Special Reports

Follow up on the Synod Extraordinary Synod on the Family 2014 Final Relatio

The Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held in the Vatican from Oct. 5-19, 2014. The theme for the assembly was “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” 

The Extraordinary General Assembly was tasked with defining the “state of the question” and with collecting the bishops’ experiences and proposals “in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner.” The Ordinary General Assembly, scheduled for Oct. 2015, will next “seek working guidelines” in the pastoral care of the person and the family.

Special Report: Ebola Outbreak

Recent months have seen the outbreak of Ebola in several West African countries. Particularly hard hit have been Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. A Sept. 23, 2014, Fox News report cited the World Health Organization (WHO), which stated that the death rate among the infected in each of these countries is around 70 percent. The WHO reported on Oct. 17, 2014, that Liberia had the most reported cases at just more than 4,600.

50th Anniversary of Lumen Gentium

On November 21, 2014, the Roman Catholic Church will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. This Second Vatican Council document was issued on November 21, 1964, by Pope Paul VI after the bishops assembled at the council approved it by a vote of 2,151 to 5.

Announcing the Year of Consecrated Life

On Nov. 29, 2013, Pope Francis revealed to 120 superiors general of men’s religious orders that consecrated life would be the Church’s focus for 2015. During the closed-door meeting, Pope Francis reportedly asked the Church’s religious sisters, brothers and priests to “wake up the world” with their testimony of faith, holiness and hope, according to Catholic News Service.

Theology of the Body

The recent canonization of Pope St. John Paul II offers the opportunity to reflect on the first major teaching of his pontificate (and perhaps the one that will turn out to be his greatest legacy). The setting for this teaching was his Wednesday General Audiences over a period of five years, during which he put forth what he called the Theology of the Body. Through the Theology of the Body, the saint hoped to call everyone to an authentic understanding and living out of what it means to be created male and female; of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God.


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