when we stop looking at one another. This lies behind the complaints and grievances we often hear in families: ‘My husband does not look at me; he acts as if I were invisible.’ ‘Please look at me when I am talking to you!’ ‘My wife no longer looks at me, she only has eyes for our children.’”

Pope Francis’ ballad on family love, life and loss urges Catholics to be patient and merciful with themselves as well as with their spouses and children. “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed,” so all must learn to grow together, including by making frequent use of the words, “Thank you,” “please” and “sorry.”

“The right words, spoken at the right time, daily protect and nurture love,” the pope wrote.

Finding the right words also is Pope Francis’ exhortation to the church as a whole. While standing up tall for the family, the church needs to stop whining about how often its teaching on love and marriage is attacked, he said. “We should not be trapped into wasting our energy in doleful laments, but rather seek new forms of missionary creativity.”

Family life always has been challenging, the pope wrote. Just read the Bible, which “is full of families, births, love stories and family crises.”

But the Bible, he said, also holds out the promise of “the goal of their journey, when God ‘will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.’”

 

Follow Wooden on Twitter @Cindy_Wooden.

Comments Off on Vatican Letter: Pope Francis’ “The Joy of Love” sees the nitty gritty of family life

Commentary: Charting our course in this life

November 15th, 2015 Posted in Opinion, Vocations Tags: , ,

By

 

My father used to say he wanted to be a sailor when he grew up. The thing is, he was already a grown up when he announced that ambition. He wasn’t talking about the Navy; he was talking about taking the helm of his own boat someday and catching a good wind.

What kept Dad from heading to a dock to cast off every weekend or summer was his family. A wife and seven children come with some responsibilities and those duties were Dad’s priorities in life. Family always came first for my father and mother.

Dad’s jobs were mostly in sales. I marvel that he was able to raise us on a salesman’s salary, and in retrospect, I understand the pressures my parents faced in having a big family. But I know raising seven made them happy because they rarely showed any signs of the strain of the task. Read more »

Comments Off on Commentary: Charting our course in this life

The deeper synod question: How should church relate to the wider world

By

Catholic News Service

 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Members of the Synod of Bishops on the family agree that Catholic families are the beating heart and busy hands of the church, but the tensions in the synod hall demonstrate that what they don’t agree on is a vision of the church and its primary attitude to the world.

As the Catholic Church marked the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council — the last session was held Sept. 14-Dec. 8, 1965 — debates within the synod indicated that reflections on the council have shifted from differences over the meaning of individual council documents and moved on to its general vision of the structure of the church and the relationship of the church to the world. Read more »

Comments Off on The deeper synod question: How should church relate to the wider world

Final Synod report to be a general guide, not hard answers, says cardinal

October 22nd, 2015 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: ,

By

Catholic News Service

 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After nearly three weeks of intense discussion and debate, the Synod of Bishop’s final document on the family was not expected to have any hard-hitting answers, a member of the drafting commission said.

Rather, the report was aiming to be a reflection of the overall sense of the “mind of the house” and indicate some general pastoral directions, Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai told reporters at a Vatican news conference Oct. 22. Read more »

Comments Off on Final Synod report to be a general guide, not hard answers, says cardinal

Vatican Letter: Theologians discuss promise, pitfalls of family synod discussions

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The discussion at last year’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was lively, some media coverage made it sound like a battle, and a new book from the Pontifical Council for the Family shows the debate continues.

“Family and Church: An Indissoluble Bond,” published this summer only in Italian, is a collection of presentations by theologians and canon lawyers gathered by the council for three full days of discussion and debate.

Pilgrims reach to receive Communion as Pope Francis celebrates Mass Jan. 18 in Manila, Philippines. As Catholics prepare for the world Synod of Bishops on the family in October, a number of church leaders and theologians are discussing ways to reach out to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. (CNS photo/Francis Maalasig, EPA)

Pilgrims reach to receive Communion as Pope Francis celebrates Mass Jan. 18 in Manila, Philippines. As Catholics prepare for the world Synod of Bishops on the family in October, a number of church leaders and theologians are discussing ways to reach out to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. (CNS photo/Francis Maalasig, EPA)

Their consensus is that the church must do something to present more clearly its teaching on marriage; it must do more to help young couples prepare for marriage; it must be more effective in helping couples in trouble; and it must reach out to those who divorced and remarried without an annulment.

