no prescription ventolin buy alli refill 130 brahmi indian hair generic cialis in the uk brand name zyban online buy voltaren online pharmacy best sex pills for women cialis online purchase order erythromycin topical ophthalmic costco pharmacy acticin price best place to order crestor in us can we trust exelon online overseas pharmacy no prescription flomax buy trandate no prescription fast delivery arimidex dosage for pct dipyridamole shoppers drug mart best place to order viagra online forum what is levlen drugs cheapest lotensin tablets uk india lamictal price generic accutane sale armour thyroid no prescription mexico cialis jelly echeck calan roche precio argentina where can i order aldactone tamoxifen purchase cheap difference between generic viagra pfizer viagra paxil weight gain why buy stromectol singapore flagyl er online sales cilas marseille france how much does actoplus met cost buy mestinon online no prescription us all types revatio pills mail order yasmin online buy no prescription needed aldactone overnight where can i buy genuine viagra in the uk buy rumalaya gel no prescription cialis soft buy online australia taking accutane alcohol estrofem 2mg inflammatory arthritis and dla viagra professional birth control online india norvasc order online acheter du cialis en suisse is adalat a prescription drug order yagara online canada alphagan prescriptions brimonidine discount buy silagra online dostinex billig kaufen phenergan generic available overnight delivery doxycycline without buy meclizine walmart what is terramycin drugs v-gel mg buy albuterol sulfate nebulizer dosage meclizine barato discount compazine snovitra super power canadian pharmacy use levaquin coupon online avodart dutasteride 0.5mg supreme suppliers canada cialis buy naprosyn discount synthroid buy online no prescription buy depakote inhaler canada buy ocu-glo rx in the uk buy cheap clomid online lamictal and cough medicine aleve generic form reliable online no prescription pharmacies chloromycetin order online brand name plendil online cleocin usa cvs prices carafate 40mg cymbalta online without prescription cytotec for abortion forum albendazole delivery prescription online order buy pain pills on craigslist hctz 25 lisinopril 20mg tab side effects how to get elocon on line nome generico de voltaren donde puedo comprar las pastillas alli en mexico discount does alli work weight loss aid generic robaxin methocarbamol best prescription medication for ringworm paroxetine 20mg for sale buy claritin hong kong internet cod entocort online in usa birth control pills cialis super active aqua ban water pills side effects can you order flonase prescription board isoptin ordering online pharmacy does premarin cream cause weight gain how long do you have to take plavix after stent surgery buy alesse in canada pharmacy nitrofurantoin usa pharmacy easiest way to get viagra prescription what is 1 guy 1 jar yahoo answers alesse no prescription approved online pharmacy generic viagra plus liposafe delivery order voltaren without rx where purchase pravachol post cycle therapy aspirin actos com pi sildenafil tablets uk no prescription birth control online buy trimox paypal cheap medications online purim legal us cefadroxil 500mg and alcohol buy alprazolam online no prescription needed ordering low dose alli cardizem canada drug store what will happen if i miss a dose of clomid rx relief pharmacy discount card healthcare alliance side effects of ranitidine hydrochloride 150 mg cost of doxycycline malaria tablets tofranil overseas prednisolone online price adalat blood pressure medicine buy endep online generic female viagra no prescription zithromax pack alcohol generic abilify 10mg cozaar 100mg tab purchase evecare zanaflex canadian medications without prescription cheap maxaman free delivery how quickly does work viagra takes can you buy hydrea over the counter safe place order glucotrol xl claritin dosage for children depakote pharmacies mobic 7.5mg price canesten hydrocortisone 30g buy lotrisone 100mg online genuine depakote augmentin best online non prescription pharmacy how long does it take azithromycin to cure gonorrhea buy viagra super active online order trazodone on line uk cytotec 10 mg buy viagra online at canada pharmacy buy levitra online uk no prescription cialis dosage daily vs 36 hour canada pharmacy fast shipping how can i get propecia cialis 20 mg review buy florinef online reviews prozac side effects weight gain testosterone therapy for men cost buy fosamax online cheap lasix medicine interactions buy viagra professional online from australia clozaril delivery best online pharmacy generic desyrel buy birth control pill for men took too much levothyroxine pantoprazole sodium dr femara com au depo provera online order generic torsemide can you buy lithium free viagra sample by mail secure blue power viagra baclofen tablets buy hoodia non perscription countries canadian pharmacies that accept american express viagra clinical trials order flomax from birth family search lowest price toprol xl can youtube buy levitra plus in ireland viagra ditropan on line in the mexico what does diclofenac tablets treat zestoretic maximum dosage celexa daily use reviews cheap diamox sale uk where to buy cialis over the counter hyzaar capsules buy maxalt-mlt online diabetes erectile dysfunction viagra generic pills for azulfidine non prescription styplon pharmacy como comprar kamagra oral jelly what does bystolic treat is phenergan available over the counter buy protonix from canada lipitor costco pharmacy is it illegal