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Pope moves on pastoral care of divorced and remarried

 VATICAN CITY (SE): Pope Francis made a call for an extraordinary synod of bishops on October 8, giving the world’s bishops exactly one year’s notice as it will not take place until October 5 to 18 next year.

He wants the theme of the synod to be on the family and family life. Its official title was announced as being, The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelisation.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Holy See press officer, called the decision to hold a synod on the family extremely important.

“In convening this synod, Pope Francis wishes to continue the reflection and journey of the whole Church, with the participation of leaders of the episcopate from every corner of the world,” the Vatican Information Service quoted Father Lombardi as saying.

“It is important that the Church move forward together as a community, in reflection and prayer, and decide on common pastoral orientations dealing with the most important aspects of our life together—particularly on the family—under the guidance of the pope and the bishops,” he went on.

“The convening of this extraordinary synod is a clear indication of this direction,” he pointed out.

However, reported that he was cautious in commenting on recently published articles addressing issues concerning the divorced and remarried.

The diocese of Freyburg, in Germany, has been researching the matter, but the press officer said that it only represents individual opinion and should not be used to generate confusion.

“Individual persons or local offices or institutions proposing particular pastoral solutions,” he said, “run the risk of generating confusion.”

He added, “As we address various pastoral issues, it is important that we move forward in full communion with the ecclesial community.”

During a meeting with the clergy of Rome on September 16, the pope addressed the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics, saying, “The problem cannot be reduced merely to a matter of who can receive communion or not, because to pose the question in these terms does not enable an understanding of the real problem.” 

He called it a serious problem regarding Church responsibility towards families living in this situation. “The Church must now do something to solve the problem of marriage annulment,” the pope was quoted as saying.

Pope Francis stated that the matter would be discussed with the council of cardinals, which was concluded two weeks ago, as well as at the next synod of bishops. “A synodal approach should be taken to study this problem,” he concluded.


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