The Church Deserves Better – and May Get It

Senior Editor’s note: Today The Catholic Thing‘s column by Robert Royal (@RobertSRoyal) is also his fifth dispatch from Rome about the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, aka the 2015 Synod on the Family. As you’ll read below, the bishops and staff are attempting to say important things about marriage and sexuality in which, as one early Synod document puts it, “ideas are not lost in the confusion” of competing interests. It’s fascinating stuff. Please note that Dr. Royal will be writing these updates daily through the end of the Synod later this month, so check back daily. And you may access all the reports by clicking on the 2015 Synod banner above. Fr. Gerald Murray (@GeraldMurray8) is with Bob in Rome now, and they’ll be together with Raymond Arroyo (@RaymondArroyo) this Thursday (8PM Eastern) on “The World Over Live” on EWTN (@EWTN). The Papal Posse rides again! – Brad Miner (@ABradfordMiner)

In the late 1970s, then President Jimmy Carter tried to hold a “White House Conference on the Family” to deal with the already emerging challenges to the most important of human relations. He immediately encountered stiff political opposition for what was perceived as too narrow and rigid an idea of family. After the interest groups got in their licks, a new title was announced: “The White House Conference on Families.” A trivial change you might think, but a perceptive scholar of the family noted that the revised definition of family adopted by the conference organizers “applied equally to the traditional nuclear family and to two winos sharing a boxcar.” And probably much in between.

Therein lies a cautionary tale. Seeking to praise everything that shows some human value, as our contemporary politicians try to do, leads to absurd confusions between what normally works – tolerably well – and some of the most dysfunctional phenomena in the history of the human race.

The bishops gathered at the Synod on the Family in Rome have been speaking a lot about recognizing different kinds of families, but – and this is something to be grateful for – without seeking after the kind of politically correct inclusiveness that often abolishes real distinctions in our purely political debates. When the bishops have spoken about diversity in families, so far it’s always been to acknowledge families in other cultures than Europe and North America. They have repeatedly said that we are too focused on Communion for the divorced and gay relationships rather than the broader questions of how more generally to foster and encourage families.

I feel an obligation to emphasize this positive feature of the Synod because many of the reactions to what’s been going on that have been reaching us in Rome from the United States manifest a kind of unfocused panic, as if everything people fear the Church might change is actually about to happen. In fact, the signs are still pretty good so far as the bishops’ meetings go. But we’re still only in the preliminary analysis of the situation. We have not yet come to proposed solutions, which won’t be treated for a little over a week still. But if you’re feeling stressed by the synodal process, take a breather. There are, among many obvious difficulties, some steady hands at work in Rome.

We got rather substantial information on Friday because the Vatican released the reports of the small language groups that have been meeting to go through the official Working Document (Instrumentum laboris), which the bishops were presented with prior to the start of the Synod. There are thirteen such groups, consisting of about twenty people or so each, mostly bishops who have a right to vote on proposed changes, but also some non-voting experts and invited lay people with experience in marriage programs. The main languages are English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German, but it’s worth stating that – except for German – the languages span multiple countries, even continents, as we know is the case with English, for example. And since the demise of Latin as the Church’s official language, Italian is a kind of lingua franca in Rome for anyone not fluent in one of the other major tongues.

Cardinal Robert Sarah
Cardinal Robert Sarah

These language groups vary in their emphases, as you might expect, but there’s little or nothing in their first set of reports that should set off immediate alarm bells. You can read them all here if you have the languages and a mind to. They weren’t originally supposed to be published, but it’s one of the signs of how the Vatican is responding to worries about a closed process that we will now get these reports at the end of each week. At the press briefing today and in the reports themselves, several people wondered how the hundreds of refinements that have already been debated and formulated will be handled by the commission charged with producing the final document. Gallicus A (French Group 1), which didn’t offer anything very incisive in its report, stated however, “certain of us who have experience [of synods] express a certain uneasiness that all the modi [changes] that we are going to propose, edit, and adopt after good debate will not be entirely preserved.”

But beyond this concern about the fate of their own efforts, several groups offered – along with specific suggestions – more fundamental re-orienting of the way the whole document should proceed. For example, Gallicus B (French 2) headed by the great African cardinal, Robert Sarah of Guinea, began with the observation that the Synod Fathers should be “a Church that walks together in order to read reality with the eyes of faith and with the heart of God.” This instead of the jumble of weak sociology and anthropology that was thrown together in Part I of the Working Document as a description of the challenges we face about the family.

