Be joyful pastors, use God’s word to heal people, delegates tell synod

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Remember that Christ is a friend who invites sinners to his table, and do not forget God’s call to repent and live holy lives, some representatives of Christian communities told the world Synod of Bishops. Many of the 12 nonvoting “fraternal delegates,” whose presentations were published by the Vatican Oct. 16,…

Report puts ‘human face’ on global threats to religious freedom

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Religious freedom “extends way beyond mere tolerance,” said Secretary of State John Kerry Oct. 14 when announcing the U.S. State Department’s release of the 2014 International Religious Freedom Report. He said it demands that faith practitioners “understand that they have no right to coerce others into submission, conversion, or silence, or to…

Synod observers call for empathy, support for struggling families

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Couples attending the Synod of Bishops called for empathy and support from the church to families suffering difficult circumstances. Several lay couples and a missionary sister addressed the synod Oct. 15-16, highlighting various issues facing families in their countries and abroad. Anthony and Catherine Witczak, the international ecclesial team of the…

Families have a mission in the church, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The family is not just an object of church discussion, but must be a subject — an actor — that shares its life and witness with the wider Christian community, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky. At the Synod of Bishops on the family, he said, members agree that…

Many prayers and dollars help Francis Fund ‘undo the knots of poverty’

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — For weeks, Catholics had been streaming to the “Knotted Grotto,” a dome-shaped lattice-work frame outside the chapel of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, tying white strips of paper offering prayers for healing of sick friends and relatives, world peace, protection of the environment, the elimination of poverty…

Polish bishop says synod members trust Holy Spirit, guidance of pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Members of the Synod of Bishops trust the Holy Spirit and Pope Francis’ guidance in confronting issues facing today’s families, said Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan. “An atmosphere of fear does not exist because we believe in the Holy Spirit. We also believe in the guidance of the Holy Father, who…

Infertility can lead to sadness, broken marriages, Nigerian bishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Married couples need more help in dealing with infertility and childlessness, which is “one of the major causes of divorce in Africa,” said a Nigerian member of the Synod of Bishops on the family. In a culture where “children are celebrated with all kinds of ceremonies” and are so important to…

Catholics urged to join campaign of prayer, fasting Oct. 16-24

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholics are urged to join in prayer and fasting Oct. 16-24 for the conversion of people and nations, peace in the world, a renewed culture of life in the United States and spiritual blessing on the Synod of Bishops on the family. The 23rd International Week of Prayer and Fasting will conclude…

Synod calls for Bible-based presentation of God’s plan for family

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As members of the Synod of Bishops concluded work on the second of three chapters in their working document, they continued to call for a tone and for language that is clear, simple and encourages people to see it is possible to live the vocation of marriage and family life. At…