On October 4th, the Synod on the Family will begin. There will be representatives from the world's episcopal conferences in the Vatican. In addition, 18 married couples will attend at the Pope´s request.
During the three weeks, the main focus will be on the modern day challenges families face. The working document identifies these four points:
1) Fewer marriages among the young
For younger generations, it's challenging to make definitive decisions. That includes getting married.
Less couples are getting married, while divorce and separations are on the rise.
"We must reflect profoundly on why today's youth do not want to get married, despite there being a desire for affectionate security and a stable marriage. Along with other reasons, there is a fear in the young, of being wrong and failing. This fear blocks them from trusting in Christ's promise of marriage.”
2) Helping marriages
The Catholic Church wants to find ways to better prepare individuals for marriage. Amid jokes, Pope Francis said that young adults spend more time studying for exams than preparing for marriage.
The Pope wants to have married couples help those who are just starting out. It will be a way for newlyweds to learn the power of forgiveness and love.
May 13, 2015
"If you have fought, do not end the day without peace. How, you ask? On the knees? No. One small gesture is enough. Harmony can return to the family.”
3) Connecting with children
Raising kids is a challenge in any continent. Many parents highlight just how difficult it is to reach out and get through to their kids. There is an "invasive environment due to technology and social media.” Children continue to be influenced by smartphones and computers.
May 20, 2015
"If family education rediscovers the pride of its leadership, many things will change for the better, for uncertain parents and for disappointed children. It is time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile — for they have exiled themselves from their children’s upbringing — and to fully resume their educational role.”
4) Broken families
It concerns the Pope that broken families do not feel included by the Catholic Church. He asks Catholics to treat broken families with mercy and offer spiritual support.
Some churches do not allow those who are divorced to be Baptism godparents or teach catechism. The Synod will reconsider this.
Some bishops have asked for it to be possible for divorced Catholics who remarry and receive the Sacraments.
August 5, 2015
"We must differentiate between those who have suffered separation and those who provoked it. If we look at the new union from a child's perspective, we can see the urgency in welcoming these families into the church. After all, how can we ask parents to raise children in the Christian faith, if they themselves are excluded from the church?”
As Pope Francis said, there is a search for a solution to emergencies reflecting these four aspects of marriage: indissolubility, unity, fidelity and openness to life.
This will be the challenging task of the Synod.