Notes on the Synod: Where do the “small groups” stand?

While I was traveling a Friendly Roman Observer did some analysis of how the small groups or circuli minores are coming down… for the Kasperite (non) Proposal (boo!) or for the doctrine of the Church.  I’ll share it here, somewhat edited.

The small group reports from this the third and final week are HERE.

There were 13 small groups in five languages.

Regarding the Kasperite Proposal (to allow civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to go to confession and Holy Communion without requiring of them sexual continence), the breakdown is more or less as follows:

  • 4 groups in favor of Kasperitism (of which, 2 groups want the matter decided in the internal forum, i.e., by the penitent, but in conversation with a priest in Confession).
  • 1 group sort of in favor of Kaspertism
  • 3 groups opposed to Kaspertism
  • 1 group divided on Kasperism
  • 1 group with no recommendation on Kaspertism
  • 1 group asking Pope to establish a commission to study the Kasper Proposal
  • 2 groups asking the Pope himself to decide about the Kasper Proposal.

So, the Kasper Proposal has not been completely defeated.

Today (Wednesday) and tomorrow the commission appointed by the Pope will draft a Final Report.

On Friday the draft will be discussed by the Synod Fathers, and amendments will be suggested.

On Saturday the revised draft will be voted on.   (So, they say.)

That product, the Report, goes to the Pope.  He can decide whether to make the Report public or not. The Pope will decide if he is going to issue a document about the questions, and if so what kind of document and with what authority.

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  1. anilwang says:

    That’s terrible.

    It seems that 9 groups (4+1+1+1+2) are at least open to the Kasper Proposal and only 3 are opposed.

    What happened? Other reports I’ve heard seem to indicate that the Kasper Proposal is dead in the water.

    If this report is accurate, Kasper has won the synod and it’s in the hands of the Pope (who says he wants to defer to the bishops) to decide. It doesn’t look good.

  2. avecrux says:

    That looks pretty horrific…. :(

  3. Wryman says:

    Didn’t JPII and B16 name nearly every one of these men? How did this happen?

  4. CatholicMD says:

    This is the outcome when the authority of Sacred Scripture is undermined and Sacred Tradition mutates in to Papal Positivism.

    As I heard as an episcopalian: the church wrote the Bible so the church can change it.

  5. mburn16 says:

    Not sure how the margins I’ve heard about in terms of how the assembled view the situation translate into a small group breakdown that seems to very marginally favor the Kasper proposal.

    But we should at least take some comfort that the traditionalist bloc will probably be big enough during the voting to keep anything particularly favorable to liberalization out of the report.

  6. robtbrown says:

    Wryman says:

    Didn’t JPII and B16 name nearly every one of these men? How did this happen?

    It is happening because, as Cardinal Ratzinger said, detente with secular culture has been a failure.

    And that detente will continue as long as there is vernacular versus populum liturgy.

  7. Christ_opher says:

    Feast of Saint John Paul the 2nd today.

    Hoping that he is in heaven praying that everything is resolved in favour of the truth!

    Those that oppose the definition of the family e.g. man + woman = marriage = children = baptism = mass = communion = confession and off course prayer. For those that are against the natural law of order may they either depart the faith or change.

  8. MikeM says:

    Reading those documents which I could read (the English groups and, with a bit of trouble, the French ones) the big takeaway to me was that the scope of the synod was poorly defined, confusion was rampant about what the bishops were there to do, and they had some substantive discussions but don’t really know what to do with that from there.

    They seem to have spent as much time talking about why they should be focused on other issues as they did talking about the actual topics in the IL… And where they talked about the IL, it’s not at all clear what real guidance that provides the people writing the next document. It seems that the drafting committee will have an unfortunate amount of latitude to write what they want, and then, I guess, the sections come to an up or down vote?

    If assuming that these things are undertaken without underhanded intentions, it seems that the process would have gone better without the pretext that people are there to craft a final document.

  9. TimG says:

    Very disappointing update. Based on other blogs, it was my impression that Kasperites had dropped below 30%. It appears to me it is the other way around (only 3 of 13 firmly against it.) I am not looking forward to the final synod report.

  10. Traductora says:

    I want to know what’s with the new dicastery for the “Laity and the Family” that Bergoglio announced today. Does this mean that laypeople and families aren’t really part of the Church and need some separate entity to deal with them? Or is this an end-run around the CDF, that is, removing its power without really getting the flack for removing it (which many people thought Francis would do).

  11. Chrisc says:

    Oh what a stinking mess.
    This is gerrymandering at its finest.