Anglicus A (English 1), which has as Moderator Australian Cardinal George Pell and as “Relator” USCCB President Joseph Kurtz, asserted: “In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, we find the source of hope for the family in the contemporary world. Thus confidence in Him is to be the first and last word of the synod. It is with eyes fixed on Jesus that we begin.” Anglicus B (English 2) made it clear that this is not pie-in-the sky, but if anything, can help us to “focus on questions of marginalization, which easily escape from the mindset of the dominant culture in many of our societies. An analysis based on the light of faith can lead to a deeper discernment of how families suffer marginalization and forms of poverty, which go beyond economic poverty to include the social, cultural and spiritual.” And in case there’s any doubt, they spoke of “families who are discriminated against or marginalized because of their belief in Jesus Christ,” and not only in Iraq or Syria.

Besides early fears that the synod process was being manipulated (for the moment, a fear that has dissipated), another concern has arisen in some quarters that it’s unclear who the bishops are supposed, finally, to be addressing: the pope? families? the whole Church? the world? That makes a big difference in the language they will use and the subjects they discuss. Anglicus D (English 4) headed by Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, with Archbishop Charles Chaput as Relator, found the Working Document so negative as to unintentionally lead to a kind of despair, in addition to being “chaotic,” “without inherent logic,” inaccurate in generalizations, lacking in “beauty, clarity, and force.”

Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who was part of the committee that prepared the Working Document, admitted all that in the Friday press briefing and explained that it almost had to be so in order to include all the different hands that had contributed to it, without unfairly excluding anyone. The drafters expected it to be vigorously debated. And it is.

Still, said English 4, “Overall, members felt that Pope Francis and the people of the Church deserve a better text, one in which ideas are not lost in the confusion.”

If things continue on as they have started, Deo volente, we may indeed get precisely that.

Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

  • Sonia Vadnjal

    I love our Catholic Church – holy, apostolic.

  • grump

    Prediction: The final document will be a redefinition of “family” that will appeal to the secular media, homosexuals, unmarrieds living together and anyone with a kid, dog or cat.

    • Diane

      If it is faithful Catholics must need to find faithful Catholic Churches who refuse the change in Doctrine.

    • Sheila

      I strongly disagree with this prediction and opinion. No one can change the Teachings of the Church. Not even the Pope. The Holy Spirit will protect it. I trust the Holy Spirit and will leave my feeble (compared to His) opinion to Him.

      • Netmilsmom

        Doctrine will not change but Praxis will.
        That in time will change the Doctrine. Look at Humanae Vitae.

        • Sheila

          I trust God not man. I still disagree with you

          • Netmilsmom

            History says that God isn’t a genie. God let’s man make mistakes.

          • Sheila

            God says “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church”. God gifted man with free will to do and say as he feels or thinks. I trust God rather than (as compared to His) man’s low opinion.

          • Netmilsmom

            “The Church” can survive with one Priest in a cave.
            The bar is not real high.
            With that, the entire Latin rite could fall and The Church will survive in the Eastern rites. So there’s that.

          • Sheila

            Says who? Lowering the bar by making up scenarios of how things may end does not mean anything nor does it change anything. God set a plan for all things and He continusously challenges us to trust Him. He keeps the bar up even though we cant always see it. He’s perfect. His plan is perfect and the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church (plural). Mary is still the Mother of the Church and she loves all of her children. She steps on the head of the serpent. Praise God!!! I leave the timing and all of it in their hands.

          • Netmilsmom

            You, my friend are defining what YOU think “The Church” is.
            If God wants to let His Church go down to one Priest in a cave, you can’t define otherwise. The Church remains as long as one Priest consecrates the Eucharist.
            Same as if He lets man do his will and destroy the Latin/Roman rite. The Church lives on in the other 22 rites who have equal status with the Latins.

    • samton909

      You mean me and my cows will finally be a family? (Weeps softly)

      Film at 11

      • Chris in Maryland

        Laughing and crying all at the same time.

