PopeWatch: Sheer Jaw-Dropping Ineptness

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Robert Royal of The Catholic Thing gives us more details from the fallout at the Vatican over the Relatio:


I’ve  said here that Monday, the day the document officially known as the Relatio post disceptationem (Synod interim report) was issued, was the strangest day I’ve ever spent in Rome. I take it back. Yesterday, the daily Synod press briefing essentially retracted much that was said Monday and by implication parts of the document, while stopping just short of admitting as much. It was a 180-degree turn such as may never have been seen in so short a radius on Vatican soil. Ever. Throughout the ages.

And as details emerged Tuesday, the rollout of the relatio looked to rival the rollout of Obamacare for sheer jaw-dropping ineptness.

South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier was perhaps the most candid participant. Like all the others, he pushed the line that the relatio presented Monday was wrongly seen as a set of conclusions, when it is in fact a work in progress merely intended to guide further discussion. More on that below. But he also admitted that a message went out that was not the right message. And even ventured that, though the final document will doubtless be better balanced and much better worded, the misimpressions fostered in the press by the document and already given wide dissemination have put the Synod in  a position that may very well be “irredeemable.” (His term.)

I myself look forward to hearing more from Cardinal Napier. But it seem wrong – for once – to blame the media for misunderstanding what the Church is doing. The media emphasized the troubling parts of the text, of course, but for the most part understood quite well what the text and the way it was issued had done. It would have been quite easy for Vatican spokesmen – or the text itself – to have made clear that the relatio was only a series of points the bishops had in fact discussed. That was not made clear. And in Tuesday’s indirect recantation, it was hard to determine, despite persistent questions by journalists, how this sorry mess ever saw the light of day.

Before things even got started at yesterday’s briefing, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office and panel discussion leader announced that he had been asked to issue a declaration and “clarification” by the General Secretary of the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri. According to official sources, at least forty-one bishops who are involved in the Synod were quite surprised – and quite “agitated” – at the appearance of the document Monday.

Go here to read the rest.  A Synod is usually brought together so that the bishops of the Church can discuss an important issue confronting the Church.  With the release of the Relatio PopeWatch suspects that some of the bishops began to think that their actual role at the Synod might be to simply rubber stamp some radical new direction in the moral teaching of the Church decided at the Vatican beforehand.  Few people like being used and more than a few bishops probably think that is precisely what the Relatio has attempted to do to them.

More to explorer

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Hate Crime

News that I missed courtesy of The Babylon Bee:   WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a statement to D.C. police given Tuesday, senator and presidential

PopeWatch: Cardenal

  Hattip to commenter Greg Mockeridge.  Pope John Paul II shaking his finger at Ernesto Cardenal, Culture Minister for the Sandinista government


  1. With the release of the Relatio PopeWatch suspects that some of the bishops began to think that their actual role at the Synod might be to simply rubber stamp some radical new direction in the moral teaching of the Church decided at the Vatican beforehand.”
    And who decided this beforehand at the Vatican? Pope Francis? The man who allegedly told that Argentinian woman that it was ok for her to receive Holy Communion while in a civil second marriage after a divorce from her first husband?
    I could understand it if for example Pope Francis asked the Synod to study Eastern Orthodox Oikonomia to learn lessons from their practice. But what is happening I cannot understand – turning things upside down like a tin-suited Latin American dictator.

  2. I think it’s interesting that the 6,000-word Relatio, supposedly pieced
    together from hundreds of talks and submitted writings of the bishops of the
    synod, was not only available within days of the synod’s start– it was put out
    already translated into several different languages. When I consider the leisurely
    pace at which most Vatican documents– even encyclicals and motu proprios–
    are usually released in translation, well, I can only admire the miraculous feat
    of collating, editing, and translation that we see today. Which is an odd use of
    resources for what is after all just a recap of what was supposedly discussed,
    merely an aide memoire. Clearly Someone wanted the synod to be defined
    by this crappy document.
    It’s either that, or most of the Relatio was written and translated well
    before the synod even started. Take your pick. Neither scenario is attractive.
    The sort of chicanery we’re seeing at this synod disgusts me.

  3. It was against the law to come into the city of Jerusalem with dust on one’s feet from foreign lands. Jesus washed the Apostles feet before they received the first Holy Eucharist. And Peter said: “Not just my feet, Lord, but my whole body.”
    If Pope Francis admits sodomists to the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist with dust from foreign lands on their feet, Pope Francis will not be the Vicar of Christ following in the steps of St. Peter.
    It is ironic that Pope Francis has dismissed the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, religious who pray for his papacy.