    If you take a deck of cards, and you are concerned you won’t win, then follow these easy steps: 1) stick in enough jokers, 2)have the hands ‘randomly’ dealt so that the jokers are widespread but not uniform 3) constantly change the rules 4) have the value of the jokers greatly outweigh the value of the other cards (relatio committee and media) 5)declare yourself the winner because even the made up rules don’t count at the end of the ‘right side’ didn’t win by a big enough margin (see paragraphs on homosexuality last go ’round)

    Oh, but wait: God is a God of surprises. Well, you can console yourself with that, but if you could bet on the outcome of this thing, I know I’d be headed to Vegas right now- because it’s a veritable statistical anomaly how all of these surprises are just warmed over 70s b.s.

  12. How did this happen?

    Could it due to the possibility that the typical bishop at this synod, formed in seminary in the decade or two following Vatican II, lacks the firm grounding in Catholic belief and faith that a pre-Vatican II school student got from the Baltimore catechism?

  13. Charles E Flynn says:

    @Henry Edwards,

    Yes. The Baltimore Catechism was not written in the spirit of deep, plausible unbelief.

  14. Benedict Joseph says:

    As for “… assuming that these things are undertaken without underhanded intentions…” Can such an assumption be made in light of what we have witnessed, and continue to witness without fail? The best this Synod can produce is a spineless finale that will leave everything in a state of ambiguity to the delight of those who thrive in that sandbox and profit from it. The desired outcome of a strong presentation of orthodox Roman Catholicism is impossible to imagine. One cannot possibly hope to get blood from a stone. The likely outcome is a Bergoglian conundrum that will be deemed genius by the masses and the media, hang like a dagger in the back of Roman Catholicism, and serve as a stumbling block for many a soul for years to come.
    The utter boldness of this operation bespeaks not only a contempt for Roman Catholicism but for those, particularly the laity, who hold the timeless treasure of the Faith.
    Cowardliness, hubris, faithlessness.

  15. revueltos67 says:

    The synod is the bright, shiny object used to hypnotize; the flashy move used to misdirect attention in a sleight-of-hand.

    Francis’ unilateral, pre-synod, gutting of the annulment process made discussion of communion for the “remarried” moot since, if no civilly divorced persons were validly married in the first place, there are no remarried to accommodate. Demanding withdrawal of the annulment changes would have had meaning but that has not happened and, given the tepid response to Kasper’s proposals described here, obviously will not.

    That leaves the only other issue of note considered by this strangely named Synod on the Family: the Church’s teaching and discipline regarding homosexuality. Since the synod’s advice in no way binds the pope, it seems likely its final report, if there is one, will go the way of the infamous “gay lobby” dossier passed to Francis at the start of his papacy. Remember that? By all current indications, Francis will deal with the issue via his call for a more “synodal” Church, effectively dismantling Rome’s teaching authority and devolving it piecemeal to the national bishop’s conferences who will then do as they please.

  16. chantgirl says:

    Perhaps it is time for the maledictory psalms.

  17. Aquinas Gal says:

    In the early centuries of the church, councils were about the great mysteries of faith: the Trinity, the nature of Jesus Christ. But now we’re so past that, it’s all been reduced to sex.

  18. LeeF says:

    Those groups with no recommendation, or asking the Pope to study or decide the issue, effectively abstained and have done a grave disservice to the Church. This allows the Kasperites as a minority view to seem to be in the majority.

    As to the internal forum suggestions, that is already being done by many divorced and remarried without the blessing of the Church. Better to continue that situation where they ultimately have to answer to the Lord for refusing to form a correct conscience, than to give Church sanction to their actions and absolve them of responsibility.

  19. Kathleen10 says:

    What the heck ever happened to “overwhelming majority” who did NOT support the Kasper proposal! Chrisc is right, this is a stinking mess. And those Cardinals who didn’t come to a decision, did a complete disservice to the process, although the process has been bad from minute one. The IL was awful, clearly they had trouble even working with it.
    I’ll reserve the comments I’d like to make until we have the final report or whatever comes out from the pope. God only knows what is going to be “recommended”.
    That “s” word is beginning to form in my mind. If these guys keep going in this direction, I’m going to say it. This is beyond the pale.

  20. JARay says:

    The Pope has said that it is good to create a mess. Well, he’s done that. I cannot see him clearing the mess up. Sadly, I fear that he has totally undermined the Papacy and generated an atmosphere of mistrust.

  21. Norah says:

    It boggles my mind that so many of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church are not Catholics.

  22. marcelus says:

    Wryman says:
    22 October 2015 at 12:46 PM
    Didn’t JPII and B16 name nearly every one of these men? How did this happen?

    Bingo!!!!!!finally somedy

  23. jfk03 says:

    I am appalled.

  24. TNCath says:

    And the Synod was not rigged?

    Okay, here it goes: do we have an anti-pope on our hands? I’m beginning to think we might.

