Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic World News

Vatican releases working document for next Synod meeting on marriage and family

December 09, 2014

The Vatican has released a working document that will frame the discussion for the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will continue the discussion of marriage and family life.

The new document, the lineamenta, makes it clear that the meeting next year will build on the discussion that have already taken place. The most controversial topics at this year’s meeting—including homosexuality, cohabitation, and the status of Catholics who are divorced and remarried—will remain high on the agenda.

The Office of the Synod circulated the new document to all of the world’s episcopal conferences. The lineamenta incorporates a summary of the final report from the 2014 session, adding 46 questions upon which bishops are asked to reflect.

The world’s bishops are encouraged to undertake a “broad consultation” among Catholics in their dioceses, soliciting opinions especially from scholars and representatives of ecclesiastical groups. The results of that consultation are to be reported back to the Office of the Synod, which will use them to prepare the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the October 2015 session.

The lineamenta strongly confirms the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the unique status of a permanent union between a man and woman open to life. At the same time document calls for new efforts to provide pastoral care for people in irregular marital situations, and mentions study of “the Orthodox practice” that would allow for the acceptance of second marriages in some circumstances.

The document, based on the final report from the October Synod meeting, stresses the importance of restoring a clear understanding of the Christian meaning of sacramental marriage and of the family as the fundamental building block of society. The Church is called to "combat the scourge of abortion and foster an effective culture of life."

The lineamenta also touches on some topics that were not heavily covered during the October 2014 session, such as the immorality of contraception, the danger of falling birth rates, and methods of artificial reproduction.


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