International News

Laypeople Will Be Consulted

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, 2015 will serve as a forum for debating issues on the agenda for the world Synod of Bishops at the Vatican the following month, said the two archbishops responsible for planning the Philadelphia event.

At a Sept. 16 briefing, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, described the world meeting as one of several related events to follow the October, 2014 extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, which will prepare an agenda for the worldwide synod one year later.

Such events, including a January, 2015 meeting in Rome with family and pro-life groups, will enable a debate on the synod’s agenda “at the international, global level,” Archbishop Paglia said.

“It is important that this text not remain an abstract text reserved to some specialists.”

“In this way, the debate at the ordinary synod will be enriched,” the archbishop said.

Pope Francis has said both synods will consider, among other topics, the eligibility of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, whose predicament he has said exemplifies a general need for mercy in the Church today.

“We’re bringing up all the issues that would have appeared in the preparation documents for the synod as part of our reflection,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, regarding plans for the world meeting. “I can’t imagine that any of the presenters won’t pay close attention to what’s happening.”