Small Group Conclusions:
Relatio - Anglicus "A" - ENGLISH
Moderator: Em.mo Card. Raymond Leo BURKE
Relator: S.E. Mons. John Atcherley DEW
I present this report of behalf of the English speaking group Anglicus "A". The group has suggested a number of amendments to the RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM, some are major amendments and others quite small, nevertheless they have significant meaning attached to them. In proposing amendments we have shifted the focus from particular situations described in the Relatio to the people involved in the situations, concentrating on the goodness to be found in them.
We believed that there needed to be a new introduction to the Relatio. Our proposed Introduction is placed within the context of the great gift of the Sacrament of Matrimony and the grace of God freely given through the sacraments. It also provides a theological anthropological foundation, which we believe is needed in order to address serious issues spoken on in the Synod. We have addressed these issues within the context of Scripture and the remarkably rich Magisterium of the Church. We want the final Synod document to speak of human life, marriage and family life, as we know it to be revealed to us by God through reason and faith, both aided by the grace of God. The Relatio Synodi must proclaim the truth of the Gospel, the truth of human life and sexuality as revealed by Christ. The Word of Christ illuminates our knowledge of human nature and the intrinsic sexuality of man and woman through the natural law.
We agreed that this is to be a pastoral document, as has been expressed as the wish of the Synod, a document which speaks to people about the often critical issues which confront families today. Those issues cannot be separated from Church teaching found in the treasury of her documentation. We are aware that the final Relatio Synodi will be discussed and debated over the next year; therefore as we proposed amendments we indicated appropriate references to the Sacred Scriptures and Magisterial documents
We referred to the methodology used as appearing to be based on the SEE, JUDGE, ACT principles, but in this case it was LISTEN, JUDGE, ACT.
LISTEN and observe what others are saying and what the situation is regarding marriage and family life in the world today.
JUDGE according to what we have been gifted with through the Deposit of Faith.
ACT through our pastoral accompanying of all God’s people entrusted to our care.
W e have attempted to show in our amendments that the "Listening" or "seeing" must always be through the lens of the Gospel. Our Proposals have stressed God’s love and our pastoral love and care for individuals, while at the same time honestly recognizing and acknowledging sinful situations, and searching for ways to invite conversion of heart.
In our amendments we see suggest a return to the SEE, Judge, Act formula.
We know that the final Synod document gives us a wonderful opportunity to influence the prevailing culture and for the Church to present the way of Jesus Christ who is "The Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14). Our amendments have tried to show that living as disciples of Jesus Christ, with all the challenges that brings is the life that leads to true joy and human happiness.
For example, where the Relatio appeared to be suggesting that sex outside of marriage may be permissible, or that cohabitation may be permissible, we have attempted to show why such lifestyles do not lead to human fulfillment. At the same time, we want to acknowledge that there are seeds of truth and goodness found in the persons involved, and through dedicated pastoral care these can be appreciated and developed. We believe that if we imply that certain life-styles are acceptable, then concerned and worried parents could very easily say "Why are we trying so hard to encourage our sons and daughters to live the Gospel and embrace Church teaching?"
We did not recommend the admission to the sacraments of divorced and re-married people, but we included a very positive and much –needed appreciation of union with Christ through other means.
The group recognizes and favors the concern and compassion the Relatio shows for those who face difficult pastoral situations in their lives. However our amendments suggest that we express these carefully so as not to create confusion in the minds and hearts of our people.
We had serious questions about the presentation of the principle of GRADUALITY. We wished to show in our amendments that we are not speaking of the GRADUALITY of DOCTRINE of faith and morals, but rather the gradual moral growth of the individual in his or her actions.
We also believe that in the Relatio Synodi we need to express words of encouragement and support to those who are faithfully living out their marriage vows and bringing up their families according to the teaching of the Church. We are grateful to those married couples who gave their witness in the Synod Hall and thank them sincerely. We also wish to address words of encouragement to grandparents and extended family members who support their families often at great expense to themselves.
There is agreement that the Relatio Synodi needs to be a pastoral document in which we use language which does not hurt people but which encourages them and helps them in their journey to God. It must speak the Truth of the Gospel clearly and directly, using language that cannot be interpreted by some to be condemning them, but rather expressing the Church’s deep interest and care for them.
As the Conclusion of the Relatio Post Disceptationem states the Synodal dialogue took place in freedom and a spirit of reciprocal listening. It has certainly raised questions that will have to be seriously considered and clarified by reflection in the Particular Churches of the world over the next year. Our prayer too is that all God’s people under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will find roads of truth and mercy for all. We thank Pope Francis for the invitation to us to live the courage of faith and the humble and honest welcome of the truth in charity.
[03042-02.01] [Original text: English]