Papal Apostolic Exhortation on Family Life Will Be Published in March

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, said the document will “show that the Church is close to families in all stages of their lives.”

Davide Paloni, the 'synod baby,' attends a working-group session at the synod on the family last fall.
Davide Paloni, the 'synod baby,' attends a working-group session at the synod on the family last fall. (photo: L'Osservatore Romano via Catholic News Agency)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on family life following last year’s synod will be published in March, says Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family.

In an interview with the Portuguese Catholic agency Ecclesia, Archbishop Paglia said that the Pope will release the document in March 2016 and that it will “show that the Church is close to families in all stages of their lives.”

“I am convinced that the apostolic exhortation will be a hymn to love, to a love that will care for the well-being of children, that is open to wounded families who need strength, that wants to be close to the elderly, a love that the whole of humanity needs,” Paglia said.

The Italian archbishop is leading a conference for the Catholic clergy of Portugal’s southern ecclesiastic provinces under the title “Family: Centrality, Renewal and Continuity.”

The apostolic exhortation will be the conclusion of a multiyear synod process. In 2014, the Vatican hosted an extraordinary synod in preparation for the October 2015 ordinary synod. An estimated 190 bishops from around the world participated in each gathering.

The 2015 synod, which the Pope’s exhortation is expected to focus on, was themed “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Modern World.”

The synods were surrounded by controversy, with hot-button topics of ministry to homosexuals and the divorced-and-remarried dominating media coverage.

Discussion in the synod hall also touched on such issues as marriage preparation, pornography, and domestic violence and abuse.

The apostolic exhortation is expected to be based on the final report from the synod, which was released Oct. 24. That report reflected collegiality among the bishops, though two of the 94 paragraphs were included by only a slim margin.

A bride and bridegroom stand before the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica as Pope Francis conducts a wedding ceremony for 20 couples on Sept. 14, 2014.

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