At the same time, the text indicates that many bloggers and reporters are wrong when they try to pigeon-hole church leaders as being in either-or categories of loving ministers of God’s mercy or strong defenders of God’s truth. The challenge lies in being both.

The meetings brought together two dozen participants, men and women, most teaching at pontifical universities in Rome, including the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. The experts — Europeans, an Indian, Africans and South Americans — met in January, February and March.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the family council, told an Italian Catholic magazine that finding pastoral approaches to express God’s mercy while being faithful to church teaching is complicated. However, he told Famiglia Cristiana, “It is pharisaical to limit ourselves to repeating laws and denouncing sins. The church must be frank in admonishing, but it also must be ready to find new paths to follow.”

One of the paths suggested before and during last year’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was a “penitential process” that gradually would lead some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to confession, absolution and Communion.

Participants at the family council’s meetings explored the idea, giving suggested steps and highlighting potential pitfalls beginning with the obvious danger of signaling to the couples and the world at large that perhaps some sacramental marriages are not indissoluble after all. But doing nothing, several said, risks signaling that entering a new union, even after being abandoned by a husband or wife, is the only situation where the church cannot be a minister of God’s forgiveness.

In his presentation, Father Giampaolo Dianin, an Italian professor of moral theology, insisted forgiveness is not “some kind of amnesty.” In Catholic teaching it is “a free and full gift of God which asks for and provokes a commitment to repair, begin again and rebuild.”

A possible “penitential path,” he said, would include:

  • A diocesan bishop appointing a priest or a team of qualified people to evaluate individual cases and accompany the applicants, first determining if they have the grounds for an annulment, which would allow them to have their new union blessed as a marriage.
  • For a spouse who was abandoned, the process would aim at promoting forgiveness of the offending party. For all involved, the process would include recognizing their sins and ways they contributed to the destruction of the marriage.
  • Evaluating the solidity of the second union and the commitment of the couple to live seriously as Christians.
  • “Readmission to the sacraments could be full or partial.” Some might maintain that permanent readmission downplays the fact that the second union is not a sacramental marriage, Father Dianin said; they would allow the couple to receive absolution and Communion during the Easter season and on special occasions.

In Father Dianin’s process, there is no requirement that the couple abstain from sex, living “as brother and sister.” In current church practice, that is what is required of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive the sacraments.

Father Dianin and several other participants said that beyond the difficulty, and perhaps impossibility, many couples would have in fulfilling that requirement, there is a theological problem in suggesting that the spiritual and corporal aspects of love can and should be separated. In addition, Father Alberto Bonandi, another theologian, said it gives the message that the sexual relations in a new union are the only way the couple is living in conflict with their original marriage bond when, in fact, they have withdrawn their affection and are building a life with someone else.

Father Eugenio Zanetti disagreed. The Italian canon lawyer outlined not a “penitential path,” but what he called a “path of conversion to Love,” meaning to God who is love.

The process would begin with a year of individual and group prayer and reflection, particularly looking at the obligations that remain to the spouse and any children from one’s sacramental marriage, he said. During Lent, the prayer would intensify and the reflection would include attention to the Christian understanding of sexuality. At the end of Holy Week, the couple would be invited to confession, “recognizing their sins, including their complex and not fully correct marriage situation.” As a condition of granting them absolution, the church would ask for a promise that they abstain from sexual relations during the Octave of Easter, which would permit them to receive Communion on Easter and on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Publishers have announced the coming release of other books on Catholic teaching and the family before the world Synod of Bishops on the family begins Oct. 4. One of them, coming from Ignatius Press, is: “Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family: Essays from a Pastoral Viewpoint.”

