Today we look at the last of five sections that address “Proclaiming the Gospel of the Family.” We continue with input of the bishops from the 2014 and 2015 gatherings in Rome. The synod saw value in drawing upon professional input from a variety of lay disciplines:
204. The response to the consultation also insisted on the need for training lay leaders who can assist in the pastoral care of families, with the help of teachers and counselors, family and community physicians, social workers, juvenile and family advocates, and drawing upon the contributions of psychology, sociology, marital therapy and counselling. Professionals, especially those with practical experience, help keep pastoral initiatives grounded in the real situations and concrete concerns of families. “Courses and programmes, planned specifically for pastoral workers, can be of assistance by integrating the premarital preparation program into the broader dynamic of ecclesial life”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 77) Good pastoral training is important “especially in light of particular emergency situations arising from cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse”.(Ibid.) All this in no way diminishes, but rather complements, the fundamental value of spiritual direction, the rich spiritual treasures of the Church, and sacramental Reconciliation.
Note the reference to sexual abuse. For all the press Catholic bishops and clergy have received for abuse and its cover-up, the truth is that most abuse happens in homes. The personal cover-up in the domestic Church is no less a challenge for our human nature than in institutions.
Remember that Amoris Laetitia is available online here.