Slotboodschap van de bisschoppensynode

Persconferentie kardinaal Eijk

Nieuws - gepubliceerd: zaterdag, 18 oktober 2014 - 1723 woorden
Slotboodschap van de bisschoppensynode

Zondag 19 ok­to­ber wordt de bui­ten­ge­wone bis­schop­pen­synode in zekere zin af­ge­slo­ten met de zalig­ver­kla­ring van paus Paulus VI. Volgend jaar zal met het thema van huwe­lijk en gezin wor­den ver­der gegaan in een ‘gewone bis­schop­pen­synode’, nadat eer­der al een consistorie - een ver­ga­de­ring van de kar­di­na­len - over dit on­der­werp was gehou­den. De synode heeft een slot­bood­schap uit­ge­bracht en kar­di­naal Eijk heeft over zijn erva­ringen ge­spro­ken. De synode en de paus, zo onder­streepte hij, hebben geen ver­an­de­ring van de leer voor ogen.

De bis­schop­pen hebben aan het einde van de bis­schop­pen­synode over huwe­lijk en gezin een bemoe­digende bood­schap uit­ge­bracht aan alle gehuw­den en ge­zin­nen die zich inzetten om ondanks allerlei moei­lijk­he­den en offers trouw te blijven en zich in te zetten. Bij­zon­dere aan­dacht wordt ge­schon­ken aan alle ge­zin­nen die in bij­zon­der moei­lijke omstan­dig­he­den leven, zoals de vele ge­zin­nen die in armoede moeten leven en de ouders die met hun kin­de­ren moeten vluchten. De synode­va­ders be­klem­tonen dat deze synode een eerste synode-stap is, waarin bij­zon­dere aan­dacht is besteed aan de pas­to­rale vraag hoe de Kerk mensen goed kan be­ge­lei­den en nabij zijn die ge­schei­den en her­trouwd zijn en aan vragen rond hun deelname aan sacra­menten.

Ook kar­di­naal Willem Eijk heeft in een pers­con­fe­ren­tie op vrij­dag 17 ok­to­ber ver­slag gedaan van zijn bele­ving van de synode, waar­van een ver­slag te vin­den is op de web­si­te van de bis­schop­pen­con­fe­ren­tie:

De slot­bood­schap van de synode­va­ders is zater­dag­mor­gen door de bis­schop­pen aan­ge­no­men. Hier­on­der volgt de Engelse tekst van deze bood­schap.


We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We admire and are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.

Each of us, pastors of the Church, grew up in a family, and we come from a great variety of backgrounds and experiences. As priests and bishops we have lived alongside families who have spoken to us and shown us the saga of their joys and their difficulties.

The preparation for this synod assembly, begin­ning with the questionnaire sent to the Churches around the world, has given us the opportunity to listen to the experience of many families. Our dialogue during the Synod has been mutually enriching, hel­ping us to look at the complex situations which face families today.

We offer you the words of Christ: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”. On his journeys along the roads of the Holy Land, Jesus would enter village houses. He continues to pass even today along the streets of our cities. In your homes there are light and shadow. Challenges often present themselves and at times even great trials. The darkness can grow deep to the point of beco­ming a dense shadow when evil and sin work into the heart of the family.

We recognise the great challenge to remain faithful in conjugal love. Enfeebled faith and indifference to true values, individualism, impove­rish­ment of relationships, and stress that excludes reflection leave their mark on family life. There are often crises in marriage, often con­fron­ted in haste and without the courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another. Failures give rise to new relationships, new couples, new civil unions, and new marriages, crea­ting family situations which are complex and problematic, where the Christian choice is not obvious.

We think also of the bur­den imposed by life in the suffe­ring that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a bur­den inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffe­ring Christ in the weakness of the flesh.

We recall the difficulties caused by economic systems, by the “the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lac­king a truly human purpose” which weakens the dignity of people. We remember unemployed parents who are powerless to provide basic needs for their families, and youth who see before them days of empty expectation, who are prey to drugs and crime.

We think of so many poor families, of those who cling to boats in order to reach a shore of survival, of refugees wan­dering without hope in the desert, of those persecuted because of their faith and the human and spiritual values which they hold. These are stricken by the brutality of war and oppression. We remember the women who suffer violence and ex­ploi­tation, victims of human traffic­king, children abused by those who ought to have protected them and fostered their develop­ment, and the members of so many families who have been degraded and bur­dened with difficulties. “The culture of prosperity dea­dens us…. all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us”. We call on govern­ments and inter­na­tio­nal organizations to promote the rights of the family for the common good.

Christ wanted his Church to be a house with doors always open to welcome everyone. We warmly thank our pastors, lay faithful, and communities who accompany couples and families and care for their wounds.


There is also the eve­ning light behind the windowpanes in the houses of the cities, in modest resi­dences of suburbs and villages, and even in mere shacks, which shines out brightly, war­ming bodies and souls. This light—the light of a wed­ding story—shines from the encounter between spouses: it is a gift, a grace expressed, as the Book of Genesis says, when the two are “face to face” as equal and mutual helpers. The love of man and woman teaches us that each needs the other in order to be truly self. Each remains different from the other that opens self and is revealed in the reciprocal gift. It is this that the bride of the Song of Songs sings in her canticle: “My beloved is mine and I am his… I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”.

This authentic encounter begins with courtship, a time of wai­ting and preparation. It is realized in the sacra­ment where God sets his seal, his presence, and grace. This path also includes sexual relationship, ten­derness, intimacy, and beauty capable of las­ting lon­ger than the vigour and freshness of youth. Such love, of its nature, strives to be forever to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved. In this light conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common.

This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.

This journey is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls. God is always there to accompany us. The family experiences his presence in affection and dialogue between hus­band and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers. They embrace him in family prayer and liste­ning to the Word of God—a small, daily oasis of the spirit. They discover him every day as they educate their children in the faith and in the beauty of a life lived accor­ding to the Gospel, a life of holiness. Grandparents also share in this task with great affection and dedication. The family is thus an authentic domestic Church that expands to become the family of families which is the ecclesial community. Christian spouses are called to become teachers of faith and of love for young couples as well.

Another expression of fraternal communion is charity, giving, nearness to those who are last, marginalized, poor, lonely, sick, stran­gers, and families in crisis, aware of the Lord’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. It is a gift of goods, of fellowship, of love and mercy, and also a witness to the truth, to light, and to the mea­ning of life.

The high point which sums up all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucha­rist when the family and the whole Church sits at table with the Lord. He gives himself to all of us, pilgrims through history towards the goal of the final encounter when “Christ is all and in all”. In the first stage of our Synod itinerary, therefore, we have reflected on how to accompany those who have been divorced and remarried and on their participation in the sacra­ments.

We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world:

Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.

Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.

Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commit­ments.

Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.

Father, grant that we may all see flou­rish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy”.