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Cardinals discuss family in busy consistory sessions

Catholic World News - February 21, 2014

Continuing two days of discussions on the family, the College of Cardinals had a busy day of talks on February 21, the director of the Vatican press office told reporters.

As the cardinals took their midday break the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters that 43 cardinals had spoken in the past two sessions of the consistory, and dozens more had indicated a desire to speak. “We do not know if they will all be able to do so,” Father Lombardi said. He said that some of the cardinals may submit their thoughts in writing, to help other prelates refine their thoughts in advance of the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

The cardinals spoke about the problems of pastoral care for the family at a time when prevailing cultures do not support strong family life, the Vatican spokesman reported. However, he said that the discussion “did not take place in a climate of complaint, but rather of realism.” Many of the cardinals cited the thoughts of Blessed John Paul II, he said, especially the late Pontiff’s “theology of the body” and his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio.

Father Lombardi confirmed that the cardinals continued to discuss the question of pastoral care for Catholics who are divorced and remarried. “There was neither tension nor anxiety in relation to this matter,” he insisted, as the cardinals sought ways to “combine fidelity to the words of Jesus with divine mercy and attention to specific situations.”

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