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Synod on family preparations underway

By Frank Flegel


REGINA — Language is one of the issues that should be considered when representatives of the world’s Roman Catholic bishops gather in Rome in October 2015 for the synod on the family.

This was one of the issues that came up during a Regina archdiocesan workshop held Feb. 21 at Miller High School to discuss questions that arose from the extraordinary synod on marriage and the family held Oct. 4 - 15, 2014 in Rome. The next step is to consider what came out of the extraordinary synod and ask the world’s Roman Catholics to discuss them with suggestions to go back to Rome in time for the October synod.

The process, according to archdiocesan theologian Brett Salkeld, who moderated the workshop, is to produce a report that will go to Archbishop Daniel Bohan, who will forward it with his remarks to the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). The CCCB will develop a report from what it receives from all Canadian dioceses and forward it to Rome in time for the October synod.

Salkeld said the timeline is short and a workshop was considered the best and quickest way to proceed. An invitation to take part in the workshop was sent to all archdiocesan parishes and also placed on the website.

“We’re not here to solve problems, decide on what’s right or wrong or take a vote,” said Salkeld in his opening remarks. Our role is to give feedback to the bishops, to give bishops something to think about. “The pope wants to hear what is going on in the lives of the People of God.”

The registered participants were divided into four smaller groups and discussed each of the four questions that were condensed from the document that resulted from the extraordinary synod: how to better identify the reality and diversity that exists within the culture and within the church; how to bring about pastoral conversion on marriage and family life to assist them to become what they are; how best to transmit the church’s teaching on marriage, family and sexuality as truly good news; and what paths of action should the church take to engage and practically support families?

A plenary afternoon session heard reports from each of the groups on each question. Language in all its variety, nuances and meanings, including inter-generational language, seemed to receive much attention. Other comments varied from the eucharist — “Is it just for good Catholic boys and girls or is it food for the spiritual journey?” — to the role of women in the church, what it means to have a lay vocation — i.e., a Catholic lawyer — the tension between what the church teaches and practice, marriage values, gay marriage, and arranged marriages.

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