Catholicism Lite Triumphs at the Synod

Catholicism Lite



The Synod on the Family has issued a document summarizing the discussions so far.  It is perhaps the most mealy mouthed Church document that I have ever read, which is saying something considering the competition for that title over the past fifty years.  Here is the heart of the document:




46.        In the same way the situation of the divorced who have remarried demands a careful discernment and an accompaniment full of respect, avoiding any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against. For the Christian community looking after them is not a weakening of its faith and its testimony to the indissolubility of marriage, but rather it expresses precisely its charity in its caring.

     47.        As regards the possibility of partaking of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, some argued in favor of the present regulations because of their theological foundation, others were in favor of a greater opening on very precise conditions when dealing with situations that cannot be resolved without creating new injustices and suffering. For some, partaking of the sacraments might occur were it preceded by a penitential path – under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop –, and with a clear undertaking in favor of the children. This would not be a general possibility, but the fruit of a discernment applied on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of gradualness, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances.

     48.        Suggesting limiting themselves to only “spiritual communion” was questioned by more than a few Synodal Fathers: if spiritual communion is possible, why not allow them to partake in the sacrament? As a result a greater theological study was requested starting with the links between the sacrament of marriage and the Eucharist in relation to the Church-sacrament. In the same way, the moral dimension of the problem requires further consideration, listening to and illuminating the consciences of spouses.

     49.        The problems relative to mixed marriages were frequently raised in the interventions of the Synodal Fathers. The differences in the matrimonial regulations of the Orthodox Churches creates serious problems in certain contexts to which have to be found suitable responses in communion with the Pope. The same applies to inter-religious marriages.

Welcoming homosexual persons

     50.        Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

     51.        The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

     52.        Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

The transmission of life and the challenge of the declining birthrate

     53.        It is not difficult to notice the spread of a mentality that reduces the generation of life to a variable of an individual’s or a couple’s plans. Economic factors sometimes have enough weight to contribute to the sharp drop in the birthrate which weakens the social fabric, compromising the relationship between generations and rendering the view of the future less certain. Being open to life is an intrinsic requirement of married love.

     54.        Probably here as well what is required is a realistic language that is able to start from listening to people and acknowledging the beauty and truth of an unconditional opening to life as that which human life requires to be lived to its fullest. It is on this base that we can rest an appropriate teaching regarding natural methods, which allow the living in a harmonious and aware way of the communication between spouses, in all its dimensions, along with generative responsibility. In this light, we should go back to the message of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Paul VI, which underlines the need to respect the dignity of the person in the moral evaluation of the methods of birth control.

     55.        So help is required to live affectivity, in marriage as well, as a path of maturation, in the evermore profound welcoming of the other and in an ever-fuller giving. It has to be emphasized in this sense the need to offer formative paths that nourish married life and the importance of a laity that provides an accompaniment consisting of living testimony. It is undoubtedly of great help the example of a faithful and profound love made up of tenderness, of respect, capable of growing in time and which in its concrete opening to the generation of life allows us to experience a mystery that transcends us.

The challenge of education and the role of the family in evangelization

     56.        The fundamental challenge facing families today is undoubtedly that of education, rendered more difficult and complex by today’s cultural reality. What have to be considered are the needs and expectations of families capable of testifying in daily life, places of growth, of concrete and essential transmission of the virtues that provide form for existence.

     57.        In this Church can carry out a precious role in supporting families, starting from Christian initiation, through welcoming communities. What is asked of these, today even more than yesterday, in complex as well as mundane situations, is to support parents in their educative undertaking, accompanying children and young people in their growth through personalized paths capable of introducing them to the full meaning of life and encouraging choices and responsibilities, lived in the light of the Gospel.



     58.        The reflections put forward, the fruit of the Synodal dialog that took place in great freedom and a spirit of reciprocal listening, are intended to raise questions and indicate perspectives that will have to be matured and made clearer by the reflection of the local Churches in the year that separates us from the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of bishops planned for October 2015. These are not decisions that have been made nor simply points of view. All the same the collegial path of the bishops and the involvement of all God’s people under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will lead us to find roads of truth and mercy for all. This is the wish that from the beginning of our work Pope Francis has extended to us, inviting us to the courage of the faith and the humble and honest welcome of the truth in charity.


