Speaking to ZENIT last week, the Archbishop of Vienna applauded the new methodology chosen by Pope Francis for the synod, despite initial criticism that the changes caused “confusion.”

Instead, says the cardinal, the change is “very, very useful because it involves every one of the participants.”

“There are 13 meetings of small groups, three times more than the preceding Synods. With this method — less Plenaries and more Linguistic Groups — more direct and I would say more fruitful contact is possible for the discussions,” he said.

The cardinal said that after the first days of the synod, the atmosphere was more relaxed.

“The fact is that the subject of the family involves us very much; therefore, there is tension surrounding the questions, surrounding the challenges,” he stressed, adding that it is a “positive” tension because it shows “the care and love that the Church has for this fundamental institution that is the family.”

“What struck me and strikes me day after day is that — despite the different realities, experiences and problems — the testimonies of the whole world all demonstrate the same thing: there is no more stupendous project than the family. It is truly the work of the Creator.”

“The success of marriage and of the family is worth immensely more than all the difficulties and the crises that exist. The desire of marriage and of the family is truly rooted in the whole world,” remarked the Austrian cardinal, affirming that beyond all the results that this Synod can obtain, it has already reached a principal aim: “A great yes of the Church to the family — a great hope that the family will be stronger than all the crises.”