VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Greek root of the word “synod” means “to walk together,” which is exactly what bishops and other members of the Synod of Bishops are called to do as they seek to apply the Gospel and church teaching to the challenges facing family life today, said the gathering’s general secretary.
“We must walk together: the people, the bishops and the pope,” said Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, introducing the synod’s work Oct. 6.
Standing next to Pope Francis and quoting Pope Francis, the cardinal told the roughly 250 synod participants they were called “to work always to overcome every conflict which wounds the body of the church. United in our differences — there is no other Catholic way to be united. This is the Catholic spirit, the Christian spirit: to be united in our differences.”
Cardinal Baldisseri said the synod preparation, including the worldwide consultation and response to a questionnaire sent out on the theme of family life, already was a sign of “fraternal communion.”
“This broad freedom of expression must also characterize this synod assembly because expressing one’s convictions is always positive as long as it is done in a respectful, loving and constructive manner,” he said.
Just as the responses to the questionnaire demonstrated a wide variety of approaches to some of the most contested and controversial areas of Catholic teaching on the family — including contraception, divorce and remarriage, same-sex marriage, premarital sex and in vitro fertilization — so did public discussion of the theme by several cardinals and theologians.
Opening the synod’s first working session, Cardinal Baldisseri said, “Broad freedom of expression must also characterize this synodal assembly because expressing one’s convictions is always positive as long as it is done in a respectful, loving and constructive manner.”
The cardinal concluded his introduction praying that the Oct. 5-19 assembly would be an expression of collegiality, “which proclaims the Gospel by walking, and that it might be imbued with a new openness to the Spirit, by an approach and manner of life and witness which ensures a unity in diversity and apostolicity in catholicity.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103