Be joyful pastors, use God’s word to heal people, delegates tell synod

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October 17, 2015

Pope Francis accepts an icon of Mary and the Christ Child from Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, Kafr El-Sheikh, and Bararya, all in Egypt, before a session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis accepts an icon of Mary and the Christ Child from Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, Kafr El-Sheikh, and Bararya, all in Egypt, before a session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Remember that Christ is a friend who invites sinners to his table, and do not forget God’s call to repent and live holy lives, some representatives of Christian communities told the world Synod of Bishops.

Many of the 12 nonvoting “fraternal delegates,” whose presentations were published by the Vatican Oct. 16, touched on the themes of mercy; the Eucharist as a sacrament for healing, not a reward; the possibility of allowing divorce and remarriage in the Orthodox Christian tradition; and the need for repentance. The delegates are invited by the pope and represent a variety of Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches.

Representing the Coptic Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, Kafr El-Sheikh, and Bararya, Egypt, said “our church allows divorce in cases of adultery” and other sexual transgressions. He suggested that divorce and remarriage could perhaps be granted “only to the innocent party.”

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