Bishops have a chance to “listen” at the Synod on the Family, says Fr. Thomas Rosica

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(Vatican Radio) Bishops from around the world are arriving in Rome for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, taking place in the Vatican from October 5-19, 2014.

One of the people relaying the work of the Synod to the outside world is Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, the English-language assistant to the Holy See Press Office.

Father Rosica told Vatican Radio that there is “a lot of media hype” surrounding the Synod, especially in the discussion about whether or not the Sacraments should be given to the divorced-and-remarried.

“Certainly the issues of divorce and remarriage and access to the Sacraments are burning issues of many people around the world, but by no means are they the central issue of this Synod,” he said.

Fr. Thomas Rosica

Fr. Thomas Rosica

He said the issue is mostly spoken about in the Western world, and the issues facing the family in other regions should not be overshadowed.

“Those who wish to make them the central issues of this Synod often have a rather limited understanding of the catholicity of the Catholic Church,” explained Fr. Rosica. “And the issues that are facing the African bishops, South American bishops, Asian bishops, bishops in countries that are experiencing massive persecution – right now – of Christians.”

He said the Synod is also provides “a real chance to listen” for bishops.

“Those in North America can listen to bishops in countries of the world that don’t have divorce-and-remarriage at the top of the list, but polygamy; and bishops in those countries can understand the pain that many people experience in first-world countries and in the West for those who have gone through failed marriages, for those seeking a good relationship with the Lord, for those who really desire and need the Sacraments in the lives.”