  25. jfk03 says:

    Only God can read the hearts of men. Only God can judge. But to me it looks like the church is dealing with heresy just as pernicious as Arianism. Holy father Nicholas pray to God for us?

  26. MouseTemplar says:

    Dante’s Inferno.
    Circle VI.
    Canto X.

    ‘Nuff said.

  27. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    It is really kind of grotesque that so many people are hanging on the latest news out of Rome. This was all decided decades ago by the bishops of North America and Western Europe, and no Pope in the last forty-five years has done anything to correct the situation.

    If Nancy Pelosi is allowed to receive Communion, then there is no rational justification for denying Communion to ANYBODY.

    And that logical consequence is exactly what is now going to play out in the Church, probably for the remainder of the lifetime of everyone now living. The Church is entering a long period of eclipse.

  28. andia says:

    I was under the impression that the Church taught that the divorced and remarried could receive because it was against the 7TH Commandment. If this particular circumstance is declared no longer an impediment to communion- how is this going to affect other forms of sin against the 7th Commandment…are they no longer gooing to be impediments? I can not for the life of me see how Church doctrine could say “With this sin you can receive, but with that you can not”
    I hope and pray our Bishops hold the line that was drawn by Christ.

  29. Pingback: Morning Catholic must-reads: 23/10/15 | CHRONICA

  30. Sonshine135 says:

    The question now becomes where and how to draw the line. I am already leery about walking into a “Spirit of Vatican II” parish on a Sunday when I am traveling (which is what I walk into more times than not). Where do we draw the line and say, “this just isn’t the One, Holy Roman and Apostolic Church anymore.” This is what keeps me up at nights…the what if’s. What if Vatican II was a test, and the SSPX held to the faith when the whole church faltered? What if this Synod isn’t the ultimate test? If I go to a church that still will not allow the divorced and remarried to receive communion and Rome says it is okay, haven’t I broken with Rome by default? If Rome teaches something that is blatantly in error, can it really claim to be the One, Holy and Apostolic Church?

    Folks, I am a huge defender of the faith and even I am beginning to think these things. Where do we, the faithful, draw the line? I challenge any church that would lead souls to hell and allow those souls to drink a cup of wrath upon themselves.

    Sorry for the spittal-flecked nutty, but I am concerned and I do not want to see my church fall to such heresies at the expense of making people feel good about their sins. It is wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

  31. DonL says:

    “Didn’t JPII and B16 name nearly every one of these men? How did this happen?”

    Remember, Jesus hand-picked Judas Iscariot and even sent him out to preach. Ask yourselves how many that cried, “Give us Barabbas” were only a week earlier laying down palm fronds as He made His glorious entry into Jerusalem. Other than John, who dared stand by His cross?
    Faith is never put into a lock box until death. Lots of poorly sown seeds out there in Rome-town. We’ll see at the harvest….

  32. laurel says:

    @DonL I always was taught ( I’m w-a-a-a-y before VII) that Jesus was giving notice that some Prelates will be unfaithful and ‘not to worry.’ However, are you suggesting that occasionally a Pope should purposefully pick a heretic/ betrayer because Jesus did and that the laity should say “well done.?”

  33. Wryman says:

    Maybe I shouldn’t sweat this synod any more:
    1. The defacto situation now in every parish I’ve been to is that everyone takes communion anyhow.
    2. The church teaching will not formally change.
    3. That means some future pontiff and future bishops, maybe not in my lifetime, but sometime, will restore discipline.
    4. God will not judge me on what the Pope or the bishops do, but what I do.
    5. Jesus is not a liar. The gates of hell will not prevail.

  34. laurel says:

    continuing……….. we were taught the betrayal of Judas may have been pointing to the betrayal and destruction of the visible Church at the hands of Her Prelates. Her earthly, visible form will be destroyed from within….. Not, of course, the Mystical Body of Christ Who is the Bride of Christ.

  35. revueltos67 says:


    Re your comment that some future pontiff/bishops will restore discipline.

    Back in May Argentinian Abp Fernandez, one of Francis’ close advisors, noted that “You have to realize that Pope Francis is aiming at reform that is irreversible.” Perhaps Francis’ “more synodal church” is at the heart of those plans. If Rome’s authority in both teaching and discipline is in large part devolved to national bishop’s conferences it’s pretty hard to see how a future pope could regain it.

  36. Alohajoe5 says:

    Father, I’m confused. Your interpretation here is in contradiction to one other notable Catholic blog…. and in an odd way, your interpretation is much more pessimistic and theirs is actually very positive regarding the outcome of the small groups (for those who are opposed to the Kasperites). I’m confused because in general, in my opinion, I’d describe you as having an inclination toward guarded optimism whereas this other blog is more inclined to pessimism. In this case, however, the roles seem to be reversed and the interpretations seem to be in contradictions. I’m confused what to think.

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