to order generic cialis soft canadian pharmacies that accept paypal what does zyban cost where can i purchase kamagra soft where to get toprol xl mirapex lawsuit lawyers medrol without prescription canada ed medication in health store reviews on levitra professional nimotop drug schedule can you buy anacin online cipla pharma pvt ltd no prescription zyvox buy online bupropion generic without rx cheap aciphex can get troubleshooting ordering viagra online generic from prednisolone walmart pharmacy midland tx midland dr can you buy protonix over the counter rocaltrol to buy in england propecia price online epivir-hbv discount kamagra oral jelly kaufen per paypal lioresal tablets 150 mg evecare pharmacy coupons metformin discount coupons coversyl product information synthroid pill shop discount code purchase bystolic 5 mg hyaluronic acid suppliers usa can you only get cytotec on prescription speman medication where to buy comprar actonel portugal 365 pills coupon canadian keftab tablet diakof spain requip xl 2mg tablet tetracycline no prescription needed prograf pas cher italie withdrawal from paroxetine retino-a cream 0,025 phone orders mircette for sale online buy aleve 80 mg online actonel tablets for purchase provera without prescription buy trazodone pills in the us januvia spc bactroban medicines singulair over counter alternative maxalt generic wikipedia drugs caverta drug class comprar cialis original en espan~a mexican pharmacies that ship to us compare prices levitra plus levlen drugs online purchases depakote tablets uk pharmacy has best price forzest recommended dosage amitriptyline fibromyalgia buy canada no prescription for tadacip lov cost yagara generic pills for yasmin how to take actonel combi viagra naturale italiano pharmacy mexico naprosyn how to order tenormin online buy phenergan in uk sale bupron sr cheap evista free delivery cialis jelly online coupon code indian generics online saw palmetto norvasc user reviews doxazosin drug classification giro d;italia live in tv how to cancel acai berry order viagra sin receta buenos aires minocycline in mexico para que sirven las pastillas xerograx compare prices himplasia desi tashan cid sony tv how much is clomid tablets mirapex usa cvs prices safe to buy generic synthroid from canada 100 mg kamagra oral jelly where can you buy albendazole pharmacy brand serophene for sale xalatan us sales 2009 benicar side effects ed albendazole us buy generic norvasc shop net overnight free consultation buy astelin shelf life of phenergan tablets tamoxifen side effects forum canada order furosemide colchicine rx strattera recommended dosage como comprar atarax buy dostinex in india online med cab arimidex cheap cialis 40 mg buy beconase aq 100 is phenergan available in the uk actonel reviews how long does periactin take to work how much is geriforte tablets where to get himcocid pct what does paxil generic look like buy abilify us generic comprar suhagra en argentina buy unisom sleeptabs uk online do i need a prescription for leukeran nootropil not generic nirvana lithium youtube cheap deltasone free delivery azithromycin side effects rash in children buy amitriptyline 10mg generic apo-amitriptyline weight gain order abana tablets xenical pharmacy online reglan canada companies only how much should viagra cost lamisil max dose generic nexium uk paypal is there a drug comparative to abilify pharmacy cod valtrex overnight delivery nexium r 40mg capsule alesse discount can i buy cialis professional in canada generic clonidine for sale on line liposafe prix en pharmacie en france atacand no prrescription is generic kamagra chewable effective tegretol 100 mg tablet fertomid to buy from europe goes you order allegra canada ordering finpecia on line low dose accutane success buy zanaflex mexican pharmacies hydrochlorothiazide prescription dosage can i get zestoretic exelon brand advair diskus looking for floxin medication side effects feldene refill pack what over the counter medicine is good for back pain best drugstore makeup primer 2013 hydrocortisone cream side effects in men order baclofen about mail order pills where do i buy cefixime non prescription ampicillin pharmacy prescription solutions overland park ks address speman dosage instructions omeprazole nhs direct order maxalt from canada/ lasix canada pharmacy blue pill pharmacy low price ciplox uk zyrtec tablets on line to buy cheap view topic order adalat best price for dutas no prescription cialis online canada generic sinequan no prescription genuine zanaflex best price what is ayurslim drugs benemid tablets side effects glucophage 1000 mg 100 film tablet where can i buy noroxin online without a prescription non prescription synthroid pharmacy amitriptyline reviews dogs phone in order for arjuna can you get high off benadryl cough syrup discount code for protonix new restrictions contraindications and dose limitations for zocor comprar finasteride online para que sirve el xerograx how to get a prescription for anxiety medicine xeloda prescription coupon prescription prilosec price topamax medication assistance program paroxetine hcl 20mg tab is there a generic paxil buy wellbutrin from mexico online buy midamor with visa prescription nexium take buy orlistat 100 what does cystone fabrica clozaril voltaren diovan dramamine dose for adults tretinoin cream buy no prescription albendazole without prescriptions lov cost allopurinol buy hytrin 2mg how long for strattera to take effect acquistare cialis sublingual in italia furosemide brand name the online drugstore carafate how often to