The Family-Synod is a Synod for the Family of Man

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Winter 2014/2015

We are Church Germany

„Family Synod“

Our key issue in 2015

The Family-Synod is a Synod for the Family of Man


How can we succeed to announce the Christmas message of peace and joy for all the people in these times of war, conflicts and upheaval, of worldwide hardships and disasters? For this, a radical change of perspective is necessary. From shopping paradises to the slums, from our multiply secured living conditions to the people who day after day struggle to survive. A change of perspective through the eyes of Jesus is necessary, who – according to the Christmas story - was born in the shelter of an occupied country, had to flee from persecution – and is all our hope.

„It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others. Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness which, rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis. How beautiful are those cities which overcome paralysing mistrust, integrate those who are different and make this very integration a new factor of development! How attractive are those cities which, even in their archi­tectu­ral design, are full of spaces which connect, relate and favour the recognition of others!.“ (Evangelii Gaudium 210)

Even more topical and more dramatic is the speech by Pope Francis before representatives of global social movements on 28 October 2014 at the Vatican:

„We are living the Third World War but in quotas. There are economic systems that must make war to survive. Then arms are manufactured and sold and with that, the balance sheets of the economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money, obviously are healed. And no thought is given to hungry children in refugee camps; no thought is given to forced displacements; no thought is given to destroyed homes; not thought is given now to so many destroyed lives. How much suffering, how much destruction, how much grief there is. Today, dear sisters and brothers, the cry for peace rises in all parts of the earth, in all nations, in every heart and in Popular Movements: No more war!“

> Spanish original > Italian translation > Portuguese translation > French translation > German translation

Against the background of this "Third World War" on rates, the family synods take place. What for some first appeared as a rather harmless substitute for a council, now has fully developed its explosiveness, not only within the church. It is about far more than the internal Church reform demands, so important and non-negotiable these also are. This Synod on "the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization" addresses issues that affect all people. It becomes obvious where the intra-church "demarcation lines" run and who understands that the future of the human family is more important than the pounding on the receipt of church traditions. Anywhere in the world.

Engaged in Indian reform movements, Catholic publicist James Kottoor writes:

“The idea of India is unity in diversity. The idea of Christianity is also Unity in Diversity. It is unity in the humane Humanity inspired by the Man from Nazareth, Jesus, who presented himself as the Son of Man, in 85 recorded statements. He is the ideal Human Being of peace personified, with whom and around him the whole of humanity can stick together, work together and serve one another with love and care, as brothers and sisters of one extended Global Family… He unites north and south, east and west, heaven and earth. Humanity has to move together in the direction of global fraternity, saying with Narayana Guru: One God, One religion one humanity without distinction or division.

Central to the whole debate is the Family of Man seen globally but built on individual families at the rock bottom which are facing untold challenges, threats and hammerings – financial, social, moral, and cultural – making them crumble and go to pieces. Pope Francis has been calling world attention for the last one year through the Extraordinary Family Synod closed a month ago, to focus on remedies to heal and care effectively to strengthen individual families …” James Kottoor: Forum of discussions on Family:

Kottoor calls on the Indian bishops, and this call certainly is not only addressed on those: "Dear Bishops, start open discussions at national and diocesan level. Do not miss the boat as you did last year, time and tide don’t wait for anybody. There are only ten months to go through with a time-bound plan, if they have one!”

Synod Project of the International Movement We are Church in Rome
With an international press conference a day before the beginning of the Extraordinary Family Synod 2014, press releases and interviews, the International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC) was present in Rome from 5 to 19 October 2014. At the press conference the following persons participated:

Dr. Martha Heizer (IMWAC president, Austria), Christian Weisner (IMWAC), Miriam Duignan (Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, England), Oliviero Arzuffi (Noi Siamo Chiesa Italien), Deborah Rose-Milavec (Executive Director Future Church USA), Paul Collins (Theologian, Australia), Marylin Hatton (Womens Ordination Worldwide, Australia) and Dr. Michael Brinkschröder (co-president of the European Forum of Christian LSBT-Groups, Germany) à ).

The IMWAC synods project was kindly made possible by a grant from the Herbert Haag Foundation for Freedom in the Church from Switzerland ( - For the Austrian newspaper "Kirche In", Christian Weisner was accredited to the Vatican. His detailed report in „Kirche In“ 11/2014:


 Now the “Synodal Process“ must continue in the world-wide church!

We Are Church has intensively accompanied the process of the family synod from the start. Now it depends on the extent how much the bishops and all of us up to the Ordinary General Assembly of the Bishops’ Synod "Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the World Today" from 4 to 25 October 2015 in Rome courageously make concrete proposals for reform.

Pope Francis expects concrete solutions to the points of the final document ("Relatio Synodi") to be developed anywhere on site during the next ten months. According to the Vatican, the guidelines ("Lineamenta") for the Synod of 2015 should be sent to the Episcopal Conferences around the world in the beginning of December. In the summer of 2015, reactions of the Bishops' Conferences will be used to create the working basis ("Instrumentum Laboris") for the next Synod of Bishops. The Synode Council has again called the Bishops' Conferences to involve all institutions of church life in this process.

In letters to each of the 27 German diocesan bishops and to the Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the church people's movement has explicitly stated their willingness to cooperate directly. The "Permanent Council" of the Episcopal Conference was asked to submit a "Synod roadmap”, how concrete results for the Family Synod in October 2015, should be developed in Germany. On the final day of the first period of the Synod in Rome, Cardinal Reinhard Marx had agreed that this should be done without prohibitions for thinking and speaking. We are Church also addresses the Catholic associations, theologians and reform groups, but also take their own initiatives.

Letter to the German Bishops: > German original > English translation > French translation

This year's theme "Family Synod" offers many (new) opportunities for activities at the diocesan or local level. Our next Federal Assembly from 27 to 29 March 2015 in Freiburg with the canonist Prof. Dr. Georg Bier will consider the synodal opportunities for participation 50 years after the end of Second Vatican Council, 40 years after the "Wuerzburg Synod" and 20 years after the church peoples’ referendum. Other activities are planned in autumn 2015 in Rome and throughout the world within the International Movement We are Church..

Also beyond the Family Synod, the synodal way is now essential for our church in Germany. We are Church supports the "Alliance for a synod," that is to follow the "conversation process of the German bishops" and to which the federation Neudeutschland (new Germany) has made a call (more on page 4).

Please make "Family Synod" your key issue for the Year 2015 with your community, with events, letters to the church leadership and media! Order our new work with the help texts, literature proposals and proposals for action (3 € plus shipping)! à

Does Pope em. Benedict try to influence the Synod?

Emeritus Pope Benedict has rewritten and re-published his famous essay "On the indissolubility of marriage" from 1972. Even if the change was made long before the Synod, he engages himself in the current church-political debate. In the essay of 1972, it still was said that in certain cases the admission to communion of people being divorced and remarried be covered "by tradition". Now Benedict writes of the "impossibility" for the divorced and remarried to receive Communion. The much-quoted essay is now published with "recast" conclusions in volume 4 of the Collected Works of Joseph Ratzinger. More:

“Manual” for the Family Synod of We are Church Germany (30 pages in German, released: 5.12.2014):

Website of We are Church Germany for the Family Synod:

Compiled by: Christian Weisner; translated by: Friedrich Griess