by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris 

The working document of the Synod, like all documents, has strengths and weaknesses which the Synod Fathers and other participants are presently discussing until at last the Commission established by Pope Francis will integrate their contributions into a "Final Document." Ultimately, however, only the Pope can decide if this "Final Document" of the Synod will serve (or perhaps not) as the basis for his own "Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation" (if he chooses to produce one).

The work of the Synod is extremely important and very exhausting. The three weeks of the Synod may seem to the participants like three months. Nevertheless, their work will not be in vain if they can improve upon the "Instrumentum Laboris" (hereafter, IL) by more closely relating the contemporary pastoral challenges concerning the family to the answers we readily find in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. 

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

An episcopal conference is a grouping of all the bishops of a given territory, whereby they jointly exercise certain pastoral functions for all Catholics within the region (usually a nation or country).

The modern concept of episcopal conferences was the brain-child of the Venerable Servant of God, Pope Pius XII, concerned that the Church in the various nations would be able to make a unified response to the disasters wrought by World War II. However, since his time, episcopal conferences have evolved into much larger and more potent structures than those perhaps originally envisioned and/or intended by Papa Pacelli, receiving their greatest impetus from the Second Vatican Council. The episcopal conferences serve as a bridge between the universal Church and the local churches. They are not meant to substitute for the central authority of the Pope, the Vatican and the Holy See – or of the diocesan bishop.

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

One has to question why the idea of ordaining female deacons has come up in certain small language discussion groups at the Synod when everyone is supposed to be focused on the role of the traditional family.  Some observers regard this proposal as a way for advocates of women's ordination to the minsterial priesthoof to get one foot in the door. 

Of course, there are those Synod participants who would immediately deny that this is their real objective. They would probably say that a diaconate for women would be a return to an ancient practice in the early Church, as well as a contemporary way to highlight and indeed increase the role of women in the life of the Catholic Church. 

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

By deliberately choosing to ignore the Bible's teachings on marriage and the family, Europe is paying a big price.

As Romans whiz through the busy streets of their pothole-filled streets on noisy motorini and tourists blissfully meander amidst splendid ruins, piazzas, museums and churches (which, by the way, are mostly empty for daily and Sunday Mass alike in Rome's "Centro Storico" or "Historic Center"!), does anyone really think they are paying attention to, let alone might be deeply concerned about, what's at stake at the Synod of the Bishops on the Family?

I don't think it would take a huge leap of our collective imagination to conclude that most people living in and visiting the Eternal City could not care less! ‎

by Rev. Nicholas L Gregoris

At the conclusion of my interview with the Indian priests, I asked them for 10 recommendations for strengthening the bond between the Family and the Church in contemporary Indian society.

Here are their responses:

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

At this past Wednesday's audience in St. Peter's Square (October 14), Pope Francis gave impromptu remarks, apologizing in a very vague way for scandals that have taken place in the Church, especially in the Vatican and Rome. Precisely because he did not refer to an‎y particular situations and persons involved, we are only left to speculate as to which scandals he may have had in mind.

by Rev. Nicholas L Gregoris

Pope Francis has called us to focus our attention more on the peripheries of the world, so I thought that I would take a little mental journey to the exotic land of India which, although the world's largest democracy and the fastest growing country after China, is still only two percent Christian -- and ever a land of much mystery and mystique from its exquisite silks and delicate spices (e.g., curry) to its sacred cows, temples, and rivers (Ganges).

For us Catholic-Christians, we reverence India as the land of the "Thomas Christians" where St. Thomas the Apostle, one of the original Twelve, is said to have first evangelized after Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven.

What directly inspired me to write this article was listening to the presentation of His Beatitude, Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottonkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum and President of the Episcopal Conference of India at the Sala Stampa Briefing of Saturday, October 10‎. So, the following day, at my residence here in Rome, I sat down for an extensive and fascinating interview with a diverse group of Indian priests, both diocesan and religious.

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