use zaditor reliable india pharmacies generic keppra no prescription rhinocort suppositories buy where to buy clomid serophene amitriptyline withdrawal symptoms forzest cheap price kamagra oral jelly review for women ciprofloxacina clorhidrato gotas injection depo-provera cost diflucan over the counter india german remedies ltd minipress lawsuit settlements non prescription anti anxiety pills buy over the counter fml forte online ayurslim overnight pharmacy la jolla discount pharmacy fax medrol online usa no prescription venlor side effects uk discount trandate of canada is generic depakote effective bactroban cost canadian risperdal mist canada overnight buy clomid without looking for cheap viagra astelin pas cher italie best ventolin prices dramamine less drowsy dosage instructions buy minocin 20 can zithromax pills be crushed cleocin in the uk now india viagra manufacturer proscar shop buy over the counter malegra dxt online lasuna limited india seroflo western australia prednisone 10mg dose pack # 21+ zyprexa dosages use buy levlen usa prozac buy online no prescription compare sertralina prices prescription drugslasik water pills doxycycline 50 mg tablets online prescriptions nz comprar celexa pela internet online pharmacy casodex generic plavix india safe buy erythromycin online usa crestor online overnight metoclopramide prices usa san marino football stats is minocycline over the counter order capoten online uk usefulness of brahmi medicine clomid cost where can i buy alligator meat in nc valtrex online overnight cod alli c garlic pills side effects buy lozol paypal accepted cost of valtrex at walmart indian steel alliance delhi zyvox no prescription needed buy brafix singapore use of rosuvastatin and fenofibrate tablets what does ginseng tea do didronel price bupron sr no prescription canada jo s club 7 generic brand viagra canada atarax medication for dogs mexico cheap celies lidocaine ointment over the counter where can i buy nexium cheap buy feldene 5 medrol dose pack generic cost famvir mail order india fluoxetine generic release date proscar hair loss results albenza canada overnight delivery is minocycline available over the counter finasteride mental side effects health canada celexa advisory purchase atarax on line in mexico nexium 40 mg prec,o ultrafarma synthroid 10 mg buyers of cardura canada purchase levothroid cheap generic for olanzapine buy antivert online pharmacy furosemide generic doxycycline capsules 100mg apo fucidin acne reviews zyrtec dosage instructions co-diovan medication advair diskus sale canadian buy arjuna inhaler canada how do you say live and let live in italian best place to buy actoplus met in india eulexin rx canadian military allies costco pharmacy trazodone price actos lawsuit in canada order brafix overnight buy actos in ireland alli simpson twitter my nitroglycerin coupons order detrol cheap is there a generic for depakote buy zocor visa what is alli weight loss program tricor on line order digoxin drugs prescription fungsi obat blopress flomax from midamor birth control online us levitra professional delivery london ranitidine tablets 300mg cheap lanoxin free delivery lamisil ordering no prescription ginseng online sale levothroid nombre generico cialis tablets for sale uk viagra order estrace cod ultra low dose cytotec methotrexate italiano asian herbal viagra butea superba can buy domperidone over counter uk abilify generic form buy cheap canadian arimidex without eritromicina gel rosacea finasteride 5 mg tablet (nor) lisinopril drugs and grapefruit side effects of seroquel in children is mail order probalan safe advanced research lithium orotate free shipping research grade arava benicar 40/10 mg mail order medications heat what is the most effective herbal viagra prazosin medicine online over counter zyvox beconase aq no prescription reviews cymbalta and alcohol consumption side effects prilosec otc rxlist stromectol shoppers drug mart stopping bromocriptine side effects shelf life of prednisone tablets prescription nitroglycerin shipping available wellbutrin sr online without rx what is the cost of valtrex without insurance viagra canadian online pharmacy list of tesco stores selling ginseng lipitor drugs news cost of glyset purchase ampicillin online medication buy viagra purchase cefadroxil pills do i need a prescription for ophthacare acivir pills prescription only purchase amitriptyline cheap programa de actos indianos 2011 cialis professional mg canadian rx is singulair sold over the counter order trileptal online uk viagra plus overnight pharmacy how long does accutane take to work on moderate acne what are meclizine pills for aldactone loop diuretic compare and contrast viagra and cialis cialis daily message boards what is allegra 120 mg used for augmentin drug oversea viagra de 50 miligramos purchase generic zithromax mevacor discount voucher lamictal shopping acticin cost without insurance can you take emsam daily flagyl alcohol how to get clonidine discount proscar generic brand amoxil us we no speak americano dj viagra fertility medication serophene buy accutane 20 levitra plus without a prescription brand amoxil without script allopurinol gout medication wellbutrin sr generic vermox on the internet inderal 10mg dosage why has aricept been discontinued cheap cleocin gel pills what is unisom made of free coupon for terramycin furosemide 40 mg dosage for dogs anafranil online overnight fastest acai uk delivery buy lithium soap grease top 10 online glucophage sites
LICATHOLIC.ORG | Your Source for Local & Global Catholic News 

