Pope works on Church’s family view

Pope has highlighted ‘wounds’ caused by family breakdown

Vatican City: Pope Francis on Sunday launched a major review of Catholic teaching on the family that could lead to change in the Church's attitude to marriage, cohabitation and divorce.
An extraordinary synod, or meeting, of nearly 200 bishops from around the world and a sprinkling of lay people will, for the next two weeks, address the huge gulf between what the Church currently says on these issues and what tens of millions of believers actually do.

In his trademark style, the 77-year-old Argentinian pontiff took to Twitter to mark the start of a debate which has pitted conservative clerics against reformists led by German cardinal Walter Kasper.

“As we begin the Synod on the Family, let us ask the Lord to show us the way forward. #prayforsynod,” he tweeted shortly before presiding over mass in St Peter's basilica.

In an address to tens of thousands of believers on the eve of the synod opening, Francis urged participants to “lend an ear to the rhythm of our time” and to soak themselves in the “odour” of modern life.

Since becoming pontiff just over 18 months ago, Francis has repeatedly highlighted the “wounds” caused by family breakdown in modern society, while suggesting the Church needs to adapt to this new reality.

“The wounds have to be treated with mercy. The Church is a mother, not a customs office, coldly checking who is within the rules,” he has said, in an allusion to the many divorced people, cohabiting couples and single mothers within the ranks of the Church. Francis has underlined where he stands by personally marrying couples who had lived together “in sin” prior to their weddings and by baptising a child born to parents married outside of the church.

The Pope has often trod off the beaten path but a reform agenda on social issues could prove harder to implement because of deep divisions within Church.

( Source : PTI )
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