Some interesting posts on latest developments at the synod

Bear with me, because trying to follow the synod is like drinking from a fire hydrant. Here is some analysis from the always interesting John L. Allen Jr. over at Crux:

ROME — In the abstract, Pope Francis might have reason to be a bit nervous that his much-ballyhooed Synod of Bishops on the family, an Oct. 4-25 summit he’s been touting as a potentially defining moment of his papacy for almost two years, might be about to run off the rails.

We’ve already had confirmation, for instance, that a clash among the bishops over the hot-button question of allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to return to Communion is far from resolved.

On day one, Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő basically tried to bury the issue. Yet on day two, Italian Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli used a Vatican news conference to say that it remains “completely open,” and pointedly asked that if all the bishops were going to do was to echo Erdő’s line, then “what are we doing here?”

Similarly, there was enough blowback against changes to the synod process on the opening day that Francis felt compelled to take the microphone to insist that he’d personally approved the new rules, which critics feel are designed to limit the information flow and stack the deck in favor of desired outcomes.

Father Z writes Pope Francis threw Cardinal Erdo under the bus.  Funny, that’s not how I interpreted the Pope’s intervention when I first read it.  But Father Z is not alone.

Here is Voice on the Family’s analysis:

The intervention of the Holy Father yesterday has undermined the authority of Cardinal Erdő’s report and has signaled to the synod fathers that the Holy Father would prefer the discussions of the synod to proceed along the lines established by the heterodox Relatio Synodi rather than the orthodox introductory address of Cardinal Erdő. The Holy Father’s actions have gravely weakened the cardinal’s efforts to reorient the Ordinary Synod towards an affirmation and defence of Catholic doctrine.

Did it?  I don’t know. Time will tell.  I personally am trying not to jump to conclusions.

You can read the text of Cardinal Erdo’s opening remarks here at Catholic World Report.  He mentions Humanae Vitae!

Joshua McElwee at the National Catholic Reporter has a good summary of what went on at yesterday’s press briefing, including the high profile suddenly taken by Gatineau Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher, who said he told the synod to consider having women become deacons, and raised questions whether Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics was a doctrinal or a discipline issue.  Here’s an except of McElwee’s piece:

Durocher, who leads the Canadian archdiocese of Gatineau and is a former head of the country’s bishops’ conference, was asked if church practice towards the divorced and remarried represented a doctrine or a discipline — and thus, whether it fit under Francis’ reassurance that doctrine was not being questioned.

“To be quite honest, there might be differences of opinion on that,” the Canadian replied. He said he thought that issue itself might be debated among the synod’s small discussion groups.

-snip-

Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, a Canadian who assists the Vatican press office with English-language media, gave an overview of different themes talked about by synod participants Monday and Tuesday. He also presented what appeared to be quotations from interventions given by participants but did not identify them by name.

Rosica said some common themes mentioned were: Poverty, unemployment, migration, war, and the continuing refugee crisis. He said one participant also identified a need for a better pastoral approach for couples living together before marriage.

One of the synod participants, Rosica said, expressed that “there must be an end to exclusionary language and a strong emphasis of embracing reality as it is.” Another said that “our church can often be a dangerous place” and asked: “How do we make our homes and ecclesial communities welcoming places?”

One synod member, Rosica said, spoke of treatment of gay persons in the church, saying: “These are our children. They are family members. They are not outsiders. They are our flesh and blood.”

Archbishop Durocher gave an interview with the CNS’s Carol Glatz that further explains his views on the doctrine/discipline debate and I urge people to listen to it before leaping to judgment in one direction or another.

In the interview you can see +Durocher’s position is more nuanced than what comes across in news stories.

I personally believe how we practice the faith has a huge bearing on what we believe and am deeply saddened by many modern day practices that seem to undermine faith that Jesus is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament.  We surely do not act like we believe it a lot of the time, do we?

In relation to what Fr. Rosica reported at the news conference,  Voice on the Family said this:

One of the most disturbing aspects of Rosica’s summary was the suggestion that the question of Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried” could be solved in different ways in different parts of the world. This would lead to different practices, and thus different doctrines, in different parts of the Church. Such division is, of course, inseparable from schism.

Well, Fr. Rosica is reporting on what was said in the synod hall.  I wish we had access to the synod fathers’ original texts because that would help fill out the picture of what was said.  I think it is too early to be too concerned about remarks reported at a news conference.  Let’s wait and see whether any of these pronouncements show up in the texts of the working groups at the end of the week.

UPDATE:   Here’s Edward Pentin’s report on other interventions made yesterday at the synod.

* A number of synod fathers spoke in support of Cardinal Peter Erdo’s introductory speech, including one who underlined the importance of keeping fidelity to truth about marriage, the family and the Eucharist.

