martes, 2 de junio de 2015

“The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.” A closed event, with participating journalists

Secret Study-Day Invitation and Program

by Edward Pentin

The Register has obtained a copy of the invitation and program for last Monday's closed-door study-day held at the Pontifical Gregorian University, a translation of which appears below.

Of particular note is the prominence of Father Eberhard Schockenhoff in the discussions, as well as the other speakers chosen. Father Schockenhoff's previous controversial statements on homosexual relations are listed here. Some passages that are likely to cause concern are included in the text at the end of the program, highlighted in bold below.

Also of note is that sympathetic journalists were invited, and had their expenses paid as well as the other participants, so they could be supplied with "background". That can only mean that the organisers wished to have the agenda publicised in the months leading up to the synod. Given the likely opposition and unease the subject matter would provoke among the faithful, this would surely go against the Pope's desire for a "protected space" so that such polemics would not go beyond the confines of the synod.

But even if it were kept within the synod, what is alarming many is that, according to a piece written by Marco Ansaldo in La Repubblica, excerpts of which I include below, nobody present, including the bishops and one of the Pope's closest advisers, opposed Church recognition of same-sex relationships after a priest theologian explicitly advocated it. Furthermore, this took place after a paragraph on the "positive aspects" of same-sex relationships, written into the last synod's interim report by Archbishop Bruno Forte, was rejected by the synod fathers.

The article of Ansaldo, the only Italian journalist invited to the meeting, contains a number of aspects of Monday's study day that have not yet been widely publicised.


Bishops' Conference of France – German Bishops' Conference – Swiss Bishops' Conference

[Letter of Invitation]


The Holy Father has initiated an invitation to the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will take place from 4 to 25 October in Rome, and which will have as its announced topic “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.”

Already the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of last year [October 2014] offered manifold opportunities to discern future-oriented paths of theological reflection and of pastoral practice unto the promotion of marriage and the family.

The Lineamenta of the this year's Synod [in 2015] again has contained a questionnaire which has now received answers from all over the world. Further reflections now seem to us to be helpful.

In preparation of the Synod, we – the Presidents of the French, German, and Swiss Bishops' Conferences – host a theological Day of Study together. It will pick up on the impulses which have come out of the present opinion-forming responses, and which refer to the theological-anthropological aspects of human biography and love and to the exegesis of the message of the New Testament which relates to this topic.

Cordially we invite you personally to participate in this Day of Study. It will take place on

Monday, 25th May, 2015, from 9.00 am. until 16.00 pm.

At the Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Sala Gonzaga,

Piazza della Pilotta, 4

00187 Rome

You will find enclosed the preliminary program, as well as a content-related summary of the three topics to be discussed.

The Day of Study brings together participants of the Synod, high-ranking Curial members, theologians from our [three] countries, as well as journalists. The number of participants shall not exceed more than about 50 persons. In the interest of a free debate it is to be a closed event, which has for the participating journalists the character of a background conversation.

It would give us much joy if you could make possible your participation. You will also find enclosed an application form. We ask for your application in this form, to be received not later than 4 May 2015. We will gladly cover the travel and lodging costs. A list of nearby hotels is also enclosed.

In case of further questions [...]

We remain with very cordial greetings and the best wishes and blessings for this Season of Easter, yours

Mgr. Georges Pontier Mgr. Markus Büchel Reinhard Cardinal Marx

Day of Study Concerning the Synod of Bishops

“The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.”

A Conjoint Initiative of the Presidents of the French, German, and Swiss Bishops' Conferences

Monday, 25 May, 2015 – Rome, Gregorian University, Sala Gonzaga

08.00 Occasion for Participation at the Holy Mass

Jesuit Chapel, Gregorian University

09.00-09.30 Welcome and Introduction into the Conference

(P. Prof. Dr. Hans Zollner, SJ, Archbishop Georges Pontier)

The Words of Jesus concerning Marriage and Divorce

- Reflections upon a Catholic Hermeneutic of the Bibel

09.30-09.50 Short Presentation (Prof. Dr. Anne-Marie Pelletier)

09.50-10.10 Short Presentation (Prof. Dr. Thomas Söding)

10.10-10.40 Discussion with the Participants

- Coffee Break -

Sexuality as Expression of Love

- Reflections upon a Theology of Love

11.10-11.30 Short Presentation (Prof. Dr. Eberhard Schockenhoff)

11.30-11.50 Short Presentation (Prof. Dr. François-Xavier Amherdt)

11.50-12.20 Discussion with the Participants

- Lunch Break with Snack -

The Gift of One's Own Life

- Reflections upon a Theology of the Biography

13.30-13.50 Short Presentation (P. Prof. Dr. Alain Thomasset SJ)

13.50-14.10 Short Presentation (Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Faber)

14.10-14.40 Discussion with the Participants

14.40-15.40 Final Overall Discussion

15.40-16.00 Closing Remarks (Cardinal Reinhard Marx)

Moderation: Dr. Francine Charoy / P. Bernd Hagenkord SJ

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