  4. It is a great pity that episcopal reaction was not as violent at vativan 2. We would not have clown suited prelates now.

  5. Cardinal Kasper’s interview was breathtakingly awful. Reading the text, I think I see the Holy Spirit’s involvement.

    The cardinal makes quite plain that he and his fellow Europeans are enlightened and that the developing world’s bishops, particularly the Africans, have the particularly thorny problem of mere “taboos” to contend with; “taboos” like opposition to same sex marriage, deviant sexual activity, and divorce.

    I doubt he has been so candid before and I have to think that his statements will liven things up a bit in the Synod. It is one thing to sit on the back bench while Europeans dwell on current affairs. It is entirely a different thing to have a European Cardinal tell you that your teachings are mere “taboos.”

    I’m thinking that the Holy Spirit let His Eminence loosen up just enough to say what he thought. Now it is up to his fellow cardinals to put him back in his place. I’m praying tonight that they are filled with zeal and courage and that, like Augustin of Hippo, Africa can again send heresy packing.

  6. DJ Hesselius and Clinton together sounds right to me a trial balloon planned ahead of time.. and as someone has said somewhere else “in his dreams” … maybe just to flush out the contra-catholics.

  7. Pope Francis can have an underling trash an entire order (the FFI), demote Cardinal Burke to a minor honorary position, allow Cardinal Kasper to run his mouth throughout Europe and North America, put a nasty sort like Cupich in charge of the Chicago Archdiocese, but Pope Francis cannot punish each and every bishop who stands up to Kasper’s nonsense – and I think he realized it.

    Something is abundantly clear. The Holy Father, Cardinals Kasper, Wuerl, O’Malley, Dolan and so many others care nothing about Canon 915. It appears this entire Synod is all about trashing that article of canon law.

    We will not live to see another Argentine elected Pope. For that I am grateful. There are reasons Argentina is such a little thought of nation in this world and we are seeing them.

  8. I would really like Pope Francis to come out and say what Cdl. Burke has asked him to do – give a clear and definitive pronouncement on the Catholic dogmatic teaching on these issues – that’s his job on the Chair of Peter.

  9. Don the Kiwi wrote, “I would really like Pope Francis to come out and say what Cdl. Burke has asked him to do – give a clear and definitive pronouncement on the Catholic dogmatic teaching on these issues – that’s his job on the Chair of Peter.”

    With the synod sitting, the Holy Father might well consider the right time to do this would be in an Apostolic Exhortation at the end of the Ordinary Synod in 2015, when he can present himself as teaching in union with the whole Apostolic College.

  10. All the liberal slant espoused in the Relatio had me feeling quite abandoned.As a divorced Catholic in full communion with Holy Mother Church all talk of reducing the church teaching on receiving Our Lord while in a civil marriage without annulment has left me and so many with doubts of the leaderships ability to dessiminate canon law.

  11. Just shaking my head at what a clown car the Holy See has turned into; the best case scenario is that the Synod disbands and accomplishes nothing.

  12. MPS and Don the Kiwi are right, that the HF should express a clear summation (“Definitive pronouncement”; another Apostolic Exhortation) of what is Catholic teaching — but how do you get this genie back in the bottle? The noted European progressive cardinals see themselves in the drivers’ seat (I think they are): and I cannot imagine how this Pope can clarify matters ( Card Napier “even ventured that, though the final document will doubtless be better balanced and much better worded,..”: I cant see this happening.
    PF’s last and to date only Ap Exhortation was a La Brea tar pits of confusion and an almost phantasmagoric procession of superficially general slogans (“Money should serve, not rule!:” Great poster, Papa! ). When one contrasts it with Ratzinger’s or Wojytla’s abilites to “drill down” to fundamentals and specific thoughts, he has shown an incapacity by contrast to speak and write clearly.
    And lastly, I dont think he has the stuff in him of a magisterial leader— it would be a rebuke to Danneels, Kasper, Lehmann, Hummes, Reinhold Marx, and all the others who voted for his papacy. He would face an outright revolt from this crowd.

  13. The “Relatio” sends the mind of a true Catholic reeling. To give a sly green signal to something that is intrinsically evil as homosexuality in practice, and the other shenanigans about divorced and remarried Catholics makes the mind shudder, and the heart cringe in fear for the Church. This course of events is neither a shoddy mistake nor incompetence. The deed has been done with concerted deliberation. Saul Alinsky promoted and taught just such a modus operandi: start a fire and retreat, and let the black smoke and toxins spread before a confused crowd tries to put it out. St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us. God the Holy Spirit, spread Your wings to protect us. Amen

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