At my old stomping ground, The Wanderer, there is a good summary and analysis piece by Peggy Moen (a terrific editor!) who attended much of the Synod (“walking together”).
Clichés Of The Francis Era Dominate A Press Briefing
ROME — Following the Thursday, October 25 Youth Synod press briefing, I spoke with Robert Royal, editor in chief of The Catholic Thing, and said that I could as well have skipped this one. It was void of any substance.
They didn’t get what they wanted, he said, a pro-gay document, and that also it just wasn’t going to happen.
He agreed with me that the African bishops were likely responsible for this turn in synod events.
The October 25 briefing presentations were all process and no content, I said.
But, said Royal: “They would like the process to become content.”
Here are some examples of what was said in this press briefing. It took place two days before the vote on the synod’s final document:
A youth delegate, Lucas Borboza Galhardo from Brazil, said: “We walk together…a very strong participation — they’ve been listening to us.”
I thought of Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Mamfe, Cameroon, who, at the previous day’s press briefing said: “We should also get the youth to listen to the elders,” as it is not a matter of “one-way traffic.”
Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, OFM, archbishop of Trujillo, Peru, pointed to “a very important word . . . synodality” which is “for the young and with the young.”
“The Church should . . . take on this synodality,” he added.
“We need to accompany all the discernment processes.” [What does that even mean?!?]
In the subsequent question period, Suzy Pinto of EWTN News Nightly asked the archbishop what “synodality,” a word that “is not known,” means. He replied, in part, that Pope Francis “highlights that notion of walking together” with everyone in the Church, but also with those who are more distant. [Who has noticed that when I write about the Synod I always add “walking together”?]
In his presentation, Arlindo Cardinal Gomes Furtado of Santiago de Cabo Verde called the synod “an experience of the Church . . . a communion amongst everyone . . . altogether forming a real ecclesial family.” He called it “a model for me.”
He added that we need to strengthen this process of working together, walking together.
Gualtiero Cardinal Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve praised the synod’s “so many different colors, so many different languages” and called the discussions in the small groups “unforgettable.” He said we must all “truly walk together.”
Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register tweeted on October 25: “#Synod18 sources: ‘Synodality’ as a new model of the Church (i.e. permanent revolution) is now being imposed on the assembly, despite it not figuring highly in working document nor synod discussions. It dominates 3rd part of final doc. draft, has no connection with synod theme.” [“permanent revolution” is a phrase made famous by Leon Trotsky.]
But along with a curious new word, “synodality,” Francis-era clichés ran through these press briefing comments: “accompany,” “walking together,” “listening,” “discernment process,” and more.
And the problem with a cliché is that its words have become empty of meaning.
In the question period, Vaticanista Sandro Magister told Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican’s Department of Communication, that in the past few days, L’Osservatore Romano has given information that was not provided in the synod press conferences.
As one example, Magister cited L’Osservatore Romano’s reporting that the Pope has taken part in the drafting of the final document. That is important news, said Magister, because the final document should be offered to the Pope, not written by him.
Magister asked: Do we also today have to wait for L’Osservatore Romano to get the information that was not given in the press conferences?
Ruffini — on the stage with the above four speakers and Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office — replied to the effect that he would answer questions, and anyone could otherwise read L’Osservatore Romano. [??!??]
This, with all the above, speaks for itself.
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