In an effort to consider ways to strengthen the family, he initiated the Ordinary Synod of Bishops and the Family which began on October 4 and will end on October 25. The Synod will reflect on the theme, “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world.” In their analysis of the Synod, and in their consideration of the family, the Catholic News Association (CNA) reported that the Pope stressed the role of spouses in generating children and emphasized “the complementarity and reciprocity between man and woman.” The Pope stated that the two “become one flesh, one life, one existence” and that it is within that union that “spouses give life to new human beings: they become parents.” He then indicated then that it is “love that awakens the desire to create children, to wait for them, to welcome them, raise them, educate them.”
Pope Francis hoped that throughout the Synod discussions, participants would keep their eyes fixed on Jesus in order to identify the best ways to respond to the needs and challenges of families today. He asked that all parents and educators, as well as society as a whole, would become instruments of the welcome and love with which Jesus embraced little children. He prayed that we would be not a “fortress society, but a family society.”
Our Holy Father realizes that this ideal of a “family society” is far from reality. CNA reported that the Pope acknowledged that there are many children who are hungry, abandoned, exploited, forced into war or rejected. Pope Francis stated that “it’s painful to see images of unhappy children, with a lost gaze, who flee poverty and conflicts, knocking on our doors and hearts asking for help.” Their concerns and needs must be addressed.
Despite these challenges, he went on to state that on the basis of the teaching of the love and mercy of Jesus, participants will seek “the most appropriate paths for an adequate commitment with families and for families so that the original design of the Creator for man and woman can be implemented and operated in all its beauty and strength in today’s world.” He also asked for prayers for the Synod and for the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary.
We are invited embrace the message of Pope Francis and pray that the Synod will bear much fruit and that the integrity of the family unit will be strengthened.