• John Thavis

Vatican asks for pre-synod consultations that avoid strictly 'doctrinal' approach

Updated: Feb 19

It looks like Synod 2015 may be as interesting as Synod 2014.


A Vatican preparatory document for next year’s second session of the Synod of Bishops on the family is seeking wide input from the faithful, posing 46 questions and asking that bishops conferences do not answer them with strictly “doctrinal” formulations.


The document, released Dec. 9 at the Vatican, said the pre-synod consultation should involve every level of the church, including academic institutions, lay movements and other associations.


UPDATE: English version now available here.


It said that in preparing for the second synodal session, bishops should remember that Pope Francis has called for a pastoral approach that reflects the “culture of encounter” and goes outside the church’s usual environment, in order to act as a “field hospital” of mercy.


The questions touch on a number of controversial issues discussed during the synod’s first meeting last October, including sacraments for divorced and remarried Catholics, church teaching on homosexuality and birth control.


The document explicitly asked bishops to show “proper realism” in seeking answers to the questions, avoiding an approach that “is merely one of applying doctrine, and that does not respect the conclusions of the extraordinary synodal assembly, and would lead their reflection away from the path that has already been traced.”

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