“The topic of the next Papal Synod will be the Christian Family", - His Beatitude Sviatoslav

Sunday, 13 October 2013, 14:20
His Holiness Pope Francis at the XIII Regular Session of the Papal Synod, held on October 7-8 in Rome, announced that in 2014 he will call together the III General Extraordinary Assembly of the Papal Synod on the topic: “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization”. The Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, a member of the Papal Synod, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), described this on air on Radio Vatican.

The extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place on October 5-19, 2014. The UGCC Primate noted that, in contrast to all previous meetings, His Holiness participated in the meetings of the XIII Regular Assembly of the Papal Synod.

“It was very important for us to hear the Holy Father as well as to express our thoughts directly.  The Pope proposed new, unexpected tasks for us”, - stated UGCC Head.

In describing why exactly this topic was chosen by the Holy Father, His Beatitude Sviatoslav said that at the previous meeting (in January of this year) there were three topics proposed to the Pope for selection by the Papal Synod and he gravitated towards the one “in which the person is in the main focus.”

“This is an anthropological topic – the person in the light of Christ’s Gospel and the challenges which today face the family in the contemporary world.  This topic in a way touches the heart of that situation in which every believing person finds oneself.  The attention of the Synod will be focused above all on the issue of the Christian family.  This topic is the most acute problem of pastoral care in the Church.  Today, the term “family” contains many various concepts.  For example, in recent days we have found out that UN acknowledged the right to form single-sex unions and to call them a family.  Although in the Christian viewpoint, it is always the union of a man and a woman – a union which is fertile and indissoluble until death,” emphasized the Church Head.

He specified that this concerns not only the challenges which the new law or the new rights place before the Church.  “The center of our discussion is how does the contemporary person live, whether the person really fully realizes the teachings of Christ’s Church about marriage and family, how  well has the Church fulfilled its promise to  teach, to what degree do our faithful live according to these teachings when they label themselves as “faithful,” noted his Beatitude Sviatoslav.

According to him, the Papal Synod will attempt to answer “how to assist concrete people who live under the weight of contemporary culture which takes an aggressive stand towards the institution of the family as such.”                 

“I want to emphasize that this attention to marriages does not come from a desire to change the doctrine of the Church regarding marriage and the family.  No one is placing before themselves the goal of changing church postulates, to liberalize clear Christian principles or to aim at a compromise with contemporary culture.

The tasks which the Holy Father put before us, are essentially pastoral, how to assist the Christian of the third millennium to live according to those values which are unchangeably held by the Catholic Church,” stressed the Church Primate.

He reminded all that the previous Papal Synod contemplated a new evangelization to transmit faith.  And two future Papal Synods: the Extraordinary (2014) and the Regular (2015) are the continuation of the previous, since the transmission of faith and the necessity to preserve Christian families are intrinsically connected with one another.

Note:  XIII Regular General Assembly of the Papal Synod is a group of bishops and cardinals from the whole world selected by the Synod of Bishops and a certain number of members which are designated by a separate decision of the Holy Father.  Their goal is to assist the Pope in contact with the bishops of the whole world in the time between the meetings when all the members of the Papal Synod gather.  UGCC Head His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) was invited to this group by Pope Benedict XVI as a representative of the Eastern Catholic Churches.


 UGCC Department of Information


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