Why all the “buzz” about this two-phase synod meeting beginning in 2014 on the challenges facing families? (FYI – Synod is a fancy word for a meeting of Bishops and experts around the world called by the Pope to consider an important issue.) Frankly, there are usually pretty boring and tedious – even when substantive. I have a couple of thoughts why this Synod on the family should be different:
- Putting questions on-line and inviting “survey-monkey” responses by anyone with internet access is new for synod meetings. It demonstrates transparency that many would claim is uncharacteristic of the Catholic Church. Everyone can see that the agenda is not ostrich-like. Major hot-button and important issues are covered. Same-sex marriage and living together without being married are two topics asked about in the survey. Surveying real people actually experiencing the goods and bads of families is exciting. An important caveat! An accurate description and survey of the current state of affairs alone does not give you the answers. On the other hand, you rarely get the right answers without it.
- Families are fundamental. Children are born into them; we live in them; we work to support them and we grow old in them. I often say Catholic Charities would be out of business if everyone had a good family and a decent job. (The job part is for another post.) Tragically, we know the deep hurt and suffering when families don’t work. Sadly, this happens far, far too often.
This Synod meeting is on target: a good and comprehensive agenda and everyone can get a say! I expect this to be a needed win, not only for the Catholic Church, but also for the common good. Listen to more about it.