Pope’s Discourse at Close of Synod

Pope-at-Final-General-Assembly--Photo-by-Fiona-BasilePope Francis in the Synod Hall.
Photo by Fiona Basile

"It was about showing the vitality of the Catholic Church, which is not afraid to stir dulled consciences or to soil her hands with lively and frank discussions about the family."

Source: Vatican City, October 24, 2015. English translation by ZENIT.org

Below is the Vatican-provided translation of Pope Francis' discourse at the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops on the Family in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall this afternoon:


Dear Beatitudes, Eminences and Excellencies,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would like first of all to thank the Lord, who has guided our synodal process in these years by his Holy Spirit, whose support is never lacking to the Church.

Families are really the heartbeat of the Church

Bishop-Hurley-by-Fiona-BasileBishop Hurley outside the Synod hall.
Photo by Fiona Basile

"It was about showing the vitality of the Catholic Church, which is not afraid to stir dulled consciences or to soil her hands with lively and frank discussions about the family."

For the past three weeks, Bishop Eugene Hurley of Darwin has been in Rome attending the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, discussing the theme: ‘The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world’. He was accompanied in Rome by fellow Australian bishops Mark Coleridge of Brisbane and Bishop Antoine Tarabay OLM of the Maronite Church. In the final days, Bishop Hurley took some time out to catch up with fellow Australian and photojournalist Fiona Basile.

Tell me about your experience of they synod.

I think my overwhelming sense is one of great privilege. Firstly, to represent the Australian Church as a representative of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and secondly, it’s an enormous responsibility to listen carefully to the real lives of families, particularly Catholic families, many of whom find themselves trying to manage the Church’s teaching. They’re great people of great faith and I think we need to listen really carefully to the struggles they’re having.

The family - important and imperfect, says Cardinal Pell

Cardinal George Pell Photo by Fiona BasileCardinal George Pell
Photo by Fiona Basile

At the conclusion of the 3-week synod on the family in Rome, Australia's George Cardinal Pell has said that he agrees with the Holy Father, 'that everyone will have been changed by the synod'.

He said, 'It made people realise even more, if it was necessary or possible, how important the family is and how imperfect it often is, but we encourage people to keep on keeping on.'

Speaking on the final document, which is currently only available in Italian, and which contains 94 paragraphs on the theme 'The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world', Cardinal Pell said, 'it demonstrates that the Church is first of all about love'.

'It's very clear that the synod fathers are well aware of the enormous variety of complex situations which families find themselves in around the world ... It's very clear the Church is addressing real situations.'

Vatican Information Service

21 October 2015
211015a"After the Mass in St Peter's Square on last Sunday. Between two thorny bishops is that rose, Maria Harries, an auditor at the Synod who hales from Perth and has a CV has long as you arm and far more distinguished. Behind us is the entry to the Campo Santo - the cemetery attached to the Teutonic Hospice which dates back to the time of Charlemagne, when it was where the Germanic pilgrims stayed....and got buried if they died. "
(Photo by Archbishop Coleridge)

Maria Harries, Chair of Catholic Social Services in Australia, also spoke about cultural diversity, providing the example of the very marginalised Aboriginal people, which comprise many language groups and family traditions. “For most of them, the idea of the family as it is represented by our Church teaching is alien. For some, the matrilineal system means that they have many mothers. The child is reared in a kinship group, not by a mother and father. Women play a dynamic role in their kinship world and they expect them to be visible. In the words of one of the aboriginal leaders, 'By not having women visible on the Altar and in the life of the Church, we are concealing our mothers, our sisters and our daughters from view'. In welcoming the Gospel, they ask not to be recolonised by our Church as they have been by our nation's forebears. The challenge for our Church is to formally and institutionally incorporate cross-cultural dialogue and adopt systems with indigenous Australians that honour and do not violate their culture”.

