All I can say is, “Whew!” Topic announced for 2018 Synod of Bishops

All I can say is, “Whew!”

From the highly-valued Ed Pentin of the National Catholic Reporter:

Next Synod Will Be on ‘Young People, the Faith and Discernment of Vocation’
Meeting of bishops from around the world to be held at the Vatican in October 2018.

The next Synod of Bishops will take place in October 2018 on the theme of “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation,” the Vatican announced today.

In a statement, the Vatican said Pope Francis had decided on the theme after “customary consultation” with “bishops’ conferences, the sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches, and the Union of Superiors General, and having listened to the suggestions of the Fathers of the last synodal assembly and the opinion of the XIV Ordinary Council.”

The statement added that the theme chosen for the 15th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is an “expression of pastoral concern of the Church for the young” and is “in continuity with the findings from the recent synodal assemblies on the family and with the contents of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia”

It added that the synod “wishes to accompany [there’s that word again] young people along their existential journey towards maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they can discover their life plan and achieve it joyfully, opening themselves up to an encounter with God and humanity and actively taking part in the building of the Church and society.”

News of the decision comes after speculation that the next synod would be about priestly celibacy and a possible push to allow married priests, something Pope Francis is known to be keen to examine. That proposal was understood to have been voted down by the majority of members on the XIV Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops, the body charged with drawing up the theme of the next synod.

The members of the XIV Ordinary Council, appointed in October 2015, are:

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria;
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, South Africa;
Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras;
Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect, Promoting Integral Human Development;
Cardinal George Pell, prefect, Secretariat for the Economy;
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect, Congregation for Bishops;
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India;
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines;
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England;
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship;
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, USA;
Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy.

Okay… some great names and no so great names on that list.

Please share!

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30 Responses to All I can say is, “Whew!” Topic announced for 2018 Synod of Bishops

  1. CradleRevert says:

    I don’t know….just as the last “Synod on the Family” was quickly hijacked into the “Synod on Communion for Adulterers”, I could see this “Synod on Young People, the Faith and Discernment of Vocation” turned into something like “Synod on Married Priests.”

  2. Thomistica says:

    On the face of it, a big “whew” indeed.
    But does below give some concern? I.e., the invoking of Amoris Laetitia? Could — through the back door — this new synod be a vehicle for broaching yet again various topics long settled in the tradition?
    By the way, Ed Pentin writes for the other NCR.
    ==
    “The statement added that the theme chosen for the 15th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is an “expression of pastoral concern of the Church for the young” and is “in continuity with the findings from the recent synodal assemblies on the family and with the contents of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia”

  3. Robert of Rome says:

    I second the “whew” expressed by Father Z. Whatever kind of hijacking that could go on at a synod dealing with this topic, it comes nowhere near to the danger behind other possible topics that have circulated since the last synod. Of course, the sexual abuse of minors by priests and religious could surface as a subtopic in this next synod. Perhaps that could be a good thing.

  4. William Tighe says:

    Speaking loosely, and judging on the basis of their statements about the “Kasper Proposal” and AL, I’d say that this list of 12 prelates consists of six “bad guys,” five “good guys,” and one (Card. Turkson) about whom I know very little.

  5. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “Let Non nobis and Te Deum be sung.” Anything can be turned to bad, of course, but some things less easily than others.

  6. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Looking at the names on the list, it is clear that Pope Benedict was right: The Lord knows how to work with insufficient instruments.

  7. RobS says:

    Maybe they can do a compare/contrast session wherein they line up everything that is being done in Lincoln, Nebraska on one side and everything that is being done in Germany on the other. That would be really, REALLY instructive.

  8. mike cliffson says:

    I was younger than 10 when a good friend went off to minor seminary to be a priest – a vocation, a calling, GOD calling, he had that quite clear ” I think God wants me to be a priest. ” On marriage a wee bit older ,the sermon we got was on the high calling (by whom aswered a few words later )of married couples to colaborate in God’s plan for humanity ( mostly as parents).
    I ‘m sure there is in Latin or Italian crunchier meaning than in your English extract above , quote : (the synod)
    “wishes to accompany young people along their existential journey towards maturity so that,
    through a process of discernment,
    they can discover their life plan
    and achieve it joyfully,
    opening themselves up to an encounter with God and humanity
    and actively taking part in the building of the Church and society.”
    I thought I had been told discernment was a charism given to the church ,very especially in priests and upwards. this process is I am sure important, but the wording is impersonal, maybe its clearer elsewhere in the Document.
    Equally I am sure in the full document “their Life Plan” is GOD’s Plan for them or nothing , obviously, but couldn’t this sort of thing this sort of thing be laid on with a trowel:….. God calling, God’s plan,…….. ,the church’s and the individual s discernment, etc even if only to allay the nasty suspicions of thicko sinful laity such as myself who are easily led away from Godcentredness. “About ME”? I suspect it ain’t .

