Last week, I did the last thing Pope Francis would want: I yelled at people for not liking Pope Francis. A few commenters pointed out that it doesn’t help anyone to cement the “us vs. them” mentality, when we’re all supposed to be part of the same family. “BOMFOG,” they used to call it — brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God — I guess because Nelson Rockerfeller used to use the phrase constantly, maybe thoughtlessly, in his speeches.
Well, so, now Pope Francis is calling what’s called an “extraordinary synod” to discuss the subject of family. And man, this is not going to be any thoughtless, jargoned hot air. According to the Catholic Herald:
The extraordinary synod will see heads of Eastern churches, presidents of the bishops’ conferences, and heads of Curia offices gather at the Vatican from October 5 – 19 for a meeting entitled “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in Context of Evangelisation”.
A 1969 extraordinary session was dedicated to improving cooperation between the Holy See and national bishops’ conferences; and a 1985 extraordinary session, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the end of the Second Vatican Council, recommended the compilation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was published seven years later.
Pope Francis had told reporters accompanying him on his plane back from Rio de Janeiro in July that the next synod would explore a “somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage,” including the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.
He added that at the time that Church law governing marriage annulments also “has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this. It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage.” Such problems, he said, exemplified a general need for forgiveness in the Church today.
“The Church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy, and find a form of mercy for all,” the Pope added.
Go, Papa! Bring this family of man together.