The Synod, One More Time

The Synod, One More Time October 21, 2014


I was bugged all day long yesterday by one of my own posts. The post in question in this one. It was the post in which I compared the recent Synod on the Family with the United States Congress.

I tried twice last night to write another post, essentially taking back some of the sharp-edged harshness of that one, but I couldn’t get there.

Here’s what I finally came around to.

I was wrong (and this is what was bugging me) to paint all the bishops who participated in the Synod with one brush. In truth and in fact only a smattering of the participants managed to set things on their ear with their reinterpretations of the Gospels along popular lines. The Synod participants as a group backed away from this and issued a final report that stood in accordance with 2,000 years of Christian teaching on the family.

The reason I couldn’t write a major I-was-wrong about that post as a whole is that I don’t honestly think I was wrong. I believe the Synod was a failure, and the reason it was a failure was the polarization among the bishops themselves. Faithful Catholics read that final report with a massive “thanks be to God” that it didn’t do harm. Unfortunately, it also didn’t do much good.

The things I said in the post are my honest assessment of a few of our bishops. The major positive accomplishment of the Synod is not the final report. It is that it may have shone the light of reality on some of these woefully out-of-touch men. Since the whole of Church governance is built on the bishops, that is, if it’s true, a significant and healthy thing. It is also why ducking our heads and pretending that they aren’t, in fact, out of touch and trying to lead us down the broad way, is a form of disloyalty to the Church.

Powerful people need the truth more than most for the simple reason that they so seldom hear it.

I may be wrong, and if it turns out that I am, I will not hesitate to say so. But for now that’s what I think and I can’t unthink it just because the people in question are bishops of my Church.

We need to thank the bishops who stood against all the nonsensical ideas and backed away from the theological cliff. Hopefully next year we will see developments that actually support and aid the family as well as develop pastoral practices to heal the reality of those who are living the lies of our broader culture.

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12 responses to “The Synod, One More Time”

  1. The synod was a falure. That is clear. Here’s the proof: Can anyone remember one thing that came out of it that will strengthen just one family? I can’t. The whole obssession was with homosexuality. Perhaps the Church would be better served if they had a synod strictly on the subject of homosexuality. To lump it in with family is a disservice to the issue and to the Magisterium. Under no circumstances can homosexuality and family be in the same context under Catholic doctrine. But certainly outreach to homosexuals is possible if they can accept that SSM is a non-starter. Finally I’m not as hard on the Bishops as you are. I think the Conservative Bishops saved the day. But with Pope Francis clearly on the side of the radicals i worry about the future. I used to say I could not envision a Church schism. I think I can now.

  2. I read enough to know that there were more obsessions than just homosexuality out there. 54 other obsessions in fact.

    But when your final document only mentions the word “child” or “children” seven times, and even then only in conjunction with abuse or divorce, there’s something *severely* wrong with your view of a normal family.

    I’m really afraid of Holy Spirit Loki. I’ve never experienced God as being Surprising- but I’ve often been surprised by Satan.

  3. Try praying for our Holy Father rather than making a statement like,” Pope Francis clearly on the side of the radicals.”
    You have no proof of such an assertion. Good thing it is just your opinion and nothing more.
    I am going to give Pope Francis the benefit of doubt and pray for him while doing so.

  4. From what I have been able to glean, the crummy bishops were by far in the minority. the media made them seem as i they were in the majority, however. The synod was a failure, since it was supposed to be Catholics focusing on the family. The media , along with a few progressive bishops would not let them do that. Instead we got a focus on gays and divorced people.

  5. Well, here’s your evidence:

    1) Pope Francis seemed to strongly favor Kasper. He kept quiet and did not officially endorse Kasper’s position, but he did bring him out of obscurity and seemed to favor him. Kasper said he was speaking for the Pope, and the Pope did nothing to disabuse anyone of that notion
    2) The synod selected people to write the report. The Pope then, on his own motion, appointed six liberal people to write the report, seemingly because the Pope wanted to stack the deck.
    3) The Pope’s hand picked people then insisted that none of the speeches of the synod would be released to the media. Why? They did not say. But some suspect it was so that they could shape the media presentation and pretend that things were much more liberal than what was really happening at the synod.
    4) A very few people wrote the interim report. This is the report that had such loose, confusing language about gays.Then, they released that interim report to the media without letting the synod read it first. They wanted to pull a fast one and present the synod as being far left and ready to dump catholic doctrine.
    6) At this point, the synod fathers rose up and insisted that all future discussions be released to the media.Cardinal Pell, Burke, Napier and others said that the synod was being manipulated.
    7) Francis seemed to just sit there and let all this happen
    8) In the final report, even watered down language about gays and divorced and remarried could not pass. this is because the bishops were sick of someone trying to turn this into a synod on gays and divorced people So they excluded all language. Francis then forced them to print the voted down sections in the final report anyway.

  6. Really? I’m being surprised by deeper depths of truth all the time! However, I agree that the “surprise” cannot be that something we believed all along to be true is found now to be false. That would be from a different spirit.

  7. I am also going to drop this, in the spirit of refusing to criticize the Holy Father. I will grant that there are many aspects of Ignatian Spirituality that I don’t understand and that from my point of view look less than Orthodox- but I’m judging them by their fruit, not by an actual understanding of the theology involved. This appears to be one, and a google search turned up an extremely popular among Jesuits book on the subject. Reviews of that book tell me the author isn’t somebody I’d exactly trust either (too much new age, too much anti-life feminism) but I’ll grant that the Pope may be putting a typically Jesuit “Charitable Interpretation” upon it.

  8. I think one thing that’s being overlooked is that the Holy Spirit protected the Church in the Synod. He used the laity to do it. We, too, have a role to play in this, my friends.