A possible positive sign for the Synod on the Family. One of the usual suspects, Father Thomas Reese, who was editor of America until he got bounced under pressure from the Vatican in 2005, has a gloomy assessment, from his heterodox point of view, at The National Catholic Reporter, of the upcoming synod:
The list of those attending the Synod of Bishops on the family is a disappointment to those hoping for reform of the Curia and for those who hope that the laity will be heard at the synod.
The appointment of 25 curial officials to the synod on the family is a sign that Pope Francis still does not understand what real reform of the Roman Curia requires. It makes me fear that when all is said and done, he may close or merge some offices, rearrange some responsibilities, but not really shake things up.
According to current law, moto proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo, an extraordinary synod is made up of major episcopal leaders of the Eastern Catholic churches, presidents of episcopal conferences, and three religious chosen by the Union of Superiors General. It also states, “The cardinals who head offices of the Roman Curia will also attend.” The pope may also appoint additional bishops and clerical and lay observers.
Having curial officials as members of a synod fails to recognize that they should be staff, not policymakers. They could attend the synod as staff but should not be voting members. For the most part, they should be observers and not speakers. They have all the other weeks of the year to advise the pope. This is the time for bishops from outside of Rome to make their views known.
Go here to read the rest. We shall see if his pessimism is warranted, but in this pontificate we shall take our optimism where we can find it.