The following is a press release from the Diocese of Portsmouth
The Rt Rev Philip Egan, the Bishop of Portsmouth, has issued a message about the Extraordinary Synod called by Pope Francis, due to take place in October 2014. The Synod will examine “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation.”
Bishop Egan hopes that, among the fruits of the Synod, there will be new impetus to create comprehensive programmes for marriage preparation, that could lead towards a manual or directory on Marriage and Family Life, giving guidance for the family as “domestic Church”.
He would also hope that the Synod would “give renewed attention to the situation of those Catholics who find themselves in ‘irregular unions’, or are divorced and remarried. Is there some way of affording them mercy, help and reconciliation?”
In expressing his hopes for the Synod, Bishop Egan cited the decline in the numbers of Catholic marriages within his own diocese. While in 1962 there were 1319 marriages, in 2012, there were only 566, despite a 25% rise in the Catholic population.
He said that the Synod would “be a wonderful opportunity for us in the Diocese of Portsmouth to articulate once again the teaching of Jesus and his Church on marriage and family life, and to explore new ways of showing mercy to those in difficulty.”
Here is a full copy of the Bishop’s letter.
It would be great to see other dioceses follow suit. Well done to the Diocese of Portsmouth and Bishop Egan for being so pro-active and leading the way in the cause of the New Evangelisation