  9. Bthompson says:

    I see visions of fishwrap reporters writing iPads about this soon as being the time to discuss how we help women pursue their aspirations to holy orders. Someone will try to pull in the Deaconess question as an entry point.

  10. Fr. Kelly says:

    Given Cardinal Nichols’ recent rather public attack on Cardinal Sarah over his request for priests to begin to say Mass _ad orientem_ for the good of the Church, I wonder how they will get on together in this synod?

  11. Thomistica says:

    Fr. Z,
    I take your point, and Ed Peters’s point, that this synodal topic is better than others. Indeed it is!
    But call it an Old World weariness: I have no doubt that the usual cast of characters, including Fr. Spadaro and the Kasperites (sounds like a jazz group), are going to be manipulating this synod’s agenda however they can behind the scenes at numerous pre-synod conferences and all over social media.
    The point is that magisterially sound bishops slated to attend this new synod are going to have to prepare for this eventuality. In fact, they should start strategizing right now.
    After all, who would have thought that Communion for the “remarried” would become such a flash point for so many other issues that, prima facie, seemed unrelated, but really are by logical implication? (One can’t tweak one part of Catholic belief without there being ripple effects elsewhere.)
    I don’t worry about the Church’s long-run prospects. Just look at the huge number of heresies throughout the centuries, and the Church survived. But the current crisis (yet one more of very many the Church has weathered) requires all believers to do their small bit parts to shore up the magisterium and counter the very real damage being done in the wake of the last (two-part) spectacle of a synod.

  12. vox borealis says:

    Bthompson,
    Yep, the synod on deaconesses for sure.

  13. Papabile says:

    This actually terrifies me. I can see a whole slew of regulations about who makes proper seminarians…. For instance. No one from outside the diocese. Only those with a thoroughly integrated sexuality (leaving it to dioceses to decide what that is). No “rigid” seminarians. Seminarians committed to understanding the Church as a long Stanislaus process where everyone is accompanied…..

    This really makes me feel ill.

  14. mharden says:

    “That proposal [for a Synod about priestly celibacy and a possible push to allow married priests] was understood to have been voted down”

    All hail the Conciliarism established by Vatican II! (heh) Hoist by their own petard with this welcome push back against the liberal agenda.

  15. anilwang says:

    Thomistica says: “I have no doubt that the usual cast of characters, including Fr. Spadaro and the Kasperites (sounds like a jazz group), are going to be manipulating this synod’s agenda however they can behind the scenes at numerous pre-synod conferences and all over social media.”

    Sure. There are several possible openings:
    (1) Rock/Party/Rave/Picnic “masses” to attract the young
    (2) Adopting “secular youth culture” to attract the young, namely radical feminism, gender theory, sexual ethics and change doctrine “pastorally”
    (3) Affirmative action to ensure we get “youth friendly” priests, especially if they are LGBT.
    (4) Women deacons preaching at the pulpit to reach out to young women
    (5) Lay youth pastors preaching at the pulpit to reach out to the young

    That’s just off the top of my head. There must be at least 50 ways to corrupt this synod.

  16. Chris Rawlings says:

    I could see how the ban on homosexual entrants to the seminary gets a pretty vigorous challenge from the usual suspects. But, alas, it seems that Amoris Laetitia is more than enough controversy, and it’s not even clear yet what it’s real and lasting impact will even be.

  17. Chris Rawlings says:

    On the other hand, knowing that the Synod on Celibacy was seemingly within a vote of close advisers from happening also does not inspire a lot of jubilation.

  18. michael de cupertino says:

    Can that word “existential” be understood apart from Sarte? Why must young people take an existential journey towards maturity? We already know the reason for our existence: to know, love, and serve God. Existence is not something we have to make up.

