From Bishop Conley's review of The Hope of the Family: A Dialogue with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, newly published by Ignatius Press:
The Church soon begins the synod on the family, an Oct. 5-19 meeting at the Vatican of bishops from across the world who are discussing the meaning of family life in the contemporary world.
Accommodation to secular culture has been the dominant media theme surrounding the meeting. Will the Church change her teaching, her pastoral practice, her disciplines or processes? Will the Church endorse new ideas about family life? Or will she oppose the “progressive” march of Western culture?
Many of these questions are unreasonable — silly, really.
The purpose of the synod is not to change the Church’s teachings. The purpose is to understand family life more clearly, to support it more faithfully and to present it more robustly, more persuasively and more enthusiastically. The purpose of the synod is to witness to the rich beauty of Christian family life.
As a blueprint for this witness, the Church needs to look no further than Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s book The Hope of the Family. Cardinal Müller is the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — an expert and authority on the doctrinal teachings of the faith. He is also a pastor — for 10 years, he served as bishop of Regensburg, a beautiful Bavarian diocese that is a repository of Catholic life and culture.
In Hope of the Family, Cardinal Müller draws from his experience and insight to point to the needs of contemporary families, their role in the life of the Church and the beauty and richness they can offer to the world.
The book is written as an interview, in a style similar to Pope Benedict XVI’s famous Ratzinger Report. And it might be seen as a complement to that book — like the Ratzinger Report, Hope of the Family provides the honest and insightful evaluations of a thoughtful disciple of Jesus Christ.
As a matter of timing, the book is important. Published in anticipation of the synod, Hope of the Family offers a valuable resource for parents, pastors and for the bishops at the synod.
In substance, the book addresses several major topics. On the matter of doctrine, Cardinal Müller defends the unchanging teaching of the Church in a way that is palatable and persuasive. The faith, he says, cannot be “transformed into a new, politically correct civil religion, reduced to a few goals that are tolerated by the rest of society.”
Read the entire review on the National Catholic Register website.