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Print E-mail

Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization

The following introduction and summary are provided to give respondents context that will be useful in their responses to the questions put forward by the Holy See.

Introduction:
Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2014 on the theme: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization. As is customary in the synod process, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops invites consultation on this topic to help with its preparation.

A Preparatory Document has been issued by the Holy See to begin this process along with a series of multi-part questions and it follows this introduction. The document is also found below or by visiting vatican.va.

You are invited to reflect on the Gospel truth about family and marriage as illustrated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (nos, 1601-1658; nos 2331-2391) and to read the Preparatory Document before responding to any or all of the questions that follow.

Please be mindful of the following guidelines:
1. Only E-mail responses sent to synodofbishops@drvc.org can be accepted.
2. Only E-mail responses that include the respondent’s name and parish can be accepted.
3. Faxes or mailed printed documents will not be accepted.
4. The questions to address upon reflection are those found in the Preparatory Document referenced above and appear below.
5. When responding, specific reference to the question number must be given. For instance, if one is responding to question 3(b) in the Preparatory Document, that fact should be clearly indicated in the response.
6. All responses must be received by December 2, 2013.

 

SYNOD OF BISHOPS
________________________________________________________
III EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
PASTORAL CHALLENGES TO THE FAMILY
IN THE CONTEXT OF EVANGELIZATION

Preparatory Document

Vatican City
2013

I. Synod: Family and Evangelization
The mission of preaching the Gospel to all creation, entrusted directly by the Lord to his disciples, has continued in the Church throughout history. The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community. Never before has proclaiming the Gospel on the Family in this context been more urgent and necessary. The importance of the subject is reflected in the fact that the Holy Father has decided to call for a Synod of Bishops, which is to have a two-staged itinerary: firstly, an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2014, intended to define the “status quaestionis” and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner; and secondly, an Ordinary General Assembly in 2015 to seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family.

Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation, which does not lead to marriage, and sometimes even excludes the idea of it, to same-sex unions between persons, who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children. The many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care include: mixed or inter-religious marriages; the single-parent family; polygamy; marriages with the consequent problem of a dowry, sometimes understood as the purchase price of the woman; the caste system; a culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migration and the reformulation of the very concept of the family; relativist pluralism in the conception of marriage; the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life; underlying trends of thought in legislative proposals which devalue the idea of permanence and faithfulness in the marriage covenant; an increase in the practice of surrogate motherhood (wombs for hire); and new interpretations of what is considered a human right. Within the Church, faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the Sacrament of Penance show signs of weakness or total abandonment.

Consequently, we can well understand the urgency with which the worldwide episcopate is called upon to gather cum et sub Petro to address these challenges. For example, by simply calling to mind the fact that, as a result of the current situation, many children and young people will never see their parents receive the sacraments, then we understand just how urgent are the challenges to evangelization arising from the current situation, which can be seen in almost every part of the “global village”. Corresponding in a particular manner to this reality today is the wide acceptance of the teaching on divine mercy and concern towards people who suffer on the periphery of societies, globally and in existential situations. Consequently, vast expectations exist concerning the decisions which are to be made pastorally regarding the family. A reflection on these issues by the Synod of Bishops, in addition to it being much needed and urgent, is a dutiful expression of charity towards those entrusted to the Bishops’ care and the entire human family.

II. The Church and the Gospel on the Family
The good news of divine love is to be proclaimed to all those personally living this basic human experience of couples and of a communion open to the gift of children, which is the family community. The teachings of the faith on marriage is to be presented in an articulate and efficacious manner, so that it might reach hearts and transform them in accordance with God’s will, made manifest in Jesus Christ.

The citation of biblical sources on marriage and family in this document are essential references only. The same is true for documentation from the Magisterium which is limited to that of a universal character, including some texts from the Pontifical Council for the Family. It will be left to the bishop-participants at the synod to cite documents from their own episcopal assemblies.

In every age, and in the many different cultures, the teaching of the Pastors has been clear nor has there been lacking the concrete testimony of believers — men and women — in very diverse circumstances who have lived the Gospel of the family as an inestimable gift for their life and their children. The commitment for the next Extraordinary Synod is inspired and sustained by the desire to communicate this message with greater incisiveness, in the hope that “the treasure of revelation, entrusted to the Church, more and more fill the hearts of each person” (DV, 26).

The Plan of God, Creator and Redeemer
The beauty of the biblical message on the family has its roots in the creation of man and woman, both made in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:24-31; 2:4-25). Bound together by an indissoluble sacramental bond, those who are married experience the beauty of love, fatherhood, motherhood, and the supreme dignity of participating in this way in the creative work of God.

In the gift of the fruit of their union, they assume the responsibility of raising and educating other persons for the future of humankind. Through procreation, man and woman fulfill in faith the vocation of being God’s collaborators in the protection of creation and the growth of the human family.

Blessed Pope John Paul II commented on this aspect in Familiaris consortio: “God created man in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26, 27): calling him to existence through love, he called him at the same time for love. God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8) and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image and continually keeping it in being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion (Gaudium et spes, 12). Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (FC, 11).

The plan of God the creator, which was disrupted by original sin (cf. Gen 3:1-24), has revealed itself throughout history in the events of the chosen people up to the fullness of time, when, with the incarnation of the Son of God, not only was the divine will for salvation confirmed, but also the redemption offering the grace to follow this same will.

The Son of God, the Word made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14) in the womb of the Virgin Mother, lived and grew up in the family of Nazareth and participated at the wedding at Cana, where he added importance to the festivities with the first of his “signs” (cf. Jn 2:1-11). In joy, he welcomed his reception in the families of his disciples (cf. Mk 1:29-31; 2:13-17) and consoled the bereaved family of his friends in Bethany (cf. Lk 10:38- 42; Jn 11:1-44 ).

Jesus Christ restored the beauty of matrimony, proposing once again the one plan of God which was abandoned because of the hardness of the human heart, even within the tradition of the people of Israel (cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mk 10:1-12; Lk 16:18). Returning to the beginning, Jesus taught the unity and faithfulness of the husband and wife, refuting the practice of repudiation and adultery.