    Why do we have synods at all? Rome ought to be in the business of detecting and refuting heresy, so that we might have some rock to cling to in these tumultuous times.

  19. Rocha90 says:

    Napier, Pell, and Sarah will hold down the fort.

  20. kjmacarthur says:

    Why won’t this be the synod on celibacy? “In order to accompany certain young men in following their vocations to the priesthood, don’t we need to make celibacy optional or, better yet, an ideal rather than a norm?” “In order to accompany certain young women in following their vocations within the Church, don’t we need to open up the diaconate to them?”

    With the present crowd in Rome, and their track record of distorting the principles of the Faith, I will not breathe a sigh of relief over this coming synod.

  21. TomG says:

    Rocha0: Ouellet and Chaput, as well.

  22. Semper Gumby says:

    There are some solid cardinals on that list. Pope Francis recently referring to gender theory as an “enemy” could also be a good sign.

  23. DJAR says:

    Personally, Father, I think the “whew” is quite premature.

    The theme of the synod contains the words “discernment of vocation.” If that’s not Vatican “code” for opening up the synod to a discussion about a married priesthood in the Latin Rite, I don’t know what would be. Time will tell, but I believe that’s what we’re going to see.

    We’re probably going to start hearing about optional celibacy from certain prelates in various presentations leading up to the synod.

    I think what is being planned is transparently obvious.

    Re the last synod, I fail to understand why people keep talking about “the Kasper proposal” as if the idea of opening up reception of Holy Communion to those in irregular relationships originated with Cardinal Kasper.

    It had been previously reported several times, and by several individuals, that the pope, while ordinary, permitted this practice. Then the infamous phone call. Then other statements, public and private.

    It’s not “the Kasper proposal” at all. Cardinal Kasper was just the front man.

    Prayers for your mother and all others in harm’s way.

  24. FarmerBrawn says:

    I wonder if the issue of accepting homosexuals to the seminary might come up?

  25. un-ionized says:

    FarmerBrawn, I wish it would come up. It is about time. This has gone too far.

  26. Poor Yorek says:

    I think our guard should not waiver here:

    1. Youth are always targets in the long-range planning of ideologues.
    2. Women’s ordination is certainly a possible “area of discussion” regarding vocational discernment, particularly given recent events at the Pope’s behest (http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/pope-tells-women-religious-vatican-will-study-women-deacons.cfm), and would fit the youth-and-vocation theme (as noted above).

    Otoh, the current generation (of Catholics) have shown themselves somewhat resilient to the misspent youth from the 60’s and 70’s. Perhaps this is an opportunity for groups like Juventutem and such to bind together for a collective and strong publicity effort to be heard above the cacophony of the progressives and secularists?

    And, on a lighter note, in regards to seeing, yet again, Abp. Forte’s name (or Tagle or Maradiaga or Nichols) on such a list, I can only think of Maj. Hochstetter’s (from Hogan’s Heroes) exasperated cry to Col. Klinck: “What is this man doing here!?”

  27. Filipino Catholic says:

    With all due respect Cardinal Tagle has his own strengths elsewhere when it comes to defending what the Church has handed down through time immemorial. This subject alas may not be one of them.

    I do wish we Filipinos had someone on the side of orthodoxy on the matter, like ye cardinals of old (one of whom still has his galero hanging from the cathedral ceiling). Unfortunately we have nobody to push back against the idea of a married priesthood simply because the clamor for a married priesthood hasn’t reached American levels of incessant. So even if the hierarchy know that Rome has spoken and closed the question with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, they wouldn’t know how to push back against the idea that the “answer” can be rewritten or overwritten.

  28. Aquinas Gal says:

    A lot of things can happen in two years. Reserving my judgment for now.

  29. anna 6 says:

    I concer with Fr. Z’s “whew!”
    Even if I saw the value of married priests, and I’m not sure that I do (we have married deacons after all ), I am relieved that they are not taking on such a controversial topic. These last few years have been too nerve wracking. Perhaps even the more liberal members of the committee didn’t want to open another can of worms in such a short span of time.

  30. Christ_opher says:

    The next Synod sounds very interesting. My best hope is that the Seminaries that are liberal have their spiritual compasses reset. Should this happen new vocations will in my opinion flourish. THe intake this year in Bordeaux for future Priests is sadly ZERO!