202. “The main contribution to the pastoral care of families is offered by the parish, which is the family of families, where small communities, ecclesial movements and associations live in harmony”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 77)
In their final document, the synod bishops identified an important lack among pastoral ministers, even clergy:
Along with a pastoral outreach aimed specifically at families, this shows the need for “a more adequate formation… of priests, deacons, men and women religious, catechists and other pastoral workers”.(Ibid., 61) In the replies given to the worldwide consultation, it became clear that ordained ministers often lack the training needed to deal with the complex problems currently facing families. The experience of the broad oriental tradition of a married clergy could also be drawn upon.
Do Eastern Christians perceive a better and more understanding ministry? That’s a question I would like to pose. Experience as a married person doesn’t always translate into fruitful service to families. And many celibate clergy and religious I know utilize time-tested tools of psychology and spirituality to their people. But to the matter of better pastoral formation: I would say yes, certainly much needed.
For your reference Amoris Laetitia is online here.