BY Ian Dunn | October 10 2014 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Love is the answer to marriage crisis

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow tells extraordinary synod of need to heal and support couples and the family in Scotland and beyond

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia told the extraordinary synod on the family at the Vatican that the Church must find the love to heal the crisis in marriage in Scotland and beyond.

“We must have compassion for the pain and laceration of the human hearts caught up in separation, betrayal and divorce,” the Archbishop of Glasgow said when giving the morning prayer on Wednesday to the synod, called by Pope Francis to assess modern challenges to the family.

Archbishop Tartaglia added that love was the only way to heal divisions, such as those caused by the recent Scottish independence referendum.

Speaking before the Pope’s synod opening Mass on Sunday, the archbishop said the gathering was a vital moment for the Church as ‘marriage and the family, which are central to Catholic life but also the general wellbeing of humanity’ were facing a ‘crisis’ in Scotland and throughout much of the world.

Archbishop Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said ahead of the synod that the Church and society here face problems of ‘marriage breakdown and people not listening to the Church’s teachings.’

“The major pastoral problem that concerned the Scottish bishops is the large number of people who delay marriage for a long time, or don’t marry and form some other form of de facto union,” he said. “I’m hoping the synod will offer a vision of the joy, beauty and wonder of marriage that will counter that.”

The archbishop said he expected ‘frank and heated’ debate at the synod, which runs until October 19 and will address issues such as Communion for divorced Catholics and pastoral care for those in irregular unions, but said that a message of hope was possible.

“I hope we will be able to offer people in difficult situations hope and a way forward,” e said.

Archbishop Tartaglia is one of 263 synod participants summoned by Pope Francis to address a range of ‘pastoral challenges of the family’ in preparation for a larger world synod in October 2015.

During his morning prayer address on Wednesday, Archbishop Tartaglia told the synod the Church must enter the sadness of fractured families with words of love to heal division and give children peace of heart.

“But when families fracture, love is the first casualty. Children’s peace of heart is shattered and they find themselves both loving and hating their parents at the same time.”

The archbishop said he believed the Church needs to find new ways of addressing families who had broken apart.

The archbishop also referenced the recent Scottish independence referendum in his morning prayer on Wednesday, saying it had been so intense that afterwards he had asked himself: “Could there possibly be unity again in the country?”

“A photograph which was posted on social media caught the imagination,” he said. “It was of two family homes side by side somewhere in Scotland. One displayed a yes sign and the other displayed a no sign.

“And the remarkable thing was that in-between the two residences, there was a third sign, which read: ‘We love our neighbour.’”



To read Archbishops Tartaglia’s comments at the synod o Wedneday in full, click here.


—Read the full version of this story in October 10 edition of the SCO in parishes from Friday.


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