The Synod of the Family will run from October 4th to the 25th. Already more than 300 participants who will take part have made their way to Rome.
Bishops, married couples and experts will look into what the Church can do to address modern day challenges families face.
A so called working document that was given to those taking part, highlights four main points. They include analyzing why more young couples are choosing not to get married. Helping those who do want to get married with top notch preparation, helping parents communicate with their children, especially amid the obsession with technology and attention to broken families.
It's all based on pastoral approaches, not on changing Church Doctrine.
"Marriage is indissoluble when it's a Sacrament. This cannot be changed by the Church. It cannot be changed. It's doctrine.”
MSGR. VINCENZO PAGLIA
Pontifical Council for the Family
"The Synod is not about condemnation. The Synod is about finding all the medications that can cure the ills of families.”
The Synod will tackle many thorny issues though, like divorced and civilly remarried couples and whether they can receive Communion under extraordinary circumstances. But the discussion will also go beyond that.
"I think it's a bit simplistic to think that Synod...to say that the solution for these couples is to receive Communion. This is not the only solution.”
Pope Francis has highlighted time and time again that addressing some of the challenges in society, can first start with addressing issues faced by the family.
"A society grows strong, firm, beautiful and with honesty when it's built upon the base of a family.”
The Pope will give an opening and closing statement during the Synod. He will be present during the meetings, but he does not plan on addressing the issues publicly, so as to not influence the direction of the discussions.
October 6, 2014 (Start of Synod)
"This is a basic condition: Speak clearly. No one can say: 'That cannot be said, because they will think badly of me.' Speak your mind.”
The Synod does not have any decision making powers. The group of Bishops gets together every time they are convened by the Pope to do so, specifically to address issues he wants to delve into. From the recommendations of the Synod, Popes have included items in magisterial documents.