As the Synod of Bishops on the family convenes in Rome, hundreds of shepherds from around the world have come together to ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance on leading the Catholic Church in the new evangelization. Their focus will target marriage and families in today’s world and there will not be any major doctrinal issues resolved in a few weeks but all growth in understanding begins with dialogue.
The Church has a duty to not dissolve its own teaching or bend to the ways of the world. The Church has a duty to uphold the deposit of faith given in scripture and the sacred tradition to its body. The Church also has a duty to seek pastoral solutions to present doctrinal issues in a way that is not only obediently received, but also compassionately offered. The Church is not about the popularity of its word but the salvation of souls. Guided by the Spirit it can be both.
Perhaps the greatest influence the synod will have on the Church will not be the discussion held on the marble floors of the Vatican but on the streets and homes around the world. The gathering of Bishops properly reported gets people talking. These grass-roots conversations may lead to further understanding of the richness of the Church’s teachings. Rightly ordered dialogue also guided by the Spirit will help seekers understand that marriage and family life is not about prosperity in this world but about eternity in the next. And like spouses for each other, the primary role of all baptized is to spread the unaltered Gospel message.