Go here to read the entire document.  This tripe is unsurprising.  Pope Francis was apparently miffed by the direction that the Synod was going and appointed a panel of liberal cardinals to produce the above:

Cardinal Burke was among those elected by his fellow bishops of one of the three English-speaking circles (the Anglicus A) as moderatore (chairman) of the group to help in the writing of the group reports that make the final report. There were many “conservatives” elected in the different groups, including Cardinal Sarah, moderator for Gallicus (French-speaking) A, Abp. Léonard, relatore (rapporteur) for Gallicus B; Cardinal Bagnasco, moderator for Italicus B; Cardinal Robles Ortega, moderator for Ibericus (Spanish-speaking) A.

So, what was the Pope’s response to these surprising votes? 

He personally appointed ad hoc, and without prior announcement on this before the synod, six other prelates for the composition of the final report (the “Relatio Synodi”), all known as strong liberals: Cardinals Ravasi and Wuerl, Abps. Victor Manuel Fernández, Aguiar Retes, and Bp. Peter Kang, and the Superior General of the Society of Jesus Fr. Adolfo Nicolás Pachon.
Go here to read the rest at Rorate Caeli.  For all those worried about this Synod, all I can say is that you were not worried enough.
Go here to read Pat Archbold’s take and here to read the take of Dale Price.


More to explorer


  1. The response of The Anchoress reads like a parody:

    “Lots of people asking “how do we ‘value’ their sexual orientation? I don’t pretend (or presume) to have any sort of “official” answer on that, but these are my own thoughts, because wondering is still permitted and wondering, as Saint Gregory of Nyssa taught us, is what leads to knowing!

    All I can do is suggest — bc it’s what I suspect — that God has plans and designs that perhaps we do not understand and which will eventually leave all of us, both gay and straight, gasping in wonder.

    My own deep suspicion is that the orientation may, finally be meant to a full and complete understanding of the nature of agape, which I think is nebulous for most of us, and there is certainly value in that. I look at people like Eve Tushnet, who speaks and writes so well on being “Gay and Catholic“ and how her celibacy empowers her to practice agape on a profound level — and I see similar writings from other celibate gay folk — and I wonder if there isn’t a bit of “Only Nixon Could Go To China” about it all of it.

    Hear me out: our culture is ridiculously obsessed with their orgasms and convinced that a life without orgasms cannot have meaning or fullness. Perhaps it will take our gay Christian members to fully communicate what a lie that is; how valuable will their orientation then seem? God has done stranger things.”

    Read more:

  2. The bishops are arguing that the church should embrace homosexuals
    and gay unions and their children and welcome them into the church.
    However gay marriage is off the table. What about gays taking communion?
    Apparently, gays will be allowed to take communion which is a mortal
    sin. The radical gay agenda will be coming to a Catholic church near you.

    Apparently, Francis has learned nothing from the recent scandal of pedophile

    Though gay marriage is off the table, Francis and the bishops
    must know that the state will soon demand gay marriages by the church.

    The bishops are also arguing for a new interpretation of Humanae Vitae.

    This I was anticipating. The Catholic left has always hated Humanae Vitae.
    Contraception, abortion, and divorce will tacitly be accepted by the bishops.

    Didn’t Pope Francis condemn the church’s obsession with gays, contraception
    and abortion, which are the main themes of Francis’ synod.?

    It seems to me that our pope and the bishops wish to redefine mercy to mean
    that the church must embrace sin as an act of mercy.

    I wonder what Pope Benedict must be thinking, since he appointed most of
    the bishops.

  3. On a lighter note:

    Does this mean that Catholic dating services will now accept the divorced but not annulled? After a period of reflection and penance?

    Hot dog! Line up those hotties for me. Its been a quarter of a century since I bedded me a filly! Wait, let me put my teeth in, neaten my toupe, put on that new girdle and splash on some wrinkle away skin lotion, if I can find my reading glasses to differentiate it from that Preparation H or the Capsaisin Arthritis Cream…… Ok. I am ready to take my avatar picture now. WOW!

