My Obligatory Synod on the Family Post

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A few people have asked me my opinion on the Synod on the Family occurring in Rome this week and next.   I’ll admit I have been quiet in part because of being sick with the flu, revising a book, and generally being swamped with work and (ironically!) family.  But…synods do not lend themselves to “breaking news.”  It’s a time for reflection and consultation, for checking in as a global Church.  While it is truly wonderful that there is a synod currently devoted to this issue, it seems appropriate to me that what I want to say on this subject, I said two years ago…and in more depth in the Theology of the Body, Extended book:

What happens if  we lose the “Family as Sign”?

I would only add one point to that post: the reason so many people want to claim the word family is because it is primordially important.  It is the core social group of our society, and created by God as such.  The reality that people want to name social groups as “families” that stretch (at best) the definition is a backhand way of acknowledging that the idea of family is primordially important, and of high value.  This point gives me sympathy for people who are accused of trying to “hijack” the langauge: they recognize the primordial expression of love and community, and they want it as well.  Maybe not in the best ways.  But, deep down, they recognize the goodness of family.  After all, people who grow up in dysfunctional families usually go to great lengths to create or name a new family (a gang, a school, a clique, a sexual relationship started too young, etc.).

I hope the synod speaks truth in love as to how to recognize the goodness of the sign of the family…and encourages us all to live it honestly, supporting families who are struggling.  There are many, and I would surmise every family struggles at one point.  I hope the synod points to the sign and gives families needed hope, courage, and concrete help in living their vocation as domestic church.

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