* A synod father asked “What are we doing here?” and stressed the synod is about the family, not other relationships such as homosexual ones. He also stressed that if the synod accepts the divorced-remarried issue, the Church effectively “supports divorce”.

* Another said the emphasis should be the sacrament of marriage, so the spiritual beauty of marriage is brought to the fore. Often the Church is not united around the “positive vision” of marriage and family. He said instability around marriage is “against its nature”.

* A synod father referenced St. Augustine, saying some of the baptized living in “irregular situations” don’t want to approach the Sacrament of Penance; he said the crisis of the family is a crisis of faith. He quoted 2 Timothy 4:2-5

* Another intervention noted the flock are too few, and that one should show respect for families which battle and try to remain faithful, those who in particular remain faithful to their marital vows given before God, although there are controversies and difficulties.

* A further intervention stressed that the Church has to defend that which God revealed about marriage and family and that the work of prelates is to support healthy families. A danger for families are “certain cultural currents,” as well as a sociological approach. In order to serve the family one has to take point of departure the word of God.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/questions-raised-again-about-accuracy-of-official-synod-briefings/#ixzz3ntSTolLq

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12 Responses to Some interesting posts on latest developments at the synod

  1. EPMS says:

    Apropos of different standards for different parts of the world, homosexual acts are illegal in 37 African countries. They are a capital crime in four of them. Inevitably it is easier to preach a strict doctrine of non-acceptance of such acts when society as a whole appears to support you. A look around most North American parishes, on the other hand, will reveal many same sex duos who are always together, perhaps living at the same address. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the prevailing method of dealing with this, and I would be surprised if anyone has heard a sermon on the subject recently. In fact if I did hear such a sermon I would assume it was a case of “Methinks the [preacher] doth protest too much,” and try to resist the temptation to take a closer look at his social life..

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: A look around most North American parishes, on the other hand, will reveal many same sex duos who are always together, perhaps living at the same address. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the prevailing method of dealing with this, and I would be surprised if anyone has heard a sermon on the subject recently.

      Perhaps “don’t ask, don’t tell” is the appropriate policy, except in the confessional.

      Backing up a step here, there is a fundamental right to privacy that needs to be respected. There’s also something fundamentally wrong with presuming that people must be acting immorally just because they happen to share a residence. Years ago, it was perfectly acceptable for either two men or two women to sleep in the same bed — but whenever a man and a woman slept in the same home or apartment, there was an immediate presumption of sexual impropriety. The dynamic has changed, but in the wrong way: now that presumption seems to exist whenever two people of the same sex share a residence or a hotel room. There are many instances in which young adults choose to share residences with their friends, with no impropriety involved, due to their economic circumstances. This is especially true in major metropolitan areas where a modest habitable apartment rents for a couple thousand dollars per month. The judgemental busybodies need to BUT OUT of other peoples’ lives.

      That said, we also need to confront the reality that homosexual and adulterous lifestyles are not the only instances in which there are habitual patterns of sin and a lack of repentance, which is actually what excludes individuals from reception of communion. Even in the sexual sphere, “shacking up” where there is no prior marriage is in that category — but other types of sin also qualify. I’m glad that Pope Benedict XVI addressed those who are involved in organized crime and criminal lifestyles — but what about habitual substance abuse, habitual aggressive driving, habitual bullying and abuse of others, etc?

      Norm.

  2. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    You wrote: Bear with me, because trying to follow the synod is like drinking from a fire hydrant.

    Ah, I’m not sure that I agree with this. Most of the chatter in the news media is pure drivel rooted in speculation on the part of those who have no clue what is really happening in the synod itself, and thus is best ignored. Also, as in the halls of any Congress or Parliament, the most important discussion is not in the speeches made in the chamber but rather in the numerous sidebar discussions and brainstorming sessions involving smaller groups of synod fathers and consultors during breaks, over meals before and after the sessions, and even as the participants are coming and going as that’s where real decisions are made and implemented. Those sidebar discussions are not, and never will be, in the public eye.

    All the speculation surrounding the synod is nothing but smoke. When the smoke clears, the light will emerge in the synodal documents.

    From your first quotation: We’ve already had confirmation, for instance, that a clash among the bishops over the hot-button question of allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to return to Communion is far from resolved.

    This is indeed a very difficult issue. Doctrinal compromise obviously is not an option. On the other hand, the reconciliation of the churches of the Orthodox Communion obviously requires some sort of accommodation of the present Orthodox practice of allowing those who are divorced to attempt marriage again after sacramental confession of their failures in the first attempt at marriage. The balance requires walking a tightrope, and it may well take some time for the bishops to rig a tightrope that is satisfactory.

    You wrote: Father Z writes Pope Francis threw Cardinal Erdo under the bus. Funny, that’s not how I interpreted the Pope’s intervention when I first read it. But Father Z is not alone.

