While the synod certainly included energetic debates on how to best reach out to those who have suffered from divorce and those who live with same-sex attraction, in the end there was a resounding affirmation of the church’s long-standing teachings on these important issues. We must not be surprised if the church is unbending in affirming long-standing teachings even as it grapples with new applications. This is the kind of institution Christ established — a living church that moves through the variables of history while always inviting, urging and challenging each new generation to embrace the unchanging truth of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis understands the crisis of marriage culture in its multiple dimensions, just as he understands that the family, which begins in marriage, is a troubled institution in the post-modern world; that’s why he’s summoned two Synods on the topic of the family. And that’s why the Synod, fully aware of the gravity of the situation, should begin, continue and end on a positive note, offering the world a pearl of great price: the Christian understanding and experience of marriage.