The Synod on the Family is over and the delegates have left the meeting hall, but complaints over the Final Report continue to resound.
Pastor's Corner for Sunday, November 15
How will the bishops react to the Final Report of the Synod published by Pope Francis? A highly pressurized synod, a poorly identified social context, a controversial final report allegedly promoting the good of the family, and to top it all, a cotton candy style offered to modern man—are these the wonderful fruits of the Synod on the Family?
It is enlightening to read some comments which are slowly coming out of the woodwork after the dust has settled upon last month’s great commotion surrounding the Synod. One such voice comes from a Romanian doctor, Anca Maria Cernea. Besides the issues with the language and the lack of time to review the reports, she evokes the lacunae of the original document called the Instrumentum laboris.
In this document, I discovered a language quite familiar, having lived in a Communist country. In the 3 minutes granted me on plenary session, I drew attention to all of these terms filled with ideological concepts which have nothing to do with the Gospel language and much more with Marxist ideology.
The main issue of the document is that it does not identify the true evil affecting families today. Beyond the economic and social issues, the first cause of the sexual revolution is cultural and ideological. We are still dealing with Marxism, albeit a cultural Marxism."
On a very different topic, an episcopal voice is heard lamenting the tone of the report. Bishop Huonder from Chur, Switzerland, is unfolding the manifest hypocrisy of the cotton candy language more fit for children, which is utterly out of touch with reality and the people it addresses:
There is more about crescita, about our growth. The important thing is maturazione, becoming mature. In this process the Church prefers to 'accompany' us rather than to scold. Gently, she wants to help us to 'discern'. But with this NewSpeak is the Church really taking us seriously?”
He accuses the writers of being out of touch with the real issues in the Church, and of immaturity and displaced paternalism.
He then looks at those persons the Church is addressing when dealing with remarried divorcees and the like. Concerning their behavior, they are certainly not children, as they believe that they have maturity and independence:
They do not feel particularly guilty. They are not desperately seeking a mercy that the Church has purportedly denied them for a long time. If they want anything at all from the Church, other than simply being left in peace, then they probably want instead moral approval for their lifestyle, for the standards that are deemed good by the prevailing culture."
Bishop Huonder concludes that, at least the Church's former speech treated their listeners as adults, speaking with the clear language of Scripture:
Previously, the Church was more honest in this respect. With her clear speech she took for granted that we were adults. In the Book of Deuteronomy 30:19, we read: 'I have set before you, life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.' (Deut. 30, 19)."
We can only wish that the bishops had followed and applied the good old rite of episcopal consecration which demanded that they vow to never call evil good and good evil. But, unfortunately, too many of them have done what so many doctors have done with the Hippocratic Oath: belittling the importance of the oath, disobeying it privately, and finally throwing it out altogether so as to not disturb scrupulous consciences.
1 La Revue Item article of November 11, 2015, "Interview a Anca Maria Cernea".
2The following quotes are taken from The Catholic World Report article of November 4, 2015: "Brave New Church: Pastoral Cotton Candy instead of Clear Statements".