PopeWatch: Revolt



Father Z reports on the latest occurences at the Synod.  I do not think revolt is too strong a term to use:


Apparently the bishops at the Synod are tired of being manipulated.

They created a little lío of their own.

In full view of the Pope, they rose up pretty much as a body and rebelled against the way Card. Baldisseri, who seems to be the chief architect of what may have been a pre-determined agenda, has been handling them.

I am reading Marco Tosatti’s piece at La Stampa.

My translation:

Synod, more censorship, protests

The General Secretary of the Synod [Card. Balidsseri] announced the decision not to publish the reports of the Circuli Minores [subcommittees by language groups, tasked with contributing elements to the final report]. The announcement provoked the protest of Card. Erdo [the president or chairman for this Synod], and numerous other Synodal Fathers. The Pope, silent and very serious. At last, Fr. Lombardi announced that the reports of the commissions would be made public.


Erdo took the floor, implicitly distancing himself from the report that bore his name, and saying that if that “disceptatio” had been made public, then the others of the Circulo Minores ought to be made public.

His speech was followed by an avalanche from many others along the same line, underscored by thunderous applause.

The Secretary of the Synod, Card. Balidisseri, was watching the Pope, as if in search of advice and lights, and the Pope remained silent and very serious.

Silent also were the Under-secretaries of the Synod, Fabene, Forte, Schoenborn and Maradiaga. [What a list.]

Kasper wasn’t there.

Finally, Fr. Lombardi announced that the reports of the Commission would be made public.

This is a big deal because the bishops didn’t simply roll over and let the appointees running the Synod run them over.

This Synod has been characterized by an unusual amount of information control.  There has been little transparency about the workings of the Synod.  Instead, the outside world was “informed” about what was being discussed through summaries.  Sure, the leadership of the Synod said that the participants could talk to the press on their own, but that’s not the same thing as knowing what went on the Synod hall.   Then, what one might be able to imagine was a pre-positioned midpoint report was sprung on everyone, with weird and disturbing paragraphs that didn’t seem to reflect the workings of the Synod over all.  That caused Card. Erdo, who had signed it, openly during a presser to give up Archbp. Forte as the perp.

Then Card. Balidisseri determines that the reports of the subcommittees wouldn’t be published.  That was a bridge too far.

This in full view of the Pope, who seems not to have shown his hand, but also who seems not to have been pleased at what was going on.

Meanwhile, Nicole Winfield of AP, who seems never to tire of calling Card. Burke a “hardliner” or something like, has a piece about the origin of the language in the infamous midpoint Relatio about homosexuals:

Erdo has already named the official who wrote the section on gays, Monsignor [Archbp.] Bruno Forte, appointed by Pope Francis as the special secretary to the synod. Forte is an Italian theologian known for pushing the pastoral envelope [that’s one way to put it] on dealing with people in “irregular” unions while staying true to Catholic doctrine. [Oh?]

Technically speaking, Forte and all the members of the drafting committee had access to far more material than the bishops themselves since they had the lengthy written speeches each synod “father” submitted prior to the meeting. Those written speeches factored into the draft report, even if the bishops didn’t utter them during the four minutes each was allowed to speak. [Or see them at any point.  This was another procedural point that some expressed concern about before the Synod.  Everyone was to submit their speeches to Card. Baldisseri ahead of time.  Who knows what happened to them then?]

In fact, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he recalled only one speech out of about 265 about gays during the debate.

So it’s not surprising that bishops didn’t recognize everything in the draft report since these written submissions weren’t made public or distributed to the bishops themselves, and the oral presentations only reflected a summary or particular point that a bishop wanted to make. But at the same time, there is no real way to know which bishop or bishops had proposed such ground-breaking language or whether it was more a reflection of Forte’s view. [The controversial language was “ground-breaking” but Card. Burke is a “hardliner”.  Just so we’re clear.]

Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch has always been proud to be Catholic, but the bishops who stood up and said no to being rubberstamps for radically changing the moral teaching of the Church make him prouder still.  What the Synod has thus far revealed is that the desire for radical change of the teaching of the Church by the powers that be has been underestimated, even by those most critical of the current pontificate.  However, those powers that be greatly underestimated the willingness of so many bishops to stand up and say “No!”.  I think they also underestimated the power of blogs, and other forms of new media, to keep ordinary Catholics advised as to just what is going on at the Synod.  As Father Z notes, how different might have been Vatican II if it had been occurring now, instead of at a time when home computers were the stuff of science fiction?  Especially after orthodox Catholics learned the sad lesson that silence implies consent as far as Rome is concerned, while noisy reactions tend to be placated.   Stay tuned friends, the fallout from what Father Z is calling a Robbber Synod is going to be playing out for a very long time.

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  1. “how different might have been Vatican II if it had been occurring now, instead of at a time when home computers were the stuff of science fiction?”

    The Council Fathers were vigorous enough in their rejection of the Vatican’s prepared schemata.

    Recall the trenchent remarks of Cardinal Bea, “We must help the Holy Father achieve his goals for the Council, the ones he expresses in his radio messages and in his exhortations. These are not the same as those of the schemas, either because the Theological Commission, which directs them, is closed to the world and to ideas of peace, justice, and unity, or because of the division of the work and a lack of co-ordination. They’ve made room for everything except the Holy Spirit.”

  2. “The Council Fathers were vigorous enough in their rejection of the Vatican’s prepared schemata.”

    Yep, and it wasn’t enough because only specialists were paying attention due to brief coverage on radio and television and in a handful of news magazines. Things are very, very different today.

  3. During this revolt Pope Francis was reported to have appeared very serious and to have been silent. Did he want the liberal agenda to go forward and was he unhappy that this was prevented? If yes as I suspect, then this is not good at all.

  4. Everyone submits written speeches ahead of time, but only give one 4-minute excerpt to the Synod, so that bishops were supposed to be left to imagine that many fellow bishops want to Accogliere le persone omosessuali, as written up by Forte. 🙁

  5. Deo Gratias for those cardinals and bishops who have spoken
    out and spoken the truth since the interim Relatio was published. This is what
    St Dismas the Good Thief did on Calvary as he was suffering the same crucifixion as Our Lord – he “spoke out” proclaiming as a protoevangelist that Jesus was Lord and that he was King. In today’s world it often is not easy to speak out – sometimes when one speaks truth, especially when one speaks Truth to power [yes, upper case “T”] one gets one’s head handed to him or her on a platter of a modern day Herod or Herodias.
    And what did St John speak out about outside the walls of Herod’s
    palace? Much like those who spoke out about the interim Relatio St John spoke out about the sanctity of marriage (and the Roman-client King’s adultery). St Rose of Viterbo, a mere child, provides a similar example to that of St John; she took to the streets at the age of 12 to support the Church against the invading Emperor Frederick II. For this she was banished. And today we have the shining example of hundreds of Pastors in Houston who spoke out against the edicts of the pagan empress-mayor who rules above the law. Those who spoke out recently in Rome against the interim Relatio were not unlike the Christians who entered the hostile Colosseum smiling, rejoicing and saying prayers as they embraced martyrdom and publicly witnessed to their faith and to the Truth. Let each of us SPEAK OUT! whenever we can. Again for those cardinals and bishops, Thanks be to God!
    Guy McClung, San Antonio”

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