The book, widely expected to be cautious about broadening the church’s “penitential path,” is described by the publisher as steering “a wise and merciful course that engages genuine concerns, while avoiding false compassion, which compromises both truth and authentic love.”

The discussion and debate continues.

Comments Off on Vatican Letter: Theologians discuss promise, pitfalls of family synod discussions

Attacked by all sides, family needs church for help, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The family is under attack now more than ever because of today’s culture of division that wants to break from and be free of all everlasting bonds and forms of solidarity, Pope Francis said.

“Talking about problems of the family, for example, bonds are being destroyed, instead of created. Why? Because we are living in a culture of the provisional, of conflict, of the inability to make alliances,” he said.

Pope Francis greets a child as he arrives to lead a special audience for members of the Schoenstatt religious movement at the Vatican Oct. 25. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

Pope Francis greets a child as he arrives to lead a special audience for members of the Schonstatt religious movement at the Vatican Oct. 25. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

What is needed is a church and Christians who are willing to “waste time” on people, not just principles, and accompany face-to-face those needing to discover the truth in Jesus Christ, he said.

The pope’s comments came during a 90-minute encounter with about 8,000 lay members of the international Schonstatt movement Oct. 25 in the Vatican audience hall. The movement, founded by the late German Father Joseph Kentenich, was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Representatives asked the pope five questions, ranging from how to help strengthen families to his secret for maintaining a sense of hope and happiness in such a trouble-plagued world.

“I haven’t got the faintest idea,” he said with a smile.

Part of it comes from his personality and being a bit “impulsive,” which makes him a bit of a daredevil, he said. But that courage is also rooted in prayer and abandoning himself to God’s goodness, he added.

Knowing that God is always there, even “in moments of major sin,” gives him great confidence and faith, he said, in remarks that were entirely unscripted.

Something else that helps, he said, is perspective. Jesus Christ is and must always be at the center of everything, which means, oneself, one’s parish, the associations one belongs to, even the Roman Curia, cannot become the center of one’s life, he said.

“The truth is grasped better from the periphery,” from the outside looking in, he said. One striking example came to light in a recent conversation with a criminal defense lawyer who told him he often cries with the prisoners he visits in jail.

“He sees the world of law, of what he has to judge as a criminal lawyer, but also from the wounds that he finds there,” which allows him to see the actual situation better, the pope said.

“Therefore, I would say a healthy recklessness, that is, letting God do things; praying and abandoning oneself; courage and patience; and going to the peripheries. I don’t know if this is my secret, but it is what comes to mind,” he said.

In response to a question about how to help families, Pope Francis said he believed “the Christian family, the family, marriage have never been attacked as much as they are right now.”

The family is “beaten and the family is bastardized” and debased, since almost anything is being called a family, he said.

The family faces a crisis “because it is being bludgeoned by all sides, leaving it very wounded,” he said. There is no other choice than to go to the family’s aid and give them personal help, he said.

“We can give a nice speech, declare principles. Of course we need to do this, with clear ideas” and statements saying that unions that do not reflect God’s plan of a permanent union between a man and a woman are forms of “an association, not a marriage.”

However, people must also be accompanied “and this also means wasting time. The greatest master of wasting time is Jesus. He wasted time accompanying, to help consciences mature, to heal the wounds, to teach,” the pope said.

He said the sacrament of matrimony is becoming just a ceremony or social event for some people, who do not see its sacramental nature as a union with God. Part of the problem is a lack of formation for engaged couples and “this is a sin of omission on our part,” he said.

But there also is the problem of a culture that is shortsighted, where everything is temporary or “provisional,” he said, and “forever has been forgotten.”

He said he sees the same thing even in his own family with couples living together “part time: Monday through Friday with my girlfriend and Friday to Sunday with my family. They are new forms, totally destructive and limiting of the greatness of the love of marriage.”

When asked about the best way to share the faith with others, the pope said going out into the world and living as true witnesses of Christ and his message is the only way.

“There is no other way. To live in a way that others become interested and ask, ‘Why?’ This is witness,” he said.

