Here is a ZENIT translation of the synod reports from the Spanish-speaking groups A and B.
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Circulus Hibericus “A” Report
Moderator: H.E. Cardinal Francisco ROBLES ORTEGA
REPORTER: H.E. MONSIGNOR LUIS AUGUSTO CASTRO QUIROGA, I.M.C.
The Iberian Group A, made up of 17 Synodal Fathers, an expert priest, three priests advisers and four very competent lay people, began its work taking into consideration the Introduction, but not without lamenting the very poor translation of the document.
It was noted that the first thing that should appear was to give a greeting to all Christian families that live the Gospel of the family with fidelity, love and sacrifice, and that are witnesses of Christ in the whole of society.
Likewise, it was regarded opportune to greet and encourage all the parishes and lay Movements that, united to families, work with and in favour of them to promote in homes the living of the Gospel of the family.
The group considered that it should continue giving a global look at the document. Inferred from this first global approach was that the three Parts imitated the methodology of seeing and judging – acting also with analogous terms. It was seen that the second Part merited a more specific title and it was suggested that it be “the proclamation of the Gospel of the family.”
Subsequently consideration was given to each of the articles. Some corrections of form were made, such as deleting the references to Africa and speaking simply of some regions of the world, avoiding the term couple with very secularized resonances and reducing the repeated phrase “the Synodal Fathers.” Then the group continued with basic corrections
In regard to what number five says about the present anthropological and cultural change, it was considered opportune to add that the most obvious effect of it is the crisis of faith that has hit so many Catholics and has entailed an increase of free unions, marriages ad experimentum, divorces, and the closing of persons to life with the growth of the practice of abortion.
The reference to loneliness, a poverty of present-day culture, is first of all the fruit of the absence of God, of the fragility of inter-personal relations and of so many other difficulties that interpose themselves in the building of communities of life and love.
The grave diagnosis offered in number 10, merited the following comment: “This is the result of the widespread mentality that reduces the generation of life to a variable of the individual plan or that of a couple. Factors of an economic order sometimes exercise a determinant role, contributing to the marked fall in the birth rate, which compromises the relation between generations. In the tragedy of infertility, when a solution is sought through techniques of assisted fertilization, the dignity of human love and also of the child is destroyed.”
Continuing with the analysis, the need was evidenced to denounce the serious genital mutilation of women or ablation practiced in some cultures of the world, and to lament the situation of so many human beings obliged to prostitute themselves as sexual slaves. Moreover, we placed ourselves before the responsibilities that correspond to us, as well as to governments and societies, in face of the so-called “street children,” many of whom lack a family. Not less worrying is the physical and virtual exploitation of children, scandalous and perverse reality of our present-day society.
The second Part made us look at the family in terms of God’s salvific plan. We thought it right to enrich number 15 with this observation: “In the Christian tradition, marriage is an alliance of total and definitive love inspired in the love between Christ and His Church, and called to grow until it is a testimony of the love of God in the world and path of perfection that reaches eternal life.”
We felt that the following number offered the vision of Saint John Paul II and that it was worthwhile to quote this source, which is his catechesis on human love.
Numbers 17 to 23 on the discernment of values present in wounded families, which constitute a novel unity of immense value. They do not admit subtitles that distract. Since the time of Justin there has been talk of the seeds of the Word sown in all cultures. Can we not speak also of that hidden, germinal and living presence, which is the action of the Spirit and which can grow gradually in families? We think that the Gospel of the family can realize this growth where the seeds await maturing.
The acceptance of the previous considerations encourages us to exhort civil matrimonies and divorced persons who have remarried, to second God’s call until they attain the fullness of communion and of divine grace.
We wished to conclude this second Part stating that “knowing that the greatest mercy, which is, truth with love (Saint Augustine), we go beyond compassion. Just as merciful love attracts and unites, so too it transforms and exalts and invites to conversion. See (John 8:1-11).
We began the third Part noting that the denunciation proper of evangelization must also include the political and legislative factors that can also destroy family life (n. 33). Then, we returned to number 31, to insert the following observation: “For the reality expressed in the Sacrament to be accepted, it is necessary that it be celebrated with clear and determined faith, with the will to accept what the Church offers in the Sacrament. This faith of engaged couples and spouses must be nourished with the Word of God and the Eucharist.
Returning to engaged couples (34), it is necessary to recall the educational importance of the virtues and, particularly, of chastity and purity, absolutely indispensable condition for the genuine growth of inter-personal love. Engaged couples must be offered the matrimonial ideal with clarity, so that they can discern and decide with liberty. Given that this Part focuses on the problem and challenge of wounded families, it was noted that when married couples run into problems in their relationship, they can count on the help and support of the Church. The pastoral of charity and of mercy is translated in the real recovery of persons and relations. Experience shows that, with adequate help and with the regenerating action of grace, a high percentage of marital crises is resolved satisfactorily.
Of course it is clear that to this help must be added another very interior one, which is the capacity to forgive. To be able to forgive and to feel forgiven is a fundamental experience in family life. Forgiveness between spouses makes it possible to experience a love that is forever and that never passes (1 Corinthians 13:8). Sometimes it is difficult, but one who has received God’s forgiveness, has the strength to offer genuine forgiveness that regenerates a person.