    Thank you, Pope Francis!


  4. “Its been a quarter of a century since I bedded me a filly!”

    You go dude! How does one say “Ride ’em Cowboy” in Latin? Maybe it can be the Pope’s new motto. :0

  5. Oh, Karl, thank you so much for making me laugh really hard. I needed it so much. Please promise me that if you find a filly that you want to settle down with, that you’ll invite me to the New Catholic Pastoral Sorta Sacramental Marriage Mass cause I’ve been hanging on to two lovely chapel veils (one white, one black) for many years for just such an occasion. Just gotta locate a bobby pin in case it’s a windy day (I’m not sure they even sell such things any more).

  6. Karl: That is the funniest comment to date.
    Here is what I commented on Storm Brewing earlier: What does Cardinal Kasper propose to do with all the betrayed, abandoned, deserted, denied first wives and husbands, who have kept the Catholic Church’s precepts on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony? Violating the Sacrament of Holy Penance is not a get home free pass for the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. The Sacrament of Holy Penance requires reparation before reconciliation. The First Wives Club has already been made into a movie.
    A note to Cardinal Kasper: “Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned.” It has been the deserted wife who holds the keys to an annulment. Without the deserted wife’s consent, the Catholic Church has and does maintain the inviolability of that particular marriage. Like Catherine of Aragon who refused to divorce Henry VIII so as to not bastardize her daughter, the annulment process remains in the consent of the forsaken wife. When or until the betrayed wife seeks an annulment, the Catholic Church considers the marriage valid. If the synod on the Family and Marriage turns its back on the betrayed wife, what will it consider truth, next? excommunicating the first wife for keeping her marriage sacred? Looks like.
    Another note to Cardinal Kasper: You have been introduced to Our Lady, Untier of Knots. Now, let me introduce you to Our Lady of Succor, Exterminatrix of Heresies, and a$$grabbing demons, Protector of mothers with children and Scourge of faithless fathers.
    Cardinal Kasper, you have been out maneuvered by the Blessed Virgin. You are beginning to resemble Francisco Goya’s painting of Saturn devouring his children…from a Kentucky Fried Chicken tub.

  7. jeannebodine:
    “Oh, Karl, thank you so much for making me laugh really hard. I needed it so much. Please promise me that if you find a filly that you want to settle down with, that you’ll invite me to the New Catholic Pastoral Sorta Sacramental Marriage Mass…”
    The American Catholic; You’ve got talent.

  8. My concern when I posted that “lighter note” was that it might hurt someone or truly give the impression that I was “looking”. My intent was for a laugh.

    The filly that I settled down with, my only filly, is the one that I promised myself to in 1980. To have the example of healing this mess, before our seven children and their 13 children would be what would have the most meaning to the next generation. But it cannot happen without the Church and with each day that passes the likelihood of any reconciliation decreases, in practical terms.

    Jeanne, I still have a few of my mother’s bobbie pins laying around, somewhere. I laugh alot too. It helps me to remember that I am not the center of the universe and to, at least try to be a blessing to those who cross my path.

    My mother taught me my faith and my sense of humor. As long as my sense of humor survives, I think, so will some faith. I hope so.

    Thank you, to all, for taking my little “thing”, the way it was meant.


  9. Paul,

    An eastern Catholic priest has been very close to my wife and very supportive of her adultery and her crimes against our marriage for more than a decade. He is no different than the Latin Rite priests, nor has his Bishop or Metropolitan. My wife’s lover is the cantor in his Church.

    Few people understand how thorough the corruption is or what those of us who honor our vows face.

    He, more than anyone, has been in a position to break this nightmare. But he supports it, without blinking an eye.


  10. I like my parish, but it gets harder and harder to give our weekly donation and put forth the effort necessary to keep her afloat.

  11. 46. The Spiritual Works of Mercy: Admonish the sinner.

    47. “penitential path” = repent; Confess; do penance; amend your life, do good works for the greater glory of God through Jesus and Mary.

    I can’t go on. It is far too painful.