    If so, it would not be the first time that a pope has thrown a prominent cardinal under the bus. I’m reminded of the announcement by Pope John XXIII that he thought that St. Joseph was important enough to deserve a mention in what was then called the “canon” of the mass, and therefore that he was adding a mention of St. Joseph thereto, after the Angelus one Wednesday afternoon while Vatican II was in session in 1962.

    Oh, yes. On Monday, a bishop from the mission lands very humbly remarked that the people of the mission lands did not connect with the “Roman Canon” and suggested that it might be worth looking at other anaphoras that had been used in the past to see if any of them might be suitable for use in the mission lands. On Tuesday, Cardinal Ottovani, then Prefect of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, responded with a grandiose speech explaining that the word “canon” means “fixed” and that the canon of the mass was so named because it was fixed for all time and could never, ever, possibly ever be changed. And on Wednesday morning, a rumor circled through the council chambers that the pope was going to make an announcement from the balcony of the Vatican after the Angelus, so many of the bishops and advisors began to drift outside shortly before noon to hear what the pope was going to say. And it was on that Wednesday that the pope announced to the world that he was changing the “canon” of the mass.

    Thus, the pope settled the matter.

    From a subsequent quote: Durocher, who leads the Canadian archdiocese of Gatineau and is a former head of the country’s bishops’ conference, was asked if church practice towards the divorced and remarried represented a doctrine or a discipline — and thus, whether it fit under Francis’ reassurance that doctrine was not being questioned.

    “To be quite honest, there might be differences of opinion on that,” the Canadian replied. He said he thought that issue itself might be debated among the synod’s small discussion groups.

    To be clear, there are aspects of this issue that are doctrinal and aspects of this issue that are disciplinary. Sorting out the boundary undoubtedly will be part of the challenge of rigging a satisfactory tightrope.

    From the same quotation: Rosica said some common themes mentioned were: Poverty, unemployment, migration, war, and the continuing refugee crisis. He said one participant also identified a need for a better pastoral approach for couples living together before marriage.

    Yes, absolutely!

    From the same quotation: One synod member, Rosica said, spoke of treatment of gay persons in the church, saying: “These are our children. They are family members. They are not outsiders. They are our flesh and blood.”

    Yes, and it is also important to remember, in the context of this discussion, that homosexual individuals no more culpable for the fact that they are homosexual than children born out of wedlock for the fact that they are bastards. It is, rather, the sin of others that causes both conditions. Those who suffer from these afflictions deserve to be treated with dignity, and not ostracized or chastised for what is not their own doing. Our pastoral response to the situation must take this reality into account.

    Norm.

    • picric says:

      Norm, you say, “Ah, I’m not sure that I agree with this. Most of the chatter in the news media is pure drivel rooted in speculation on the part of those who have no clue what is really happening in the synod itself, and thus is best ignored.” What is the basis for you saying this? Do you claim to know something which is objectively true that no one else knows so that you can simply dismiss the reports of the various news conferences being held?

      • Rev22:17 says:

        picric,

        You asked: Norm, you say, “Ah, I’m not sure that I agree with this. Most of the chatter in the news media is pure drivel rooted in speculation on the part of those who have no clue what is really happening in the synod itself, and thus is best ignored.” What is the basis for you saying this? Do you claim to know something which is objectively true that no one else knows so that you can simply dismiss the reports of the various news conferences being held?

        What I know is simply that the Vatican, and the magisterium, do not do their real work in the eye of the public or the media, and that participants in the real discussion are not at liberty to discuss what is happening with the media.

        The most reliable indication of what is really happening probably is in the Vatican’s own press releases of last Friday and this morning summarizing the reports of the working groups — and even those undoubtedly have been sanitized to present an acceptable spin.

        Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    Norm, after many illuminating comments you suddenly revert to your oft-iterated contention that homosexual inclination is invariably the result of physical or emotional abuse. I am not sure how this explanation is supposed to comfort family members, and in any event there is no evidence to support it.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Norm, after many illuminating comments you suddenly revert to your oft-iterated contention that homosexual inclination is invariably the result of physical or emotional abuse.

      Let me know when you get to know a homosexual individual well enough to know with certainty that the respective patterns of abuse do not exist. These patterns were pointed out to me a while ago by another individual who is involved in ministry to homosexual individuals, but I know more than a few homosexual individuals and have yet to find an exception.

      Here, I should point out that there’s an establishment that is promoting a particular agenda with regard to the issue of homosexuality. Their operatives have infiltrated and now dominate the faculties of most colleges and universities, and also gained effective control of the professional societies and the major journals in the field of psychology and psychiatry. They routinely abuse the “peer review” process of screening papers submitted for presentation at professional conferences and publication in professional journals to suppress work that does not support their agenda. As a result, what emerges in the published literature is NOT objective science.

