A couple interesting points:
Yesterday, at the opening of the Synod, the General Relator (“president”) of the gathering, Hungarian Peter Card. Erdö of Esztergom-Budapest gave a speech (English HERE) to put the participants on their course for the gathering. He effectively defended the Church’s teachings and said that Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and issues of homosexual sex were off the table.
The speech was a good one. A good sign that it was a good speech was the displeasure of the German Reinhard Card. Marx of Munich and Freising, President of the German Bishops’ Conference. When the German’s are unhappy, it is probably a good thing. It means that someone, somewhere is doctrinally sound.
Card. Erdö quoted Familiaris consortio! He mentioned Humanae vitae! Can you imagine?
That was yesterday.
Today the Holy Father jumped in with a rare intervention (a fancy word for “speech”). At Catholic World Report we find:
It seems as though Cardinal Péter Erdö’s presentation on the first day of the Synod, in which he reiterated the clear doctrinal content of the “Instrumentum Laboris,” struck a raw nerve among certain Synod Fathers, as well as among other participants, priests and laity alike, who favor a more progressive (and, dare I say, a more revolutionary!) approach to the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church regarding marriage and the family, especially as concerns divorce and remarriage and homosexuality.
Consequently, Pope Francis probably felt pressured to make his first direct intervention at the Synod in the course of the past two years.
In doing so, Pope Francis made clear two key points: the “continuity” between the work of the Extraordinary Synod and that of the Ordinary Synod; that thus far the only official Synod documents which enjoy full ecclesiastical approval are the two discourses he himself delivered at the opening and closing of the Extraordinary Synod last October, as well as the “Relatio Synodi” or final document of the Extraordinary Synod which he approved.
So… the Holy Father underscored the fact that only his involvement with anything having to do with any aspect of the Synod makes it weighty. His own speeches and any document he formally accepts have some standing. For the rest…. pffft.
In other words, Pope Francis thumped his chest like a little like he did at the end of last year’s Synod. And then he threw Card. Erdö under the bus.
I suspect that didn’t bother Card. Erdö.
Furthermore, this tension came to the fore when at the conclusion of the “Briefing” in the Sala Stampa? when a reporter from The Tablet (a left-leaning Catholic periodical published in England) asked if divorce and remarriage were still a firm doctrine for the Synod Fathers or just a matter of mutable discipline. In response to this pointed question, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, President of the Canadian Episcopal Conference, ?astonished many in the room by proffering a very snide and imprudent remark that those interested in doctrine should consult Denzinger-Schönmetzer (a well-known and highly respected compendium of Catholic doctrine/dogma) while the Synod Fathers would continue to treat divorce and remarriage as an issue open to discussion, and—therefore—possibly open to change.
I wonder. When was the last time the Archbishop even saw a copy of Danziger, much less consulted one?
How was this spun in the official summary of the briefing?
Asked if the reception of the Eucharist by divorced and remarried persons was a “doctrine or a discipline” Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, replied saying that different people may see this differently and that it was part of the work of the Synod to discuss this.
Archbishop Durocher went on to say that the bishops were all united in acknowledging that there is a gap between contemporary culture and church teaching.
Here is the video of the briefing. Note about 1:16:00:
Also, apparently the issue of relaxing conditions for “General Absolution” came up in the context of the Year of Mercy. A ridiculous proposal, since it has nothing to do with the theme of the Synod. I doubt anything will happen with that.