PopeWatch: Coordination



Sandro Magister on his blog Chiesa indicates the amount of coordination by the forces at the recently concluded Synod on the family who wish to radically transform the moral teaching of the Church:

ROME, October 17, 2014 – “The spirit of the Council is blowing again,” Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle has said, a rising star of the worldwide episcopate as well as being a historian of Vatican II. And it is true. At the synod that is about to conclude there are many elements in common with what happened at that great event.

The most visible similarity is the distance between the real synod and the virtual synod driven by the media.

But there is an even more substantial resemblance. Both at Vatican Council II and at this synod the changes of paradigm are the product of careful coordination. A protagonist of Vatican II like Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti – the consummate strategist of the four cardinal moderators who were at the controls of the conciliar machine – asserted this with pride. He said that he had “transformed the fate of the Council” thanks to his capacity to pilot the assembly, which he had learned in his previous political experience as the leader of the foremost Italian party.

The same thing has happened at this synod. Both the openness to communion for the civilly divorced and remarried – and therefore the admission of remarriage on the part of the Church – and the startling change of paradigm on the issue of homosexuality that found its way into the “Relatio post disceptationem” would not have been possible without a series of skillfully calculated steps on the part of those who had and have control of the procedures.

In order to understand this, it is enough to review the stages that led to this result, even if the provisory finale of the synod – as will be seen – has not met the expectations of its directors.

The star of the first act is Pope Francis himself. On July 28, 2013, at the press conference held on board the plane taking him back to Rome after his voyage in Brazil, he issued two signals that had a powerful and lasting impact on public opinion.

The first on the treatment of homosexuals:

“If a person is gay and is seeking the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

The second on the admission of remarriage:

“Also – a parenthesis – the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance [of marriage], they allow it. But I believe that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage.”

There followed in October of 2013 the convening of a synod on the family, the first in a series of two synods on the same issue in the span of a year, with decisions postponed until after the second. As secretary general of this sort of permanent and prolonged synod the pope appointed a new cardinal with no experience in this regard, but very close to him, Lorenzo Baldisseri. Beside whom he placed, as special secretary, the bishop and theologian Bruno Forte, already a leading proponent of the theological and pastoral approach that had its guiding light in the Jesuit cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and its major adversaries first in John Paul II and then in Benedict XVI: an approach explicitly open to a change of Church teaching in the area of sexuality.

The proclamation of the synod was associated with the issuing of a questionnaire throughout the whole world with specific questions on the most controversial questions, including communion for the divorced and homosexual unions.

Thanks in part to this questionnaire – which would be followed by the intentional publication of the answers on the part of some German-speaking episcopates – public opinion would be given the idea that these were questions to be considered “open” not only in theory but also in practice.

Proof of this breaking ahead of the pack came, for example, from the archdiocese of Freiburg in Germany, headed by president of the German episcopal conference Robert Zollitsch, who in a document from one of his pastoral offices encouraged access to communion for the divorced and remarried on the simple basis of “a decision of conscience.”

From Rome, the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, reacted by republishing on October 23, 2013 in “L’Osservatore Romano” a note he had already issued four months earlier in Germany reconfirming and explaining the ban on communion.

But his call to have the archdiocese of Freiburg withdraw that document came to nothing. On the contrary, both German cardinal Reinhard Marx, and in more blunt terms Honduran cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga criticized Müller for his “presumption” of cutting off discussion on this matter. Both Marx and Maradiaga are part of the council of eight cardinals called by Pope Francis to assist him in the governance of the universal Church. The pope did not speak out in support of Müller.

On February 20 and 21, 2014, the cardinals met in Rome in consistory. Pope Francis asked them to discuss the family and delegated the introductory talk to Cardinal Walter Kasper, already in the early 1990’s a combative supporter of dropping the ban on communion for the remarried, but defeated at the time by John Paul II and by Joseph Ratzinger.

At the consistory, held behind closed doors, Kasper revived all of his ideas. Many cardinals opposed him, but Francis approved him with the highest praise. Afterward, Kasper would say that he had “coordinated” with the pope on his proposals.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch finds that all of this brings to mind this quotation from Edmund Burke:

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.


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  1. Mary De Voe is correct.
    Pope Francis said, “Also – a parenthesis – the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance [of marriage], they allow it. But I believe that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage.”
    The mercy of oikonomia is not Cardinal Kasper’s motivation. Rather, keeping divorced and remarried, or cohabitating, or same sex couples on the German tax rolls for the Church is his motivation. Thus, those people become not recipients of mercy but pawns in his grasp for money. They become his victims.
    What then must be Pope Francis’ motivations? The cover of Time magazine? The accolades of a secular world gone mad with libertine hedonism?
    🙁 Let us pray for the Pope. And the Cardinal.

  2. The scathing criticism of the relation by Circulus Gallicus B (of which the moderator was Cardinal Schönborn identifies why it will have little traction when it goes out for discussion before the Ordinary Synod in 2015.

    « un style touffu, filandreux, excessivement verbeux et donc, assez généralement, ennuyeux » [An impenetrable, rambling, verbose and generally boring style.]

