SAM Devotes Special Section to the Synod...
Perhaps you noticed St. Anthony Messenger‘s special section on family in this issue? Hard to miss, I know! The Church will surely be buzzing during and after this month’s world Synod of Bishops on families. When the synod topic was first announced, back in 2013, we knew that it would be of high interest to our readers, for obvious reasons. We all need to find new ways to nurture families today.
That has been a big topic in the Church for more than a century, when the changes of the Industrial Revolution started squeezing the traditional family. This magazine, in fact, was born as a way to strengthen families in 1893, two years after Pope Leo XIII, in his influential encyclical on human labor, wrote about the way the newly emerging economy of factories was tearing families apart.
Some 50 years later, the possibility of artificial birth control, and its impact on our understanding of family, became a huge concern of the Church. We all know that Pope Paul VI’s 1968 ban of artificial contraception continues to reverberate today. During those tumultuous 1960s, we even changed the entire format of this magazine to reach families in a new way. In more recent years, the list of stressors has grown: abortion, the ease of marital divorce, growing numbers of couples choosing never to marry at all. Some of us aren’t comfortable talking about it, but gay lifestyles are “out of the closet” with the growing acceptance of same-sex couples, and many of these couples are raising children.
And the global Internet raises family issues, good and bad, of its own. Pope Francis sees these challenges and is devoting not one, but two worldwide synods of bishops to listen, pray, reflect, and offer the Church’s wisdom.
Important? Yes—these synods will be deeply important to a Church made of families. Difficult or not, our whole Church needs to engage in the discussion. St. Anthony Messenger will be a part of it.
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Photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring