Views on the Synod right now

Another day, another Synod post.  Yes, it’ll be over soon.  For a while.  Then it will fire back up in full fury before next year’s Synod.

Today the bishops are working on the final Relatio.  They will use electronic voting during their session.  What could go wrong?

Meanwhile, let me throw a few items at you, in no particular order, for your consideration.  Some differing perspectives.   Listen for the premises.

From Corriere della Sera, my translation:

An imprudent move. This is what the publication of the report following the first week of the Synod was considered: the one that had the openings toward the divorced and remarried and homosexuals. When the Pope saw the texts in L’Osservatore Romano[the Vatican daily] and Avvenire[the Italian Bishops Conference’s daily… yes, they have one], the Pope immediately expressed his concern about the impact they would have. A well-founded fear. The impression sent to the bishops and cardinals was that it was not a document to be studied and discussed, but a preview of the outcome of the meeting.


The Pope saw the texts in L’Osservatore Romano and Avvenire?   Really?  That’s stretches credulity beyond the breaking point.

A friend of mine in Rome sent me his take on this piece in Corriere, which I share with a little editing:

They [the MSM] are scrambling to blame Baldisseri etc. to preserve His Holiness. And yet the article is not by Vecchi, a vaticanista, but by Massimo Franco, a political analyst of Corriere and a bunch of other liberal organs and institutions, but was for years with Avvenire.

He has published books on the Church and has been pushing the image of Francis finally ending the chasm between the Church and the world. But normally he writes about intricate Italian parliamentary politics and international affairs. If he decided or they asked him to write something about this instead of the run of the mill vaticanista it is because they sense a BIG problem and needed someone who could make phone calls and not just speculate and spin the obvious.

Now, something in the tone of the article makes me wonder if this isn’t also a warning shot, signalling that maybe The Bishop of Rome is not fully in charge and may not be able to steer the Church in the “right” direction after all.

Could this, and not some affirmation of Catholic doctrine, be the possible beginning of the media forsaking him? I don’t know, probably not. But they are wondering. Now they’re seeing that episodes like [The Five Cardinals Book] or Muller voicing opposition to Kasper were not just desperate cries of a kook fringe but in fact representative of a more widespread than expected discomfort with the current state of affairs and the undignified mobster style of running the Curia, of which the Robber Synod was the catalyst.

I am reminded of when the media and church intellectuals revolted against Paul VI and started to return to their evergreen tune: that the problem is not so much of who is the Pope but the institution of the papacy in itself.


We’ll see. Servi inutiles sumus, but this article proves the good guys scored big the other day and that, with the help of Our Lady, we can succeed more than we believe.

Provocative food for thought.

Meanwhile, there is a statement, in English, from the Synod Fathers at the Vatican website.  Some of it is pretty good. HERE

An excerpt:

First, the ordinary Germans are correct. The Catholic Church is Germany’s second-largest employer with 690,000 employees. (That’s 7 times the size of Mercedes Benz, folks.) Bishops take home between $10,000 and $15,000 per MONTH, and they don’t pay for their residence, their cars or their upkeep. You can read all about it here, but suffice to say that the German Catholic Church has been a gravy train for clerics for the last 60 years.

Second, the gravy train is about to come to an end. Fully 140,000 Germans leave the Church every year. Plus, a demographic cliff looms, and the Germans — world masters at corporate planning — can see the end coming very clearly. Estimates vary, but basically in 15-20 years the well will run dry. The old people will die. The young people won’t pay.

Third, the Germans are playing to a German audience. The German Bishops care about what the German media wants. In turn, the German media wants eyeballs — plus they want to see the Church completely de-fanged for the usual ideological reasons.

Fourth, there’s the embarrassment factor. Also — and this is really a very minor point — it is a bit uncomfortable when nosy foreigners and the occasional naive media pundit asks why the richest Church in the world is such an utter failure. If and when this is admitted, it must never be attributed to the thoroughly modern German approach to Catholicism, but should be blamed on Rome at all costs.

Meanwhile, there’s this approach.

The moderation queue is definitely ON!

UPDATE: Beverley DeSoto of Regina Magazine has a take on the German views of the Synod.  HERE


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  1. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    Thank God that there is a Cruia. (At least for the time being.)

  2. robtbrown says:

    It sounds as if what’s happening with the pope is the same thing that happened with JXXIII and PVI: The renewal of the Church got away from both of them.

    IMHO, the pope originally saw this as a opportunity to promote the encouragement of a more pastoral approach to individual cases vs a merely cold-blooded application of the law. But some of those whom he established as authority figures in the Synod are interested in undermining doctrine and, perhaps more importantly, in draining power of the papacy, funneling it to regional/national bishops conferences.

