“That was agreed upon no matter where you were from. To me that was significant, and it was important,” the U.S. bishops’ conference vice president told fellow U.S. bishops at their fall general assembly.
The synod’s “primary concern” was the “importance of the family as the basis of society and as a domestic Church,” stated Bishop George Murry of Youngstown, who was personally appointed by Pope Francis to attend the synod.
Bishop Murry and Cardinal DiNardo were two of nine U.S. bishops to attend the recent Synod on the Family. They and other synod fathers from the U.S. shared their experiences at the U.S. bishops’ fall general assembly in Baltimore, Md. on Nov. 16.
The Ordinary Synod on the Family was held in Rome from Oct. 4-25. 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.”
Cardinal DiNardo saw the synod as an ellipse with the two focal points of marriage and family. “The two occasionally came into concord, sometimes into some discord,” he said.
Bishop delegates from the U.S. were impressed by the witness of bishops from all over the world – the “truly international dimension of the Church,” as Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia described it – and they had high praise for the bishops from Africa and Eastern Europe in particular.
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The bishops from those areas were “astounding,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York testified, and were “particularly compelling in their exhortations about marriage and family life.”
Cardinal DiNardo was “most impressed” by the “assertiveness” of the bishops from the “developing world,” particularly from Africa.
The testimonies from India and Africa showed that their “family structure is much more cohesive” than in the West, Bishop Murry noted. He added that the bishops from those areas expressed concern – and sometimes anger – about the harmful effects of consumerism and technocracy on the family that are exported by the developed world.