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The Extraordinary Synod on the Family

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 Contents - Nov 2014AD2000 November 2014 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Extraordinary Synod on the Family - Peter Westmore
Episcopacy: Bishop Anthony Fisher OP appointed Archbishop of Sydney - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
Anglican: The Ordinariate in Gippsland: the first year
Human Life: Surrogacy: what the Biblical precedent tells us - Anne Lastman
Family: The global attack on religious belief and moral values - Alejandra Fabris
Law: What is the separation of church and state? - Frank Mobbs
Formation: 'I used to be a Catholic' - Audrey English
Youth: Ignite Conference fires up 1,200 young Catholics in Brisbane - Br Barry Coldrey
Why be a priest? - Fr John O'Neill
Why we make the Sign of the Cross - Cedric Wright
Scripture: Is the Hebrew Bible incomplete? - Andrew Sholl
Letters: Eucharistic Prayers - Franklin J. Wood
Letters: China and the Holy See - Francis Vrijmoed
Letters: Suicide prevention - Murray Cook
Letters: Rally for peace in the world - Bev Thomas
Support: Thank you! Fighting Fund passes $12,000
Books: EASTERN CHRISTIANITY: The Byzantine Tradition, by Laurence Cross - Paul Simmons (reviewer)
Books: HIDDEN PAIN: An Insight into Childhood Sexual Abuse, by Anne R. Lastman - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: The meaning of life and death - Archbishop Julian Porteous

As this issue of AD2000 goes to press, an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, convened by Pope Francis a year ago, is meeting in Rome to discuss the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation.

Despite some sensational media stories about the Synod, we need to keep in mind that a Synod of Bishops is an advisory body to the Holy Father.

Under the Code of Canon Law, it is "a group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world."

Synods of Bishops have been held every two or three years since Vatican II, and have covered a wide range of subjects. The 2012 Synod discussed the New Evangelisation, and was concerned with how to spread the Word of God to all mankind more effectively. Earlier Synods had dealt with issues such as The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, the Eucharist and the role of Bishops.

Under St John Paul II, a Synod discussed the Christian Family 34 years ago.

What is most important about the Synod is that it is usually followed by an apostolic exhortation from the Pope, which is a reflection on the issues raised at the Synod, and sets an agenda for the future.

The Church has long recognised the family as not only a vital institution in society in fact, the foundation of civil society but also a vital institution for building the faith, and transmitting it to the next generation. When families are under threat, not only is society undermined, but the Church is unable to perform its essential function.

These issues will undoubtedly be at the forefront of the Bishops' consideration at the Synod, and we can anticipate that collectively they will approach the subject with sensitivity and compassion, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Peter Westmore is Publisher of AD2000.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 27 No 10 (November 2014), p. 2

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