  3. Matthias1 says:

    Dolan’s approach seems to be that of some other writers I typically enjoy reading (Mark Shea and Simcha Fischer) who are very well meaning, and trying to reassure people by insisting that this is really no big deal. Often this is helpful. We all know how often the media misinterprets the Popes and there’s need to tell people to relax (hence, Fr. Z’s task of talking people back from the ledge).

    Problem is this is starting to look like a big deal and it doesn’t help to deny that. It also risks being patronizing towards people who are following and reading the “working draft” itself and are really worried by it and the effect reporting on it will have. Good grief, I had a homosexual relative triumphantly posting about this.

    I’ll be writing to my bishop. May I suggest others do too? Politely. Assuring the bishop (as Fr. Z often suggests) of your prayers for him, the synod, and the Pope, but indicating that you can’t help but be worried about certain aspects of this synod business.

  4. thomas tucker says:

    Where is Cardinal Wuerl in all of this? Reminds me of the Holmesian “dog that didn’t bark”.

  5. Royse87 says:

    That press release was light years away from last week’s Relatio, so at least the faithful Bishops are refusing to be ignored, it would seem. Also, I don’t think H.E. Cardinal Dolan punted that last question nearly as far into left field as I expected. Sure, he came short of admitting the scandal of the Robber Synod and Blue Thursday, but he named himself among those bishops who found the first document unacceptable. Honestly, I don’t know whether to be encouraged or not at this point, but I am proud of our faithful bishops who refuse to be bullied into disobedience and mortal sin. Where do you see this thing ending up, Father Z?

  6. jmcj says:

    It seemed like the perfect storm. Benedict resigned after several cardinals compiled a tome of curial infighting and incompetence. The new pope comes in with a mandate to clean house and his closest collaborators use it as a cover to sack whoever they want (Piacenza, Burke, etc.) and create a reign of terror in the Curia and elsewhere (Braz de Aviz vs. the FFIs, etc.). This is all backfiring very quickly now.

    As a loyal son of the Church, I still hold out hope that Pope Francis is not a maniacal mastermind trying to destroy the Curia and the doctrine of the Church; however, it’s clear that his collaborators are less than forthright and a revolt is brewing. The revolt at the Synod may be just the tip of the iceberg. Are we about to have two popes emeriti in that little monastery at the Vatican? Blessed Mother help us!

  7. gracie says:

    Imo, Cardinal Dolan is running with the hounds and hunting with the hares. He’s in the liberal camp – not one mention of Jesus Christ – everything he says is “man centered”. He talks about homosexuals as if they are a separate species of human beings that need to be welcomed as homosexuals rather than as human beings. At the same time, CD is backing those who demand a rewrite and saying how wonderful Cardinal Burke is because who knows who will be in power down the road?

  8. donato2 says:

    Robert Royal reported that a trustworthy source had reported to him that the Pope was given the interim report on Saturday morning and the Pope sent it back on Sunday without any recommended changes.

    I share Sandro Magister’s deeply pessimistic assessment of what is going on — i.e., that Pope Francis is squarely in the Kasper camp and is promoting some significant portion of its agenda. That said, I remember one thing from the somewhat distant past that indirectly corroborates the view that Pope Francis is not happy with the hijacking of the synod, and that is Francis’s negative comment about the “gay lobby.” If I recall correctly, Pope Francis indicated gay is not o.k. when it expresses itself in the form of lobbying. Only the the gay lobby and its allies could be happy with what happened.

    I am very deeply upset about what is going on. The Church’s teachings on sexuality are a great, great treasure but Pope Francis, the liberal German bishops and Bruno Forte seem to be ashamed of them. Pope Francis also seems bent on making the Church worldly. It brings to mind the quote from Chesterton about the danger of a Church that becomes too worldly — such a Church is not in the position to provide spiritual sustenance to the world. My charism if I may say so has been to love the Church. The nature of my spirituality always has been to receive Christ through the Church. As such, what is happening is wreaking havoc on my spiritual life.

  9. Adrienne Regina says:

    You say “synod” and I say “sin-odd”

    Lets call the whole thing off!

  10. The Cobbler says:

    Where is that last set of quotes, commenting on the German situation, coming from? I don’t see them in the bolletino linked immediately previous, so I’m curious. (I would have been very surprised to see the synod fathers make such a frank appraisal of their fellow bishops and cardinals from such practical standpoints, which is why I was looking to verify that I had understood the source correctly…)

  11. Chrisc says:

    And then there is Cardinal Napier’s twitter feed from yesterday: “In politics – the contest for power through influence – as in war, the first casualty is THE TRUTH. Is that what’s happening at Synod14?”

  12. MGL says:

    You have an editing error, Father, that makes it look like your excerpts from the Regina article are except from the Synod Fathers document.

