Here’s a disturbing report about how the upcoming Synod is being shaped. There is a lot to read here, but take time to do it. This is important.
From CNA and Le Figaro with my emphases and comments:
a private group of bishops and experts convened behind closed doors in Rome to consider the most controversial issues at the synod, [to plan] particularly support of gay unions[to the delight I’m sure, of the Fishwrap] and Communion for the divorced and remarried.
.- While the Synod of Bishops’ ordinary council gathered to discuss the upcoming Synod on the Family this week,
Pope Francis chaired the May 25-26 meeting of the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops, which is preparing for this October’s synod on “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in contemporary world.”
[NB… this is important…] The council also considered modifications to the synod’s modus operandi. [Get that?]
The Synod of Bishops’ secretary general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri – who was appointed in September 2013 – had changed the synod’s working rules.
Prior to Cardinal Baldisseri’s leadership, the synod had provided summaries in many languages of each scheduled intervention from the synod fathers. [Published in L’Osservatore Romano … shown to the world.]
That system was suppressed under Cardinal Baldisseri, replaced with a brief summary presented daily by Holy See press officer Fr. Federico Lombardi.
In the face of criticism that this change negatively affected the synod’s transparency, Cardinal Baldisseri claimed that “information is provided by a verbal summary” and is transparent, and that synod fathers were “not forbidden to speak to the press,” though they were prohibited from publishing their interventions, as any synod text “is property of the synod.” [Cool, huh? And keep in mind that copies The Five Cardinals Book™, which was sent from Italian Post to every member of the Synod, during the Synod, to their individual Vatican Post boxes, were confiscated… at someone’s orders.]
On the other hand, the impossibility of seeing the extent of the discussion within the synod paved the way for media speculation.
This autumn’s synod may re-present the same dynamic, given that while the Synod of Bishops’ ordinary council was meeting, a “shadow council” held a closed-door meeting regarding the most contentious issues of the Synod on the Family, which include approval of gay unions and Communion for the divorced and remarried.
The May 25 discussion was held in a conference center of the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University – though the meeting itself was not managed by the university. Bishops and theologians spoke before a select audience of 50, according to French daily Le Figaro.
[Get this…] The conference was called the “Mutual Convention of the French, German and Swiss Bishops Conferences concerning the issues of the pastoral care of marriage and family at the eve of the Synod of Bishops.”
The meeting was not in fact for all the bishops of the interested countries, but only for some of them – while others were not even informed of the meeting. [Transparency, right?]
Among the speakers at the meeting were Bishop Jean-Marie Lovey of Sion; Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin of Le Havre; the theologian Eva Maria Faber; Anne-Marie Pelletier, who won the 2014 Ratzinger Prize for Theology; Fr. François Xavier Amherdt, professor of pastoral theology at the University of Freiburg; Eberhard Schockenhoff, professor of moral theology in Freiburg; and the theologian Alain Thomasset.
The final remarks were given by Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising.
One person who took part in the discussion stressed to CNA May 26 that “the tune was that of a pastoral opening on issues such as communion for the divorced and remarried, and the pastoral care of homosexuals.”
One of the speakers, who asked to be kept anonymous, refused to comment on the purpose of the conference and the tone of the discussion, as “it is unfortunately forbidden to us by the organizers to give any interview or explanation about yesterday’s conference.” [Transparency, again!]
So, what’s going to happen?
It seems to me that the next step for those who are trying to guide the upcoming Synod to a desired conclusion would be to eliminate the “forum” for possible dissent from the Synod’s MO. What I would do, were I trying to force an agenda, is eliminate the meetings of the language groups after the midpoint point in the Synod, wherein the members discuss the first part of the Synod’s relatio. That is where resistance to certain paragraphs built up last October. Remember that the midpoint relatio was – almost miraculously – swiftly translated into various languages and distributed with amazing speed and it included paragraphs about things which weren’t discussed by the Synod members. My guess is that the small language groups is where the knife will cut.
Step 1) Don’t let the members’ interventions be known.
Step 2) Don’t let the members discuss the relatio.
And if that doesn’t work…
Step 3) Have a third Synod!
UPDATE 27 May 1204 GMT:
At the National Catholic Register, Edward Pentin has some coverage.
