Briefing day 3 of the Synod - Mons. Piñeiro Garcia Calderón - Mons. Laurent Ulrich - Mons. Charles Chaput


Synod15: Press Briefing Oct. 7th

Archbishop Chaput: ‘We Are Not Here to Win Anything, We Are Here to Arrive at the Truth’

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Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, says, “We are not here to win anything, we are here to arrive at the truth of the Lord that He has set out for His Church.” 

This afternoon at the Vatican press office, with its director, Father Federico Lombardi, French Archbishop Laurent Ulrich, and Monsignor Salvador Pineiro Garcia-Calderon, the American archbishop expressed this when commenting on the Holy Father’s advice for prelates to not ‘pick sides’ and become divided in the Synod hall. The Synod Fathers were giving their thoughts on the third day of the Synod of Bishops, Oct. 4-25, being held on the topic “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.”

The Synod Fathers, each for a different language group, observed that today was the first full day of the Circle of Minors, when different language groups with diverse ethnic and cultural compositions gather to examine family issues. Within these discussions, the topic of reforming language, in a way which does not in any way compromise, was brought up. 

When ZENIT asked Archbishop Chaput if changing language to seem more welcoming to some could potentially be used by politicians to mean things in ways the Church does not intend, the prelate said, ‘Yes,’ and that this has come up in their discussions and is being considered. He also added the concern that sometimes translations cause additional misunderstandings.

“We have to be careful with our language so people don’t get hurt, but also, we must be faithful to Church doctrine,” he said.

“We need dialogue between the universal and local Church,” the archbishop said, noting, “It’s not appropriate for single episcopal conferences to make decisions on doctrine.” 

To point out the magnitude of the task ahead of the Synod’s bishops, he said, “Who is our audience? Our audience is huge, and we must address that diversity.”  

From this, he mentioned how some in the English-speaking group expressed concerns this morning that Instrumentum Laboris does not reflect the Universal Church, but reflects more the Northern Hemisphere and Europe’s concerns perhaps more than other continents and regions.

The American prelate spoke about the passage from the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia to where we are today, in the Synod discussing the family. He said it was his delight to host the Holy Father, and affirmed that the event had a great impact on him as Philadelphia’s archbishop, which he hopes carries into the synod.

When reflecting on the World Meeting of Families, he said its purpose of celebrating family life was really visible as people came away “strengthened and encouraged about the future.” He also praised that “there was a hunger for the reaffirmation of the Church’s teaching on marriage.” 

When asked regarding the renewed language toward homosexuals, the archbishop noted that although mentioned, it was not the dominant point of the conversation. “I am sure the topic of same sex attraction will be in future conversations and I hope we find language that welcomes and doesn’t hurt,” he said.
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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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