  13. Sonshine135 says:

    Wow! I never knew that German Bishops brought home up to $15,000 per month. That is astonishing considering Pope Francis’ take on living frugally. One question comes to mind: how much of that gravy makes its way to Rome? My guess is quite a bit. If that is the case, this whole Synod starts making quite a bit of sense. This has been an eye-opening experience to say the least.

  14. acardnal says:

    The final Synod document was approved by an overwhelming majority: 158 out of 174 voters.

  15. donato2 says:

    I went to read the entire Corriere della Sera article and in the process saw that the final report has been circulated and, apparently, released, although there were few details about its content.

    The Massimo Franco piece is fascinating. It crystalizes some things I had been thinking. The liberals had a rude awakening. The synod has created the real appearance of the bishops versus Francis, and this is a big danger to Pope Francis’s entire pontificate.

  16. acardnal says:

    “[German] Bishops take home between $10,000 and $15,000 per MONTH,….”

    Wow! That is surprising and unbelievable! Perhaps they are some of the clerics who need to listen and obey the Pope’s recent remarks regarding living simply. I think many priests in the US make little more than that per year!

  17. Landless Laborer says:

    There seems to be a recipe for trouble in the English CCC. The catechism states homosexual acts are “of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered”. Additionally, an “inclination” toward homosexuality is “objectively disordered”. Nevertheless we are told to accept homosexuals with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity”.

    To review: The act is bad. The inclination toward the act is bad. We are then told to accept homosexuals as fellow humans who are Catholics or potential Catholics struggling with sin. But this is no different than accepting those Catholics or potential Catholics who struggle with masturbation. And yet we are not admonished to treat those caught up in this sin with sensitivity, respect and compassion. Why?

    I’m not that smart, why do I see a problem here that the Church seems to be missing? We don’t know who is struggling with masturbation, therefore discrimination against masturbators is a non-issue, ergo the catechism contains no admonition against discrimination. How, therefore, can there be an issue with discrimination against homosexuals….?? Because we are now dealing with an additional sin: Scandal, committed without correction. This is the unnamed sin, which is a political (diabolical) snare set to trap the Church, confuse the faithful, and we have fallen into it. “Coming out” is either public promotion of a lifestyle, or an advertisement for partners, either way scandal. If it were anything more noble than that, masturbators would also “come out”, but they don’t, because it is a natural shame.

  18. kekeak2008 says:

    With complete respect for HE Cardinal Dolan, I’ve become more and more disappointed with what he’s said over the past few weeks and months. Although polite and amicable, that interview clip lacked clarity; you don’t know if he’s coming or going. He sounds more like a politician than anything else. Is it so hard to boldly declare Christ’s Truth, but to do so in a loving manner? Mater Dei, ora pro nobis! I certainly need to pray more for myself and for the leaders of our Church.

  19. Kirk O says:

    I have no fear that Pope Francis will change anything. He can’t because The Holy Spirit will not allow it.
    I was talking with a protestant friend (ex-Catholic alter boy) yesturday. He kept on saying that the Church will change just like all of the other Christian denominations have on these issues but I told him this whole thing is cool because in then end it just proves that the Catholic Church is the One True Church. We will see that the Popes can’t teach error and change Truth. I also mentioned to him that a main reason that I came back to the Church was for the very reason of pope infallibility. When I learned about Pope Paul VI and Humane Vite and that he didn’t go with the flow and change Chuch doctrine. If any pope was going to bow down to the preasures around him to change Church teaching on contraception and sexuality it should have been him. By him not doing so just confirmed to me that the papacy is goverened by The Holy Spirit and not by man. I also feel because of his stance against his own feels and going along with the Holy Spirit is why he is a Saint and deserves to be recognized as one. It is going to be a great say for the Church, this Sunday.

  20. ConstantlyConverting says:

    As far as helping families wounded from divorce, pastoral practices that match doctrine would be a start. I’m glad for the synod. This problem of scandal needs to be brought to the surface instead of being allowed to fester cancerously as it has in my experience.

    I am weary of the success of those in and outside of the Church in painting her as unmerciful, when from her foundations she has been the place for marginalized persons; one only has to _want_ to be included, not want to change her to make her falsely inclusive.

    Viva Raymond Cardinal Burke!! His interviews have been refreshing and comforting!!

  21. Dialogos says:

    Since when do journalists (such as Nora O’Donnell) pay close attention to Vatican documents? A big part of the problem (and some of this comes from the Church’s absolutely dreadful communications and lack of clear teaching) is that there is no sense that there is a hierarchy of documents in the Church, as evidenced by Charlie Rose’s intro to the Dolan interview that puts a draft document of a synod on par with an infallible papal pronouncement. I am just flabbergasted that bishops seem so unaware of what the world and their own flocks are saying, hearing, discussing–do they not read the newspaper and see what kinds of distortions and lies are reported therein?! Sadly, this synod confirmed one thing for me: that I do not trust the Holy Father. I am NOT, repeat NOT, a sedevacantist, but I just cannot square the Pope’s actions or inactions with what I believe about the office of Peter.

