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​​​​III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family (2014)

Octo​​ber 5-19, 2014, Vatican City​​


The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization


To evaluate challenges faced by families today and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner


The III Extraordinary General Assembly (Synod 2014) was intended to “thoroughly examine and analyze the information, testimonies and recommendations received from the particular Churches in order to respond to the new challenges of the family.”

Main documents:

November 2013: Preparatory Document​

Provided a basic catechesi​s on the Gospel of the Family, and requested input from the world's bishops on nine questions about the current state of pastoral care for marriages and families​:

  1. The Diffusion of the Teachings on the Family in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Magisterium
  2. Marriage according to the Natural Law
  3. The Pastoral Care of the Family in Evangelization
  4. Pastoral Care in Certain Difficult Marital Situations
  5. On Unions of Persons of the Same Sex
  6. The Education of Children in Irregular Marriages
  7. The Openness of the Married Couple to Life
  8. The Relationship Between the Family and the Person
  9. Other Challenges and Proposals

June 2014: Instrumentum Laboris (working document or midterm report)

​Results of the consultation achieved via the Preparatory Document’s questionnaire; provided a substantive reflection on the major challenges facing the family today, and outlined the topics that would be discussed at the Extraordinary General Assembly

From the conclusion: "To come to some idea of how to respond to the new demands in the People of God, the following three main areas are under discussion in the Church:

  • how the Gospel of the Family can be preached in the present-day;
  • how the Church’s pastoral care programme for the family might better respond to the new challenges today;
  • how to assist parents in developing a mentality of openness to life and in upbringing their children."

October 2014: Relatio Synodi (final report)​

Final report of the results of reflections and discussions in three parts:

  1. ​Listening: The Context and the Challenges of the Family
  2. Looking at Christ: The Gospel of the Family
  3. Confronting the Situation: Pastoral Perspectives


191 Synod Fathers, 16 experts, 38 auditors (including 14 couples from all the continents), and eight delegates from other Christian denominations.

Canada was represented by Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, president of the Canadian bishops’ conference.

Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., CEO of Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation, was named by the Holy See as press secretary for English-speaking media during the Synod.