Delegate: Synod document will show Church’s care for families

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Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, along with other Asian bishops visit the Philippine Embassy in Vatican City on Friday. (Photo: R. Lagarde)

VATICAN, Oct. 24, 2015— Amid the many innuendos of controversy, whatever is discussed and finalized at the Synod will certainly show the Catholic Church’s “great concern” for the families, a Filipino archbishop said.

While he refused to preempt the final results of the global meeting, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the Synod expresses to families the Church’s appreciation and encouragement.

“A lot of proposals and evaluations have been made but one thing is sure… No matter what your situation in life, you are loved and cared for. People should know that the Holy Father has great care for them,” he said.

Efforts around the world

If there’s anything people can look forward to the Synod, Palma said it would be the new pastoral initiatives to address the many issues facing families in the modern world.

“It makes us aware of the realities of families. It makes us aware that efforts are being done all over the world,” said the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

According to Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera, while the Synod discussed a wide array of issues, what is important is the prelates were able to reflect and find ways to respond to the challenges.

“The Church must accompany all people of God whoever they are. We are sinners but the Church must be there to guide, to help, and tell them that God will never ever abandon us. That is the point,” he said alluding to the matter of Communion for divorced and remarried persons.

Communion for the divorced?

Palma and Garcera are among the six Filipinos out of the 270 prelates and 18 couples from around the world who participated in the Synod on the family at the Vatican.

Ending on Sunday, the Synod which started last Oct. 4 have opened up important discussions including the possibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion who are currently barred from doing so.

“What is important is that although they cannot receive Communion, they are still part of the people of God,” Garcera said.

“No matter what condition you are in, the Church must still take care of you because, basically, God will never abandon us no matter what,” he added.

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias said at a press briefing on Thursday that the document will not have all the answers, “but it will have a direction.” (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews)

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