  22. Bender says:

    Where is Cardinal Wuerl in all of this?

    Cardinal Wuerl’s Reflections from the Synod

    Excerpts –
    In so many of the short talks given by Synod participants, the beautiful and scripturally-rooted vision of the Catholic understanding of marriage was lifted up as the starting point of our discussion. It was universally recognized how important the bond of marriage is and that it is indissoluble. At the same time, our understanding of marriage was seen as a source of encouragement for people trying fully to live that sacramental state of life.

    A second major point included many reflections on the situation in which marriage is lived today in the midst of the human condition. What so many people are hearing from our culture today does not correspond to the Church’s teaching on marriage. Consequently, the challenges are many. There are large numbers of failed, broken and nonfunctioning marriages and numerous statistics were cited to show how many people live in second marriages or do not bother to get married at all. All of this highlights the increasing distance between our Gospel vision of marriage as it is seen in our teaching and the actual lived reality in concrete practice.

    We also heard a great deal about the influence of the dominant secular culture. It was noted that there is little or no societal support for the Gospel view of marriage. In fact, the opposite is more likely the reality. . . .

    Many Synodal Fathers highlighted the need for the Church to be clear, convincing and effective in her timeless teaching. This is a continuous task that the Church has always faced but, as recognized in the New Evangelization, we need to find better ways of passing on our understanding of the faith and evoking a commitment from our young people.

    Once the discussion turned to how effective has our teaching been and how many people really understand the nature of the sacrament of marriage and its indissolubility, the conversation focused on healing those who have been wounded by these cultural currents.

    It was pointed out that, in addition to teaching, the Church has to approach marriages today, particularly for those people who were married, divorced and/or remarried, with a sense of healing and find a way to bring people to experience the love and mercy of God.

    Here it was pointed out that mercy is not opposed to truth but follows on it. In fact mercy flows from the truth. It is the truth that brings freedom. . . .

    It was generally agreed that the context of our discussion today is radically different than even a quarter of a century ago. Now we also face issues of “same-sex marriage” and gender identity as a matter of choice. Thus, we need to find a better way of expressing our Catholic faith in a language that is accessible to the many people who have drifted away from the faith, helping them to better appreciate the Good News that is Jesus’ revealed truth on marriage and the nature of the human person.

  23. JesusFreak84 says:

    Some say sin-odd, I say “sin-nod,” because that seems to be what the desire is. I also don’t get why Kasper has one shred of credibility left even after racist comments–I guess any other prejudices are OK as long as you’re pro-LGBT? And if Francis ISN’T in control of this…the Church is a monarchy, not a republic, a democracy, or anything else… =-

  24. Bender says:

    I also found that Wuerl did a series before the Synod outlining what (he thought) it was going to be about. Here is an excerpt from one posting entitled A Voice Proclaiming the Truth of Human Sexuality

    From our Judeo-Christian and specifically Catholic tradition, we recognize the human condition. This is the label we put on our fallen human nature and its tendencies toward self-satisfaction, egoism, lust and the rest of the seven deadly sins. . . .
    Now fast forward to today. The information-entertainment industry focuses on what it promotes as the “excitement” of casual sex, the imperative that people engage in sexual activity as often and with whomever and in whatever situation they please. Contraceptives become a government mandate, sexual activity merely an exercise of pleasure, and voices of sexual morality are viewed as archaic impositions on the new freedom. . . .
    The Synod on the Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the New Evangelization will of course talk about family, marriage, morality and all of the activities connected with those basic elements in human life, personal and societal. One lesson I think we can anticipate that will come out of the Synod and sound very familiar to all of us is the recognition that there is a difference between male and female, that there is a right order for the relationship of men and women, and that sexual activity, as beautiful as it can be, is intended for an enduring committed stable relationship between one man and one woman, which has historically been named marriage.
    Another thing we can anticipate will be the ridicule of this position in much of the secular information-entertainment industry. . . .

