From John Allen Jr. at Crux

Between now and next year, Francis will likely make some important personnel moves that may alter the character of the next group he brings together. For one thing, American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who emerged as a leader of the conservative forces during the synod, likely won’t be at the next one because he’s about to be replaced as the head of the Vatican’s highest court.

It’s also possible that German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who was another strong conservative voice in the synod, will no longer be running the Vatican’s top doctrinal office by October 2015. Depending on who takes over, that, too, could alter the chemistry.




It seems probable the next synod will be far more transparent from the beginning, because no one will want to go through this again.

(As a footnote, it’s also a safe bet that a few prelates may quietly suggest to Francis that he consider finding other work for Baldisseri, who left a number of people underwhelmed by his performance.)

Francis doesn’t choke in big moments. He delivered a speech at the end of the synod that virtually everyone agreed was among the best of his papacy.

It offered the vision statement of a moderate pontiff, urging the Church to shun both a “hostile rigidity” and a “false mercy.” He drew thunderous applause, including from prelates who shortly before, at least metaphorically, had been at one another’s throats.

In effect, it was the kind of speech that both a Raymond Burke and a Walter Kasper could walk away from feeling as if the pope understands them, and it seemed to allow what had been a sometimes nasty two-week stretch to end on a high note.

However neat a trick that was, however, it may pale in comparison to the challenge of holding the Church together as things go forward.

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