The on-again, off-again status of a Final Report is still up in the air. However, today it was announced that there will be a Final Report. So, we are “on” again. UPDATE: HERE
Also, concerning the 13 Cardinals Letter™, as I understand things now, Tornielli broke the news. Sandro Magister had a source for the text but without names. He got names from someone else, but made a few mistakes and/or used information that was not verified. So, some names of Cardinals are right, some are wrong.
ALSO Fr. Robert Dodaro was on EWTN. Catch this at 14:45. It’s worth it:
I had it from a third independent source just now that Card. DiNardo was one of the signers. Also, the text that was circulated was not the text that the Holy Father received.
___ ORIGINAL Published on: Oct 12, 2015 @ 12:06
You should start with Andrea Gagliarducci’s wrap up of Week 1 over at Monday Vatican.
The big news was that 13 Cardinals, members of the Synod, gave a letter to Pope Francis in which they expressed … concerns. Sandro Magister has the text and the names of 9 of the Cardinals. HERE
In alphabetical order:
– Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, theologian, formerly the first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family;
– Thomas C. Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada;
– Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, United States;
– Willem J. Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland;
– Gerhard L. Müller, former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, since 2012 prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith;
– Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014;
– George Pell, archbishop emeritus of Sydney, Australia, since 2014 prefect in the Vatican of the secretariat for the economy;
– Robert Sarah, former archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, since 2014 prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline – Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy;
Card. Dolan surprised me a little, but not Müller, Pell and Sarah, who hold the key curial positions at Faith, Finance and Worship.
The text of the letter to Pope Francis:
As the Synod on the Family begins, and with a desire to see it fruitfully serve the Church and your ministry, we respectfully ask you to consider a number of concerns we have heard from other synod fathers, and which we share.
While the synod’s preparatory document, the “Instrumentum Laboris,” has admirable elements, it also has sections that would benefit from substantial reflection and reworking. The new procedures guiding the synod seem to guarantee it excessive influence on the synod’s deliberations and on the final synodal document. As it stands, and given the concerns we have already heard from many of the fathers about its various problematic sections, the “Instrumentum” cannot adequately serve as a guiding text or the foundation of a final document.
The new synodal procedures will be seen in some quarters as lacking openness and genuine collegiality. In the past, the process of offering propositions and voting on them served the valuable purpose of taking the measure of the synod fathers’ minds. The absence of propositions and their related discussions and voting seems to discourage open debate and to confine discussion to small groups; thus it seems urgent to us that the crafting of propositions to be voted on by the entire synod should be restored. Voting on a final document comes too late in the process for a full review and serious adjustment of the text. [Almost as if it was planned that way?]
Additionally, the lack of input by the synod fathers in the composition of the drafting committee has created considerable unease. Members have been appointed, not elected, without consultation. Likewise, anyone drafting anything at the level of the small circles should be elected, not appointed.
In turn, these things have created a concern that the new procedures are not true to the traditional spirit and purpose of a synod. It is unclear why these procedural changes are necessary. A number of fathers feel the new process seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions. [There it is.]
Finally and perhaps most urgently, various fathers have expressed concern that a synod designed to address a vital pastoral matter – reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family – may become dominated by the theological/doctrinal issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. [There may be less danger of that now, but the Synod is not over. Attempts to distance Card. Erdo’s opening statement from the workings of the Synod clearly leave the issue on the table for some people. Also, remember that what the late-great Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.”] If so, this will inevitably raise even more fundamental issues about how the Church, going forward, should interpret and apply the Word of God, her doctrines and her disciplines to changes in culture. The collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation, warrants great caution in our own synodal discussions.
Your Holiness, we offer these thoughts in a spirit of fidelity, and we thank you for considering them.
Faithfully yours in Jesus Christ.
However, John Allen in his recent offering (HERE) has this:
Napier acknowledged signing a letter, but said its content was different from that presented in Magister’s report. The letter he signed, he said, was specifically about the 10-member commission preparing the final document.
The plot thickens.
Damien Thompson has a panic-stricken take on the Synod as it stands. HERE
Crisis for Pope Francis as top-level cardinals tell him: your synod could lead to the collapse of the church
This is the gravest crisis he has faced, worse than anything that happened to Benedict XVI, and he knows it.
And, talking of the Pope Emeritus, I suspect that, had he been free to sign the letter, he would have done so.
Moreover – and this is very dangerous for Francis – the main point of contention is not the question of whether the church should be give communion to divorce people in second marriages, or whether gay unions should be given some degree of recognition.
This is an argument about the wisdom of calling the synod in the first place, and expresses the suspicion of over 100 Synod Fathers that the organisers are manipulating proceedings by confronting them with working papers and procedures designed to push them in a liberal direction. Others are simply fed up with the amateurish nature of the proceedings and wonder why, after last year’s chaotic preparatory synod, the Pope left the same people in charge. To quote the Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge, ‘At times our work has seemed more muddled than methodical’.
I’m one of countless commentators who has warned that holding this synod could split the church. Now it’s happening, much faster than any of us anticipated.
