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October 2014: Synod on the Family and Beatification of Paul VI

2014-12-30

The family was the great protagonist of  October's biggest event at the Vatican. Pope Francis gathered 191 Cardinals, Bishop and Patriarchs, in addition to twelve married couples, for a Synod on the challenges families face today.

Before the inauguration, he assisted a vigil in Saint Peter's Basilica. This family spoke about the difficulties they faced after being separated for 6 years.

NICOLA & ANTONELLA
"We are finally living together once again after so many years of separation and distance. I am finally with Antonella and my family. Today I feel confirmed in my vocation as husband, and I am completely happy. I am conscious of my limitations and daily challenges. However, with the help of our Lord, I try to take care of Antonella and of our relationship everyday.”

Pope Francis was present during the two weeks of meetings, but only spoke during the first and last sessions.

POPE FRANCIS
"This is a basic general condition: speak clearly. Do not say: 'I cannot say this, if I do they will think badly of me.' Speak freely of everything you believe.” 
"At the same time, one must listen with humility and take in the words of our brothers with an open heart.”

For Pope Francis, one of the purposes of this Synod was to get a clear picture of the situation of families. On October 2015, another Synod will meet to propose solutions.

The final report was voted point by point in order to show the consensus regarding the debated ideas. The 62 points were approved by the majority, but three received less support, since they didn't count with a third of the participant votes.

These two points propose continuing the discussion about whether divorced couples who remarry can take Communion or not, and another refers to the pastoral care of homosexuals.

FR. MANUEL DORANTES
Vatican spokesperson
"It is not a doctrinal document, but rather a reference for reflection and work for the next year.”

After the vote, the Pope gave a speech, which received a standing ovation for four minutes. He said the differences of opinion are a positive sign. However, he mentioned some temptaions, such as the deceptive mercy of accepting any position regardless of whether it is good or bad, or  the inflexiblity of traditionalism.

POPE FRANCIS
"This is wanting to close oneself within the written Word and not allowing oneself  to be surprised by God, by the Spirit of surprises.” 

A day later, along with all the participants, Pope Francis beatified the Pope who instituted the Synod, Paul VI. It was a special ceremony because Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attended.

...Ut Venerabilis Servus Dei Paulus VI, papa, Beati nomine in posterum appelletur.

"We declare that the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI, Pope, shall henceforth be invoked as Blessed...”

POPE FRANCIS
"Thank you. Thank you to our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI. Thank you for your humble and prophetic testimony of the love of Christ and his Church.”

Paul VI was an intellectual Pope, and also the first one to travel outside of Italy, visiting 19 countries.

He led the Church for 15 years until 1978, and he was one of the strongest voices of his time in favor of peace and the defense of human life.

Taking advantage of the presence of many Cardinals in Rome, Pope Francis met with them to denounce the persection of Christians in the Middle East.

POPE FRANCIS
October 20th - "The latest events, particularly in Iraq and Syria are very worrying. We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism of previously unimaginable dimensions. Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and forced out of their homes in a brutal way.”

IGNACE YOUSSIF III YOUNAN
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians for the Syriac Catholic Church
"Our small Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch has been hit the hardest these past four months in Iraq. I went to visit refugees in Kurdistan and if those refugees had not fled, it would have been a genocide.” 

CARD. BECHARA BOUTROS RAI
Maronite Patriarch of Antioch 
October 13, 2014
"What hurts the most is that some Middle Eastern countries and even some in the West, support these fundamentalists with weapons, money and political protection.”

The cultural event of the month was the Sistine Chapel's new illumination. Seven thousand LED allow visitors to enjoy it even more: livelier colors, cleaner details and more expressive figures.

Although Michelangelo finished the Sistine Chapel on October 31st 473 years ago, to those who visit it today it might seem as if the paint was still fresh.


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