  25. I question the need of having to compete with the zeitgeist in a popularity contest over the issue of homosexuality that effects a miniscule percentage of the population, in fact ONLY 3-4% of the population. Is this a “need” in the Church? I don’t think it is. I see that there is vanity taking place on appearing popular to the modern culture and competing with hollywood, the courts, the strong arm movers and shakers in society that, because of vanity, some in the Church see a need to compete with. Again, we are talking only 3-4% of the population that identify themselves as homosexual. I fear that this document will be hijacked and carried away by lesser men than the synod fathers. I fear there will be miscreants who will use it to demand things like priests performing gay marriages using the same distorted rationalizing used after the Second Vatican Council saying we must do these things “in the spirit of the council/the synod . . . “

  26. jonh303 says:

    It seems the final document is a great improvement: But I hope it is not forgotten just how devious and manipulative the ‘gay lobby’ (and Co.) in the Vatican is… to the point of putting words in the mouths of the successors of apostles…
    The question remains, why were those who did the manipulation given positions of power at the Synod? The juxtaposition of the mid-report and the final relatio will be a permanent sign of this that cannot be erased!
    I compiled a summary of the last weeks madness here:
    If any of you have corrections please send them. Thanks

  27. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Thomas Tucker: Cardinal Wuerl made a blogpost yesterday with his reflections.

    One thing that concerns me greatly is when bishops talk about using more pastoral language. Ambiguity got the Church in the mess she is in now with so many Catholics having become lukewarm or gone altogether. So, ambiguity is not going to fix the problem.

    In fact, if you follow any African bishop, and I’ve followed Cardinal Napier on Twitter for as long as I can remember, they speak without ambiguity. And look, they are growing by leaps and bounds.

    When prelates focus on making the truth clear, God will take care of the rest. It’s when they waffle in such a way as to allow different people to get different views of the same statement that confusion sets in. From there, media, politicians, dissenting clerics, and others, exploit it to advance an agenda that is out of harmony with the Gospel.

  28. Adrienne Regina says:

    donato2: This bears repeating – “I am very deeply upset about what is going on. The Church’s teachings on sexuality are a great, great treasure but Pope Francis, the liberal German bishops and Bruno Forte seem to be ashamed of them. Pope Francis also seems bent on making the Church worldly. It brings to mind the quote from Chesterton about the danger of a Church that becomes too worldly — such a Church is not in the position to provide spiritual sustenance to the world. My charism if I may say so has been to love the Church. The nature of my spirituality always has been to receive Christ through the Church. As such, what is happening is wreaking havoc on my spiritual life.”

    Pray for us in the Diocese of Albany…much havoc for Mary Undoer of Knots to disentangle

  29. KingofCharity says:

    Is it possible that Pope Francis is trying to model an ecumenical ecclesiology that is more conducive to reunion and unity with the Orthodox Church? We know that one of the primary aims of VII and the subsequent popes has been the unity of East and West. And Pope Francis has a long history of ties to the East. This has been the irrevocable goal and mission of the RCC since VII.
    Is Francis trying to “speak” to the Eastern Orthodox? Is he trying to show that the Latin Church can decentralize papal jurisdiction and embrace collegiality and conciliarity in a way that would quell their fears about primacy of jurisdiction vs. primacy of honor? He could make a mockery and debacle of the papal office to prove that the Orthodox view is more “orthodox”? In addition, is Pope Francis modeling a softer view towards divorce and contraception in order to show that this doesn’t have to be an obstacle to East and West unity? Is Pope Francis willing to push RCC doctrine and discipline to its absolute outer limits in order to break down barriers to East and West unity?
    I think the ecumenical motive behind all of this has been overlooked.

    Possible Motives:
    1. Infiltration of the devil as manifested through heretical (progressive and liberal) bishops and now the spiritual warfare is being acted out in front of us. In this theory, some of the what the conspiracy theorists and SPPX have said is true.
    2. Pope Francis is a subversive infiltrator trying to reek havoc and chaos on the Church. Destroy the church by thrusting everyone into confusion and ultimately relativism.
    3. A huge ecumenical move of Pope Francis’ part– ultimately concerned with East and West unity rather than the “family” This is his move toward unity.
    4. A genuine concern for pastoring the “modern family” and healing the “wounds” of the broken, disillusioned, and alienated? Stress the mercy of God in order to open the doors to those who have lost trust in the Church. De-emphasize canon law and God’s justice in the name of healing and repentance. This view would hold that Pope Francis is doctrinally sound but pastorally liberal and somewhat misguided on what the needs of the Church
    5. Pope Francis is part of the radical VII liberals and progressives who fought hard to oppose Humanae Vitae and push for more radical reforms — he is an old school advocate of the “spirit of VII” who has re-emerged for one last stand against the Pharisitic RCC and Traditionalists.
    6. Pope Francis is an orthodox Catholic who sees a genuine need for the RCC to make a swing toward a softer pastoral approach without compromising doctrine. He truly and genuinely wants a more evangelical and pastoral Church that is simplified, making it more attractive to the secularized world; hence, the fullness of the New Evangelization

  30. KingofCharity says:

    I hope those 16 bishops who opposed the draft aren’t the Burke and Pell camp . . . .

