Synod Italian Relatio Text, Group A

Here is a ZENIT translation of the texts from Italian Group A.

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Italian Relatio Text, Group A:

Relatio – Circulus Italicus “A”

Moderator: H.E. Cardinal Fernando FILONI

Reporter: H.E. Monsignor Edoardo MENICHELLI

The Synodal Fathers of the Italicus Circle “A” and the two married couples present in the quality of Experts and Auditors, manifested their gratitude to His Eminence Cardinal Peter Erdo for the report in which he synthesized the numerous and diverse interventions that occurred in the Hall.

A question was asked immediately: What is the Synod’s aim? All agreed on the pastoral position which is situated in a perspective within which the family is given its proper place in the Church, through the ministry of spouses and in the correct lay state to be given to matrimony, within a missionary co-responsibility to be rediscovered and of course lived, to give the appropriate solutions to pastoral problems.

The Circle reviewed the three Parts of the Relatio post Disceptationem.

1) Taking into consideration the analysis of the context and the challenges of the present time in which the family is called today to live and to witness, the Synodal Fathers shared all that is written in the text noting, however, how other elements intersept family life posing new questions and eliciting suggestions that touch the conscience. Stressed in particular was how the phenomenon of migrations splits families with the consequences that can easily be imagined. Stressed, moreover, was how the advent of bio-technologies has reduced the family to becoming a sort of experimental “campus” with ethical and educational implications that have no easy solution.

Deeper reflection on the context in which the family lives at present evidenced a detachment between the Church and the world on delicate topics, because what is lacking is “common reasoning” on the idea of the person, on his commitment and his total realization in the body and soul dimension, in his rationality because of an exasperated subjectivism that splits and slows down every dynamic of communion. In this connection, Modes were proposed in particular on the role of woman, on her dignity and her genius rich in hope. It was noted, moreover, as antidote to all that is opposed to the testimony of many families that live matrimony with commitment.

The context and the challenges on the family impose on the Church the need to repeat the evangelical words, combining truth and mercy with hope, seeking to tap in the concrete existence of persons, the re-emergence of their desire of God.

2) Further reflection on Part II of the Relatio post Disceptationem posed immediately a difficulty about the meaning to be given to the expression “law of graduality,” without, however, finding in it an adequate and shared interpretation, also in reference to n. 34 of Familiaris Consortio, quoted in n. 13, which did not seem applicable in our context given that in that Papal Document the law of graduality was applied in the main to a moral question regarding conscious paternity and maternity. The expression seems evasive with the danger of making it thought that the difficulties of married life induce to lowering the full meaning of the spousal vocation itself. In the course of the discussions the Synodal Fathers’ interventions agreed almost unanimously that this part of the Report does not seem to offer an adequate proposal in regard to the truth of matrimony. So the necessity emerged to suggest to the Secretariat that this Part II be rewritten proposing in a clear and also joyful way the plan of matrimony proposed in Genesis by God the Creator and taken up by Jesus, seeking to have emerge – in this connection – what Jesus said and keeping in mind the experience of the Family of Nazareth, as well as Jesus’ encounters with the Samaritan woman, the adulterous woman and the spouses who found themselves with the empty jars. In this respect the Circle committed itself and presented a new draft theory of Part II reshaping the content and the articulation of the numbers, through a series of Modes. It seemed opportune to take up the teachings of Vatican Council II (Gaudium et Spes, 48) and of the Papal Magisterium (Familiaris Consortio, 11) where marriage is presented as “mutual gift of one another.” Thus Christ the Lord is strongly highlighted, as Spouse of the Church: a marriage initiated with the Incarnation, rendered total on Calvary and contemporary to humanity with the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments; only in this way is the beauty and fascination of marriage and the family made to shine, which remain signs of the love of Christ.

The Synodal Fathers stressed with particular care the question of the inapplicability of the analogy expressed in the text with what is said in Lumen Gentium, 8.

3) Reflecting further on the pastoral prospects it was agreed first of all to recall some fundamental points for a renewed pastoral action, which are listed here:

a) the family must be recognized as pastoral subject; b) the ministry of spouses by virtue of the Sacrament; c) the need to rethink the whole pastoral beginning from the family; d) the whole community must take charge of the family pastoral; e) more adequate formation of priests; f) Recognition of the role of the Bishop in the family pastoral, in particular, in the more problematic situations.

Ordinary pastoral care requires these exigencies: a) to reform the stages of evangelization giving more continuity; b) to appreciate the laity also forming persons to acquire specific competencies for the service of families; c) to propose a common itinerary for the formation of the laity and of priests.

The Fathers looked in particular at the preparation for marriage where not only must the subject of validity be proposed but also the fruitfulness of the Sacrament, with a personal accompaniment of the.

A renewed pastoral perspective must be able to make families aware of their missionary nature to be expressed within their dimension (education to Faith, Christian formation, etc.) as well as in dealings with the whole social community.

In addressing the problems described in nn. 36-52 of the document, the Italicus Circle A thought it opportune to suggest changing the titles of the paragraphs using always the expression “pastoral care” combining it be it with respect for civil unions and those living together, be it with the separated, the divorced who have not remarried, remarried divorced persons and homosexual persons. More specifically, in regard to the pastoral care of civil unions and of those living together, it was suggested that the major sensitivity of the pastoral should pick up the positive aspects that do not belong to the experience itself but which are found within the experience, naturally with the transformative look to the reception of the gift of matrimony and of the family. In examining the part relating to the pastoral care of separated, divorced but not remarried, and remarried divorced persons, the Fathers of the Italicus Circle A, although sharing the pastoral tone with which the text presents the problems, decided that they would contribute some important corrections always within a path of committed closeness.

The possibility of the diocesan Bishop’s direct action in the processes of declaration of nullity was not shared, especially in reference to a deficit of specific preparation suggesting, however, that greater synergy be manifested in a pastoral that would see tribunals, consultors and various family offices of the dioceses involved. It is hoped that the Christian community will take care of these situations as expression and testimony of charity. In regard to admission to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, the Fathers of the Circle, although sensitive to the problem, propose that the argument be studied again in the light of n. 84 of Familiaris Consortio, in order to specify eventual conditions that are different from the present discipline.

In regard to the pastoral care of homosexual persons, the discussion was oriented to the proposal of only one number within which it was underlined that it have a commitment of closeness oriented to evangelization, in the style of the Church, as open house, appreciating the gifts, the good will and the sincere path of each one. It was reaffirmed that the unions between persons of the same sex cannot be equated with marriage between a man and a woman, expressing also the concern to safeguard the rights of children who most grow up harmoniously with the tenderness of the father and the mother.

In regard to the transmission of life and the challenge of the lack of births, it was decided not to modify or add anything to what is contained in the text, hoping for a successive development and further reflection.

On the educational challenge and the role of the family in evangelization, the Father of the Italicus Circle A suggested the integration of what is contained in the text with two stresses: the continuity of evangelization within the family and the need to guarantee it also through the involvement of the various ecclesial experiences (Associations, Movements and New Communities) that constitute a richness in the life of the Church and express new charisms within the Church.

In conclusion, we believe we can manifest to the Assembly the need, already known, moreover, to place ourselves together before the Spirit of God that from time to time arouses novelties with which the Church becomes ever more servant of the Word, which was given to her for the salvation of the world.

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