From the Bollettino:
Avviso di Briefing, 29.09.2015
Si informano i giornalisti accreditati che venerdì 2 ottobre 2015, alle ore 11.30, nell’Aula Giovanni Paolo II della Sala Stampa della Santa Sede, il Cardinale Lorenzo Baldisseri, Segretario Generale del Sinodo dei Vescovi, terrà un Briefing per fornire informazioni su tema e metodo della XIV Assemblea Generale Ordinaria del Sinodo dei Vescovi sul tema: “La vocazione e la missione della famiglia nella Chiesa e nel mondo contemporaneo” (Vaticano, 4 – 25 ottobre 2015).
(Sarà disponibile il servizio di traduzione simultanea in lingua francese, inglese e spagnola).
Edward Pentin, Andrea Gagliarducci and Sandro Magister have all written about what’s coming.
There will be major changes to the Ordo Synodi, the rules by which the Synod proceeds.
As the rules stand now, in a nutshell, in the first part of a Synod, speeches (interventions) are delivered. These are customarily made known to the watching world, though last year there weren’t and, because of that, there were arguments about transparency. Then there is a midterm report. Last year it was extremely controversial and appeared to have been in part worked up ahead of time to include pre-determined points. The members break up into smaller groups to discuss the report and their points are made known. A draft of a final report is cobbled up and the members vote on the inclusion or exclusion of individual paragraphs. Last year the paragraphs were to receive a 66% vote for inclusion. The controversial paragraphs did not obtain 66% but the rules were ignored and they were included anyway. That final report became the basis for more solicitation of feedback from the wider world. Then a new document was put together, based on last year’s report. This became the working document for the beginning of this upcoming Synod.
This year, however, the rules are going to be significantly changed. That’s probably what the briefing on Friday will announce.
What will the changes be? We don’t have the exact text yet, but this is what we are hearing.
Rather than follow the Ordo Synodi as it has been for years now, there will be no midterm report (which sparked such resistance last year from those who would uphold the Church’s teaching). The small groups will not communicate with each other. Instead their results will go to the central organizing office of the Synod. There will not be a final report. There will not be, if leaks are accurate, a post-Synodal Exhortation from the Pope, though he obviously can do whatever he wants to.
The effect of this will be, from what it looks like now, to leave the “process” open-ended, inconclusive.
On the one hand, that’s fine, since the Synod has zero authority to change anything, laws, doctrine or pizza orders.
On the other hand, the vague results will provide grist and energy for the Kasperites and others who would see the Church’s praxis (and therefore eventually doctrine) conformed to changing secular mores while maintaining a veneer of orthodoxy. It will give the impression that, even though many in the Synod defended doctrine, the process will go on until the changes get through.
Perhaps I am mistaken, and those of you more knowledgeable can contribute, but the method to be employed at this upcoming Synod smacks of what has been called the “Delphi Technique“. I’ve been in clerical gatherings wherein this method was used to drive the majority toward pre-determined outcomes. The method works by isolating resistors to consensus and sequestering negative feedback.