By Sarah Mac Donald - 19 October, 2014
The biggest challenge: how to open a dialogue with men and women where they are and lead them to a better idea of the Christian understanding of marriage.
In a statement on Saturday evening, the Archbishop, who represented the Irish church at the two week long synod, said the text “must be read in the context of Pope Francis’ extraordinary final remarks to the Synod, after which the Pope received a five minute standing ovation from those present.”
He said Pope Francis warned bishops at the Synod “of the temptation to a hostile rigidity that forces people to lock themselves into the letter of the law”.
The Pope also criticised the temptation to “come down from the cross to please people and disregard the deposit of faith.”
However, Dr Martin said there cannot be a “false sense of mercy which wants to bind up wounds without really caring for them.”
The Archbishop continued, “The Pope from the very beginning wanted openness. He trusted those present at the synod to take the discussions as far as they could and in all honesty.
Sometimes people in the face of these challenges tended to overlook the Holy Spirit, the guarantor of the process.
“The biggest challenge remains: how in today’s complex cultural situation the Church can open a dialogue with men and women and young people where they are and lead them to a better idea of the Christian understanding of marriage.”
He said this will involve a radical rethinking of the Church’s pastoral care for marriage and catechises among young people.
Archbishop Martin said Pope Francis helped everyone understand the direction in which he wished the Synod process to progress, when he mandated publication of details of the votes in the synod hall, paragraph by paragraph in a welcome gesture of transparency.
He said this synod had been radically different thanks to the Pope, it has led to open dialogue and genuine debate.
The report of the synod, described by the Vatican as a “work in progress” will be sent to all Bishops Conferences as the first working paper for next year.
Pope Francis’ speech at the conclusion of the Synod: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-speech-at-the-conclusion-of-the-synod
Message of the Synod Assembly on the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/18/0768/03043.html