It's surely a coincidence that the Vatican's synod on the family began just a day before the U.S. Supreme Court all but signaled that same-sex marriage would be the legal norm in America.
As I noted in my story Sunday, the synod comes as Catholic tradition on the family is already a tough sell even among Catholics.
Archbishop William Skurla of the Byzantine Eparchy of Pittsburgh acknowledged that the Roman Catholic Church's traditional view on marriage is practically a minority viewpoint now. And that, he told Vatican Radio, isn't the only challenge. These days, families that stay together, pay together. People whose marriages are broken are often financially broke as well.
Vatican Radio reported on Archbishop Skurla's comments in an interview. He's one of the select group of delegates there.
“it is more difficult to speak to the world, because always we have to explain our position as almost a minority understanding of the place of the family in society today.”
Another challenge he cited is that which results a lack of permanence, with families frequently moving from place to place. “It creates an atmosphere where there is not the same kind of support that we had, say, thirty, or forty, or fifty years ago from the family in the community that people are trying to raise their children in.”
The archbishop also highlighted a third challenge which pertains to stability caused by the economic status of the family. “A change during the last twenty years,” he said, “is that the more stable families are actually the more successful [financially] families,” while those that “have to struggle economically have more difficulty in staying together.”
Also a delegate is Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., native and former bishop of Pittsburgh.
Cardinal Wuerl told Vatican Radio not to "expect sound bite solutions” to today's family challenges:
“The secular world, the secular vision doesn’t have a lot of space for a relationship with God, or a transcendent reality beyond us … that world has created a individualism and a self-referential world that doesn’t leave a lot of space for a healthy marriage and a family life that is going to follow on from that”.
And to Catholic News Service he said of the debate over communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics:
"The reception of Communion is not a doctrinal position. It's a pastoral application of the doctrine.... Just to repeat the practice of the past without any effort to see whether there is some awareness, openness, influence of the Spirit that might be helping us in total continuity with our past practice to find a new direction today."