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Issues of Doctrines & Morals
15th JOS ARCHDIOCESAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Opening Mass 21st August 2017 St Louis 9:00am
Aug 14, 2017

OPENING MASS FOR THE 15TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY ...

ArchBishop's Message/Blog

Kaigama Speaks: Synod on the Family

The Concerns of the Synod: The Biblical teaching on marriage and the Family. The book of Genesis shows that man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God. In receiving and accepting each other, man and woman recognize that they are made for each other (Gen. 1:24-31; 2: 4-25). Through procreation, they collaborate with God in accepting and transmitting life. By the grace of Christ, man and woman are united in marriage and are to be faithful to and love each other forever. Marriage is sacred and indissoluble (cf. Mt. 19:4-6). United in an indissoluble sacramental bond, the spouses live in beauty of love, fatherhood and motherhood and the dignity of participating, in this way, in God’s creative work.

Content of the Relatio: Indissolubility of marriage, marriage as between man and woman according to scripture and Church teaching, heroic living of family life. Problems associated with family, solutions to be found, etc.

The importance of marriage preparation. The importance of the family as a domestic Church. The Holy family of Nazareth as a model for families.

Beautiful testimonies came from married couples who have been living married life for decades, overcoming difficulties and challenges with strong faith, love and determination.

Many positive aspects of the family were considered such as the desire to foster the family values; preparing for marriage, openness to life in marriage, enduring the challenges of marriage with the religious faith, care for children and their upbringing,  proper communication, positive values of extended family system, importance of communal life as against the dangers of individualism, and other challenges such as poverty that undermines the family, pressures on the family, the dignity of life and the sacredness of marriage,  the impact of wars and violence, cohabitation, single parents, polygamous marriage,  teen mothers, children abuse, psychological, physical and sexual  violence and abuse  in families, etc, were also discussed.

The need to improve the effective performance of the Marriage Tribunal was emphasized.

Other issues: polygamy, customary and sacramental marriage, trial marriage, child marriage, natural family planning as against artificial family planning, poverty, divorce.

Synod Message: The Synod Fathers together with the Pope sent greetings to all families of the different continents and in particular those who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. they admired the daily witness which the families offer the world in fidelity, faith, hope and love, aware of the burdens imposed on them by life, difficulties caused by economic systems, corruption, “idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose” which weakens the dignity of people. The case of unemployed parents who are powerless to provide basic needs for their families and youth who see before them days of empty expectation, who are prey to drugs and crime were also considered. The Synod Fathers talked of a journey that is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls, but God is always there to accompany us. The message concluded with words of prayers for families.

The media involvement: The media was a very necessary aspect of the Synod, as information got out promptly. There were however attempts at sensational reporting, attempt to polarize Synod Fathers’ opinions, not excluding uncharitable insinuations. The same attitude exhibited when the conclave was on to elect a new Pope after the passing away of Pope John Paul II was also displayed.

On the admission of “the divorced and remarried” to the Eucharist it was noted that adequate pastoral care must be extended to them, but no decision was taken. The indissolubility of marriage is a Christian doctrine and not negotiable. There must however be pastoral programmes and strategies worked out to care for those who feel alienated from the family of the Church because of irregular marriage situations.

On the subject of persons with homosexual tendencies, the Synod stressed that the Church must continue to promote the revealed nature of marriage always as between one man and one woman united in lifelong, life giving and fruitful communion. While we must extend the mercy, respect and tenderness of Christ to all persons including those with homosexual tendencies it must be clear that our culture, the bible and our various religions consider it unnatural (cf. Rom 1:25-28).

The family is vital in building, transforming and shaping society positively. The family which must be the primary place of evangelization with parents as the first teachers of good values is in danger of being bastardized and its sacred space violated as parents are too busy. Communal life, respect for life from the moment of conception to natural death, selfless giving to one another, the fear of God, etc must become more visible and felt in families.

 

 

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