Synod14: Press Briefing Oct. 15

Archbishop Kurtz Says Delegates Understand They Need to Start ‘Where People Are’

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At the briefing at the Holy See Press Office this afternoon, Father Federico Lombardi, and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, gave the following briefing on the latest synod discussions: 

“First of all, we completed the work this morning and that’s the reason for the smile on my face,” Archbishop Kurtz joked.

Speaking on the English discussion groups, he recalled the sense of community present. He cited the example that, after their closing prayer, someone asked to have a picture taken of all of them together, which he said was “a sign of the unity, and the respect and coming together, of not only the delegates, but also many families from various continents,» among others.

“We did do the work,” he continued. “In the work we did, we took seriously the fact that we were presented with a wonderful working document.»

The head of American bishops noted their efforts “to bring together collective wisdom that we have” and said they will be proposing a number of amendments.

“In essence, the approach we took was this: Just as in our Church, the way we pray and the way we believe is integral. So also the way we believe and the way we put our belief into practice in pastoral care is also integral,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

“So, many of our reflections, the amendments we made, will reflect that,” he continued.

The head of US bishops said he believes people will notice that they were very intent on making sure that «a message of hope» and «a restored confidence» was present.

In this missionary outlook that has been proposed, he said that a strong attention was given to “not waiting for the people to come to us, but rather the Church reaching out and accompanying people.”

It’s about “starting where people are and helping them so that together we can move closer to Christ,» he said. «This was a very prominent theme.”

While there are various experiences and differences that exist between families in different regions and continents, he underscored there is a commonality, one which allowed them “to have great unanimity when a proposal was made.”

“We worked very hard in crafting and approving amendments that were submitted in writing. So there was a great participation of the various delegates,” he explained, noting also the comments of the auditors also were taken very seriously into consideration.

While saying it was a “very good process and experience,” he said they still hope that their “work will contribute now to a deepened and improved pastoral document.”

Responding to a question during the Q & A, the American archbishop gave three characteristics of the amendments: that they would highlight the importance of sacrificial love in marriage and the family, that all words would be from the heart, and that pastoral outreach would be in the context of Church teaching and Sacred Scripture.

Archbishop Kurtz also did note that the wording will also be «refined» and «clarified.»


On Zenit’s Web page:

Interview with Archbishop Kurtz:

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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