The extraordinary synod on the family has been listening to orthodox leaders who have been sharing their views on the pastoral challenges to the family, reporters were told Saturday at a Holy See Press Office briefing.
Noting the first week of the synod has concluded, synod press secretaries Father Federico Lombardi and Father Thomas Rosica began by pointing out that today was not a working day for the delegates.
Father Rosica then mentioned three points which struck him in the latest debates. The first was when the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch discussed the challenges facing their Church: the economic crisis, means and methods of communication and their effects on families, and the instability of war.
The second important point came from the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew. Quoting the patriarch in French, Fr. Rosica underscored his real concern which is “to reach out to young people” and “to avoid too much ‘moralizing’ or being ‘too rigid’ where we lose the audience we are speaking to.”
The third point, he said, came from the Church of England’s representative who spoke on preparation for marriage.
“Most of the preparation we are speaking about regarding marriage is about adult formation,” but he stressed: “Marriage formation begins as children. It begins with offering to them models.”
Turning to linguistic groups, Father Rosica said, in Group A, that is headed by Cardinal Burke, had “a very interesting dynamic in the group.” After the original part of the meeting in which people identified themselves and gave brief biographies, they delved right into the topic, he explained.
One of the positive things about the group, he noted, is that the lay people, the participants, the auditors, “have a voice” and “they are appealed to very often by the cardinals and bishops to share their experience.”
Afterward, the Spanish remarks were given, which was followed by a Q & A session.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin stressed the atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly, with each person’s view listened to with respect. He said there has been “difference of opinion” but also a “huge amount of unity”.