Missionaries don’t save people; they are “transmitters of someone that saves us,” which is possible only if people have made Jesus a full part and the heart of their lives.

Everyone, however, is weak, makes mistakes, has problems “and we don’t always give a good witness; but the ability to become humble inside, to ask for forgiveness when our witness is not what it should be,” this is part of being good Christians.

The church also needs to “go out,” he said, “to help, to share, to let people see what we do and how we do it.”

If a lay association or the church itself doesn’t go out, “it is a church of snobs,” and instead of looking for people and helping them, attracting them to Christ, “they spend time combing their doll’s hair, in little groups; they are ‘spiritual hairdressers.’ This is not good.”

“A community that goes out makes mistakes. Mistakes are made, but it is so wonderful to ask forgiveness when one makes a mistake,” he said. “Do not be afraid!”

 

Comments Off on Attacked by all sides, family needs church for help, pope says

Synod of Bishops on family report: Call for greater acceptance of divorced and remarried, cohabiting couples, homosexuals

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In strikingly conciliatory language on situations contrary to Catholic teaching, an official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops on the family emphasized calls for greater acceptance and appreciation of divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and homosexuals. The report is a working document from the meeting; the bishops will issue another report after the synod ends on Oct. 19,

Synod of Bishops on family midterm report: Welcome gays, non marital unions. CNS/Paul Haring

Synod of Bishops on family midterm report: Welcome gays, non marital unions. CNS/Paul Haring

“It is necessary to accept people in their concrete being, to know how to support their search, to encourage the wish for God and the will to feel fully part of the church, also on the part of those who have experienced failure or find themselves in the most diverse situations,” Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest told Pope Francis and the synod Oct. 13.

Cardinal Erdo, who as the synod’s relator has the task of guiding the discussion and synthesizing its results, gave a nearly hourlong speech that drew on the synod’s first week of discussions.

“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community,” the cardinal said. “Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and evaluating their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”

The statement represents a marked shift in tone on the subject for an official Vatican document. While the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls for “respect, compassion and sensitivity” toward homosexuals, it calls their inclination “objectively disordered.” A 1986 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called homosexuality a “more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.” In 2003, the doctrinal congregation stated that permitting adoption by same-sex couples is “gravely immoral” and “would actually mean doing violence to these children.”

While Cardinal Erdo said that same-sex unions present unspecified “moral problems” and thus “cannot be considered on the same footing” as traditional marriage, he said they also can exemplify “mutual aid to the point of sacrifice (that) constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.”

He noted that the “church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.”

The cardinal said a “new sensitivity in the pastoral care of today consists in grasping the positive reality of civil marriages and … cohabitation,” even though both models fall short of the ideal of sacramental marriage.

“In such unions it is possible to grasp authentic family values or at least the wish for them,” he said. “All these situations have to be dealt with in a constructive manner, seeking to transform them into opportunities to walk toward the fullness of marriage and the family in the light of the Gospel. They need to be welcomed and accompanied with patience and delicacy.”

Similarly, the cardinal said, divorced and civilly remarried Catholics deserve an “accompaniment full of respect, avoiding any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against.”

Cardinal Erdo noted that various bishops supported making the annulment process “more accessible and flexible,” among other ways, by allowing bishops to declare marriages null without requiring a trial before a church tribunal.

One of the most discussed topics at the synod has been a controversial proposal by German Cardinal Walter Kasper that would make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive communion, even without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriages.

Cardinal Erdo said some synod members had spoken in support of the “present regulations,” which admit such Catholics to Communion only if they abstain from sexual relations, living with their new partners as “brother and sister.”

But the cardinal said other bishops at the assembly favored a “greater opening” to such second unions, “on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of graduality, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances.”

As a historical example of the “law of graduality,” which he said accounts for the “various levels through which God communicates the grace of the covenant to humanity,” the cardinal quoted Jesus’ words in the Gospel of St. Matthew (19:8) acknowledging that, “because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”

Critics of Cardinal Kasper’s proposal commonly cite the Gospel’s following verse, in which Jesus states that “whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

At a news conference following the synod’s morning session, Cardinal Erdo said no one at the synod had questioned church teaching that Jesus’ prohibition of divorce applies to all Christian sacramental marriages.

