Synod14: Full Text of Third General Congregation

» A world worthy of our humanity, image of God, is possible if, on our part as Church and through the Pastoral of the Family, we work in faith and charity to render present the Kingdom of God in the world.»

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Below is a translation of the text of the Third General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops of the Family, which took place this morning in the Vatican.




Synod 14 – 3rd General Congregation: Homily of Cardinal Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes, Haiti, during the prayer of Tierce

Synod 14 – 3rd General Congregation: “The Gospel of the Family and the Natural Law” (Part I, chapter 3) and “The Family and the Vocation of the Person in Christ” (Part I, chapter 4)

At 9 o’clock today, the 3rd General Congregation of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family opened, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the singing of Tierce. Following is a translation of the homily that Cardinal Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes, Haiti, gave during the praying of Tierce.

Very Holy Father, Eminent and Excellent Synodal Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, the participants, on this day, when we remember Our Lady of the Rosary, our works in Synodal Assembly on the family are pursued in confidence of her maternal intercession. Thanks to her prayer, God Himself will come to free our families from the lack of love of which they are victims, as the victory of Lepanto was obtained by the praying of the Rosary. The Word of God addressed to us by the prophet Jeremiah is an invitation to seek what is just for our societies while we seek to highlight the numerous challenges of the family pastoral in the context of Evangelization. The prophet Jeremiah was sent by the Lord to remind the king and the people of Judah that Judah’s future depended on the practice of law and justice. On one hand, it is about doing justice particularly to the weak, the poor of society of that time, who were easily exploited: the foreigner, the orphan, the widow. On the other hand, it is about the need to respect the life of the innocent. It is a plea for the just social integration of all, particularly of the weakest and the poorest. It is an exhortation to work for the building of a more fraternal world where peace reigns.

This prophetic message, proclaimed many centuries before Jesus Christ, finds resonance in the today of our world. This world has certainly evolved a lot on the plane of technology, of means of communication and of production. It remains, however, marked by injustices of all sorts, of which numerous populations are the victims. Incalculable are the families that suffer because of poverty, exploitation, violence and war.

The Synodal Assembly on the Family, which brings together delegates from different nations, is a propitious place where, with a unanimous voice, we must say, in the name of all the families of the earth, in the name of the great human family that we all constitute and above all in the name of the faith, that the crying  injustices that are rampant within nations, as those that are happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Africa and in other parts of the world, among them the situation of Haiti, do not do honor to human dignity.

A world worthy of our humanity, image of God, is possible if, on our part as Church and through the Pastoral of the Family, we work in faith and charity to render present the Kingdom of God in the world. “In the measure that God will succeed in reigning among us, social life will be a space of fraternity, of justice, of peace, of dignity for all” (EG 180). This must be truly in the name of our faith, a genuine faith, because the Holy Father says:

A genuine faith – which is never comfortable and individualistic – implies always a profound desire to change the world, to transmit values (…) The earth is our common home and we are all brothers. Although “the just order of society and of the State is an essential duty of politics,” the Church “cannot and must not remain aside in the struggle for justice.” All Christians, and also the Pastors, are called to be concerned with the building of a better world” (EG 183).

As evangelical testimony indicates, for the salvation of families, it is also the collaboration of an active faith operating by charity that Christ awaits today from His Church and from families, in a world where a number of our pastoral challenges, among which are those of the family, come very often from a lack of faith and love, from a lack of preparation to receive generously the gift of the family as coming from God.

We entrust ourselves to the prayer of the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Evangelization, invoked today under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary. By her intercession, may God continue to enlighten us by His Holy Spirit so that injustices, violence and wars of all sorts cease. May all men and women of this world become in Christ a family of which God is the Father.

[Original text: French] [Translation by ZENIT]

Synod 14 – 3rd General Congregation: “The Gospel of the Family and the Natural Law” (Part I, chapter 3) and “The Family and the Vocation of the Person in Christ” (Part I, chapter 4)

Introduction by the President Delegate, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. Testimony of Spouses George and Cynthia Campos (Philippines)

At 9 o’clock today, the 3rdGeneral Congregation of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family was held, in the presence of the Holy Father, in the Hall of the Synod in the Vatican, for the continuation of the general debate, which is following a thematic order in correspondence with the Parts and chapters of the Instrumentum laboris.

Today’s thematic session: The Gospel of the Family and the Natural Law (Part I, chapter 3) and The Family and the Vocation of the Person in Christ (Part I, chapter 4), opened with a brief presentation by the rotating President Delegate, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines, who introduced the testimony of spouses Mr. George Campos, Director of Couples for Christ (Philippines) and Mrs. Cynthia Campos, Member of Couples for Christ (Philippines), present at the synod as Auditors.

Following are the texts:

Introduction of the President Delegate, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

In this Congregation, we shall treat Chapters Three and Four in the First Part of the Instrumentum laboris, namely, Communicating the Gospel of the Family in Today’s World. Under this heading is found Chapter Three entitled, The Gospel of the Family and the Natural Law. It covers numbers 20 to 49. To refresh your mind, this chapter treats the following topics: The Relation of the Gospel of the Family to the Natural Law (20); Practical Objections to the Natural Law concerning the Union between a Man and a Woman (27-29); and the Call for a Renewal in Terms of Language (30). Chapter Four, under the same heading, numbers 31 to 49, is entitled: The Family and Vocation of the Person in Christ. The subjects in this chapter are: The Family, the Person and Society (31-34); In the Image of Trinitarian Life (35); The Holy Family of Nazareth and Learning to Love (36-38); The Differences, Reciprocity and Manner of Living as a Family (39-42); The Family and the Integral Development of a Person (43-44); Guidance in the Renewed Desire to Marry and Form a Family and the Related Crises (45-48); and Ongoing Formation (49).

The interventions will be preceded by the personal, real-life testimony of Mr. and Mrs. George Campos. This husband and wife team comes from my Archdiocese of Manila in the Philippines. Mr. Campos is a full-time pastoral worker; he is president and executive director of Couples for Christ. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and an Executive Masters in Business Administration
. His wife Cynthia is a mission volunteer in the same pastoral programme of Couples for Christ. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Couples for Christ (abbreviated as CFC) is an international Catholic lay ecclesial movement whose goal is to renew and strengthen Christian family life and values. It is one of 122 International Associations of the Faithful. The organization is affiliated and has official recognition by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It is led by an International Council, which operates in the Philippines under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The community is made up of family ministries, social arms, and a pro-life ministry.

Couples for Christ (CFC) traces its origin to Manila, Philippines. It was established in 1981 by the charismatic community Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (LNP) (Filipino for «Joy of the Lord») as its outreach to evangelize married couples. Beginning in 1993, the organization established the family ministries of Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ, Handmaids of the Lord and Servants of the Lord.

Through the years, Couples for Christ has blossomed worldwide. It is now present in all 81 Philippine provinces and dioceses and it has been brought to 163 countries. It has become a major force for the renewal of Christian family life.

It mission statement reads: Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth. Moved by the Holy Spirit, one with the Catholic Church, blessed to witness to Christ’s love and service, Couples for Christ is a united global community of family evangelizers that sets the world on fire with the fullness of God’s transforming love.

Let us now welcome Mr. and Mrs. Campos.[03009-02.01] [Original text: English]Testimony of Spouses George e Cynthia Campos (Philippines)

You’re Holiness, Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Call to Vocation:

Cynthia and I were married in 1987, blessed with four children. In 1990, we became members of Couples for Christ, a Private Lay Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right. We have committed ourselves to be a living catechesis of our vision to live as “Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth” and our mission: «Building the Church of the Home and of the Poor» in the 107 countries that we are present in.

Vocation Discernment: “I applied to be a nun with the Rosas Hermanas (Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit), a contemplative congregation. I was accepted, however, I was asked to undergo a one-on-one directed retreat with a priest. At the end of the retreat the priest said;«You are not meant for the religious life. God will give you a husband who will help you rear the children who will serve Him in the future. Your work is outside”. After this seeming rejection from the Lord, I went back to school to finish my course. By the way, George was an altar server in the same convent I was applying to.

I attained a high stature in a company I was working with for 25 years. At age46, I opted to resign. I told the owner that «I have spent the 1st half of the prime of my life serving this company and now I want to spend the 2nd half serving the Lord.» Cynthia at 47, resigned too, so we can serve together as a couple.

We have grown deeper in faith and love for the Lord through our teaching formations and weekly household prayer meetings with other couples. This blessed encounter with Jesus led us to become fulltime missionary disciples. Our children are following suit. They have joined the CFC Family Ministries beginning with Kids, Youth and Singles for Christ. We have been in missions together in Vietnam, Thailand and Australia.

Cynthia’s dangerous pregnancy: On my 4th pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. We were told that my life would be at risk if I continued the pregnancy and my child had a high probability of being born abnormal. We were advised to choose between terminating the pregnancy and taking the risk. It was truly a test of faith and surrender. We decided to have the baby and to abide by the will of God. By God’s grace, we both survived and my daughter Christen is now very healthy and full of life.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis In 1998, I was diagnosed with breast cancer with 3 to 6 months to live. Instead of letting go of our service, we continued, supported by the prayers of my family and our CFC community. My prayer was “Lord with just a flick of your finger you could change my illness. You just have to will it”. God heard our prayers for now I am standing before you cured with a simple medical intervention and a dose of antibiotics.

The pastoral formation and support CFC gives strengthens and sustains us and our family in the daily challenges we face. But how about those who do not have the privilege of having a support group? And so our mission continues with greater passion.

CFC has ministries for matured men (Servants of the Lord) and women (Handmaids of the Lord) who are single, with spouses working abroad, who lost their spouses either through death, legal separation/divorce or a diverging view of associative Church groupings.

For couples in irregular situations, the JACOB’s WELL ministry was established. This was inspired from the conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John (4:1-42). It didn’t fare well due to mutually felt uneasiness and lack of interactive preparedness with regularly married couples and a Church advisory that our organization is meant only for couples married in Church.

An enlightened pastoral charity inaugurating innovative forms of “accompaniment”, of conjugal spirituality formation and of inclusionary participation in church life leading to full communion needs promotion and enactment by our ordained ministers.

Caritas Christi urget nos. Grazie!

[03010-02.01] [Original text: English] [B0717-XX.01]
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