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Mixing it up: Synod members turn to metaphor to get message across


Archbishop Louis Sako of Baghdad, Iraq, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, center, and other prelates leave the opening session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 6. (CNS photoPaul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis may be the universal church's undisputed master of metaphor and analogy, but other members of the Synod of Bishops on the family are showing a willingness to use snappy images to get their points across, too.

Take the lighthouse beacon and the torch. According to synod briefers, who cannot tell reporters which synod member said what, one bishop Oct. 7 told the assembly that the light the church brings to its members is not fixed like a lighthouse on the shore but is a torch that accompanies the pilgrimage of those seeking to live the truth.

Speaking about the challenge of transmitting church teaching on sexuality and married life to modern men and women, the bishop reportedly said the torch of faith and truth lights the path of believers; the proclamation of truth cannot be like using a beacon to blind people.

"It was an image to help the synod accept the attitude we are called to have as the synod progresses," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

Another synod member, according to Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, made "a sobering point: 'We are not doctors who can heal every single disease or ailment.' That means let's not become despairing or hopeless because we don't have the solutions to every problem that emerges, but we do have the language of mercy that can help people."

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