Also at the news conference, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, one of the assembly’s three presidents chosen by Pope Francis, said Cardinal Erdo’s speech “is not to be considered a final document from the synod,” but a pretext for the further discussion, which concludes Oct. 18.

The synod is not supposed to reach any definitive conclusions, but set the agenda for a larger world synod to be held Oct. 4-25, 2015, which will make recommendations to the pope. Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the synod, announced Oct. 13 that the theme of next’s year assembly will be: “The vocation and mission of the family in the church and in the modern world.”

 

Comments Off on Synod of Bishops on family report: Call for greater acceptance of divorced and remarried, cohabiting couples, homosexuals

U.S. couple at synod calls for ‘robust, creative’ family programs

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY— Existing diocesan programs and Catholic organizations aimed at helping Catholic families fulfill their vocation clearly are not strong enough to meet modern needs, a Wisconsin couple told the Synod of Bishops.

“We must develop more robust and creative methods to share the fundamental truth that marriage is a divine gift from God, rather than merely a man-made institution,” Alice Heinzen told the synod Oct. 7, reading a speech she and her husband, Jeff, wrote.

 

Alice and Jeff Heinzen of Menomonie, Wis., pose for a photo as they arrive for the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 7. The couple are auditors at the synod. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Alice and Jeff Heinzen of Menomonie, Wis., pose for a photo as they arrive for the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 7. The couple are auditors at the synod. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Heinzens, from the Diocese of La Crosse, were named synod auditors by Pope Francis and were chosen to introduce the work of the synod’s afternoon discussion on pastoral programs designed to meet the challenges facing families. Alice is director of the diocesan Office for Marriage and Family Life; Jeff is president of McDonell Catholic Schools in Chippewa Falls.

The Catholic Church, its parishes and organization need to review “the methods by which we teach our children about the nature of human sexuality and the vocation of marriage,” Heinzen said. In addition, when Catholics talk about vocations and God’s call to each of the baptized to serve the church and humanity, they cannot speak only of priesthood and religious life. “Marriage should be included in all programs designed to explore vocations.”

Presenting marriage as a vocation and the immediate preparation of couples for marriage are not enough, she said. The church also needs to review “how we provide for the aftercare of marriage that can help couples deepen their relationship.”

The Heinzens said they recognize that their parents’ example and their family life growing up were major factors in their continuing to be active today; Alice said she remembers seeing her father leave early to go to Mass before work, praying the rosary together during the month of May and attending Sunday Mass as a family.

“To all this we can add our mothers who reminded us to always love our siblings, to use our best manners with others, and to save our pennies to help those less fortunate,” she said. “Our homes were schools of love and virtue and our parents were the primary educators.”

But many young people today have no similar experiences and, instead, suffer the pain of seeing their parents divorce or are raised by a single parent who was never married.

Sociological research and the international input used for the synod’s working document indicate that “children raised without the blessing of married parents, who have created a home animated by love and faith, will likely struggle to trust in God and their neighbors,” she said. “How can they create lifelong marriages?”

Through their ministry, she said, “we know countless divorced adults who have joined other faith communities because they do not feel welcomed in the Catholic Church. And, our hearts ache for single parents who struggle to care for their children. Like you, we strive to find simpler, more effective ways to better share the blessings of God’s plan for marriage and family.”

The church is not confused or in a state of crisis about its teaching on marriage and family life, she said. But there is “a crisis of methodology. How do we as a church effectively share what we know to be true in practical, simple and convincing ways, so that all men and women are challenged and supported to live lifelong marriages and build homes that reflect the domestic church?”

 

Comments Off on U.S. couple at synod calls for ‘robust, creative’ family programs

‘Google Hangout’ — Pope tells teens online that society is neglecting well-being of children

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The wisdom of “It takes a village to raise a child” has been lost as kids are either overprotected by permissive parents or neglected, Pope Francis said.

