NCR Preview - The leader of the umbrella group for some 600,000 global Catholic women religious has said that in the wake of this month's Synod of Bishops the women are called to carry forth the pastoral work that the official church is sometimes not able to do. Sr. Carmen Sammut — who participated in the Oct. 4-25 Synod as one of 32 women who took part in non-voting roles alongside the 270 prelate-members — said the women religious should engage with people church institutions may not even know need help.
Synod on the Family
NCR Preview - The discussions at the ongoing Synod of Bishops have shown a clear difference in mindsets between the prelates considering issues of family life and ordinary Catholics looking to the gathering in hopes for changes in church pastoral practice, one of the non-voting participants in the event has said. U.S. Sacred Heart of Mary Sr. Maureen Kelleher said there is a clear cultural divide between bishops' and laypersons' points of view.
"One of the things I appreciate very much being in the synod is the universality — the whole world is there," Sr. Carmen Sammut says. "The groups are made up to have very big differences, to have very different backgrounds."
The United States sister chosen by Pope Francis to participate in next month’s synod on the family says the issues bishops and cardinals will wrestle with are the same she deals with everyday. Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Sr. Maureen Kelleher is a Legal Aid attorney in Florida, where most of her clients are farmers and immigrants.
Read in the light of the recent Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the story of the man born blind in the ninth chapter of John’s Gospel is a marvel. Read in light of the Gospel story, aspects of the Synod open up and reveal possibilities for development. Like the religious leaders of the Gospel, many of the Synod fathers are used to beginning with traditional beliefs, in light of which they judge experience.
Well, the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family lived up to its name. It was indeed extraordinary. It was extraordinary not because of the synod's developing content, which seems disappointingly same-o, same-o so far. No, what is noteworthy is the process through which the bishops are now engaging one another. Pope Francis' synod is modeling an open process. He invited input from grassroots Catholics around the world, insisted that that participants voice their opinions boldly, no matter how controversial, and clearly expected the heated disagreements that inevitably ensued.
I'm frustrated by the news that the bishops at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family backtracked on the cordial tone of the interim document released after the first week of discussions. Do these bishops know what it means to show a pastoral face? Wasn’t this synod called to discuss “pastoral issues?” LGBT persons and their allies did not make excessive demands. They were seeking some kind words of welcome.
Congregation of Notre Dame Sr. Susan Kidd doesn’t believe in debate. As the sole campus minister at the secular University of Prince Edward Island, Kidd interacts daily with young adults with a wide variety of beliefs and values, and while she may not always agree with them, the key, she says, is to never start a debate.
Oct. 5, some 250 people (mostly bishops, and only one woman religious) met to begin the third-ever extraordinary synod of bishops. Convened by Pope Francis, the group is spending two weeks exploring the way Catholics around the world view sexuality, marriage and family and what, to borrow the bishops’ language, is causing the “breakdown” of the family. What does it mean that church teachings don't always match up with practice in the 21st century?
Related - Sister only shows love and acceptance
Grace on the Margins - The extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family has cast a new spotlight on the Roman Catholic church's teachings on divorce and remarriage. According to doctrine, Catholics who divorce and remarry outside of the church are prohibited from receiving the Eucharist. For decades, theologian and ethicist Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley has written about the church's teaching on divorce and remarriage, asking new questions about the nature of commitment and the conditions for release from obligations. She does this work most notably in her books. NCR sat with Farley to discuss these themes and her own take on the possibilities for change in the church's teaching.
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