How the Family Synods Prepared the Ground for the Synod on Synodality

The first two synods of this pontificate that took place nearly a decade ago set the stage for the synods that followed and contain some useful pointers for the upcoming Synod on Synodality.

The 2014 and 2015 Extraordinary and Ordinary Synods on the Family were ostensibly aimed at formulating appropriate pastoral guidelines for families and relationships, taking into account the complexities of marital and family life in today’s world.

Many of the participants said they found the discussions helpful but at the same time fraught and controversial, and the fruits of those assemblies were then overshadowed by concerns and fallout arising from the Pope’s 2016 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)

The Pope’s summary document contained a now famous and much-disputed footnote that could be read as relaxing the Church’s pastoral practice regarding access to Holy Communion for civilly remarried divorcees. Such a change emerged as a clear aim for many of those in charge even before the synods began, having been raised months earlier in an extraordinary consistory by Cardinal Walter Kasper in what became known as the “Kasper Proposal.”

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