In regard to advice to the parties on the validity of the marriage (44), a priest is not exactly required, as it can also be another person who is, however, duly prepared.
In regard to divorced persons who have not remarried, in addition to what is said in number 45, it must be added that often “they are heroic witnesses of indissolubility and fidelity.”
Moving to n. 50, it was observed that there must not be talk of homosexual persons, as if homosexuality was part of their ontological being, but of persons with homosexual tendencies. It was requested to substitute the text of this number with the following: “the sexuality that makes us exist as humanity in the masculine and the feminine, is an inalienable value in Christian anthropology and theology. It makes us be for one another not in indistinction but in complementarity. Persons with homosexual tendencies also need acceptance and support that will help them grow in the faith and know God’s plan for them.”
Noted in regard to the transmission of life (53) is that children are not an obstacle to conjugal love but its most precious natural fruit – love made flesh (G.S. 48-51).
It was considered opportune to re-formulate number 55 in this way: “It is necessary to incorporate in the pastoral formative itineraries to help live sexuality as a language of love. The testimony and permanent accompaniment of the family has shown its efficacy in the process of the maturation of conjugal love in the most profound acceptance of the other and in fuller self-giving. This is achieved by integrating the sensitive dimension of the body, impulsiveness and affectivity with the spiritual dimension of the reason and the will. In this growth in time, a faithful and profound love made tenderness and respect is strengthened, where the enjoyment of communion is projected in the fruit of life, in generosity crowned by the gift of a child or in the path of adoption to receive the gift that God has prepared for us in another place.”
Observed towards the end of the third Part is that it is not about the Church being able to develop but about the important role she plays of support to families that are domestic Churches, with their conjugal ministry, beginning with Christian initiation through welcoming communities.
It was viewed as more than necessary to note that the maternity of Mary, icon par excellence of divine fecundity, in her tenderness, mercy, sensibility and closeness, can satiate the hunger of humanity and life for which our families and nations pray and clamor. A creative Marian pastoral and devotion is a very opportune point of departure to present the ideal of the Christian family.
On concluding, we wished to make it clear that the next Synod in October of 2015 will be dedicated to the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.
Circulus Hibericus “B” Report
ModeratorL H.E. Cardinal Lluis MARTINEZ SISTACH
Reporter: H.E. Monsignor Rodolfo VALENZUELA NUNEZ
[Points on which we arrived at a consensus and which have been the object of the modes presented]
In the Hibericus B Circle, the modes presented were approved by unanimity in a fraternal and dialogical atmosphere. In its group work, the Circle came to a good knowledge of the Relatio post Disceptationem (RPD), also with the active participation of all the Auditors. It regarded the text of the Report as a reflection of what was shared in the Hall: the diversity of realities of the Church and of the world and the common points in which we share basic human realities and realities of a common faith, as well as the different theological or juridical focuses or emphasis.
We have considered it good and necessary, as indicated in the text itself, that some topics be studied in “ad hoc” inter-disciplinary commissions on the most important subjects. Pastors and experts in Theology and Law will have to come to clearer proposals on topics such as the eventual admission of remarried divorced persons to Eucharistic Communion and the juridical processes of matrimonial nullity, among other topics that were addressed and which, undoubtedly, must be an indispensable component for the forthcoming Ordinary Synodal Assembly.
We saw the RPD from the beginning as a document that can be improved, only as an instrument of work, open to the necessary specifications. For our Circle, it was a useful instrument of work.
We feel, however, that it lacked emphasis on important subjects, such as abortion, attempts against life, the widespread phenomenon of adoption, spouses’ decisions in conscience, as well as greater clarity on the topic of homosexuality.
We consider it of vital importance that some subjects be reflected upon further in commissions that have already been foreseen, with the suitable consultation of the particular Churches during the lapse of time prior to the Ordinary Assembly of 2015.
The structure of the document seemed very positive to us, coinciding as it does with the already diffused method of seeing/judging/acting, in the form of Listening/with one’s gaze on Christ/ encounter and pastoral perspectives. We thank God, One and Triune, because He is Father, who sees the reality of the Church and of the world with a merciful look; He reveals the way to us in Jesus Christ His Son, who walks with the whole of humanity and gives us His Spirit, which guides the Church to her fullness.
We saw that the RPD did not emphasize sufficiently the positive message of the Gospel of the family, perhaps because it reflects primarily the pastoral concerns of the Episcopal Conferences on the shadows hovering over the family and the present-day world.
We are conscious of the clearly pastoral – and not academic — aim of the Synod, from which is awaited a new and determined family pastoral and support to all the laity, families and Movements that are on this path. Despite this aim, we think it is indispensable to insist on the basic doctrinal elements, avoiding partializations or even parallel teachings.
There is a great richness in the recent Magisterium of Paul VI, Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis on the family, which requires renewed attention.
Our main contributions to the document are in the line of:
– Stressing the lights of the family and the importance of marriage.
– Encouraging the family pastoral in the present circumstances.
– Expecting from the Synod light and guidelines on the new matrimonial situations.
It was suggested in our Circle that in the election of participants for the forthcoming Synod it be suggested that Bishops be appointed who have taken part in this Extraordinary Assembly, in order to ensure continuity of its works and reflections.