ROME — The preparatory catechesis document for the 2015 World Meeting of Families is a “wonderful” work that addresses Catholic family issues from a global context, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said.
“It covers all the basic issues — the problems as well as the joys of family life — and situates it in the context of the culture of the world, not just the United States because it’s a world meeting of families,” Archbishop Chaput told CNA in Rome Sept. 15.
The recently published catechesis, titled “Love Is Our Mission — the Family Fully Alive,” explains Catholic belief on human purpose, marriage and the family. It will be published in six languages.
The archbishop said he thinks the document is “a wonderful piece of work.”
“I actually enjoy reading it. Even though I read it from start to finish, I read it over and over again because I think it’s very, very good.”
The catechesis is intended to help preparations for the eighth World Meeting of Families, which will take place Sept. 22-27, 2015 in Philadelphia. Established by St. John Paul II in 1994 to help strengthen family bonds worldwide, the event is expected to draw tens of thousands of participants from around the world.
The catechesis focuses on 10 themes, the World Meeting of Families website says. It teaches that human beings are “created for joy” and have a “mission of love” to receive God’s love and share it with others. It discusses the meaning of human sexuality, the sacramental nature of Christian marriage, and marital love as an image of Jesus Christ’s faithfulness to the Church.
The document also discusses the role of children in marriage and the different ways marriage, the priesthood, vowed religious life and the celibate lay vocation can be spiritually fruitful.
Other topics discussed include temptations and other challenges to family life, including poverty, affluence, pornography, contraception, and intellectual mistakes that harm family life. The catechesis notes the “painful situations” facing many people, as well as the impact that divorce or same-sex attraction can have on the life of the family.
“Christian families and networks of families should be sources of mercy, safety, friendship and support for those struggling with these issues,” the World Meeting of Families’ website said.
Archbishop Chaput could not yet definitively confirm whether Pope Francis will attend the Philadelphia gathering next year.
“We hope so. I’ve talked to him about it several times and in every situation he’s indicated a hope to come,” the archbishop said.
“There’s no official announcement yet — we expect that to come several months out before the event. But we’re working hard and we’re expecting him to come and we’re making all the preparations necessary for that.”
When the world’s bishops gather next month for their synod, Archbishop Chaput suggested that they use “Love Is Our Mission — the Family Fully Alive” as preparation for discussion.
The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family will meet in Rome Oct. 5-19 to explore the global pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization.
Archbishop Chaput said the synod is “very important” not only for the Catholic Church, but also for the world.
“Everything comes to us from the family. Every bit of our lives — from our genes, to our ability to deal with problems, how to cooperate with others in society,” he said. “So I’m praying along with everyone else that it be a wonderful experience for everyone and that the Holy Spirit is able to change the world through the work of the synod.”
Archbishop Chaput declined to make predictions about the synod.
“I can’t predict what’s going to happen any more than anyone else can but the Church is always the Church, always guided by the Holy Spirit, always protected from error and moved towards creativity by the Holy Spirit,” he said. “So, I have great confidence that whatever happens there will be under the guidance of God and we can have confidence in the future.”