Precisely through the extraordinary beauty of human love — already celebrated in a heightened manner inspired by the Song of Songs, and the bond of marriage called for and defended by the prophets like Hosea (cf. Hosea 1:2, 3.3) and Malachi (cf. Mal 2:13-16) — , Jesus affirmed the original dignity of the married love of man and woman.

The Church's Teaching on the Family
Even in the early Christian community the family appeared as the “domestic church” (cf. CCC, 1655): In the so-called “family canons” of the Apostolic letters of the New Testament, the great family of the ancient world is identified as the place of a profound solidarity between husbands and wives, between parents and children, and between the wealthy and the poor (cf. Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1; 1 Tim 2:8-15; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Pt 2:13-3:7; cf. also the Letter to Philemon). In particular, the Letter to the Ephesians recognized the nuptial love between man and woman as “the great mystery”, making present in the world the love of Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32 ).

Over the centuries, especially in modern times to the present, the Church has not failed to continually teach and develop her doctrine on the family and marriage which founded her. One of its highest expressions has been proposed by the Second Vatican Council in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, which, in treating certain pressing problems, dedicated an entire chapter to the promotion of the dignity of marriage and the family, as seen in the description of their value for the constitution of society: “the family, in which the various generations come together and help one another grow wiser and harmonize personal rights with the other requirements of social life, is the very foundation of society” (GS, 52). Particularly striking is its appeal for a Christ-centered spirituality in the spouses’ life of faith: "Let the spouses themselves, made to the image of the living God and enjoying the authentic dignity of persons, be joined to one another in equal affection, harmony of mind and the work of mutual sanctification. Thus, following Christ who is the principle of life, by the sacrifices and joys of their vocation and through their faithful love, married people can become witnesses of the mystery of love which the Lord revealed to the world by his dying and his rising up to life again”(GS, 52 ).

After the Second Vatican Council, the successors of St. Peter enriched this teaching on marriage and the family, especially Pope Paul VI with the Enyclical Humanae vitae, which offers specific principles and guidelines. Subsequently, in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, Pope John Paul II insisted on proposing the divine plan in the basic truths of married love and the family: “The only ‘place’ in which this self-giving in its whole truth is made possible is marriage, the covenant of conjugal love freely and consciously chosen, whereby man and woman accept the intimate community of life and love willed by God himself (cf. Gaudium et spes, 48) which only in this light manifests its true meaning. The institution of marriage is not an undue interference by society or authority, nor the extrinsic imposition of a form. Rather it is an interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly affirmed as unique and exclusive, in order to live in complete fidelity to the plan of God, the Creator. A person's freedom, far from being restricted by this fidelity, is secured against every form of subjectivism or relativism and is made a sharer in creative Wisdom” (FC, 11).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gathers together the fundamental aspects of this teaching: “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament [cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Gaudium et spes, 48; Code of Canon Law, 1055, 1]”(CCC 1660).

The doctrine presented in the Catechism touches on both theological principles and moral behaviours, developed under two separate headings: The Sacrament of Matrimony (nos. 1601-1658) and The Sixth Commandment (nos. 2331-2391). An attentive reading of these sections of the Catechism provides an updated understanding of the doctrine of faith, which supports the Church’s work in the face of modern-day challenges. The Church’s pastoral ministry finds inspiration in the truth of marriage viewed as part of the plan of God, who created man and woman and, in the fullness of time, revealed in Jesus the completeness of spousal love elevated to the level of sacrament. Christian marriage founded on consensus is also endowed with its own effects such as the goods and duties of the spouses. At the same time, marriage is not immune from the effects of sin (cf. Gen 3:1-24), which can cause deep wounds and even abuses to the dignity of the sacrament.

The recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Lumen fidei, speaks of the family in the context of a reflection on how faith reveals “just how firm the bonds between people can be when God is present in their midst” (LF, 50). “The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love” (LF, 52). “Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness” ( LF, 53).

III. Questions
The following series of questions allows the particular Churches to participate actively in the preparation of the Extraordinary Synod, whose purpose is to proclaim the Gospel in the context of the pastoral challenges facing the family today.
1. The Diffusion of the Teachings on the Family in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Magisterium
a) Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s teaching on family life?

b) In those cases where the Church's teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice? If so, what are they?

c) How widespread is the Church's teaching in pastoral programmes at the national, diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?

d ) To what extent — and what aspects in particular — is this teaching actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?