    OTOH, If they pass this, I’ll be in the market for a 60-year-old nymphomaniac that owns a liquor store.

  12. Karl,
    I was not judging. I only provided a web link to Bishop Athenagoras’ essay on Marriage and Divorce. Having read the essay, I do not think the Eastern Orthodox came to their position, whether right or wrong, in order to sanctify adultery and hurt the aggrieved. We may disagree with Eastern Orthodox reasoning. But however faulty their position may be, I do not attribute to their clerics the liberal malice, and greed for money and power that I see oozing from this current Synod.
    I have done some other research on this matter. Apparently there are ulterior motives for Cardinal Kasper to want to adapt the Eastern Orthodox practice of Oikonomia. His motive is not mercy. Rather, his motive is to keep people living in a second marriage or cohabitating before marriage on the German tax roles for the Church. You see, as I understand it, in Germany a certain amount of one’s income is taxed for the Catholic Church if one claims one is Catholic. But if the Catholic Church calls a second marriage adultery or cohabitation divorce, then there is no motive for the people in a second marriage or for the cohabitators to still claim to be members of the Catholic Church. Thus, they claim they are Protestants, atheists, agnostics or whatever in order to avoid the German tax for the Church. Thus, Cardinal Kasper loses revenue and this is his primary motive.
    Now I can understand the Eastern Orthodox idea of Oikonomia. Whether I agree or not is a different matter. But I can’t stand for what Cardinal Kasper is doing – placing money above mercy and then disguising that motive as mercy. And the liberal progressive news media sucks all that in, hook, line and sinker. We need to expose these motivations to the light of day. Yes, let us have mercy for the divorced and remarried. But let us not say we are doing that when our motive is no better than that of Judas Iscariot! When I read about that, my blood boiled. If this is true, then what Cardinal Kasper is doing is sickening and disgusting for a cleric to do.

  13. This statement is a gem:

    “…others were in favor of a greater opening on very precise conditions when dealing with situations that cannot be resolved without creating new injustices and suffering.”

    It mentions very precise conditions but goes on to clarify in the most vague way possible that it will be on a case by case (not general) basis. But my favorite part… “situations that cannot be resolved without creating new injustices and suffering.”

    Scripture is full of examples and warnings about sin having consequences. That is why the loving and merciful thing to do is speak the truth and lead people out of their sin. If they “suffer” earthly consequences as a result of their rebellion and sin, this is a normal and expected outcome. It is in fact a “just” outcome for them to be punished for their sin (that has most likely caused others’ suffering).

    God says it is better to suffer for doing what is right than to suffer for doing what is wrong. Pretty simple math. Scripture is crystal clear that following Christ will involve sacrifices and suffering but this new concept is not about following Christ – it’s about letting him follow behind and forgive as we thumb our nose at Him.

    No one is too worried about “injustices” or suffering when it comes to first marriages/families breaking up. It should be called the Synod to Redefine Family (as anyone eating out of the same refrigerator).

  14. I’m not quite sure what the tizzy is about. The Church cannot error in it’s teaching on Faith and Morals, this we know for certain.

    On the other hand, the Church in the decisions made by it’s leadership, habitually makes errors of prudential judgment. So much so that it’s lack of prudential judgment is a hallmark of its Divine origin, given no other institution could survive such hapless leadership.

    What is the concern, that the Church has lost its way on Faith and Morals or that it will continue making ill informed prudential decisions as it has for the last 2000 years?

  15. Karl.
    I now have a smidgeon of understanding of your situation after the comments that arose the other day on the other thread with Cdl. Burke.. You have my concern and best wishes. Appreciated the humour in your previous comment further up the page too- 🙂

  16. Let’s not panic at this stage. This document is a summary of questions which have been asked, at this early stage (which the Pope has indicated will include another Synod next year followed by a final document issued by the Pope). It is not a doctrinal statement. On that basis the only really troubling phrase to me is the suggestion that Catholics should be “valuing” one of the effects of the Fall of Man into concupiscence, the habitual temptation to commit (a certain type of) sin. This “orientation” is a spiritual fault, a disorder which some human beings suffer from to a greater or lesser extent. Certainly we must always show compassion and justice to such people just as we should to deaf or blind people. But we should not ppretend that deafness or blindlness is something to be “valued”!

