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Pope Francis has opened up the universal
Church to frank discussion of modern
family life which up until last month had
only been spoken of behind closed doors,
says South Australian Catholic couple Vee
and Rene Pols.
“It’s tremendously comforting and
empowering that we have been able to
speak about a number of issues that the
Church has been quiet on for many, many
years,” said Dr Pols, a psychiatry professor
at Flinders University.
“The synod has been a significant event in
our Church and it is opening up dialogue
in a very, very clear and confronting way,”
he said. “It’s the beginning of an important
Pope Francis opened the III Extraordinary
General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
in Rome, held from October 5 to 19, where
lay people and clergy from around the
world responded to his call for feedback
on pastoral challenges facing families in
the context of evangelisation.
Dr Pols and his wife, who have been
members of Teams for the past 38 years,
including acting as the Super Regional
Couple Oceania, submitted a response
with their Team 7 SA members as part of
the synod process.
Adelaide Archdiocese Chancellor Heather
Carey said Pope Francis had begun a
process of openness that would continue
through ongoing conversation over the
next year to the XIV Ordinary General
Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the
family in October 2015.
“Whilst celebrating the faith and love and
joy that exists in family life, the synod has
also begun addressing the hard questions
for families around the world,” said
“The controversial subjects of communion
for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics,
and the pastoral care of homosexuals were
also on the discussion table, and while
there has been no consensus, the synod’s
final report will serve as an agenda for the
October 2015 world synod on the family.”
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
President Archbishop Denis Hart said:
“The Holy Father described our Church
as one that has the doors wide open to
receive the needy, the penitent, and not
only the just or those who believe they are
“Pope Francis has reminded us that we
still have one year to mature, with true
spiritual discernment, the proposed
ideas and to find concrete solutions to
so many challenges that families must
confront, and to give answers to the many
discouragements that surround families.”
Over the coming months the ACBC
will review the guidelines presented to
each episcopal conference following the
conclusion of the extraordinary synod.
More than 40 dogs, puppies and their
owners flocked to a special blessing of
pets north-east of Adelaide last month
to mark the feast day of Saint Francis of
Assisi, patron saint of animals and the
papal name chosen by Pope Francis.
The collection of four-legged friends was
blessed with holy water following a special
liturgy on October 4 at Newton parish on
the steps of St Francis of Assisi Church.
Parish priest Father Bernard Morawski
OFM Cap said the liturgy focussed on
St Francis of Assisi’s philosophy of nature
being the mirror of God and the duty of
men and women to protect nature and all
its creatures as stewards of God.
Fr Morawski reintroduced the blessing of
the pets after several years of absence
following requests for its return from
parishioners. He said last month’s event
received “a great response” and he hoped
more furry friends would join in next year.
He said while St Francis and his teachings
had always been popular in his parish, the
Pope’s choosing of St Francis as his papal
name had certainly added to the saint’s
intrigue among Catholics around the world.
“I think it is a joyful time for Franciscan
spirituality and people are acknowledging
it more,” he said.
Shortly after his election, Pope Francis
told media he chose to be called after St
Francis of Assisi because he was “the man
of poverty, the man of peace, the man who
loves and protects creation,” the same
created world “with which we don’t have
such a good relationship”.
There will also be a pet blessing in the
grounds of St Patrick’s Church, Grote
Street, on Saturday December 6 at 10am.
The blessing follows a request from the
Grote Business Precinct to hold a special
celebration in the lead up to Christmas.
All welcome. For more details visit
All creatures great and small
Pope praised for unlocking doors to debate
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
PUP TALK: (L-R) St Francis of Assisi School students Massimo and Angelina dePinto with puppy Piper at a pet blessing organised last month by Newton Parish Priest
Father Bernard Morawski OFM Cap as part of the parish celebrations marking the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Photo: Nat Rogers
Links www.groteprecinct.com.au Archive October 2014 Navigation Next Page