Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Some of the Confusion Surrounding the Synod of the Family Interim Report

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family is a two week gathering at the  Vatican of over 250  Bishops to grapple with “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.”  Each day was dedicated to contemplating a different issue. This Extraordinary Synod will produce a working document which will lay a foundation for an ordinary synod in 2015 which would implement any formal changes to church guidelines touching about difficult family matters as well as a prospective Apostolic Exhortation.

 The Synod Fathers heard from selected lay Catholics from across the globe to illuminate some of the challenging issues facing the modern family.  “Synod 2014"  touched upon hot button issues such as: cohabitation; divorced Catholics who civilly remarry, contraception, homosexuality; and the current elite cause celebre same sex so called marriage. Considering the subject matter the secular media keenly monitored the Synod and promoted any signals of progressive politics.


Unfortunately for the faithful not participating in the proceedings, there are conflicting signals coming from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.  For example, Pope Francis encouraged participants to “speak fearlessly and listen humbly.”  Pope Francis spoke out against bishops afraid to disagree with the Pope when he said: “This is no good.  This is not synodality.”  Archbishop of Durbin, South Africa Wilfrid Cardinal Napier certainly followed this exhortation.

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 Despite assurances from the Vatican Press Office at the start of the Synod that there would be no doctrinal changes only better strategies for communicating the truths of the family, the secular and liberal Catholic media reports  as demonstrated by Jesuit Fr. James Martin report of “stunning changes” on how the Catholic Church approaches the LBGTQQ? persons. This characterizes the Synod of the Media, which capitalizes on the media blackout to interject their Synod spin.

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 Mid way through the Synod, a relatio post disceptationem was released which summarized the large group session discussion for the small working groups.  Progressives praised the relatio, implying that it marked monumental changes rather than discussion points.  Conservatives are concerned that final pastoral positions may be preordained.

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  Cardinal Burke's reaction to the relatio has be likened to aftershocks to the pastoral earthquake of the synod summary

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After the relatio was released and not universally welcomed, the Synod did not hold a regular media briefing with questions and answers. Catholic media sources like the Archdiocese of New York's Catholic Channel on Sirus XM satellite radio went wall-to-wall to correct impressions of the relatio.

 The groundswell of dissent coming from within the Synod demonstrates that those pulling the strings did  not appreciate how the interim report would be proclaimed as the gospel truth in the so called Synod of the Media which has its hot button issues on sexuality. In addition, the relatio did not reflect a balanced view of the discussion points.  Moreover, this relatio concentrated pastoral approaches without clearly reaffirming Church teachings.

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