Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, who writes for the Italian daily La Stampa, hit it directly on the head today. He points to some facts. You decide. HERE in Italian. My translation:
Un Sinodo un po’ taroccato? A Synod a bit “phoney”. [Italian “taroccato” is hard to get into English with the right nuance. It can mean “counterfeited” or “falsified”. But the origin of the word has to do with a deck of cards, card games. “Taroccato” carries the sense of dealing with a “stacked deck“, having an “ace up your sleeve”. The implication is that the Synod’s outcome is predetermined through cheating. One might, for example, try to imagine how the 6000 word Relatio post disceptationem was so swiftly produced, in tolerably good translations, in several languages seemingly by magic, overnight. Is it possible that some of the sections were written in advance? Now back to Tosatti…]
When the [Synod’s] supervisor, a Cardinal of holy Roman Church, disowns more or less explicitly his paternity of a report that bears his signature, there’s a problem.
When the same Cardinal, in referring to a passage of the text, certainly more interesting and abounding with problems, having been asked for an explanation, tosses the response to an Archbishop [synodal] secretary added (by the Pope) to the Synod because he is the author, there’s a problem.
When many bishops and cardinals, from Poland, Africa and Australia, complain that the report, as it is written and presented to the press, does not, according to them, reflect what was said in the Synod hall, and that it adds things that were never said, there’s a problem.
When the text is called “unacceptable” by Cardinals and Bishops, “irredeemable” by another, and when it is said by the Circuli Minores [subcommittees] that “we are working to review the test, strikeout some phrases and so forth, but that it is a sick text [un testo malato] and it isn’t known how many of its proposals can be accepted, there’s a problem.
When there are bishops – and there are more than one – who are saying that they don’t want to come to future Synods if they are conducted like this, because they are turned into a farse, there’s a problem. When the South African Cardinal Napier confirmed on Twitter, namely in the public way, that [Tosatti quotes in Italian but I think Napier would have written in English] ““mentre è possibile che alcuni elementi stiano cercando di adeguarsi all’opinione del mondo, la maggioranza vuole restare fermamente con la verità… while it is possible that some factions are trying to adapt to the opinion of the world, the majority when to remain firmly with the truth” [which sounds much like the title of the “Five Cardinals Book“]; namely, he asserts exactly the contrary of the proposals that some journalists, for various reasons, are trying to confirm, there’s a problem.
When in the choice of the leadership of the Synod an entire continent, in which there is taking place the greatest growth of Christianity and of Catholicism in terms of the faithful (as opposed to Europe and North American, or Latin America where evangelicals are gobbling up millions of ex-Catholics), and, thus, Africa is forgotten, there’s a problem. [I made this point the other day.]
There’s more, but that is enough to frame the synodal situation well.
Here is an example of coverage from a writer and organization that leans to the Left in their reporting on the Church, Nicole Winfield and AP. HERE The interesting stuff is is in the second part. Watch what happens. Winfield calls Card. Burke a hardliner – there’s a surprise – but then admits that “he has a point”. Then she goes on to make his point for him. Even the MSM can’t easily spin what is going on too far out of orbit:
Hard-line American Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s supreme court, told Catholic World Report that the document contained positions “which many synod Fathers do not accept and, I would say, as faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept.”
He accused the Vatican press operation of releasing “manipulated” information about the synod debate that didn’t reflect the “consistent [in Italian, consistente, “large, substantial”] number of bishops” who opposed such a tone.
To some extent, he had a point. [!]
The Vatican has greatly reduced independent access to information about the closed-door proceedings, withholding bishops’ individual speeches from public view, much to the dismay of Burke and other conservatives [Interesting way to describe the situation. So: liberals are okay with the lack of transparency.] who want their side known. The only information released has been summaries of the day’s debate by the Vatican spokesman, whose briefings have reflected a general a tone of opening and welcome.
[Watch!] The briefings made scant reference to gays at all, and yet the provisional report gave significant ink to the issue. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said while he only recalled one major speech about gays out of 265, it was likely that bishops’ written remarks covered the material and were reflected in the document. [Surrrrrre.]
The big question looming is how the battle over the final document will shake out.
The bishops themselves elected a host of known conservatives to lead the working groups hammering out details of the final report. In an apparent bid to counter their influence, Francis appointed six progressives to draft the final document. [So, Francis opposed himself to the bishops?]
Whatever is going on at the Synod, it’s messy.
It seems as if it is messy in part because of attempts to orchestrate the outcome.
Meanwhile, no substantive response has been given to the arguments presented in the “Five Cardinals Book”. Why is that?
Sure, by now, most of the Synod participants have seen The Book. It is out in Italian, German, Spanish, French and English. The English version, so I am told, wasn’t in print yet, when the Synod began, so pre-publication copies were run up for distribution to participants. Surely they have made an impact. I suspect that in the days ahead, we will hear from participants about the impact of the The Book. It would take a bit to read and absorb. That should be coming into play right about now, as the subcommittees are meeting.