Strength in adversity: When families are everything

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church has long defended the family as the basic unit of society and as a “school of humanity.” The family as a bastion of love and protection in times of war and disaster is a reality, not a pious platitude, said two members of the Synod of Bishops. Ukrainian…

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

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…

Apologies and processes: Synod groups end with varied offerings

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Two of the 13 final small-group reports of the Synod of Bishops for the family contained apologies: one for ways in which a lack of pastoral care may have contributed to the breakdown of marriages and one for “harsh and merciless” attitudes toward unwed mothers and their children, the divorced and…

Shorter annulment process isn’t about shortcuts, cardinals say

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The reforms to the annulment process introduced by Pope Francis serve only to avoid delays in cases where marriages are clearly not valid, two synod fathers said. Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain, and Cardinal Wilfrid F. Napier of Durban, South Africa, told journalists at a Vatican news conference Oct….

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…

Families need prayers, mercy, courage, including from synod, pope says

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (CNS) — Even if a pastoral proposal for helping a Catholic family with problems seems scandalous at first, it is possible God could use that proposal to bring healing and holiness, Pope Francis said. Encouraging and celebrating family life during a Mass July 6 in Guayaquil, Pope Francis asked people to pray for…

Did Pope Francis get what he wanted from the synod?

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Since the end of the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, news outlets have portrayed the outcome as a “setback” or “loss” for Pope Francis — even a “rebuke” to him. Journalists have pointed to the absence, in the synod’s final report, of an earlier version’s strikingly conciliatory language…