Has Pope Francis altered his mindset concerning the upcoming Synod of the Family and other important moral issues?
In a recent commentary, Vaticanist Sandro Magister stated:
Since the end of the 2014 Synod, Pope Francis has spoken dozens of times on abortion, divorce, and homosexuality. But he hasn't said a single word more in support of the “openness” demanded by the innovators."
It is hard to foresee how the second session of the Synod on the Family will go, but Magister affirms that "the temperature of the discussion keeps going up."
Continuing the Italian journalist observes:
The latest uproar is over an onslaught of the German bishops, who now take as a given, in the “cultural context” of their local Church, substantial changes of doctrine and pastoral practice in matters of divorce and homosexuality. There is also quite some reaction to this turn of events in Germany itself."
Yet he believes that the pope has changed his tune:
Until the Synod of October 2014, Jorge Mario Bergoglio had repeatedly shown encouragement for “openness” in matters of homosexuality and second marriages, each time with great fanfare in the media.
But during that synod the resistance to the new paradigms showed itself to be much more strong and widespread than expected, and determined the defeat of the innovators.
From the end of 2014 until today, there has not been even one more occasion on which he has given the slightest support to the paradigms of the innovators. On the contrary, he has intensified his remarks on all the most controversial questions connected to the synodal theme of the family: contraception, abortion, divorce, second marriages, homosexual marriage, “gender” ideology. And every time he has spoken of them as a “son of the Church”—as he loves to call himself—without swerving from what was said before him by Paul VI, John Paul II, or Benedict XVI.
In the media circuit the innovators continue to enjoy great visibility and applause, and Francis continues to be depicted as one of them.
But the reality is entirely different. As a perfect Jesuit, Bergoglio is a great realist and has already understood—even just from scanning the names of the delegates elected by the various national episcopates—that the next session of the synod will be even more unfavorable for the innovators than the previous one.
He knows that the final decisions will be up to him and to him alone. But he also knows that it will be impossible for him to impose on the whole Catholic world innovations that are far from having gained the prior collegial consent of the bishops. Who live not only in the decadent German Church, but in Africa, Asia, and all those living “peripheries” of the world that are so dear to him."
When all this is said, even in the best upshot of the coming Synod, one wonders how all this smacks of much political calculation which puts number ahead of Christ’s teaching and the care of souls: what a scandal for Christ's Holy Spouse!
So much for the “good” news about Pope Francis. On the other end of the spectrum, we have him appointing Fr. Timothy Radcliffe as Consulter to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. This Dominican, when Master General, had clearly allowed the admission of people of homosexual orientation to religious life, and was also infamous for celebrating infamous “gay Masses” in London.
Fr. Radcliffe is not the sole dissident member of the Order of Preachers that has recently received a promotion from the Holy See. Another is Bishop Jean Paul Vesco of Oran, Algeria, who has been made a delegate for the 2015 Synod of Bishops. During his tenure as the Dominican Provincial of the French Province (2010-2012), he was a public supporter of the "Kasper proposal".
Unfortunately there are other examples of Pope Francis appearing to give support to the "gay lobby" through his actions. For starters, there was his appointment of the openly-homosexual Msgr. Batitsta Ricca as the head of the papal household. Then the recent audience when he publicly embraced a transsexual woman (who thinks she's a he) and her fiancee. Finally, despite being touted for his "zero-tolerance" for sex abuse scandals amongst the hierarchy, the pope nonetheless permitted a bishop—Juan Barros—who has been accused of covering-up such crimes, to become the new ordinary in the Osorno, Chile diocese where the incidents took place.
Such actions cannot but send a mixed message to the world about the mind of Pope Francis, which has not been completely closed to strange behavior or calculated contradictions. This reminds us of the behavior of the Modernists: you read one page and it is all very traditional; turn the page and you have the heretical poison surreptitiously laid out to ensnare the indolent.
More than ever we need to turn towards the Immaculate Queen of Heaven, Help of Christians and Mother of the Church!
1 Chiesa.espressonline.it of May 11, 2015: “The Closed Door of Pope Francis”.
3 Catholic Family News, April 15, 2015, "Francis’ Vatican Remains Silent as Homo-Fascism Rises".
5 Cf. the previously cited CFN piece for more details about these scandalous events.