John Allen Jr. on the upcoming Extraordinary Synod

A good round up.  


At the 1999 synod, bishops seeking change tried to revisit that verdict. Famously, Danneels urged Catholicism to steal a page from the Orthodox, for whom sacraments are seen as “medicine for the soul” rather than a privilege earned by following the rules. Yet in the end, Ratzinger and other defenders of tradition held the line.



In October 2013, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Vatican’s doctrinal czar, published a lengthy essay in the Vatican newspaper arguing that Church teaching on the permanency of marriage is not open to question, basically repeating Ratzinger’s position from 19 years before. Francis later made Müller a cardinal.

“But I say, my brother, the world isn’t like this, and you should be a little flexible when you hear other voices,” Rodriguez said. “That means not just listening and then saying no.”



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3 Responses to John Allen Jr. on the upcoming Extraordinary Synod

  1. john dunlap says:

    Thank you for your site and your Faith. The Ordinariate is a great gift to the Church. This from a ” retread ” Catholic. God bless you, john

  2. Rev22:17 says:


    You wrote: A good round up.

    I agree completely!

    Here’s my assessment of the present situation.

    >> 1. There will be no change whatsoever in the Christian doctrine of the indissolubility of a valid marriage, as articulated by the Catholic Church. This doctrine is God-given and scriptural, and thus not subject to change.

    >> 2. On the other hand, there is no doctrinal requirement whatsoever to follow the present Catholic tribunal process to determine that a presumed marriage is not valid. Rather, the present tribunal process is strictly a matter of ecclesiastical law. The magisterium has the authority to authorize another process to make that determination, either as a replacement for the present tribunal process or as an alternative thereto.

    >> 3. The reunification of the Church is our Lord’s will, clearly manifest in John 17, and thus is clearly a most urgent priority of the magisterium as a matter of our doctrine of the unicity of the church. As a practical matter, the bishops of the Orthodox Communion obviously cannot agree to any terms of reconciliation that would exclude their present communicants who are married and divorced from the sacraments, nor would it be practicable to require those individuals to subject themselves to Catholic tribunals prior to reconciliation. It’s also not clear that it would be practicable to impose the present Catholic practice on the churches of the Orthodox Communion after a reconciliation occurs. Thus, some accommodation of the present Orthodox discipline on the part of the Catholic Church is a necessary condition of reconciliation of the churches of the Orthodox Communion.

    The information that the Vatican has made public indicates that the pope has put the following questions before the upcoming synod in response to this situation.

    >> 1. What is the best way to accommodate the current Orthodox practice regarding reception of the sacraments after secular divorce and a second attempt at marriage?

    >> 2. How will such accommodations affect members of the Catholic Church who are currently in “irregular” marriage situations or whose attempts at marriage may fail in the future?

    It is not at all clear that this year’s synod will reach a final answer to either of these questions. Rather, this year’s synod may simply be the beginning of frank discussions as to how best to proceed, with the objective of building a consensus among the bishops before it becomes the sole outstanding obstacle to reconciliation. If so, the synod’s statement on the subject will reaffirm the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage and affirm the present practice.


  3. Rev22:17 says:


    The following item in the Vatican Information Services (VIS) Bulletin of Monday, 22 September 2014, pertains to this issue. Here is the full text of the item.

    Special Commission to Study Marriage Annulment Reform

    Vatican City, 22 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today issued the following communique:

    “On 27 August 2014, the Holy Father decided to institute a special Commission to study the reform of the canonical marriage annulment process.

    The Commission will be chaired by Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, and will be composed of the following members: Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Msgr. Luis Francisco Ladario, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Bishop Dimitri Salachas, Apostolic Exarch of the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church; Msgrs. Maurice Monier, Leo Xavier Michael Arokiaraj and Alejandro W. Bunge, prelate auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota; the Rev. Fr. Nikolaus Schoch, O.F.M., substitute promotor of Justice of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; Fr. Konstanc Miroslav Adam, O.P., rector of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum); Fr. Jorge Horta Espinoza, O.F.M., Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical University Antonianum; and Prof. Paolo Moneta, formerly professor of Canon Law at the University of Pisa.

    The work of the Special Commission will begin as soon as possible and will focus on the preparation of a proposal for the reform of the marriage annulment process, seeking to simplify and streamline the procedure, while safeguarding the principle of the indissoluble nature of marriage”.

    Copyright © VIS – Vatican Information Service – 00120 Città del Vaticano

    Copyright Permission: Le notizie contenute nei servizi del Vatican Information Service possono essere riprodotte parzialmente o totalmente citando la fonte:
    V.I. S. – Vatican Information Service –


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