Confidential Meeting Seeks to Sway Synod to Accept Same-Sex Unions
NEWS ANALYSIS: Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, held at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
ROME — A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.
One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly “no one” opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church. [No one?]
Participants also spoke of the need to “develop” the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a “theology of love.” [How a single word makes a difference. Consider what the Obama Administration was and is trying to do to change “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship“. So, change “theology of the body” to “theology of love” and what would the result be?]
One Swiss priest discussed the “importance of the human sex drive,” while another participant, talking about holy Communion for remarried divorcees, asked: “How can we deny it, as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?”
Marco Ansaldo, a reporter for the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, who was present at the meeting, said the words seemed “revolutionary, uttered by clergymen.”
[…]The closed-door meeting, masterminded by the German bishops’ conference under the leadership of Cardinal Marx, was first proposed at the annual meeting of the heads of the three bishops’ conferences, held in January in Marseille, France.
The study day took place just days after the people of Ireland voted in a referendum in support of same-sex “marriage” and on the same day as the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops met in Rome. Some observers did not see the timing as a coincidence.
Why the Lack of Publicity?
No one would say why the study day was held in confidence. So secret was the meeting that even prominent Jesuits at the Gregorian were completely unaware of it. The Register learned about it when Jean-Marie Guénois leaked the information in a story in Le Figaro.
Speaking to the Register as he left the meeting, Cardinal Marx insisted the study day wasn’t secret. But he became irritated when pressed about why it wasn’t advertised, saying he had simply come to Rome in a “private capacity” and that he had every right to do so. Close to Pope Francis and part of his nine-member council of cardinals, the cardinal is known to be especially eager to reform the Church’s approach to homosexuals. During his Pentecost homily last Sunday, Cardinal Marx called for a “welcoming culture” in the Church for homosexuals, saying it’s “not the differences that count, but what unites us.”
Cardinal Marx is also not alone, among those attending the meeting, in pushing for radical changes to the Church’s life. The head of the Swiss bishops, Bishop Büchel of St. Gallen, has spoken openly in favor of women’s ordination, saying in 2011 that the Church should “pray that the Holy Spirit enables us to read the signs of the times.” Archbishop Pontier, head of the French bishops, is also known to have heterodox leanings.
Among the specialists present was Father Eberhard Schockenhoff, a moral theologian. Faithful German Catholics are particularly disturbed about the rise to prominence of Father Schockenhoff, who is understood to be the “mastermind” behind much of the challenge to settled Church teachings among the German episcopate and, by implication, at the synod on the family itself.
A prominent critic of Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), as well as a strong supporter of homosexual clergy and those pushing for reform in the area of sexual ethics, Father Schockenhoff is known to be the leading adviser of the German bishops in the run-up to the synod.
Also noted were the large number of media representatives. Journalists from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German broadcasters ZDF and ARD, the Italian daily La Repubblica and French-Catholic media La Croixand I-Media were also present. Their presence was “striking,” said one observer, who predicted they will be used to promote the agenda of the subject matter under discussion in the weeks leading up to the synod.
Monday’s meeting is just the latest attempt to subtly steer the upcoming synod in a direction opposed by many faithful Catholics. A statement on the study day released by the German bishops’ conference May 26 said there was a “reflection on biblical hermeneutics” — widely seen as code words for understanding the Bible differently from Tradition — and the need for a “reflection on a theology of love.”
Critics say this, too, is undermining Church teaching. By replacing the theology of the body with a “theology of love,” it creates an abstract interpretation that separates sex from procreation, thereby allowing forms of extramarital unions and same-sex attractions based simply on emotions rather than biological reality. Gone, say critics, is the Catholic view of marriage, which should be open to procreation.
The statement, which conspicuously failed to mention sin, ended by saying that “further discussion on the future of marriage and family is necessary and possible” and that it would be “enriched by a further, intensive theological reflection.”
This, too, is code for wanting a change in teaching, giving the impression that the doctrine in these areas is open to change. But for the Catholic Church, it is a settled issue.
“Imagine if the Church accepted homosexual relationships,” said one source speaking on condition of anonymity. “Ultimately, that is what these people want.”
That’s exactly what they want. Last autumn I suspected that the real agenda wasn’t Communion for the divorced and remarried.