Articles on the Synod on the Family

Spiritual Communion: Freed from the Dust of Centuries

On the Pastoral Milieu: Extreme Alternatives to Approaching the Lord’s Table From hearsay: The vigil of All Saints’ Day in the early 20th century. A small farm in Westphalia, Germany. Tomorrow’s Mass is one of the few times in the year in … [Read more...]

An Old Philosophy and a New Theology

It is well known by now that there was a concerted effort on the part of some German Bishops, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, to engage the 2014 Synod, and interject a liberal agenda into the 2015 Synod. This was an attempt to sway the … [Read more...]

The Synod’s End and an Advent Prayer Time for the Church

Pope Francis During Extraordinary Synod of Bishops; Advent wreath.  The Synod on the Family, called by Pope Francis to address: “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world,” has come to a close. There … [Read more...]

Love and Responsibility: Required Reading for the Synod on the Family

Thanks to the Synod on the Family, the Catholic Church is now engaged in an intense discussion on sexual morality and married life. Yet if one listens carefully to the debates and polemics, it becomes evident that there is immense confusion … [Read more...]

Conscience, Freedom, and the “Law of Graduality” at the Synod on the Family

Ideas have consequences—we well know. My concern here is a series of problematic and closely related conceptions of conscience, human freedom, the moral qualification of human acts, and progress in moral living that might be operative in … [Read more...]

A “Categorical Silence” in the Preparatory Questionnaire for the 2015 Synod

“Make no mistake, my brothers: those who corrupt families will not inherit the kingdom of God.” —Ignatius of Antioch, To the Ephesians In his 2007 autobiography, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired Archbishop of Bologna, recalled his … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on the Synod

There was rejoicing at the first calling of the Synod because the family is in a bad way almost everywhere in the world. If there has been so much dissatisfaction with last year's—preliminary—Synod it is because the reports given, and the … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

Question: One of the more problematic books in Scripture is the Book of Job. Many Scripture scholars find it impossible to interpret. Is there some interpretation which might see a unifying theme? Answer: The Book of Job occupies a … [Read more...]

Theology of the Body: Insights for the Synod on the Family

Introduction The upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family, in October 2015, faces a huge challenge. The preparatory document for the synod reminded us that many families find themselves crushed and abandoned. [1. Holy See, "The Vocation … [Read more...]

The Sacramentality of Human Love according to St. John Paul II

Vatican City, November 17, 2014 Dear Friends, It is my distinct honor and personal pleasure to be with you at this important Colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman, and to share with this august assembly the perspective of … [Read more...]

Reflections on God’s Providence

November always begins with our remembering what true life in Christ looks like—All Saints—and ends with our anticipation of a new chance at that same rejuvenation—Advent. In the Christian calendar, November is the month of transition: the … [Read more...]

Streamlining Annulments

This headline greeted the announcement that Pope Francis was establishing a commission to make suggestions for altering the annulment process in the Catholic Church. The word “streamlining” is, perhaps, not the Vatican’s word, but it does … [Read more...]

True, Virginal Wife of Joseph

Recently, a holy, married couple made the following claim regarding the central place of sexual intercourse in sacramental marriage, expressed as a personal insight, gained over the course of more than 50 years of sacramental … [Read more...]

Past and Present Conceptions of Tradition: Looking at the Synod on the Family

“Tradition” is one of the most important concepts in Christianity, and yet, it is a term very often misunderstood among Catholics, let alone other Christians. I propose that this is precisely why the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which … [Read more...]

In the Fullness of Time: The Fullness of Family

The incident related in the Gospel of Luke, celebrated as the “Finding in the Temple,” has always been troubling. It’s the one and only glimpse we’re given into the “secret life” of the Holy Family. Earlier, we see baby Jesus with Simeon … [Read more...]