  31. GAK says:

    That’s not the final document. It’s the final message.

    The final document will be the relatio sinodali. It should be quite a lot more detailed than the “final message” at the link above.

  32. donato2 says:

    Above is the text, in Italian, of the final report. A total defeat for Forti and Spadaro. I was particularly relieved to see that the language undercutting Humanae Vitae was removed.

  33. robtbrown says:

    If I might make another point: This pope comes from a tradition that separates spirituality from morality. On the other hand, in St Thomas spirituality is built on the Cardinal Virtues along with the Infused virtues. Restoring the relationship between spirituality and morality was a very important component of Veritatis Splendor.

    IMHO, the pope has proceeded in this Synod as if Veritatis Splendor had never been written.

  34. asperges says:

    The BBC reports, ” He (the pope) also cautioned against “hostile rigidity, that is the willingness to close oneself inside the written word instead of letting God surprise us”. ”

    The Decalogue, or Holy Scripture, the writings of the Saints, Summa Theologica, any sort of structured scholarship is seemingly an obstacle now to hearing God’s ‘surprise.’ Has any pope ever spoken this way?

  35. Kathleen10 says:

    The camps seem pretty obvious now. All eyes are on the players and who will do what next. This is a power grab like any other. What we don’t know yet is who will triumph.
    Sinners were always welcome in the Catholic church. Previously we sinners were asked to repent of our sins though. Some don’t seem to want that anymore. It’s too hard and not friendly enough, and our image is suffering. Being the “church of no” is clearly a problem for some Catholic leaders. Why don’t they comprehend that millions see the call to repent of sins as the “church of yes”, but to sanctity? Why do they insist on throwing away a tapestry for a kleenex?
    One can’t help but speculate where this will lead. It seems to really depend on numbers. Why would such a thing be attempted if the numbers weren’t there to support it, unless someone assumes rank trumps numbers.

  36. Unwilling says:

    This “the Church must welcome everyone” sounds as though it must be right. Wouldn’t Jesus welcome everyone? Think of the Party of Luke 14 ff. When the first invitees failed to appear, he called strangers to the feast. But that’s a parable. Here, the “welcome” is to the ‘entertainment now and coffee later’ comfortable kind of parish activities. The parable is about accepting an invitation to abandon the World — the World, the Flesh, and the Devil — to follow Jesus to the Cross. The original invitees [14:18] who made excuses and did not come, did not abandon the way to which temptations lead, could have no part with Jesus. The host invited alternates “in anger” at their refusal to stop what they were doing. “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” You cannot serve the flesh and the spirit. Being “welcome” to the Church is like being welcome to the front lines of infantry. It has nothing to do with feeling comfortable and chummy in the parish hall.

  37. acardnal says:

    I am bothered by the fact that although the Synod bishops did not reach the necessary 2/3 majority, they did reach a simple majority and voted to allow communion for the divorced/remarried/cohabitating and for the homosexual issues to be relaxed. This is disconcerting and I wonder what will happen at the next and larger Synod in 2015.

    Dear Lord, what kind of formation did these bishops receive in seminary?!? It appears the majority just want to ignore and rewrite the Catechism and long-standing Catholic doctrine.

  38. GAK says:

    From the final document:

    Pastoral Care for Persons with Homosexual Orientations
    55. Some families experience having within them persons with homosexual orientations. Regarding this, we have inquired into what pastoral attention is fitting to this situation in relation to the Church’s teaching. “No foundation exists to equate, or establish even remote analogies between homosexual unions and God’s design for marriage and the family.” Nevertheless men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and consideration. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Consideration Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, 4).

    56. It is entirely unacceptable that the Church’s Shepherds are pressured on this matter and that international organizations condition financial aid to poor countries upon the introduction of laws that institutionalize “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

  39. mrshopey says:

    “The final report was voted on, paragraph by paragraph, by the synod fathers; and, by Pope Francis’ choice, the result of each poll has been publicized, thus showing a glimpse into the synod fathers’ thought.

    Though all the paragraphs gained a majority of votes, not all of them reached the super-majority of two-thirds, which is required for official approval.”

    “Also, one paragraph concerning homosexual couples did not gain the needed supermajority: paragraph 55 describes the situation of families “having within them persons with a homosexual orientation.” Considered vague, it received only 118 yes votes.

    The following paragraph, 56, condemned the linking of international financial aid to the establishment of same-sex marriage, did receive a supermajority.”

    So, one did not receive official approval.

    “The paragraphs on access to Communion for the divorced and remarried (52 and 53) did not gain a supermajority among the synod fathers.”

  40. GAK says:

    “I am bothered by the fact that although the Synod bishops did not reach the necessary 2/3 majority, they did reach a simple majority and voted to allow communion for the divorced/remarried/cohabitating and for the homosexual issues to be relaxed.”

    acardnal I’m not sure what you are talking about. Did you read the final document in Italian? It doesn’t say any of the above.

