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As we approach the October Synod on the Family, it is good to remember that the synod itself is not an expression of collegial governance of the Church. It is simply an advisory body which, after free discussion of opinions, formulates recommendations to be made to the Pope. It is the Pope who, having studied these, then issues an Apostolic Exhortation - which is indeed a magisterial document. The very word Exhortation implies that it will carry a message of encouragement to those to whom it is addressed - above all in this case the Christian families of world and those with the pastoral mission to care for them.
Meanwhile, the public media will cut and slice and report whatever it chooses. Since we are still in the "meanwhile", I have written a short piece, "Further thoughts on the Synod", which the Homiletic & Pastoral Review has just published. It is available here (English articles, under "Family"), and also, with comments, at www.hprweb.com.
My latest book,The Theology of Marriage: Personalism, Doctrine and Canon Law (Catholic University of America Press, 2015), continues to involve me in "to's-and-fro's" of opinion. Something to be welcomed.
Further information on the book at:
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All the texts included on the website can be quoted freely with a due reference to the text and the website. E-mailed notification about reprinted extracts would be appreciated (cburke@strathmore.ac.ke).
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N.B. In editing books and articles, some footnotes have been omitted; others condensed. Where possible, shorter references have been incorporated into the text within simple brackets: (). Longer ones have been converted into end-notes and are marked by square brackets: [].