by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

At the Sala Stampa Briefing on Monday, October 12, ‎a few presenters, speaking in Italian, English, French and Spanish, related in summary fashion some essential points mentioned in the small group discussions held at the Synod this past Saturday and Monday morning.

The focus of those small groups was the third part of the working document of the Synod known as the "Instrumentum Laboris," a document that has been keenly scrutinized and greatly criticized by numerous Synod Fathers. Their principal complaint is that the "Instrumentum Laboris" contains several problematic paragraphs that lay side by side contrasting points of view concerning the Church's teachings, for example, on artificial contraception, divorce and remarriage,and other irregular moral situations.

Allow this column to serve as a reflection on the points mentioned in the Briefing presentations that I think deserves particular attention from a theological standpoint. 

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris 

The working document of the Synod, like all documents, has strengths and weaknesses which the Synod Fathers and other participants are presently discussing until at last the Commission established by Pope Francis will integrate their contributions into a "Final Document." Ultimately, however, only the Pope can decide if this "Final Document" of the Synod will serve (or perhaps not) as the basis for his own "Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation" (if he chooses to produce one).

The work of the Synod is extremely important and very exhausting. The three weeks of the Synod may seem to the participants like three months. Nevertheless, their work will not be in vain if they can improve upon the "Instrumentum Laboris" (hereafter, IL) by more closely relating the contemporary pastoral challenges concerning the family to the answers we readily find in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. 

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

At this past Wednesday's audience in St. Peter's Square (October 14), Pope Francis gave impromptu remarks, apologizing in a very vague way for scandals that have taken place in the Church, especially in the Vatican and Rome. Precisely because he did not refer to an‎y particular situations and persons involved, we are only left to speculate as to which scandals he may have had in mind.

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

An episcopal conference is a grouping of all the bishops of a given territory, whereby they jointly exercise certain pastoral functions for all Catholics within the region (usually a nation or country).

The modern concept of episcopal conferences was the brain-child of the Venerable Servant of God, Pope Pius XII, concerned that the Church in the various nations would be able to make a unified response to the disasters wrought by World War II. However, since his time, episcopal conferences have evolved into much larger and more potent structures than those perhaps originally envisioned and/or intended by Papa Pacelli, receiving their greatest impetus from the Second Vatican Council. The episcopal conferences serve as a bridge between the universal Church and the local churches. They are not meant to substitute for the central authority of the Pope, the Vatican and the Holy See – or of the diocesan bishop.

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

One has to question why the idea of ordaining female deacons has come up in certain small language discussion groups at the Synod when everyone is supposed to be focused on the role of the traditional family.  Some observers regard this proposal as a way for advocates of women's ordination to the minsterial priesthoof to get one foot in the door. 

Of course, there are those Synod participants who would immediately deny that this is their real objective. They would probably say that a diaconate for women would be a return to an ancient practice in the early Church, as well as a contemporary way to highlight and indeed increase the role of women in the life of the Catholic Church. 

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

By deliberately choosing to ignore the Bible's teachings on marriage and the family, Europe is paying a big price.

As Romans whiz through the busy streets of their pothole-filled streets on noisy motorini and tourists blissfully meander amidst splendid ruins, piazzas, museums and churches (which, by the way, are mostly empty for daily and Sunday Mass alike in Rome's "Centro Storico" or "Historic Center"!), does anyone really think they are paying attention to, let alone might be deeply concerned about, what's at stake at the Synod of the Bishops on the Family?

I don't think it would take a huge leap of our collective imagination to conclude that most people living in and visiting the Eternal City could not care less! ‎

by Rev. Nicholas L Gregoris

At the conclusion of my interview with the Indian priests, I asked them for 10 recommendations for strengthening the bond between the Family and the Church in contemporary Indian society.

Here are their responses: