Pope Francis Calls Extraordinary Synod on Family and Marriage

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Riccardo De Luca / AP

Pope Francis prays in front of the tomb of Pope John XXIII at the end of a mass on the 50th anniversary of his death, on June 3, 2013 in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

Pope Francis’ first Synod of the Bishops will be, quite literally, an “extraordinary” one. Today the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will host an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to discuss the topic, “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” The meeting will take place in Rome, October 5-14, 2014, and the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics will almost certainly be on the table.

There have only been two previous such Extraordinary Synods since Pope Paul VI established the Synod of Bishops in 1965. The Synod of Bishops is a general assembly gathering that was created as part of the Vatican II reforms, and regular (ie, non-extraordinary) synods meet every couple years. The synod’s role, Pope Paul VI said, is to examine  “the signs of the times” and “to provide a deeper interpretation of divine designs and the constitution of the Catholic Church” in order to “foster the unity and cooperation of bishops around the world with the Holy See.”

For Francis, issues of family and marriage are the ones that require deeper interpretation given the signs of the times, and dedicating a synod to the topic suggests he wants to unify church teaching about them. When local church offices around the world make their own decisions about marriage and family—especially about serving communion to divorced and remarried Catholics—the global church as whole becomes divided. “It is very important that an extraordinary Synod has been convoked on the theme of the pastoral of the family,” Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi said. “This is the way in which the Pope intends to promote reflection and to guide the path of the community of the Church, with the responsible participation of the episcopate from different parts of the world.”

Calling an Extraordinary Synod versus a regular Synod means that the issues are even more urgent. The participants are more select, and the heads of the Eastern Churches attend, as well as presidents of bishops conferences and heads of curia offices. The First Extraordinary Synod was held in 1969 and titled, “Cooperation between the Holy See and the Episcopal Conferences.” Pope John Paul II called the Second Extraordinary Synod of 1985 around the theme, “The Twentieth Anniversary of the Conclusion of the Second Vatican Council.” This Third Extraordinary Synod is a result of Pope Francis’ meeting with the “G8″ Council of Cardinals, who met in the Vatican last week.

54 comments
davidfilmer
davidfilmer

The word "extraordinary" in Church-speak means "extra ordinary" - something that is not ordinary.  It doesn't mean "terrific."

This synod is "extraordinary" because it is not a regularly scheduled meeting (which would be considered an ordinary meeting), but is being held for a special purpose.

JennyRoca1
JennyRoca1

Hope that will be many , many families and women there.....

Joseph Delloiacovo
Joseph Delloiacovo

My two gay (best friends) would disagree with a militant like you. - Proud Catholic.

CarolAnnMoore
CarolAnnMoore

Sandra,

You look like an angry woman... are you German?  I heard you guys make some killer ovens...

Jean Pierre Joubert
Jean Pierre Joubert

Never let a few radical atheists (note: radical) ruin the great and charitable deeds of the church with their bias rantings and regurgitating of history long passed (often warped or exaggerated).

Yosef Riadi
Yosef Riadi

No, I am not bothered at all. I never blame or punish the church for the wrongdoings of a few. To me the Church is more than the complaints made by few. You find scandals in any religion but the essence of the religions remain. My experiences with the Church have been wonderful and so have been my extended family. To quote St. Augustine 'Credo ut intellagam, intellagam ut credam'.

MikeandCaryl
MikeandCaryl

 @Monique Houle The Pope knows more about marriage than many married folk, if the divorce rate is anything to go by! The World Meeting of Families hosted by Pope Benedict last year, revealed clearly to all who were prepared to listen, that the Pope appoints a large number of experts (both religious and secular, and all highly-qualified on the subjects of marriage and the family,) to study the problems faced by families, and society. (Yes, these are intertwined.)  The Pontifical Council for the Family in particular does more work to support the family than any other organisation anywhere in the world, including any government.  Monique, the Pope is way better informed on marriage than so many media writers would like to portray,  or than so many want to believe. 

Kaleb Lee
Kaleb Lee

Don't let this Sandra person bother you, Mr. Riadi.

Monique Houle
Monique Houle

what a joke what does he knows about family and marriage? This circus must stop.

Chika Raphael Christian
Chika Raphael Christian

....sorry babe, last time i checked, atheism is millenias old, always in the most minor of minorities, its not a 21st century exclusive. Religion still looms large in our 6billion population...in the 21st century!

pehn
pehn

Christendom is asking the question, 'What would Jesus Do? People of the world are asking for Peace- Jesus did NOT come to the WORLD to make PEACE. 


Sandra Ankenbrand
Sandra Ankenbrand

yours don't either! Actually there is only one god - or none, which is what I think!

Sandra Ankenbrand
Sandra Ankenbrand

Otetsudai: homosexuality is found in every species - so god invented it! YOU are WRONG!!!

