The main event of October at the Vatican was the Synod of the Family. From the 4th to 25th of October, 270 bishops, 18 couples, dozens of experts and a baby all came to Rome. Working together, the Church sought answers to the problems of families today.
"The Synod is not a parliament where a consensus or a common agreement is obtained after some negotiations, pacts, or commitments. The only method of the Synod is to be open to the the Holy Spirit.”
During the Synod thirteen cardinals sent a letter to the Pope insinuating that some organizers were forcing conclusions before the Synod began, and asked that the intention of the Synod be made clear. A spokesman explained the response given to them by the Pope.
FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
"He said that Catholic doctrine related to marriage has not been touched.He has said that we must not leave any conditions or reduce the horizon of work in this Synod to only the problem of whether or not to allow Communion for those who are divorced and have remarried.”
After three weeks of debate, the synod ended with an optimistic and hopeful text that paid tribute to families, asking to improve marriage preparation and remembered that when there are difficulties we must try to resolve them.
Only three of the 94 points were not approved by an absolute majority. These points were about the situation of divorced Catholics who have since been married civilly.
For example, they called for a study of the "forms of exclusion, currently practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, education and institutional forum, that can be overcome.” It was referring, for example, to how the divorced are not allowed to be godparents, religious teachers, or representatives of the diocese.
The document proposes that these situations are valued according to the criteria proposed by Pope John Paul II, how to distinguish between those who have sincerely tried to save the marriage, those who have been unjustly abandoned, or those who have destroyed.
It also proposes that priests help these people to educate their conscience and discern what their situation is before God.
The Pope closed with a Mass at St. Peter's where he spoke about being realistic.
"We can walk through the deserts of humanity without seeing what is really there; instead, we see what we want to see. We are capable of developing views of the world, but we do not accept what the Lord places before our eyes.”
In October, the most famous miners in the world traveled to Rome to meet the Pope. They had the world on edge as they spent 70 days underground in a mine in Chile until they were able to be rescued.
The Pope gave them rosaries and they gave him what best represents them: a mining helmet. In addition, they asked him to celebrate Mass in the mine of San José where they were trapped.
In October, the Jesuits dedicated a shelter for the homeless to the Pope. And Pope Francis wanted to go personally to meet the new occupants.
"Thank you, Holy Father.” "Welcome.”
"Your Holiness, before, they were under the colonnade, sleeping under thousands of stars. Now they have a two star shelter.”
"Thank you for accepting this home, our home that you have thanks to the generosity of the Jesuit priests who have donated it.”
Before leaving, the Pope said goodbye one by one with jokes and smiles between and said goodnight.
In October, Pope Francis proclaimed four new saints. These were the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, the first married coupled canonized in the same ceremony; Spanish religious Maria Purísima de la Cruz who died less than 18 years ago; and Vincenzo Grossi, an Italian priest who evangelized in the poorest areas of Lombardy.
"His answer is an invitation to follow the way of love and service, rejecting the worldly temptation to excel and rule over others. Faced with those who struggle for power and success, the disciples are called to do the opposite.”
The meeting was more colorful this month with more than 5,000 Gypsies from around the world. They brought their dances...And of course music...
"Dear Gypsy friends. May the Lord be with you! I would like your community to have a fresh start. A new chapter. It's time to erase secular stereotypes, pre-conceived notions and mutual mistrust, that are often the base of discrimination, racism and xenophobia.”
It was just another gesture from the Pope for those living in the peripheries of the world and society.