Cardinal Sistach during a briefing about a Synod of family - 20 October 2015


Synod15: Immigration Is Special Challenge to Family Life

At Press Briefing, Cardinal Says Time Is Getting Short as Bishops Near Middle of Final Week


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The Synod of Bishops on the Family is now in the second day of the final week. Today, three cardinals reported in the Vatican press office on the progress of the work.

They were the archbishop of Barcelona, Lluis Martinez Sistach; the archbishop of Morelia, Mexico, Alberto Suarez Inda; and the archbishop of Durban and Vice-President of the Synod, South African Wilfrid Fox Napier, OFM.

Cardinal Sistach noted that the Synod program had seemed quite long, although “now that we are in the last week, it seems short.” And he reiterated the existing atmosphere “of Synodality, walking together.”

The Spanish cardinal said he considered it important that, in addition to the challenges facing families, other aspects have emerged. For instance, he said, “we know that [people] marry to be happy. We must see to it that they are happy and have life.” Therefore, the preparation for marriage is most important, and that “they have a personal encounter with Jesus.”

Another aspect was “that to anticipate is better than to cure.”

For his part, Cardinal Suarez Inda described the present Synod as a “striking experience,” because it enables us “to touch the reality in its painful situation,” but also the positive elements, to encourage families.

The Mexican cardinal specified that “the doctrine is very important, and it’s not theory,” but “the vision that Christ enables us to have” gives a compassionate look on the march of history and, in particular, on wounded families.

And in regard to families in difficulty, he mentioned the problem of immigrants, speaking specifically about the challenges created for Mexicans who emigrate to the United States.

He said there are many well-integrated families, but there are immigrants that cannot visit their loved ones frequently. Sending money home isn’t enough to keep a family bond, he observed, saying closeness is necessary. He also said that, because of this situation, there are “many cases of infidelity and of immigrants that create a new family.”

Migration entails several things, he said, a trans-culturalization, the risk of putting an end to spouses’ intimacy, since they might see one another only once a year, if that.

Therefore, he continued, “we must work together with the United States bishops, with common criteria to help so that on both sides of the border, the faithful in our countries can have good formation.”

For his part, Cardinal Sistach pointed out that people emigrate out of necessity, with many consequences. Thus Gaudium et Spes indicated that it was better to export capital than to export persons.

In regard to the Pope’s visit to Mexico, Cardinal Suarez Inda said that the themes of the trip will be reconciliation and peace, victims, and perhaps the Pontiff will visit a prison, not forgetting young people and “inviting them to look to the future with great hope,” so as not to be “prophets of calamities but men and women of hope.”

The Pope’s visit “will not only be a balsam, but also an impulse to commit ourselves as Catholics,” and although around 90% of Mexicans consider themselves Catholics, “100% of them are Guadalupans.” The Pope will go, and this is certain, to the Shrine of Guadalupe, said the Cardinal.

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Sergio Mora

Buenos Aires, Argentina Estudios de periodismo en el Istituto Superiore di Comunicazione de Roma y examen superior de italiano para extranjeros en el Instituto Dante Alighieri de Roma. Periodista profesional de la Associazione Stampa Estera en Italia, y publicista de la Orden de periodistas de Italia. Fue corresponsal adjunto del diario español El País de 2000 a 2004, colaborador de los programas en español de la BBC y de Radio Vaticano. Fue director del mensual Expreso Latino, realizó 41 programas en Sky con Babel TV. Actualmente además de ser redactor de ZENIT colabora con diversos medios latinoamericanos.

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