Rocco whispered from the loggia some general thoughts from Archbishop Kurtz from the USCCB meeting. He revealed some broad details from the reports he compiled from various dioceses and sent on to Rome. The synod leaders have asked these reports not be made public. But if Rocco blogged it, it must be everywhere now.
Go to the link for under ten minutes from the USCCB prez and Cardinal Wuerl. The advance document, the instrumentum laboris, will be out next Thursday. It might be interesting to read.
My attempt at summarizing Archbishop Kurtz’s bullet points:
- Lay people were happy to assist in the feedback, and were grateful for being asked.
- The reports from US bishops were thoughtful and pastoral.
- There is a perceived need for greater effectiveness in communicating church teaching, and that lay people want such teaching to be faithful, vibrant, and accessible.
- Today’s families feel many pressures: the struggling economy, busy lives, hostility to their faith, and the predominant materialism of American culture.
- At times, parents are at a loss teaching the faith to their children.
- Pastoral care for divorced and separated is needed. There is a lot of misinformation out there.
- Among other things, divorced and remarried Catholics feel alienation.
- There is a desire to go further on marriage teaching and to understand why the Church teaches as it does.
- Some report a growing quality in marriage preparation efforts, but there is a need for more remote and proximate formation. Plus there is a need for the ongoing formation of couples already married.
- Parishes and pastors remain the key first responders to marriages in crisis.
- How to help families witness to other families what it means to be a domestic church.
- Affirmation for the growth of small faith communities consisting of married persons–people helping peers.
The so-called “redefinition” of marriage was also raised. I read a commentator say that years ago, same-sex couples would have welcomed unions as a viable civic alternative. But the opposition to this stiffened, and I think the resolve to land a revolutionary change in one effort came as a result.
Intercourse between same sex persons is at the root of the Church’s opposition and teaching. It remains a great mystery to me how two people with civil legal linkage is in any way a threat to my marriage or anyone else’s. I wouldn’t and couldn’t counsel a person to enter into a same-sex union, and honestly: I can’t fathom what the bishops are doing on this. There is no way the Church will ever conduct a marriage ceremony between two persons it judges … wrong, let’s say. Mothers-of-brides haven’t taken over Saturday for their little zillas in white, and that is about as tough a pastoral challenge as anything I’ve seen on the wedding front.
Naturally, I think these points totally miss the boat on adoption. Huge need in this country and around the world, and everybody is focused, still, on adoption as a cure for childlessness rather than as an act of generosity and mercy for children who live without parents.
And as for the divorced, let’s keep in mind the ultimate goal here is not obedience to the rules, but conversion, deeper faith, and discipleship. Rules are the means to an end. They are not the idol.
I’m not going to troll for inclusion, but once in my life, I would love to go to Rome to participate in some synod. I doubt it will ever happen. I think my cred is likely damaged due to the Temple Police from here and there online. But I could give a nice address on the challenges of adoption. And how most all of the church is totally missing the mark on it.
But I’ll keep an eye on it all. Eventually they’ll come round.