  41. acardnal says:

    Further to my above comment and with Father Z’s permission, these are the paragraphs that received a majority vote FOR passage but were rejected because they did not receive the necessary two-thirds vote (123) in favor. They are very, very close to reaching the 123 vote tally. Scary!:

    Important note: Paragraphs 52, 53 and 55 were rejected*, having not reached 2/3 of the Fathers for required approval (123 votes).

    … [52. The possibility for the divorced and remarried to accede to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist was considered. Several Synod Fathers insisted in favor of the current discipline, in consideration of the constitutive relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church and her teaching on indissoluble marriage. Others expressed themselves in favor of a non-generalized welcoming to the eucharistic table, in certain particular situations and in very specific circumstances, especially in cases that are irreversible and linked to moral obligations towards children who would [otherwise] be subjected to unjust suffering. The eventual access to the sacraments should be preceded by a penitential path under the responsibility of the diocesan Bishop. The matter should still be deepened, taking into consideration the distinction between an objective situation of sin and attenuating circumstances, considering that the “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified” by several “psychological or social factors.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735)] [This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 104 in favor, 74 against]

    [53. Some Fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons can fruitfully accede to spiritual communion. Other Fathers asked why they cannot accede now to the sacramental one. A deepening of this question is hereby demanded so as to make clear the particularity of both forms and their connection with the theology of matrimony.] [This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 112 in favor, 64 against]

    Pastoral attention for persons with homosexual orientation

    [55. Some families live the experience of having within them persons with a homosexual orientation. Regarding this, it was asked what pastoral attention is suitable concerning this situation, with reference to what the Church teaches: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and gentleness. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, 4)] [This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 118 in favor, 62 against]

    56. It is absolutely unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church suffer pressure on this matter and that international organizations condition financial aid to poor Nations upon the introduction of laws that establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

    * Supposedly: as for the rejected paragraphs, they will still be sent out (!) as part of the entire text to dioceses around the world for “discussion” in preparation for next year’s assembly.

  42. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    cardinal wrote: am bothered by the fact that although the Synod bishops did not reach the necessary 2/3 majority, they did reach a simple majority and voted to allow communion for the divorced/remarried/cohabitating and for the homosexual issues to be relaxed. This is disconcerting and I wonder what will happen at the next and larger Synod in 2015.

    Not to worry. With each year a few more retirements.

  43. GAK says:

    Brackets indicate my own insertions.

    Best I could do in the time I had to do it in.

    25. Regarding a pastoral approach towards persons who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or who simply live together, it falls to the Church to reveal to them the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and assist them in reaching the fullness of God’s plan for them. Following the gaze of Christ, a light that illuminates every man (cf. Gv 1,9; Gaudium et Spes, 22) the Church turns with love towards those who participate in her life in a way that is incomplete, recognizing that the grace of God also operates in their lives, giving them the courage to accomplish the good, to take care of each other with love and be of service to the community in which they live and work.

    51. The situation of the divorced and remarried also requires careful discernment and an accompaniment [characterize by] great respect, avoiding any language or attitudes that makes them feel discriminated against, while promoting their participation in the life of the community. By caring for them, the Christian community is not weakening the faith and its testimony regarding marital indissolubility but rather is expressing, precisely in this care, its charity.
    52. The possibility of the divorced and remarried approaching the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist was reflected upon. Some Synod fathers were strongly in favor of the current discipline, due to the constitutive relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church and her teachings on the indissolubility of marriage. Others expressed [the possibility of] a non-generalized [i.e., not the norm] reception at the Eucharistic table, in some particular situations with well-defined conditions, above all regarding cases that are irreversible and tied to moral obligations towards children who would undergo unjust suffering. The possible admission to the sacraments would be preceded by a penitential journey under the responsibility of the Diocesan Bishop. The question must be examined in depth, taking into account the distinction between objective situations of sin and extenuating circumstances, given that “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735).
    53. Some Fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons, or those living together, could benefit by spiritual communion. Other Fathers asked why then they could not access that sacramental. An in-depth analysis of the theme is therefore urged [so that] the peculiarity of the two forms and their connection with matrimonial theological can emerge.

  44. GAK says:

    Correction: …and an accompaniment [characterized by] great respect…

  45. GAK says:

    Correction: …their connection with matrimonial theology can emerge…

    Sorry, was rushing.

