Highlights of Synod on the Family – October 2015

A Compilation of News Articles on the Synod

By Brian O’Sullivan, Director of Catholic Education

The Ordinary Synod on the Family was held in Rome from Oct. 4-25, 2015 . It followed the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, and the theme of both was “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world.” The synod’s final report, approved in its entirety by 265 voting members, has spelled out ways in which the Catholic Church across the world can both bolster the family and help integrate and heal those who are suffering from marriage breakdown. (The report is currently available only in Italian).

Divorced and Civilly Remarried Catholics

While not advocating that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics should receive Communion, the bishops nonetheless declared that the Church should figure out whether they can be included in any elements of Church life from which they are now excluded.

When deciding how much to integrate remarried Catholics into Church life, the bishops said consideration must be given to the fact that both parties in a divorce may not be equally to blame, and that the fallout from a divorce may not be the same in all cases.

Gays and Lesbians

The bishops reiterated Church teaching that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, must be treated with dignity and respect.


The bishops acknowledged that some couples live together for financial reasons, sometimes while waiting for a more stable job and steady income, because “getting married is perceived as a luxury,” and many eventually ask for a church wedding. The Church should approach it constructively, and look to turn it into an opportunity to point couples to “the fullness of marriage and the family.”


Section 27. The section on women was approved by a vote of 251 to 9.

Women the world over face discrimination, the bishops declared, and their dignity must be defended and promoted. Those at the Synod agreed that the Church itself should involve more women in decision-making and in the leadership of some Church institutions.


Pope Francis officially brought the Synod on the Family to a close at Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s, reminding pastors of their duty to accompany the faithful and be bearers of God’s mercy especially in times of suffering and conflict…“Today is a time of mercy!”