  17. All of this seems to be an argument for the normalization of homosexuality. Might it not be a justification for many in the clergy itself?

  18. Prior to the 2008 presidential election the US Catholic Bishops issued a Catholic guide to one’s conscience in voting.

    The material was so nebulous, with loopholes, that one could virtually vote for an abortionist, if there were other “redeeming” qualities.

    By not speaking out in clear statements, it seems some Bishops may be reaping, what they have sown.

  19. “I look at people like Eve Tushnet, who speaks and writes so well on being “Gay and Catholic“

    I believe it was Ms. Tushnet who declared that the Catechism’s statements on homosexuality “sucked,” if I remember correctly because she objected to the use of the word “disordered.”

    “Perhaps it will take our gay Christian members to fully communicate what a lie that is; how valuable will their orientation then seem?”

    Right, because there have never been celibate Catholics who were not gay. Good grief.

  20. “What is the concern, that the Church has lost its way on Faith and Morals or that it will continue making ill informed prudential decisions as it has for the last 2000 years?”

    The concern is that the leaders of the Church will be confirming people in their sins, which leads to death, instead of confronting them with the truth, which leads to life.

    This is not a game. Souls are at stake here. The fact that the men responsible for this will eventually be held accountable really doesn’t provide any solace.

  21. “The concern is that the leaders of the Church will be confirming people in their sins, which leads to death, instead of confronting them with the truth, which leads to life.

    This is not a game. Souls are at stake here. The fact that the men responsible for this will eventually be held accountable really doesn’t provide any solace.”

    Undoubtedly many will take it as a sign of confirmation in their sin, as you say. But that shouldn’t stop the Church from proclaiming what it needs to proclaim.

    I have little hope that what is accomplished will be conveyed in a prudent manner with the intent of conveying sound doctrine at the expense of being “pastoral”. Instead, the pastoral approach erroring on the side of confusion and parsing hard truths into meaninglessness for the sake of convenience will win the day in Pope Francis land.

    Nonetheless, I have great hope that what will be proclaimed by the Synod will be exactly what the Holy Spirit desires. Whether it is a change in canonical approach or development in doctrine, these things are not to be feared and should be embraced as part of a living Faith.

  22. Paul D:

    When did you last hear (from the pulpit or elsewhere), or read in a parish/diocese mission statement, a priest or a bishop say/write anything concerning the salvation of souls? It is not a priority.


    “Aestheticism and radicalism must lead us to jettison reason, and to replace it by a desperate hope for theological miracles. This irrational attitude which springs from intoxication with dreams of a beautiful world is what I call Romanticism. It may seek its heavenly city in the past or in the future; it may preach ‘back to nature’ or ‘forward to a world of love and beauty’; but its appeal is always to our emotions rather than to reason. Even with the best intentions of making heaven on earth it only succeeds in making it a hell – that hell which man alone prepares for his fellow-men.”
    Don’t have the source . . ..

    And, if you have the audacity to question them, they will viciously attack you. These people lack moral or intellectual authority.

  23. T.Shaw, Well to answer your question, this past Sunday I heard about the salvation of souls from the pulpit but I understand your point.

    Granted this wouldn’t be my top priority but there seems to be much ado about nothing at this point. The Church is not going to change doctrine.

    Knee-jerk reactions seem to abound and the amount of heat relative to light on this issue is intense from orthodox sources that usually are excellent sources of light.

  24. The Church is not going to change doctrine.

    I’ll have more to say on this soon, but can we please retire this trope already? Few are expecting the Church to outright change doctrine. The concern, rather, has been that the Church will soft-peddle its message in effort to be more “pastoral.” And has been pointed out in numerous other locations, a doctrine may not be changed but merely ignored, and that is enough. See contraception.

  25. And right on cue you have guys like this ^^^ making the point that they don’t know the difference between doctrine and practice.

    So as you can see one man’s trope is another’s literal understanding.

  26. Given this latest debacle, I kind of long for the days when Frankie just talked about stopping war and feeding the poor.

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