One of the fundamental experiences of every human being is that we come from a family. Indeed, the Church recognises families as the basic building blocks of society and the Church itself. Yet, all of us have different experiences of what family is. Furthermore, many challenges have arisen in society as to what family is or should be. In recognising both the importance of families and the numerous issues that challenge the very real, lived experience of families, Pope Francis called for a Synod on the Family.
The Synod process involves an Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops taking place next month (Oct. 4-25), which follows from the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which met last October. The Extraordinary Assembly addressed the "Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation". This October's gathering will have the theme "the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world".
It's tempting to expect big changes in light of many of the issues debated in society, but the Synod reminds us of the sacredness of the family and the need for concrete pastoral solutions for many families who face struggles. It's important that we interact and engage with what the Synod and it's documents actually present. It's also important that we pray for the Synod as it gathers and discusses these important topics.
Below are links to the "Lineamenta" and "Instrumentum Laboris" which will guide the discussions this October; as well as the message that came from last October's gathering.