The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference welcomes the concluding message released by the Synod Fathers at the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome on 18 October 2014.
We support the Synod Fathers in their acknowledgement that as priests and bishops we have lived alongside families who have spoken to us and shown us the saga of their joys and their difficulties. Their example of generous faithfulness in marriage stands as an example for every society.
Following his contributions during the extraordinary Synod, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Denis Hart said: “The Australian Bishops will continue to pray for families everywhere, in particular reflecting on how we can accompany and lead those in difficult situations, such as single women bringing up children and those who have divorced and remarried, towards participation in Church life.”
Archbishop Hart said that Pope Francis’ concluding address to the Synod Fathers was encouraging and inclusive: “The Holy Father described our Church as one that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect!”
“Pope Francis has reminded us that we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many challenges that families must confront, and to give answers to the many discouragements that surround families,” Archbishop Hart added.
Over the coming months, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will review the ‘lineamenta’ (guidelines), presented to each episcopal conference following the conclusion of the extraordinary Synod.
“As Pope Francis has explained, the Church now has one year to work on the ‘Synodal Relatio’, which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed during this extraordinary Synod,” Archbishop Hart said.