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Vatican synod on family begins - The Irish News
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Faith Matters

Vatican synod on family begins

Pope Francis sits with bishops and cardinals during the opening session of a three-week meeting on family issues at the Vatican

THE Catholic Church's meeting of bishops on issues facing families today opened this week, with Pope Francis emphasising that marriage is a binding bond between a man and a woman.

He stressed, however, that the Church does not judge and must "seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy".

Around 270 bishops, including the Irish Church's representatives Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, are holding a three-week synod meeting for three weeks in the Vatican to consider 'The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world'.

Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, abortion, marriage preparation, homosexuality and education are among the issues up for discussion during the synod. Francis wants the synod to meet head-on areas in which there are gaps between official Catholic teaching and practice.

Pope Francis told his fellow bishops that synod "is not a convention" or "a parliament or a senate, where an accord is sought".

He said it was instead a way of the Church walking together "to read reality with the eyes of faith, and which therefore does not represent a museum to be looked at or even to be protected, but is rather a living source from which the Church slakes her thirst so as to slake the thirst and enlighten the deposit of life".

Earlier, as the synod opened on Sunday, the Pope explained that the Church cannot be "swayed by passing fads or popular opinion".

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