Tags: Catholic Church | Synod | The Vatican

Catholic Leaders Oppose Pope's Liberal Leanings

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Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 08:27 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Was it a "pastoral earthquake" and a “stunning" shift in the church’s approach to homosexuals, as some reports suggested?

Whatever it was, the content of the interim report on the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family and how it was released have possibly provided an accurate depiction of the synod, not only its tone but who is running it and its likely outcome.

The report, released on Monday, was only a working document subject to further clarifications by the synod which ends on Sunday. But mainstream media understandably saw it as having some authority, and predictably cheered its suggestions that the church recognize what it said were positive aspects of homosexuality and cohabitation, and ways in which the church could offer communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

The report has been roundly criticized by prominent Catholics as having little Catholic content. Synod father Cardinal Raymond Burke told me the concerns about it are valid because it “lacks a proper foundation in the sacred Scriptures and the perennial and rich teaching of the Church regarding holy matrimony.”

He said the effect which the document “has already had upon Catholics, non-Catholics and people of good will has been disastrous” as it gives the impression that the Catholic Church “is abandoning the apostolic faith regarding marriage.”

The publication of a synod interim report is not unusual.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters Tuesday it is standard procedure to publish the contents of the discussions half way through a synod, but the subject matter this time provoked unusual interest. “It’s something all of us with anything to do with communications could have foreseen,” he said.

This leads to the obvious question. Why was the probable media reaction not thought through? Synod participant Cardinal Wilfrid Napier told journalists on Tuesday that the synod fathers, given the controversial content, were surprised by its publication. He also even went so far as to say there wasn’t agreement on it. “Just like you, I was surprised that it was published,” he told reporters. “You people got the document before we got it, so we couldn’t have possibly agreed on it.”

In fact 41 synod fathers — a significant number — opposed it, and yet it was published seemingly over the heads of the participants. The majority didn’t even read the report before Cardinal Erdo presented it on Monday morning.

Two possible reasons can be given for this. Either it was a simple oversight as the Vatican implies, and the document was automatically sent out, as per usual synods — and in common with the Vatican’s habitual mishandling of the media. Or, certain figures of the synod wanted it put out, so as to make public their own agenda and to give the impression the document, described by one commentator as having “an emotivist, subjectivist and therapeutic tone” — had Vatican approval.

The latter seems more likely, and if so, then it appears the synod is indeed being “engineered”, as one senior participant put it to me privately. Many point to similar incidents happening during the Second Vatican Council.

The question now for this synod is, will these attempt to produce an outcome with a clear agenda, strongly opposed by orthodox-thinking cardinals such as Cardinal Burke, be stopped?

Although directed at what he saw as media exaggerations, Cardinal Napier lamented that once such perceptions are “out there” in the public, “there’s no way of retrieving them.”

But this was probably what was wanted all along.

Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times. Read more reports from Edward Pentin — Click Here Now.
 

 



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EdwardPentin
Whatever it was, the content of the interim report on the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family and how it was released have possibly provided an accurate depiction of the synod, not only its tone but who is running it and its likely outcome.
Catholic Church, Synod, The Vatican
619
2014-27-15
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 08:27 AM
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