      You continued: I am not sure how this explanation is supposed to comfort family members, and in any event there is no evidence to support it.

      I’m not sure that it’s intended to comfort anyone. Rather, the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge the problem, and the second step is to identify the cause of the problem correctly. This requires honesty which is sometimes brutally discomforting.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        I know dozens of gay people and my experience does not reflect yours. But in any event, we would merely be trading anecdotes, which prove nothing. Your position that everything presenting itself as “objective science” on this subject is part of a global conspiracy reminds me of your similar position on climate change. Once one has rejected mainstream science in favour of some personal a priori the conversation has to come to a halt, I guess.

  4. William Tighe says:

    “On the other hand, the reconciliation of the churches of the Orthodox Communion obviously requires some sort of accommodation of the present Orthodox practice of allowing those who are divorced to attempt marriage again after sacramental confession of their failures in the first attempt at marriage.”

    You keep repeating this, Norm, ad nauseam, like a mantra, but I reject it; in fact, it seems to me that having stated that “Doctrinal compromise obviously is not an option,” you promptly embrace what you rejected. The practice of the Orthodox Church(es) and of the Catholic Church on this matter are incompatible opposites, and based on a fundamental, even doctrinal, divergence concerning the indissolubility of a valid comsummated marriage. This has been demonstrated (I dare repeat, “demonstrated”) by the essay on Orthodox practice, its historical evolution, and theoretical “justification” by Archbishop Cyril Vasil (a Byzantine-Rite Slovak Jesuit, and secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Catholic churches) in Robert Dodaro (ed), *Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church* – in my opinion one of the best and most cogent essays in that superb collection.

    • William Tighe says:

      Further, and as I meant to go on to state above, every Eastern Catholic church, both those that have, as alleged, never been severed from communion with Rome, and those which have returned to, or come into, communion with Rome, have adopted, in some cases spontaneously, in others at Rome’s behest, the “Roman” theory and practice regarding marriage indissolubility and nullity, which is another indication that the differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy in this matter are, implicitly at least, dogmatic in nature. (Not to mention that in various parts of the Orthodox world, and among some Russian bishops as late as the late 19th Century, there were those Orthodox bishops and theologians who regarded Orthodox practice on these matters as a falling-away from the demands of the Gospel, and in their dioceses refused to allow remarriage after divorce either totally, or only in the case of proven adultery, and then only for the “innocent party.”)

      One might also adduce the contributions of Patriarch Gregory of the Melkites and Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Catholics a the current synod as demonstrating no enthusiasm for the embrace of current Orthodox practice in the matter:

      http://torontocatholicwitness.blogspot.ca/2015/10/holy-see-press-office-cover-up-cardinal.html

      http://opuspublicum.com/2015/10/08/andrew-has-spoken-through-sviatoslav/#comments

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Professor Tighe,

      You wrote: You keep repeating this, Norm, ad nauseam, like a mantra, but I reject it; in fact, it seems to me that having stated that “Doctrinal compromise obviously is not an option,” you promptly embrace what you rejected. The practice of the Orthodox Church(es) and of the Catholic Church on this matter are incompatible opposites, and based on a fundamental, even doctrinal, divergence concerning the indissolubility of a valid comsummated marriage.

      I never suggested that reconciling the difference in practice would be easy. However, we have reached a point in the Catholic Church that tribunals now find some basis — defect of intent, defect of consent, incapacity to fulfill essential ends of marriage, etc. — to say that virtually every marriage that ends in divorce was not sacramental in the first place, and thus grant decrees of nullity fairly readily. Thus, I am not persuaded that the magisterium of the Catholic Church won’t walk some tightrope that will provide a way forward on this, in the name of Christian unity — which clearly is an urgent priority of the magisterium.

      Norm.

    • Andrew Soriano says:

      Norm tends to also repeat “Magisterium” as if it can’t be taken over by the likes of Kasper.
      Well, as you can see, Pope Francis lives up to his reputation as Bergoglio of dividing up communities. Also, given the context of Godfried Daneels’ bragging of how he and his St. Galen Mafia engineered the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI and how they arranged for Bergoglio to be their candidate during the conclave- the Magisterium doesn’t lie with the group of people the media likes to trumpet as the Catholic Church’s hierarchy. (Let’s all suddenly forget that the African Bishops exist. The entire continent is suddenly a fringe group, and the ones with dying congregations and heterodox positions on Church teaching, i.e. the Magisterium, is suddenly the “Magisterium” somehow.

      As for those who came in through Anglicanorum Coetibus, welcome to the Episcopal Church 2.0. (Now with extra-merciful bishop of Rome.)

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