PopeWatch: Synod Question Mark



With the Synod on the family coming up in October, Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa tells us what we know right now:


Francis began with the distribution, one year ago, of an open-ended questionnaire on all the questions concerning the family, from contraception to communion for the divorced, from de facto couples to marriage between homosexuals. And some national episcopates, with the German-speaking ones in the lead, revealed their results, igniting expectations of liberalization in the discipline of the Church.

But then, above all, Francis gathered a consistory of cardinals in Rome last February as a dry run for the upcoming synod. And to whom did he entrust the introductory presentation? To the German cardinal Walter Kasper, who back in the early 1990’s was a combative supporter of getting rid of the ban on communion for the remarried, but was defeated and reduced to silence, at the time, by John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger.

Kasper’s talk is the only part of that consistory that has been made known, all the rest has remained secret. But to judge by the subsequent public forays of some of the cardinals, it is clear that the resistance to the changes proposed by Kasper has been and continues to be entrenched, belligerent, and authoritative.

Among the resisters who have come out into the open are cardinals Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Raymond L. Burke, Timothy M. Dolan, Marc Ouellet, George Pell, Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, Carlo Caffarra, Angelo Scola, all generally classified among the conservatives. But there are also cardinals viewed as progressive, like the Austrian Christoph Schönborn, who are joining the coalition against Kasper.

All of these will find themselves at the synod in a no-holds-barred fight against Kasper and his not equally solid supporters.

The fact that the “reactionaries” Caffarra, Scola, and Aguilar have been invited to take part in the synod by Francis himself has significantly chilled the enthusiasm for the current pope.

The American Jesuit Thomas Reese, the former director of the magazine “America” and an influential opinion maker, an all-out fan of Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the beginning of the pontificate, after this latest blow has moved definitively into the opposing camp, against what for him is a betrayal of the awaited revolution.

But the battle has just begun. The upcoming synod will not draw  any conclusions. It will have a second round in October of 2015. After which it will be not the synod, but Pope Francis, who decides what to do.

Go here to read the rest.  The Synod will tell us a great deal about the future of the current pontificate and about the factions within the College of Cardinals.  Stay tuned.  PopeWatch suspects that by Vatican standards this will be a lively Synod indeed.

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  1. “with the German-speaking ones in the lead, revealed their results,” I have made up my mind. Do not bother me with facts.
    The essence of the Sacrament of Matrimony, a covenant with God, is to emulate the Creator through the gift of procreation. A man’s word is clothed in flesh by his helpmate. This would outlaw “same-sex marriage”, divorced without annulment (annulment is free of cost, now), divorced and remarried outside of the church. The covenant with God cannot be violated with impunity as it is a covenant with the Truth and Perfect Justice, and with Love beyond all telling in mercy. Defying the Truth in the Sacrament of Matrimony infers pride and arrogance, two sins which are an impediment to the Holy Sacrament in the bosom of Holy Mother Church.
    If anyone really seeks union with God and heaven, he must place himself in the hands of God in all matters and pray for Divine Providence.
    If Pope Francis caves into heresy, he ought to be king, not Pope.

  2. Your optimistic side is showing, Don.

    There is no need to “cave in to heresy”, in word.

    It has been done in practice for decades. In annulment terms it is called “SIMULATION”!

    The Catholic Church is guilty of simulating its fidelity to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus should nullify His love for His Bride….she remains, militantly loose and publically unfaithful.

  3. I am mystified by the continued influence of the European hierarchy. The Church is a shadow of Herself in Europe. The American Church pays most of the Church’s bills and the greatest growth in numbers and percentages is in the developing world. If your diocese is faltering. If you can’t convince the people immediately around you to listen to the Church, why should you have a commanding voice in Rome? Fix Germany and Austria and France THEN you can tell the rest of us we’re wrong.

  4. Karl: “Jesus should nullify His love for His Bride….she remains, militantly loose and publically unfaithful.”

    The Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church. If Jesus Christ nullifies his love for His Bride, Jesus will cut us off from the Virgin Mary.

  5. Seeing this chaos unleashed by the uncritical Bergoglio, I am only mystified that we could not have had C. Angelo Scola (or C. Francis Arinze, though now age 81) at the helm of the bark of Peter, someone with the vision of a captain of the ship to see ahead where we should be sailing…
    But it seems the bitterness of the Martini faction was too powerful for the conclave to turn aside.

  6. To paraphrase Bette Davis, “Hold on to your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy synod.” If there is one positive, it’s that much is coming out in the open and can be directly confronted. Let’s pray it’s done full force.

  7. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is exclusive to the Catholic Church. The consent of the couple to wed in the secular world is not a Sacrament of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church recognizes secular marriage, but not as a Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. If Pope Francis lets the priesthood of the laity decide their annulment as they have decided to wed, that would put them into the secular world outside of the Catholic Church. So, instead of deciding annulment, the tribunals will then have to decide self-excommunication and membership in the Catholic Church.

  8. It has been said that annulments are a Catholic divorce. Annulment says that the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony of the Catholic Church did not exist. The couple is free to follow the rules of the Church concerning marriage or not.

