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Synod surprises: Universal compassion, mercy

Indian participants impressed by 'great love and concern' bishops have for family

Synod surprises: Universal compassion, mercy

Penny Bajaj of Mumbai, India, and her husband, Ishwar, speak during a press briefing after the morning session of the Syond of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 12. (Photo by CNS)

Published: October 13, 2015 06:19 AM GMT

Updated: October 12, 2015 08:44 PM GMT

An Indian couple attending the Synod of Bishops on the family said they were impressed by the love, compassion and understanding the bishops had for families around the world.

Penny Bajaj of Mumbai, India, said she was struck by the unanimous expressions of compassion and sympathy from all those attending the synod. Of the more than 360 people attending the synod, 270 are voting cardinals, bishops and men religious. The remaining are religious and laypeople attending as observers, experts and representatives of other Christian communities.

"All the synod fathers, the bishops expressed their great love and concern for the family," said Bajaj, who worked for the Catholic Church in India in a variety of capacities for 45 years.

"It was very beautiful to see the great love, the hope, the understanding: How should the family be in today's day and time knowing that, in all parts of the world, the family is really running into a lot of problems? How do we contain this? How do we change this? How do we make this better? How do we make this in God's light something beautiful?" she said during an Oct. 12 press conference at the Vatican.

She said every cardinal, bishop and priest in her small working group spoke about their concern, their love for the family, "especially for the families who are in distress."

Her husband, Ishwar Bajaj, said he was very impressed that the synod was focusing on forgiveness and mercy, even toward those who have separated from their spouse or have sinned against their family or the church.

"I found that this was a very, very compassionate and loving atmosphere and attitude that the synod was aiming at: to bring the families back into the ... church and tell them that there was mercy" and that sins would be forgiven "as long as they repented and changed."

Ishwar Bajaj, who was raised a Hindu but was baptized into the Catholic Church 13 years ago on his 25th wedding anniversary, said he felt the synod's focus on mercy "has been a very important and dynamic stand that the church is taking in this current century."

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