Sandra Ankenbrand
Sandra Ankenbrand

Okay, lets start: - the church were murdering for evangelizing - the church was stealing to gain wealth - the church were chasing people due to thinking they were witches - the church has been operating against education and in particular against the education of woman Nowadays: - the church is against homosexuality, which is something completely natural (you'll find it in every species)! - the church is still suspending divorced people - the church in germany receives money automatically deducted from your salary - the church has been firing doctors who helped young girls who have been raped and also suspended the raped girls as they had abortion (a baby from a rapist!!!) - many priests in germany raped in the last 60yrs young children who they took care of... Shall I go on?

theatercritic
theatercritic

in manhattan playwright larry myers conjures an experimental stage work "pope francis sketchbook" attempting to dramatize the pope of changes.....dr myers--a most informed voice......director of rwm pl;aywrights lab

Chika Raphael Christian
Chika Raphael Christian

james cunnion thinks his rants can make any difference. Leave the pope alone and focus on your new religion- atheism.

Chika Raphael Christian
Chika Raphael Christian

@james, ...really, am beginning to think you are fighting a hidden fear, a complex of some sort. You are pathetic.

Chika Raphael Christian
Chika Raphael Christian

you said i called you names right? I only wanted you to look at the mirror. You are guilty of what you accuse others of. By the way, you are NOT a christian, so you are in no position to tell me how christian or unchristian i am. You hate religion because it dosent support your immoral lifestyle. Whether you like it or not, your noise won't scratch religion a bit. Pity yourself. Lennox vs. Darwin debates have shown the rationality of God's existence as against your godless and mindless RELIGION called atheism.

Joseph Sefo Moale
Joseph Sefo Moale

About time we got the ball moving...dis Popes got a cause...happy to help him make dat happen...by da way people...hw many sick nd dying du guys help in a day?...speak on actions before yu spit on somone yu dnt know, be aware yu might be da one he wnts help...though it pains me...hes nt a pope...hes man hu wnts to help first a formorestly... Faith, Peace and One Love.

lacliny
lacliny

After reading that article, it seems that he's actually going to lift sanctions for gay marriage. His "sign of the times" comment pretty much say it.

James Cunnion
James Cunnion

Otetsudai Shimashouka your a thick ignorant idiot. If you read what I said properly you'd realise I don't have any deity's. And in the same way that you can dislike me because of my sexuality, I can dislike you because of your IQ, or the complete lack of it. Ignorance is the sickest state of being, particularly in this age of enlightenment, but if you wish to remain ignorant that is your choice. PS. I have been listening to ignorant scum like you since I was a teenager, only conclusion I have made, there is no shortage of ignorance on this planet.

Otetsudai Shimashouka
Otetsudai Shimashouka

@James Cunnion - The human waste exhaust system is for an EXHAUST OUT; having some gay man pipe it upward goes against the purpose and nature of the creator of whatever Deity you believe in and it's makings, sicko

shara_says
shara_says

Well, if they would stop judging divorced people, start respecting and supporting gay families, and let priests get married, that would be a good start.

James Cunnion
James Cunnion

I have no respect for a faith that considers me an abomination. And I have very little respect for people who won't educate themselves. But isn't that how religion works, relies on its followers to believe as opposed to understand. When I tell people I am an Atheist I can see their sudden disrespect for me. I feel the same when somebody tells me they follow some religion or other. I have no interest in being a member/follower of any faith or religion, but I do have an interest in what some of these religions do to maintain a following, ie. wholesale brainwashing and persecution of people.

Alberto Scagliarini
Alberto Scagliarini

No worries mate! If you don't like the Catholic Church you can join other christian churces or other religions or believe what do you think it's right for you... but try to respect other people faith... yes it's possible, you can!!!

James Cunnion
James Cunnion

Amusing how so many confuse 'having a point of view' with 'anger'. If I wish to denounce my Catholic upbringing that is my right, just as it is the right of anybody else to be Catholic or whatever they wish. I denounced my religion based on serious study and understanding of the (mainly corrupt) history it has. And I don't believe in a 'Sky Daddy'. I prefer to believe in Little Green Men lol. Just as credible, depending on ones point of view.

Yosef Riadi
Yosef Riadi

Wow so much anger from the northern hemisphere. Why blame church? What have you done to make the world a better place? The church has done tremendous good job here. At least in Indonesia where I am from. I am proud of being Catholic

James Cunnion
James Cunnion

Chika Raphael Christian there is no hatred in me, just contempt. I know quite well that Catholicism was not the first religion. I have just as much contempt for all organised religion. They are all forms of brainwashing. I had only mentioned the Catholic Church as this post is only relating to them. But you mention that I am Christianaphobic, some joke, the only phobia I have is that of other people's ignorance. If you were a true Christian you wouldn't call me or anybody names, and as for my sexuality, it's not a new found pride, I was born Gay and have been proud to be from as far back as I can remember. Your example of religion being powerful enough to oppress people into silence is amusingly ironic.