    Now, bishops are, for the most part, by taste and training, neither philosophers nor theologians, but administrators. All they ask for is a distinct though moderate conclusion that they can repeat when asked. They know, from their experience of affairs that often there is much to be said for several courses, where nevertheless one course must be determinedly chosen and fixedly adhered to. This is precisely what the Relatio fails to offer them. They are far more likely to accommodate their supple consciences to a clear lead (which the conservatives are providing) than to rambling arguments.

  3. There is a scorching article on PF at Townhall.com today by Pat Buchanan (“The Price of Papal Popularity”) which, in Buchanan-like concise language, he surgically dissects the Bergoglioesque leadership and PF’s apparent failure to comprehend the reefs that lie uncharted ahead for his pontificate:
    “In his remarks at the synod’s close, Pope Francis mocked ‘so-called traditionalists’ for their ‘hostile rigidity’.That is one way of putting it. Another is that traditionalists believe moral truth does not change, nor can Catholic doctrines be altered.

    Even a pope cannot do that.

    Should such be attempted, the pope would be speaking heresy. And as it is Catholic doctrine that the pope is infallible, that he cannot err when speaking ex cathedra on faith and morals, this would imply that Francis was not a valid pope and the chair of Peter is empty.

    We would then be reading about schismatics and sedevacantists.”

    Buchanan goes on, noting that it was Pope Clement VII that excommunicated Henry VIII over the indissolubility of marriage; “One wonders what this pope thinks of Pope Clement’s ‘rigidity'”.

    One would think one of the 6 or so special papal concillors PF has chosen for his Jesuit-style “consultores” would be trying to get through to him (since it is their role as devil’s advocates) to alert him to the Runnymede he may be heading into in one year. Or, if it is true that there are two sets of cardinals and bishops now with two disparate sets of beliefs, you go your way, PF, with your Kasper*-Church, and the rest of us go Christ’s way, thank you.
    * Kasper (German), “jester” “buffoon” or “clown”

  4. I think that barring Divine Intervention, this man who occupies the Seat of Peter will try something really revolutionary. He wants to make his mark on history. Like any Latin American dictator, he believes that he has a Destiny to fulfill. The more I read what he says and writes, the more disgusted become.

  5. I return to Rabbi Abraham Skorka’s (= the “Pope’s rabbi” and long-time friend) bellwether interview (Apr. 19, 2013): “I think he’s going to change everything that needs to be changed… he is a revolutionary,” [Skorka] said.

  6. I love Pat Buchanan. Only Pat would link King Henry VIII
    to Pope Francis. Poor Henry, the great libertine, had to suffer
    the rigid, Pharisee, Clement VII, who was obsessed with
    divorce and remarried Catholics, who had real lives.
    The hapless king, also, had to suffer the guile of that
    other rigid Catholic, who was obsessed with the law and
    who expressed no mercy for Henry’s lust for food, wine
    and women, Saint Thomas More.

    I’m waiting for Francis to canonize King Henry VIII (miracles
    will be waived), who was a real person, who had lived in the real
    world and who had received no mercy from the Pharisees of his time.

  7. Pope Francis, Cardinal Maradiaga, Cardinal Daneels and the bishops from Germany and Austria are seeking to wreck the Church.

    Pope Francis comes from a semi-heretical order and from a country that is so screwed up it makes Chicago look efficient. Maradiaga knows less about economics that a group of kids who set up a lemonade stand. The bishops of Germany and Austria only want their Church tax. Daneels belongs in jail.

    Their entire push makes the martyrdom of Thomas More appear to be in vain. Such fools.

    Cardinal Kasper deserves the excommunication that Lefevbre got.

    There is an excellent piece at Rorate today written by John Zmirak. Well worth checking out.

    As for Pope Francis’ views toward traditional Catholics, well, my view of him is that he is a lousy pontiff who should quit. My prayers for him are that the Holy Spirit leads him to go back to Argentina and stay there.

  8. More from Rorate – according to Il Secolo, Cardinal Muller will be sent to Siberia and the Curia purge will not stop with those put in place by Papa Benedetto but will also remove the Polish clergy loyal to Papa Jan Pavel.

    Pope Francis will never set foot in Poland. Count on it.

  9. How dreadful all of this is!! How sad. One suspects money is at the root of it. We need a miracle. Let us all pray very hard.

  10. “Pope Francis will never set foot in Poland. Count on it.”
    World Youth Day in Krakow in 2 years. My now 12-year-old son will be attending.
    For you to be right in your prediction, it would mean (a) Francis is still Pope and doesn’t attend, thereby costing him a lot of popularity among the youth (and we know how much he craves popularity); or (b) Francis is no longer Pope.

  11. Jay Anderson, I stand corrected. I am certain that he isn’t going to be very warmly welcomed by the Polish Catholic hierarchy, given the criticism by the Polish Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Synod and the (alleged) soon-to-happen purge of Polish clergy from the Curia, provided he is Pope at the next World Youth Day.

    I hope your son enjoys Krakow. Krakow escaped mass destruction during WWII, and being the hometown of St. Karol Wojtyla, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska and St. Maximilan Kolbe it is a special place.

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