  9. At least the questions will be asked and discussed. We have failed on many levels to catechize our faithful resulting in cafeteria Catholicism. Perhaps after this synod reaffirmation of the teachings will be made to a new generation who I pray will make more informed choices. Perhaps the laity will know their Church hears them in their difficulties and cares. Why do we always assume they know everything to save their soul? In my experience they don’t. This could be a really good opportunity to evangelize within. I am so tired of the political speculating and hedging. For myself I am going to trust in the Lord and only the Lord for He is my shepherd and I shall not want. Where is our humility and our compassion? Our willingness to serve? We waste so much time on the infrastructure and the rules we have forgotten how to pick our brother up and dust him off and tell him God loves us in our sin. I am a traditional conservative Catholic but I seriously doubt whether God is a card counter. I just want to be ready when I’m called to leave this life. You guys make me cry.

  10. “I am going to trust in the Lord and only the Lord for He is my shepherd and I shall not want.”

    We are God’s instruments here on Earth. Retreating into a Quietist passivity and leaving everything up to God to sort out makes about as much sense as not getting fire insurance and assuming that God will take care of everything and no action is needed on our part.

  11. Cree 9/26/14: “We have failed on many levels to catechize our faithful resulting in cafeteria Catholicism.[…] We have forgotten how to pick our brother up and dust him off and tell him God loves us in our sin.”

    Hmmm. “God loves us in our sin”. I think you mean, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, by the way, one of the most objectively judgmental letters of the N.T.). I dont think God can love us commiting our sins.
    Also, I wonder, Cree, how one can define a [yet again new] catechism [Isnt this about the 50th since 1965] based on Bergoglio’s (and now Cupich”s) “non-judgmentalism”: if you cant define right and wrong, you cant define ethical action/moral choice (Mt. 19:17-19), which Jesus clearly,objectively and immediately did, when asked. Jesus’ followers were defined in turn by those who chose to keep his “hard teaching(s)” (John 6:60).
    So, if one is driven to cry, it must be over the false teaching and future accountability of so many pastors of the Church, who diverge so vastly from what a rather sharply definitive Jesus Christ taught.

  12. For this coming Synod the key is the base document already published. All questions etc will be based on that text. The procedure for the Synod is go through that document step by step and to comment, question. On one level I think that Fr Reese is a good barometer because he already senses that the Progressive side has had their side stacked against.

  13. We must teach the truths of the Church, absolutely. No question or argument from me. We must have the courage to do this and the parish priest is the place to start. I have yet to experience this for my part. What gets me down is all the maneuvering and such which I feel gives scandal and division among us. And God does love us in our sin, we separate from Him, He never leaves us. I guess I’m more concerned about the parent who told me that the Body and Blood were just symbolic as they attended confirmation preparation for their child. I don’t think our Saints and martyrs died for a symbol or idea. Yes Jesus was definitive about right and wrong but he also knew hearts and minds too. He was the total package, all that and a bag of chips as the kids say. He said “Go and sin no more”. And as for the comment on leaving everything up to God as comparable to not buying fire insurance? Wow. That sounds so belittling. Perhaps you think I’m leaning back and checking out by saying I’m relying on God. I put my faith in God for this beautiful gift called the Catholic Church. He will stand by it and guide it because it is of Him. You criticize Francis for his attitude of “who am I to judge”. I think he alludes to the fact that only God truly knows man’s heart and his relationship with him. He talks about the priests needing the smell of the sheep on them because they have become distanced from the people’s spiritual and emotional needs. It’s as if being pastoral is a disgrace of some sort. You can be pastoral and still teach the truth. I do it all the time. And what false teaching have I accepted? I fear I am one of the few who teach the truth about gay marriage, abortion, premarital sex, etc. ad nauseum because I rely on God. That’s about it for now I guess.

  14. David Spaulding: “I am mystified by the continued influence of the European hierarchy. ” Yes, and now Rorate Caeli reports (“ACHTUNG! As in Vatican II, the Germans seem to be Preparing a Coup for the Synod” 9/26/14) Matteo Matzuzzi’s report about another now-off-the-rails German Cardinal, Card. Archbp. Reinhard Marx (Munich-Fresing), formerly considered a “conservative” (based on his suspension of some unorthodox teachers in Catholic institutions in his purview) now. Marx states now:
    “We cannot be a Church of mission if we don’t maintain critical and open dialogue inside the Church itself.” added Marx at Magdeburg. The most delicate matter, the cardinal explained, is the re-approaching of the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist and the consideration to give to the many, coming from a failed marriage, who ask to be admitted anew to Communion. “This matter” (issue of marriage, Marx speaking): “will not only be discussed here in Germany, but in almost all the Episcopal Conferences in Europe”, stressed the prelate to the participants at the round-table, among whom were thirty or so bishops.”

    It may be that Marx is fearful of being suspended like the infamous “bishop of bling”, now-suspended Bp. Franz Peter Tebartz-von Elst , formerly of LImburg, Germany, for his scandalous multi-million dollar remodeling of his episcopal residence (supposedly $43 million USD). However, Marx also spent at least $11 million USD renovating his episcopal [must-be-a] palace at Munich, and about $13 million USD renovating his palazzo in Rome. Hmmm. He must be expecting to be spending a lot of time there, d’ya think?

    Meanwhile, based on everyone’s knowledge as well as my own first-hand experience, Belgium-Germany-France and the Netherlands are falling to the radcial Muslim onslaught. Apres moi, le deluge, mon amis.

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