Chika Raphael Christian
Chika Raphael Christian

i dont blame you, yet i pity you. Those who appreciate God's existence knows what time and season the world is in. Catholicism is only a denomination in christianity having its (mostly) manmade creeds and dogmas. Christianity is a spiritual body, not an organisation. Your own case is much worse than they, because you have a skewed sense of morality, thinking you are some 'fancied' free thinker.

Chika Raphael Christian
Chika Raphael Christian

@james, you are just has 'moronic' and hate-filled as your claim catholics are. Your 'new found' gay pride has equally licensed your open show of christianophobia. If islam was the dominant religion today, you wouldnt dare utter such debased comments. FYI, am not a catholic. Am a christian. Catholism was never the first church. So if you assess christianity based on catholicism, you are dead wrong.

James Cunnion
James Cunnion

No, it doesn't put me on the same level, it means I keep an eye on their contorted teachings as the Church influence so many people. No shortage of people scared of dying that will listen to any old rubbish in the hope of life eternal. I was brought up in a very Catholic house, saw the destruction the church's teachings had on my parents ability to think freely and 'removed' myself from that despicable church as soon as I realised what a hypocritical institution it is.

I_read_Time
I_read_Time

I am South American thus born Catholic although to following that religion today. I see pope Francis trying to do his best inside the environment he is in and that is something, I know there are several things that need to be fixed, but at least he is preaching acceptance, peace and tolerance. I see several other "religious" leaders doing the very opposite.

Arseny Starostin
Arseny Starostin

>disgusting insitutuion saying this puts you on the same level as them

Richard Dugan
Richard Dugan

This is just another round in the three thousand year old Catholic desire to control all men with their mythical religion.

DavidMoore2
DavidMoore2

@CarolAnnMoore That comment is completely unsettling and uncalled for. That implies collective guilt of all modern Germans, most of whom were not alive during World War II. Do you still condemn all people from the southern US for owning slaves?

rebeccapistiner
rebeccapistiner

@Sandra Ankenbrand Are you suggesting that atheists are never rapists? Or that there are no pedophiles who don't believe in a god? Or perhaps only people of Christian faith commit crimes, heinous or otherwise. Do you really believe that only Catholics are bigots, sexists or homophobic? Have you never known an atheist who hates gay people? I would suggest then that you understand that there are bad people in every group. And if we are to condemn "all" for the horrible misdeeds of a few then we are all screwed. If you tell me what group(s) you belong to (and we all belong to a group either by race, nationality, religion, occupation, etc.) then I can provide a list of evil people who belong to that group and ask that your group be denied value or existence by the existence of evil from within. 

RFKA
RFKA

@lacliny You are really high if you think that he is pro-gay lol He is just playing nice as popes do.

nofail
nofail

@Otetsudai Shimashouka Thats true ! I wonder why people tolerate that behaviour today ? On a scientific point of view I think the abuse dates from renaissance physicians who dared to open corpses bodies for medecine experiments therefore at least one artificial opinion about it really exists : proctology. On the contrary for religion the human body should be a temple not a system. Proctologists, gynecologists are very resonable with that system, but some people want to consider freely the body as a system without the original justification. (I just guess)

rebeccapistiner
rebeccapistiner

@James Cunnion I believe that the problem becomes when you do exactly what you accuse others of doing. Yes, you are free to denounce whatever you care to denounce. But name calling, insults, minimizing others beliefs, or "making fun" of someone else is exactly what you don't want anyone to do to you. Can you not see that you share in the ignorance and arrogance you detest? 

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

 The Catholic church has done true good here, too.  But it's also tarnished its reputation by supporting, or at least not clearly condemning, priests who harmed the most innocent of the innocent.  I think most people can accept that sometimes there are bad priests.  But when the broader church doesn't punish them once they're discovered, that's a bigger problem.

Additionally, the church has also chosen to turn its back on many good people, merely because it doesn't accept who they love.  And it's chosen to fight against contraceptives, which are the easiest and best way to reduce the number of abortions, to the point where it would rather have no health care for its employees than have health care which gives them the option of free contraceptives, if they want them.  And above all, it's chosen to get involved in these issues in a very political way, as opposed to merely making suggestions and speaking sincerely to its parishioners.   

So yes, the church has done many good things.  And most Catholics are good people.  But the church has also made some very poor decisions in recent years, which have truly hurt people.  That's why many Americans aren't so thrilled with the catholic church at the moment.

RonSheeh
RonSheeh

@James Cunnion   Jesus said to Peter...And on this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hell will never prevail against it...Fortunately, or unfortunately for those who hate His Church, it's still growing......And it sounds like the first to me.....