“The educational partnership has been broken” as families, schools and society are “no longer united together for the child,” he said Sept. 4 after holding his first Google Hangout, a live video conversation, across five continents with teenagers who belong to the international network of “Scholas occurentes,” uniting students of all faiths and cultures.

Pope Francis video chats with a Salvadoran student in the gang-infested neighborhood of La Campanera, San Salvador, Sept. 4. The pope said all of society needs to help children and young people who are homeless, exploited, victims of violence or without any prospects. (CNS photo/ Jose Cabezas, Reuters)

Pope Francis video chats with a Salvadoran student in the gang-infested neighborhood of La Campanera, San Salvador, Sept. 4. The pope said all of society needs to help children and young people who are homeless, exploited, victims of violence or without any prospects. (CNS photo/ Jose Cabezas, Reuters)

Parents and teachers used to stick together to teach kids important values, the pope said, recalling when he got into trouble in the fourth grade.

“I wasn’t respectful toward the teacher, and the teacher called my mother. My mother came, I stayed in class and the teacher stepped out, then they called for me,” he told a group of educators and experts involved with the worldwide Scholas network.

“My mom was really calm. I feared the worst,” he said. After getting him to admit to his wrongdoing, his mother told him to apologize to the teacher.

The pope said he apologized and remembered, “it was easy and I was happy. But there was an Act 2 when I got home,” insinuating stiffer punishment had followed.

However, today, “at least in lots of schools in my country,” if a teacher notes a problem with a student, “the next day, the mother and father denounce the teacher,” he said.

The family, schools and culture have to work together for the well-being of the child, he said. People have to “rebuild this village in order to educate a child.”

All society also needs to help children and young people who are homeless, exploited, victims of violence or without any prospects, he said.

The pope pointed the blame on today’s “culture of disposal” and “the cult of money” for creating and perpetuating adults’ apathy to or complicity in the mistreatment of kids.

This is why “it’s very important to strengthen bonds: social, family and personal ties” with kids and young adults, and create an environment that helps them approach the world with “trust and serenity.”

Otherwise, kids will be “left only with the path of delinquency and addiction,” he said.

The pope’s comments came at the end of an afternoon encounter to launch scholas.social, a new social network for students from all over the world to cooperate on environmental and social causes, sport and art initiatives, and charitable activities.

The Scholas initiative was begun in Buenos Aires and supported by its then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, who also used to teach high school when he was a young Jesuit priest.

When he became pope, he asked fellow Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, to expand the network’s reach and impact.

With a small digital camera and studio lights aimed at him in the Vatican synod hall, the pope took questions from five Scholas members, who were linked in from Australia, Israel, Turkey, South Africa and El Salvador.

The pope urged the young people to build bridges through open and respectful communication, in which they listen carefully to others and exchange experiences, ideas and values.

Sina, a teenage boy in Istanbul, thanked the pope for letting more than schools and students come together, “but also our beliefs and hearts.” He then asked the pope if he thought the future was going to get better or worse.

“I don’t have a crystal ball like witches do to see the future,” the pope answered, adding that what the future will be like is in the hands of today’s young people.

The future “is in your heart, it’s in your mind and your hands,” and if people cultivate constructive thoughts and feeling and do good things, “the future will be better.”

He said young people need two things: They need wings to fly and the courage to dream of big things, and they need strong roots and respect for their culture, their heritage and all the wisdom passed down from their elders.

“Today’s young people need three key foundations: education, sports and culture, that’s why Scholas unites everything,” he said.

He urged the teens to speak out against war and injustice, and to stick together like a team, defending each other against gangs and other negative influences that only seek to destroy and isolate people.

His last piece of advice, he said, came from Jesus, who often said, “Be not afraid!”

“Don’t lose your nerve. Don’t be afraid. Keep going. Build bridges of peace. Play as a team and build a better future because, remember, that the future is in your hands.”

 

Comments Off on ‘Google Hangout’ — Pope tells teens online that society is neglecting well-being of children
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.