Australian Archbishop: Synod Must Change Church’s Language, Actions

13 October 2015, By Joshua J. McElwee
Originally published in NCRonline.org
131015fArchbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, right, holds the Sept. 19 issue of the Italian journal La Civilta Cattolica before a session of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican Sept. 20, 2013. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Rome - The ongoing worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on family is being called to explore the “vast middle ground” between never-changing church teaching and committing iconoclasm, an Australian archbishop who leads one of the meetings’ English-language groups has said.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge said that while there are many opinions among prelates at the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops, one impression that has emerged is that some believe the choice facing the gathering is either to “abandon church teaching” or commit to a “bubble of immutability.”

“Between those two extremes … there is in fact a vast territory … to be explored,” said Coleridge, who heads the eastern Australia archdiocese of Brisbane.

“That's what the synod should be about,” said the archbishop. “The words and exercise of pastoral activity -- saying, 'OK, we don't go to one extreme and say we're going to chuck church teaching out the window or the other extreme and say we're going to do nothing.'”

“I think we have to explore all kinds of possibilities in that vast middle ground, where I think the Spirit is moving and calling us to be,” he said.

Archbishop Coleridge says synod 65/35 against Communion for the divorced and remarried

7 October 2015, By John L. Allen Jr.
Originally published in Crux
coleridge-2013aArchbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, at the Vatican in 2013. (Paul Haring/CNS)

ROME – An Australian archbishop taking part in the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family says that if the idea of allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to return to Communion were put to a straight up or down vote right now, it would probably lose by a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent.

That proposal is most associated with German Cardinal Walter Kasper, and although Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane said he can’t personally support it, he also finds some of the criticism of Kasper for his position “scandalous.”

Coleridge stressed that his estimates of how a hypothetical vote might break are simply “intuitions,” and that things could change before synod’s end. He also emphasized that ultimately the only vote that matters belongs to Pope Francis, since the synod’s role is simply to make recommendations.

Australian Bishops to speak at Family Synod

6 October 2015
CQYwgbyWcAEr3xs-300x300Bishop Hurley at Paul Vi Hall, the #Synod2015 venue

Australia’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Bishop Eugene Hurley are preparing to speak at the Synod on the Family in Rome.

On Sunday 4th October, the Australian representatives lodged what’s called the petitio loquendi, which means a request to speak for three minutes at the Synod in Paul VI Hall atc the Vatican.

The XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops commenced on Sunday 4th October with an opening Mass in St Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Pope Francis who will lead the Synod over the next three weeks until it concludes on Sunday 25th October.

To help Australians engage with the Synod process and to follow the journey over the next three weeks, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has created a series of videos that explain what a Synod is and describe the processes involved. Seven Synod videos, each one no longer than two minutes in duration, are available to view and share via the ACBC Synod portal: https://www.catholic.org.au/synod2015

On the Road Together – Journey with us in prayer

5 October 2015

A rooftop view of Rome from Maria Bambina over looking St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Archbishop Coleridge invites everyone to ‘journey with us in prayer’ on the eve of the Synod.

Synod theme: The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World

Frequently asked questions about the role of the Synod in the life of the Catholic Church

What is the Synod of Bishops?

Bishops representing all regions of the world will meet in Rome from 4-25 October 2015.

This is the fourteenth meeting of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, for which the theme is “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world”.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Bishop Eugene Hurley and Dr Maria Harries Represent Australia at Synod on the Family

Media Release, 16 September 2015
Dr-Maria-HarriesDr Maria Harries

Pope Francis has appointed Dr Maria Harries AM as an independent auditor at the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place at the Vatican in Rome next month. This means Dr Harries will contribute to the Synod discussions on the family as a Catholic laywoman.

Dr Harries is Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia and a member of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.

She will join Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, and Bishop of Darwin, Eugene Hurley, who were elected to represent the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at the Ordinary Synod on the Family.

Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal George Pell, will also attend the Synod, which takes place from 4 – 25 October 2015.

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