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October 2, 2015  

(Mar 10:6-9)  But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.


The Synod on the Family begins its second session in Rome this Sunday. The Oct. 4-25 synod will have the theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world.” Sunday’s Gospel offers a powerful reminder of one of the most difficult issues facing today’s families and, consequently, the Synod.

Certain Jews had come to Jesus with a question about divorce. This was not simply an academic question in those days. Neither is it theoretical today. The Jewish ideal of marriage was high but Jewish law regarded the woman as a thing. The law had deteriorated to the point that a man could divorce his wife on almost any grounds but a woman could divorce her husband only if he allowed it or if he was guilty of a very few serious offenses or was a leper. Marriage was devalued.

Our problems are more complicated both among the general population and among Catholics. Many couples do not marry at all. Still other marriages end in divorce.   While the world screams for unity, it is made manifest in the coming together of two persons in marriage. The unity of humankind is made incarnate in the life expression of a family. It is in the union of a man and a woman that we find the most perfect expression of the Trinitarian Life. We have the assurance of Christ himself that where two or more gather in his name, he is with them. The Sacrament of Matrimony is the union of two persons in the name of Christ. As the love of the Father and the Son breathe forth the Spirit, the union of husband and wife creates a new spirit. This spirit reflects the spirit generated in every gathering of the Church. The family is more than an economic unit, more than a physical or psychological union. Within marriage lies the possibility of mirroring the Church and reflecting the love of the Father and Son.

ONLINE PETITION: Filial Appeal to His Holiness Pope Francis on the Future of the Family

CHIESA ANALYSIS: Synod’s Turn To Speak. But Decisions Will Be Up To Francis


An Instrumentum laboris (working paper) was prepared for the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and published on June 23, 2015. It covers a range of topics germane to the Synod’s theme of the family. Paragraph 137 addresses a key document of the modern Magisterium, Humanae Vitae, in a way that both calls the force of that teaching into question and proposes a method of moral discernment that is decidedly not Catholic. This approach to discernment contradicts what has hitherto been taught by the Magisterium of the Church about moral norms, conscience, and moral judgment, by suggesting that a well-formed conscience may be in conflict with objective moral norms.

As Catholic moral theologians and philosophers, we feel morally obligated to speak out against the distortion of Catholic teaching implicit in paragraph 137. If endorsed by the Synod, the defective text of the Instrumentum laboris would lead to confusion among the faithful. Paragraph 137 should be removed and replaced by a paragraph that speaks of the conscience in a more precise fashion, that celebrates the wisdom and beauty of Humanae Vitae, and that helps spouses to appreciate that the graces are available to them to live out God’s plan for the gift of sexuality.

: Twelve Fatal Flaws in the Instrumentum Laboris, the “Working Document” of Synod 2015

EXCERPT CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: The atrocious script for the "Ordinary" Synod

Christian conjugal morality is essentially about the virtues of chastity and justice, embedded in the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Chastity is mentioned but once in the entire working paper (94). And holiness, the vocation of all the family, likewise gets but a passing mention (49). Thereby hangs a tale.

EXCERPT SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X: Petition to the Holy Father

Most Holy Father, For the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the consolation of the Church and of all faithful Catholics, for the good of society and of all humanity, in this crucial hour we petition you therefore to let your voice resound throughout the world with a word of truth, clarity, and firmness, in defense of Christian and even merely human marriage, in support of its foundation, namely, the difference and complementarity of the sexes, upholding its exclusivity and indissolubility.  With filial piety we beg you to let your voice be heard by all, and that it be accompanied by actions too in support of the Catholic family.

We entrust this humble petition to the patronage of Saint John the Baptist, who underwent martyrdom for having publicly defended the sanctity and exclusivity of marriage, even against a scandalous civil authority in a case of “divorced-and-remarried persons.”  And we pray the Precursor give Your Holiness the courage to recall before the whole world the true doctrine concerning natural and Christian marriage.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

67. The hermits said, 'We become more humbled when we are tempted, because God, knowing our weakness, protects us. But if we boast of our own strength, he takes away his protection, and we are lost.
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