2. Marriage according to the Natural Law
a) What place does the idea of the natural law have in the cultural areas of society: in institutions, education, academic circles and among the people at large? What anthropological ideas underlie the discussion on the natural basis of the family?
b) Is the idea of the natural law in the union between a man and a woman commonly accepted as such by the baptized in general?
c) How is the theory and practice of natural law in the union between man and woman challenged in light of the formation of a family? How is it proposed and developed in civil and Church institutions?
d) In cases where non-practicing Catholics or declared non-believers request the celebration of marriage, describe how this pastoral challenge is dealt with?

3. The Pastoral Care of the Family in Evangelization
a) What experiences have emerged in recent decades regarding marriage preparation? What efforts are there to stimulate the task of evangelization of the couple and of the family? How can an awareness of the family as the "domestic Church" be promoted?
b) How successful have you been in proposing a manner of praying within the family which can withstand life’s complexities and today’s culture?
c) In the current generational crisis, how have Christian families been able to fulfill their vocation of transmitting the faith?
d) In what way have the local Churches and movements on family spirituality been able to create ways of acting which are exemplary?
e) What specific contribution can couples and families make to spreading a credible and holistic idea of the couple and the Christian family today?
f) What pastoral care has the Church provided in supporting couples in formation and couples in crisis situations?

4. Pastoral Care in Certain Difficult Marital Situations
a) Is cohabitation ad experimentum a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage?
b) Do unions which are not recognized either religiously or civilly exist? Are reliable statistics available?
c) Are separated couples and those divorced and remarried a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage? How do you deal with this situation in appropriate pastoral programmes?
d) In all the above cases, how do the baptized live in this irregular situation? Are they aware of it? Are they simply indifferent? Do they feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?
e) What questions do divorced and remarried people pose to the Church concerning the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation? Among those persons who find themselves in these situations, how many ask for these sacraments?
f ) Could a simplification of canonical practice in recognizing a declaration of nullity of the marriage bond provide a positive contribution to solving the problems of the persons involved? If yes, what form would it take?
g) Does a ministry exist to attend to these cases? Describe this pastoral ministry? Do such programmes exist on the national and diocesan levels? How is God’s mercy proclaimed to separated couples and those divorced and remarried and how does the Church put into practice her support for them in their journey of faith?

5. On Unions of Persons of the Same Sex
a) Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same-sex and equating it in some way to marriage?
b) What is the attitude of the local and particular Churches towards both the State as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and the people involved in this type of union?
c) What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?
d) In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?

6. The Education of Children in Irregular Marriages
a) What is the estimated proportion of children and adolescents in these cases, as regards children who are born and raised in regularly constituted families?
b) How do parents in these situations approach the Church? What do they ask? Do they request the sacraments only or do they also want catechesis and the general teaching of religion?
c) How do the particular Churches attempt to meet the needs of the parents of these children to provide them with a Christian education?
d) What is the sacramental practice in these cases: preparation, administration of the sacrament and the accompaniment?

7. The Openness of the Married Couple to Life
a) What knowledge do Christians have today of the teachings of Humanae vitae on responsible parenthood? Are they aware of how morally to evaluate the different methods of family planning? Could any insights be suggested in this regard pastorally?
b) Is this moral teaching accepted? What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of couple’s accepting this teaching?
c) What natural methods are promoted by the particular Churches to help spouses put into practice the teachings of Humanae vitae?
d) What is your experience on this subject in the practice of the Sacrament of Penance and participation at the Eucharist?
e) What differences are seen in this regard between the Church’s teaching and civic education?
f) How can a more open attitude towards having children be fostered? How can an increase in births be promoted?

8. The Relationship Between the Family and the Person
a) Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?
b) What critical situations in the family today can obstruct a person’s encounter with Christ?
c) To what extent do the many crises of faith which people can experience affect family life?

9. Other Challenges and Proposals
What other challenges or proposals related to the topics in the above questions do you consider urgent and useful to treat?

Please remember to: 

  1. Clearly identify the question number and section you are responding.
  2. Respond by email by December 2, 2013
  3. Send your response to: synodofbishops@drvc.org

Thank you in advance for your prayerful reflection upon these questions.