  46. KingofCharity says:

    55 and 56 look promising. I can handle the “softer” more pastoral language regarding embracing the entire gamut of humanity who are all “intrinsically disordered,” but I couldn’t handle any ambiguous language that left it open for local bishops to start advocating for “same sex unions.” I know the Church would never allow bishops to support “same sex marriage,” but I was starting to get the impression that PF and the Synod leaders were subtly pushing for the Church to “back off” its resistance to same sex civil unions and marriages. This is promising.
    My fear isn’t the more pastoral language, it is the way the liberal Catholics, MSM, and secular world will interpret it as if the might RCC has succumbed and bowed to the current zeitgeist. When this is false. The Church senses the zeitgeist and then responds to it. She doesn’t conform and bow to it; she addresses it and explains how the Gospel is to be interpreted in light of the zeitgeist.
    But nonetheless, the liberals’ perception is that we are bowing.

  47. donato2 says:

    acardnal, what was voted on was a text that significantly revised and, in my opinion, made unobjectionable, the paragraphs about homosexuality. These revised paragraphs got a majority but not 2/3 support. It is unclear whether the opposition was liberal or conservative or a combination of both.

  48. kpoterack says:

    acardnal wrote:

    “I am bothered by the fact that although the Synod bishops did not reach the necessary 2/3 majority, they did reach a simple majority and voted to allow communion for the divorced/remarried/cohabitating and for the homosexual issues to be relaxed.”

    KP: The homosexual articles are much better, as GAK shows above. Remember, also, that the paragraph on divorced/remarrieds and communion states both positions (that the current discipline SHOULDN’T be changed, as well as the Kasper position). So it is very possible that many bishops voted for it for the simple reason that that is indeed what was discussed at the Synod – not because they necessarily support the Kasper position. If there was even 12 such bishops (and I think there were at least that many) this article wouldn’t even have received a simple majority.

    Even more significant to me is that the reason for the “Kasper position” has changed from the original “law of gradualness” misuse to a quote from the catechism that culpability for sin can be reduced by “psychological or social factors.” (CCC 1734) They are grasping at straws to achieve their desired end. Intellectually, they’re on the ropes.

  49. kpoterack says:


    Read Pope Francis’ whole address, it is much more balanced. He also criticizes:

    “The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfill the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.
    -The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]”

  50. Unwilling says:

    The AP story has this: In an unexpected gesture after the voting, Francis approached a group of journalists … “Thanks to you and your colleagues for the work you have done,” he said. “Grazie tante. Did Pope Francis mean to suggest that the media had got it right? that (he considers) the r.p.d. message, as presented in the media, the right one? as opposed to those who had criticized the media?

    quid loquor? aut ubi sum? quae mentem insania mutat?

  51. GAK says:

    acardnal, keep in mind a split vote on any single paragraph does not mean all the Synod fathers who voted for or against it did so for the same reasons.

    X number of Synod fathers could vote against a paragraph because it is too soft in its language and Y number of Synod fathers could vote against it because they think them same language harsh.

  52. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Thank you for the translation!

    55 got the third highest number (62) and percentage (34.8: if I reckoned aright!) of ‘non placet’ responses from Synod Fathers.

    Will it be possible for ‘mere mortals’ to know which Fathers voted ‘non placet’ so they may be interviewed as to just what each found unpleasing?

  53. Thorfinn says:

    Acardnal: as I read it, the remarried/communion section had a recommendation for further study, not to allow communion. And while I agree that it should have been taken off the table, the section was watered down enough with differing views and spiritual communion to essentially punt the topic to at least next Synod, and even so failed to be approved.

  54. acardnal says:

    GAK wrote, “acardnal, keep in mind a split vote on any single paragraph does not mean all the Synod fathers who voted for or against it did so for the same reasons.”

    Boy! I hope you’re right. I just cannot believe that the majority of bishops would vote in opposition to traditional Catholic teaching on doctrine. It’s unbelievable!

  55. mrshopey says:

    So, those paragraphs that did not receive supermajority vote are still sent out with the rest? What? What is the point in voting? I am missing something.

  56. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    mrshopey writes, “So, those paragraphs that did not receive supermajority vote are still sent out with the rest? What? What is the point in voting? I am missing something.”

    I feel pretty sure I’m missing a good deal, myself… For what it is worth, I happened to see Damian Thompson writing of “bland assurances that gay people are to be cared for with ‘respect and sensitivity’ and even that did not receive the 2/3 majority it needed to be officially adopted. (Update: Since the paragraph offered gay people nothing more than is already available, you have to wonder how 62 synod fathers couldn’t even countenance it.) But the Pope ordered that it be published anyway.”

    That last fact – if it is a fact – is weighty, though not self-explanatory.

    Presumably they are sent out with the record of the voting numbers (as already posted online) – for what that it worth. One hopes the proposed-but-rejected paragraphs will be clearly indicated as such. What the intention is, I do not know: one point in fact is to be able to compare what the relators produced with what the Fathers approved of that.

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