What is the status of the Synod's scandalous Interim Report? And what is the Catholic media saying about the Synod?
We offer here for our readers two pieces from DICI that deal with the continuing troublesome ripple effect of the Synod on the Family.
Editorial: Rejected but kept
After the scandalous Interim Report dated October 13, the Final Report of the Synod was published on the evening of October 18; it is a compromise among the various tendencies, aimed at relieving tensions and reassuring the timid. In fact, however, this report is only provisionally “final”.
Three paragraphs concerning communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics and welcoming homosexuals did not get the required two-thirds majority, and therefore they were rejected, but—at the order of Pope Francis—they were kept in the text of the report. Rejected by collegiality, but kept by authority. All the bishops are equal, synodally speaking, but some are more equal than others.
In reality, these paragraphs are awaiting their hour. They are not there for purely documentary purposes; they have one year now to ripen. The next Synod, in October 2015, ought to reward their patience. We bet that this wait will not be passive, and that after the overly noisy opponents are set aside, efforts will begin to make what has been sown in the documents spring up in people’s heads. Unless….
Although some intended to have a Synod on the Family-for-Everyone-at-Any-Price, others can, with God’s help, work for a Synod that manifests the Faith everywhere and for everyone. They too have one year to recall loud and clear that what God has joined man (if he is a man of the Church!) cannot put asunder.
Fr. Alain Lorans
Source: DICI, 10-23-2014
Press Review: After the Synod, it all begins
The Final Report of the Synod (Relatio Synodi), published on October 18, 2014, draws no conclusion at all; quite the contrary, it presents topics for reflection that the dioceses will now take up, before the Synod in October 2015 reexamines them.
As for the question about Communion for the divorced-and-remarried, Cardinal Walter Kasper is not losing hope. In the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, cited by the weblog of the French Catholic newspaper La Croix on October 20, he confides to the reporter:
The question is still on the table. It will reappear in the documents of the next synod. The discussion about it is now at the level of each country. We will see."
On the previous day, October 19, the French daily newspaper reported this tidbit:
‘At the beginning of the week, we hoped to be able to go further,’ one cardinal close to Pope Francis commented, and he immediately added, with a lopsided smile, ‘But patience, patience…. we’re getting there.’ In his homily on October 19 for the Beatification of Paul VI, Francis described this ‘journey which, in the Churches throughout the world, is bringing us to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015.’ He invited his listeners to let God surprise them. ‘God is not afraid of new things!’ he remarked."
On October 20, in a report broadcast by Vatican Radio, Romilda Ferrauto stressed that the Final Report
recognizes the presence of valuable elements outside of Christian marriage, provided that these forms are based on a stable, authentic relationship between a man and a woman and oriented toward Christian marriage."
This is what the October 13 Interim Report had already said:
a new dimension of today’s family pastoral consists of understanding the reality of civil marriage and also of cohabitation, while taking the differences between them into account…. In such unions [i.e., common law marriages] it is possible to see authentic family values or at least the desire for them. Pastoral accompaniment should start from these positive aspects."
Sebastian Maillard, Rome correspondent for La Croix, in an article entitled “On the Art of Managing a Divided Synod”, points out the preponderant role of the pope, “who has described himself as being ‘un po furbo’ (a little crafty)”:
Although the Final Report shattered the Interim Document, and three paragraphs [from it] on sensitive subjects in the debate were rejected, he [Francis] gained the upper hand in no time—a maneuver that deserves careful study by political scientists…. The Synod was orchestrated by this Jesuit pope to shape this exercise in discernment. From the start, he imagined not one but two synodal assemblies, and also, between one and the other, a real consultation with the lay faithful, which will proceed by way of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015. The Catholic Church is thus put into a state of permanent Synod (sic), the institutional version of a way of always setting out on a journey."
—And of calling oneself into question, which is also called permanent revolution.
Back from Rome where he was covering the Synod, journalist Jean-Marie Guenois declares in the October 21 issue of Le Figaro:
This Synod launched the discussion. The bishops are now giving the floor to the world so that the debate can continue in the local Churches. But they will have to watch out for manipulations. For example, you are going to see petitions cropping up everywhere. Like the one that German Cardinal Marx—one of the members of the G8 [the group of eight cardinals appointed by Pope Francis for frequent consultation]—took the liberty of bringing to the Synod, declaring, petition in hand, that “all the German bishops” expected reform with regard to the divorced-and-remarried. We should therefore expect a lot of media hype that will put pressure on public opinion. When the second session of the Synod [i.e., the Ordinary Synod in October 2015] takes place, the fruit will be ripe. But the arguments of theologians who base their reasoning on the Tradition of the Church and not on opinion, will not have budged…. Meanwhile several special working commissions will have prepared practical, juridical solutions to advance….
Some mention the risk of ‘schism’. There already are de facto schisms in the Catholic Church, with many priests or lay faithful who do not share the Catholic faith about the Eucharist or about the Virgin Mary, for example, but who call themselves Catholics, whereas they are genuine Protestant Christians! So there might in fact be a silent, invisible schism if the decisions were to go too far. What is certain, on the other hand, is that this Synod is starting a ‘crisis’ in the Church in the ancient sense of this word: it is presenting a choice, a decision that must be made. Once again this pope who is not a theologian but a pastor sees the Church as “a people on the move” which collectively discovers along the road new paths to take. And we have not yet realized, especially in France and in some circles, as I try to explain in my recent book (Jusqu’ou ira Francois [J.-C. Lattes, 2015], How Far Will Francis Go?] the breadth and depth of the change in the papacy between Benedict XVI and Francis. The shock of this Synod will perhaps open the eyes of some. This change of Pontiff is not just a new pope but also a major milestone and a turning point."
The most candid admission comes from the President of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher, who writes unflinchingly on his blog:
In a way, what we did with family life is what the Second Vatican Council did for the liturgy and ecumenism: gave a green light to a style of ministry that is already emerging in the Church, assuring its theological foundations, and inviting the whole Church to do the same. Of course, those who did not like what Vatican II did for the liturgy and ecumenism must not like what this Synod did for family life…."
It would be better to read or reread The Rhine Flows into the Tiber by Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D. (1967; reprinted TAN Books, 2009) and The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story by Roberto de Mattei (Loreto Publications, 2012).
(Sources: Apic/IMedia/La Croix—DICI no. 303, 10-24-2014)