There is a lot of media attention on the Family Synod most of it terribly wrong. To get away from the misinformation I have been trying to get through the actual synod document provided on the Vatican website. I haven’t gotten through it all, but already I am left wondering what exactly the media is even reading or not reading.
I found this paragraph in the first section of the document particularly significant as an educator, and even as a new parent:
“The search for pastoral responses takes place in the cultural context of the present moment. Many people today have difficulty in thinking in a logical manner and reading lengthy documents. We live in an audio-visual culture, a culture of feelings, emotional experiences and symbols. Places of pilgrimage, in many countries — even in highly secularized ones — are increasingly popular.”
This statement is so true–though the thought of a society without thinking logically makes me cringe. I see it not only in my discussions with people in general, but in my classroom as well. Many students are not interested in the faith as it is currently presented, let alone in studying a lengthy Church document. Yet, the Church isn’t the world’s longest standing institution for nothing! She has always adapted to the culture in which she finds herself. Never bending on faith and morals of course, but addressing the heart first before the mind. I think that is what Pope Francis is largely trying to get across. People have lost the heart of the Gospel and without the heart there is no use beating them over the head with Church doctrine. For all truth lovers out there this has been a difficult reality to accept.
Just like at other times throughout the Church’s long history we are in a moment where she is not popular, where the culture has increasingly turned secular and even people who profess to be Christian are only lukewarm in their faith. It is not uncommon to show a picture of Jesus to a youngster and they look at you with a blank face. In early times when most people were illiterate and very few Bibles existed we see Churches with stain glass windows and statues. A picture says a thousand words and this was how the Church educated the illiterate masses. It worked. So, whatever direction the Church goes today will work as well. I have full confidence.