In other words, rather than going back on some former statement of theirs, the bishops are finally speaking for themselves. South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, for instance, had recently said that talk about same-sex marriage was a “sideshow” that distracted attention from the real issues at hand. The new document makes clear that this was not the focus of the summit.
The media also seem to be trying to create a narrative where the “good” liberal pope was somehow thwarted by the “bad” conservative bishops. Several mainstream outlets falsely attributed progressive opinions to Pope Francis in an apparent attempt to paint a division between him and the bishops.
In fact, neither in his address at the synod hall Saturday, nor during his closing homilySunday did the Pope even mention the question of homosexuality. Francis also had nothing to do with the text of the earlier draft.
The Pope expressed his joy that the synod had gone so well, and an objective reader gets no sense that the pope had been frustrated in any way.
The BBC piece selectively cites Francis’ remarks at the end of the synod cautioning against “hostile inflexibility,” but fails to mention that in the very next paragraph he was equally critical of “destructive laxity,” which, he said, “in the name of a false mercy would bind up wounds before they have been cared for and healed, treating symptoms rather than the disease.”
This, Francis said, is the temptation of “progressives and liberals.”
Francis went on to say that in the synod hall he had noted on the part of some of the bishops the “temptation to neglect the ‘deposit of faith’ [Church doctrine], considering themselves not guardians of the teaching but its owners and masters.”
These are hardly the words of a pope seeking to overthrow Church doctrine.