Synod on the Family 46: Respectful Accompaniment

window from insideRead the full synod document here.

But in this paragraph, we focus briefly on the theme of accompaniment. It’s not a surprise that a Jesuit like Pope Francis would adopt and speak of this theme. The Society of Jesus was originally about the original “companions,” how Ignatius Loyola, Pierre Favre, Francis Xavier, and others saw themselves in relationship to one another and to Christ.

46. All families should, above all, be treated with respect and love and accompanied on their journey as Christ accompanied the disciples on the road to Emmaus. In a particular way, the words of Pope Francis apply in these situations: “The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this ‘art of accompaniment’, which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3: 5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting a closeness and compassion which, at the same time, heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life” (Evangelii Gaudium, 169).

171 bishops approved, and eight did not sign on to this expression of respect for all families. Strong families, presumably, as well as shaken or broken ones. The Church is responsible, meaning the people beyond the institution–the actual clergy, consecrated persons, and laypeople. Is our accompaniment pricked by conscience, or by special events? Or is it, as the Holy Father suggests, a more constant effort, full of closeness for those we join in pilgrimage?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in evangelization, Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization. Bookmark the permalink.

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