Fr Rosica reflects on the recent extraordinary synod

The Catholic Register has posted a condensed version  of Assumption University’s Christian Culture Lecture delivered by Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., Nov. 23 that looks at the recent extraordinary synod on the family.

Read the whole thing, as Fr. Rosica was inside the synod for the whole time and is the English language representative for the Holy See Press Office.

Here are some excerpts:

Contrary to what you may have read in newspapers and blogs and TV newscasts, there was no anger or fighting. There were disagreements, naturally. But the Pope told us to live through the experience with tranquility and trust. It was a profound experience of the Church as a family doing her best to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and express them in carefully chosen words.

The Synod’s mid-term report after the first round of discussions was seen by many as being less balanced than it could have been. The document contained new language that is respectful of people and avoids expressions or terminology that are offensive or that ordinary people cannot grasp. For example, the text does not speak of homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” nor does it use the term “natural law.” It doesn’t categorize those who cohabit before marriage as “living in sin.”

This provisional text looked for the positive elements in the various and diversified situations in which couples live: from cohabitation, to marriage and irregular unions, to homosexual unions (which it states clearly are not to be equated with matrimony). Rather than engaging in finger pointing at the limitations, failures or defects (from the Church’s point of view) in these situations, it looked at them with tenderness and mercy, while maintaining the clarity of a teacher and insisting on the importance of accompanying people in their different and often complex situations. This is not soft mercy or cheap grace, but blatant honesty that comes from the heart.

Some would argue that the mid-term document wasn’t reflective of the balance in the discussions. There is some truth to this criticism. No one can deny that the publication of the mid-term Relatio contributed to the very intense dynamic of reflection and communication.

There has been much talk outside the Synod about how the Synod itself reflected on the situation of people of same-sex attraction. There was no suggestion that the teaching of the Church might somehow give approval to the notion of “same-sex marriage” or that its teaching on sexual morality is to change. However, two things were very clear. The first is that we should never identify people by their sexual orientation. Every person is endowed with unique dignity, both as an individual and as a Christian. Secondly, it is the teaching of the Church that all people are not only to be respected but also always accepted, with compassion and with sensitivity (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358). This teaching has to be translated into loving care, in our daily life in the Church, in our parishes and in society.

It was essential and necessary that the final report, Relatio Sinodi, be a consensus document. Synod fathers voted on each of the final report’s 62 paragraphs. All received a simple majority. Three — on the especially controversial questions of homosexuality and Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried — failed to gain the two-thirds supermajority required for approval of synodal documents. The final report will serve as the working paper (lineamenta) for next October’s world Synod on the “vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world.”

The final report of the Synod on the Family revealed that the Synod has closed no doors, all the main questions are still on the table and an absolute majority of the Synod fathers are with Pope Francis, in favour of a Church that, like the Good Samaritan, reaches out to care for all her “wounded children.”

 

 

 

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3 Responses to Fr Rosica reflects on the recent extraordinary synod

  1. William Tighe says:

    “For example, the text does not speak of homosexuality as ‘intrinsically disordered’ …

    Why avoid speaking plainly and truthfully?

    … nor does it use the term ‘natural law’.”

    thus dissembling on a matter of Catholic truth.

    “It doesn’t categorize those who cohabit before marriage as ‘living in sin’.”

    Why not, since they are?

  2. sottocapo says:

    We as the Church need to take major responsibility for the ignorance of most people (including most Catholics) of the teaching of the Magisterium regarding human sexuality. Young Catholics receive virtually no preparation and formation regarding marriage and adult intimate relationships. They may finally receive some brief marriage prep once they are actually approaching the Church to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony but up to that point the World is doing the predominant teaching on relationships. I became a Catholic at 19 from atheism and in all the contexts from that point (over 25 years ago) in which I was encountering the Church, I received absolutely NO teaching regarding marriage or sexuality.

    It is absolutely no surprise whatsoever that most young people including most Catholics do not see sex before marriage, living together or homosexuality (and therefore homosexual marriage) as against the law of God and sinful. When they finally hear something they run straight in to the wall of words such as “intrinsically disordered” and are horrified or confused. The Church is seen as heartless because she is not teaching IN LOVE her own deposit of faith. Most young Catholics are not rebellious but ignorant and not willfully so. They want guidance regarding relationships and are receiving none. I read that many Bishops at the recent pre-synod meeting in Rome recommended a much longer time spent on a profound preparation for and teaching on the sacrament of marriage. I completely agree. Young people are awash with broken families and living in a pornified world and the local parish is usually silent regarding anything that young people are experiencing.

    I read a lot of figure-pointing on blogs in particular regarding the lack of observance and belief in Church teaching in the area of human sexuality. This is not counterbalanced with any constructive plans to fill the gaping hole of lack of Catechesis in this area.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      sottocapo,

      You wrote: We as the Church need to take major responsibility for the ignorance of most people (including most Catholics) of the teaching of the Magisterium regarding human sexuality. Young Catholics receive virtually no preparation and formation regarding marriage and adult intimate relationships. They may finally receive some brief marriage prep once they are actually approaching the Church to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony but up to that point the World is doing the predominant teaching on relationships.

      Unfortunately, the situation seems to be far worse than that in many places. I see many parishes, and even whole dioceses, in which catechesis is almost non-existent even on the core truths of the faith expressed in the Nicene Creed, in which “Christian formation” is reduced to the lowest common denominator, and in which conferral of or admission to the sacraments is reduced to a Catholic rite of passage with no expectation that the recipients manifest an authentic commitment of Christian faith. If one does not acknowledge Jesus as the lord of one’s life, of what relevance is God’s will in anything?

      Where there is no commitment of faith, sexual morality is but one red spot in a severe case of chicken pox. The ways of the sin permeate the whole of the person’s life, far beyond sexual morality, because nothing is done in obedience to God. We need to stop focusing on symptoms (sexual immorality in various forms, abortion, euthanasia or “right to die” campaigns, etc.) and start focusing on the core problem.

      You wrote: Young people are awash with broken families and living in a pornified world and the local parish is usually silent regarding anything that young people are experiencing.

      Even worse, many parishes, and even whole dioceses, offer nothing whatsoever to make young adults (post-confirmation to mid-thirties) feel welcome and connected or to support young adults through what are unquestionably the most critical years of life. This is the time when young adults are searching for their own identity and vocation — an occupation, relationships (marriage), etc., and perhaps even a call to religious life or to ordained ministry. Left to their own, many bad choices are inevitable.

      And is it any real surprise that very few even begin to consider seminary or religious orders as a viable option, and thus that vocations to ordained ministry and to religious life are down?

      Norm.

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