Mr. Thompson also indicates that some Cardinals have denied signing the letter, to wit, Piacenza (a surprise), Erdö (a surprise and yet not, since he is the General Relator), Scola (he said some squishy things about the new tribunal norms), Vingt-Trois (a President-Delegate for the Synod).
Meanwhile… what do the enemies of all that is truly Catholic say? Let’s look, for example, at Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter). Their writer, MS Winters, offers another loooong, angst-ridden piece HERE. If you can fight through the logorrhea you get a sense that he (and his tribe) are worried. They are worried for different reasons than Mr. Thompson, of course. I don’t think that the National Schismatic Reporter would mind a schism in the least. Nay rather! Anyway, steel yourselves and check out Winter’s paragraph starting with Archbp. Chaput, toward the end.
The libs are worried that they are not going to get their way. Redoubts springing up as the Synod continues.
On that note, I point you also to the intervention made by the President of the Bishops Conference of Poland, Stanislaw Gadecki, Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan. HERE Remember: The Poles have this figured out. They have correctly sensed that the Magisterium of John Paul II is under attack and they are not happy.
Here is his intervention. It’s really good, so let’s read all of it:
Intervention at the general session 6th
Saturday, 10 October 2015.
+ Stanislaw Gadecki, Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan
President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
To begin, I want to emphasize that the following intervention reflects not only my personal opinion, but the opinion of the entire Polish Bishops’ Conference. [Whoa! He’s not fooling around.]
- [He presents a statement, like a “thesis”:] There is no doubt that the Church of our time must—in a spirit of mercy—help civilly remarried divorcees with special charity, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, while they may indeed, as baptized, participate in Her life.
[The Gadecki’s comments on it:] Let us, therefore, encourage them to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] Let the Church pray for them, encourage them and show Herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope (cf. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 84). [Remember: the Poles see what is going on as an attack on the body of teaching of John Paul II.]
- Yet, the Church—in Her teaching on the admission of remarried divorcees—cannot yield to the will of man, but only to the will of Christ (cf. Paul VI, [JP2 and now Paul.] Address to the Roman Rota, 01.28.1978; John Paul II, Address to the Roman Rota, 01.23.1992, 01.29.1993 and 01.22.1996). [That’s a shot at the Kasperites, who would modify theology according to shifting mores.] Consequently, the Church cannot let Herself be led by feelings of false compassion for people or by modes of thought that—despite their worldwide popularity—are mistaken.
Admitting to Communion those who continue cohabiting “more uxorio” [as a husband and wife] without the sacramental bond would be contrary to the Tradition of the Church. The documents of the first synods of Elvira, Arles and Neocaesarea, which took place in the years 304-319, already confirmed the Church’s doctrine of not admitting the divorced who have remarried to Eucharistic Communion.
This position is based on the fact that “their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist” (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 84; 1 Cor 11:27–29; Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 29; Francis, Angelus, 16 August 2015). [Citing, again, JP2 and now also B16. Francis too, though why he cites that particular address is puzzling. HERE]
- The Eucharist is the sacrament of the baptized who are in the state of sacramental grace. Admitting the civilly remarried divorcees to Holy Communion would cause great damage not only to family pastoral ministry, but also to the Church’s doctrine of sanctifying grace.
In fact, the decision to admit them to Holy Communion would open the door to this sacrament for all who live in mortal sin. This in turn would lead to the elimination of the Sacrament of Penance and distort the significance of living in the state of sanctifying grace. [yes… Not just damage to the Church’s teaching, but also practical and immediate damage to Penance, which is already on the ropes.] Moreover, it must be noted that the Church cannot accept the so-called “gradualness of the law” (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 34).
As Pope Francis reminded us, we who are here do not want and do not have power to change the doctrine of the Church.
Meanwhile, John Allen reports on what is going on. HERE In regard to the “rigging” of the Synod (Edward Pentin wrote about what happened last year), Allen has this:
[Card.] Wuerl bristled at suggestions that the outcome of the synod has been pre-determined, which were widely voiced among predominantly conservative commentators prior to the event, and which he said are also shared by some inside the synod itself.
“I had never been in a synod that has been as open,” Wuerl said of the 2014 gathering, “and the one we’re in right now follows that same openness.”
“I don’t see this intrigue, because I don’t know how you could make that happen,” he said.
Wuerl said much of the content of the synod’s conclusions will be determined in small group discussions, and “unless you had some way of silencing everybody in all 13 circles, I just can’t buy this idea that it’s all rigged.”
We don’t know what the Synod will produce.
Right now it is producing process stories. Process is not unimportant, however, since it points to deeper questions about the people who are guiding the Church and, therefore, the Church’s preaching and practice for the nonce.
Frankly, I will be happy if it produces nothing at all. Nothing better than possible alternatives. On my wall above my desk is a painting by Salvator Rosa of “Philosophy”, an ascetic scholar holding a sign that reads: Aut tace aut loquere meliora silentio. If there is no Final Report from the Synod, that’s okay by me, when I consider what could be in it. Of course that has its own problems. It signals that the process (of obtaining certain predetermined ends) might not be over.
I refer to the readership again to Yogi Bera.