October 9, 2015
Pope Francis used his visit to the United States to carry the Catholic Church’s teaching and understanding of marriage and family life to the country and the world, said Bishop David Choby.
After attending several papal events in Washington, D.C. earlier in the pope’s visit, Bishop Choby traveled to Philadelphia where he participated in the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families celebrated by Pope Francis before more than 800,000 people.
The Mass was “the crowning moment of his pastoral visit,” both figuratively and literally, said Bishop Choby, who noted that within hours after the conclusion of the Mass, the pope was flying back to Rome.
“The Mass was the culmination of his pastoral visit but also the culmination of a celebration of the value of marriage and family life,” Bishop Choby said.
The pope’s visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families was one of several designed to clarify and strengthen the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life, both universally and locally, Bishop Choby said.
The World Meeting of Families was followed by the Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome Oct. 4-25 to discuss issues surrounding marriage and family.
The pope’s remarks at the opening of the synod reflected firmly his support for the teachings on marriage and the family, while recognizing many in our culture don’t share that understanding and others who do understand what the church teaches have left it behind, Bishop Choby said.
“Pope Francis is asking the Church, in keeping with the Church’s teaching, to offer ways of reconciliation for people,” Bishop Choby.
The Diocese of Nashville also is trying to sharpen its focus on ministries that support marriage and family life. Several diocesan staffers attended the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, and before they left, Bishop Choby met with them.
“I have asked Deacon Tom Samoray, who is directing the programs in the diocese that seek to respond to marriage and family life, I’ve asked him to closely follow the results of the World Meeting of Families and the deliberations at the synod,” Bishop Choby said.
There is so much confusion in society about the nature of marriage and what best serves family life, Bishop Choby said. “It’s important for us as a diocese to clarify and strengthen the Catholic understanding of marriage and family life.”