The Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
, the first of two synods popularly referred to as the Synod on the Family
, was held in Vatican City on 5–19 October 2014 on the topic of Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization. The synod
was a gathering of 253 bishops and other participants in preparation for a larger synod with the same theme in October 2015
. The participants discussed problems facing the family today, including the effects of war, immigration, domestic violence, sexual orientation, polygamy, inter-religious marriages, cohabitation, the breakdown of marriage, and divorce and remarriage.
As presented in the media, the synod played out like a "daytime soap opera", especially after publication of an interim working document was denounced by some participants as not a true reflection of the debate. This occasioned an unprecedented decision to also publish the responses of the small committees that studied it. Of 62 paragraphs in the synod's final report, the attention of the media was directed almost exclusively to issues discussed in 3 paragraphs which concerned how to pastorally care for Catholics living in "irregular unions", including those civilly remarried
after divorce (in particular their desire to receive the Eucharist
), unmarried cohabitating couples, and especially gay Catholics. The 2014 synod was also noted for a new prominence of African bishops. Read more...