    • Now apparently there might not even be a final document …

  • Chris in Maryland

    I think the problem is…unfortunately…at the top. To take a synod, which has until this papacy, been an open process, and close it, and limit it to only what the pope writes later…is a clumsy and controlling gesture. Thank goodness for Robert Royal and Fr Murray and the strong faith full bishops who want the world to hear the truth.

  • Michael Dowd

    Well, “hope springs eternal.” “It’s not over till it’s over”. “The proof is in the pudding”, etc. We will just have wait and see, hope and pray that something holy and useful will eventually emerge from the Synod. Robert Royal’s words are a good basis for hope.

  • RufusChoate

    When a term like Family is applied to every thing it has no meaning. Pope Francis is not a man of great precision nor intellect hence he is open to many things that sound nice but are toxic to the truth. Bluntly stated Pope Francis needs to examined much more closely than previous Pontiffs because his inclinations are not good.

    I would also appreciate a through investigation of the Pope’s relationship with Yayo Grassi. Looking up a Homosexual Atheist you taught fifty years ago when you didn’t have time for Cuban dissidents has the stench of corruption to it.

    • Tanyi Tanyi

      Correct, Rufu. Such a shame on Francis.

    • ThirstforTruth

      To insinuate that the reason Pope Frances did not meet with dissidents in Cuba
      is that ” he didn’t have time” is an ignorant and untruthful analysis of the situation in Cuba for Catholics as well as political dissidents. Neither did SAINT John Paul II meet with them…for the very same reasons. Francis could not.
      As for “Looking up a homosexual atheist” ? Again, ask yourself the following question: Do you personally have the facts for how this came about? or are you
      simply echoing the suppositions of others’ who are disinclined toward Frances?
      Insinuation has within in the very word the heinous implications that all sin promotes and proclaims. Tread more carefully with your comments, RUFUSCHAOTE for who are you to judge this Pope?!

      • RufusChoate

        Neither John Paul II nor Benedict XVI negotiated and acted as a broker between the United States and Cuba to allow an opening and the lifting of a 50 year old embargo with the promise from the Cuba dictatorship to increase civil rights to Cuba.

        Bergoglio altered the diplomatic dynamic and became a political player in Cuba-American relations with a promise of reduced oppression. He owned the oppressed the same measure of consideration that he afforded the oppressor.

        About meeting with the Homosexual Atheist, You are deploying the same tactic that the Catholic Left used for thirty years to cover the corruption committed by Weakland, Egan, Lori, Mahoney, McCarrick, James Porter and Paul Shanley: He was merely reaching out to a sinner.

        No sane or moral adult male in any position of authority goes out of his way to meet an acquaintance of fifty years ago who is a complete non-entity holding antithetical and opposite view to his position of authority without there being something more to the story. Bergoglio’s bizarre predilection for associating with sexual deviants and minority without instructing them in the depravity of their acts is as big of indictment as anything else he has done.

        As I said it needs to be investigated because the Left has gotten away with this corruption for too long.

  • Chris in Maryland

    Does anyone know who elevated the authoritarian and manipulative progressive Thomas Rosica to be a “spokesman” at the Vatican?

    • Diane

      It is my understanding that it was the Pope from the advice of other pro-homosexual clergy.

      • samton909

        It does sound as if Rosica is convinced this is the synod on gay people.

        • Diane

          I think he wants it to be that, so he can get his way.

  • Ramon Antonio

    It is my hope that the Sinod addresses the clear and present dangers that divorced couples face when trying to rebuild their faith against the wall of denied sacraments and participation in the Church. I am married and frequently face the suffering of persons who, having had to take grave decisions such as divorce, in order to preserve their dignity, sanity and even life of theirs or their children, now face that because of lack of understanding and even charity from the Church to their situation loose their connection to Christian life.

    The Sinod must address this situations more than anything else. How the Church will draw a loving understanding of the divorced and remarried, how they can be not ostracized but feel part of and how they can eventually walk towards a full restoration of Chatolic life. To do this, the Church has to open their arms to a full and loving review of the causes of annulment, to make spiritual discernment of repentance and amendment and to accompany this persons towards full communion in Grace even when living in what according to dogma, is sin.

    Who are we to judge? Jesus made some of his most remarkable signs towards the rejected and the outcast of His time. Grace by the Spirit comes and goes wherever it wants. The Spirit is free and is alive.

    Thanks Dr. Royal for your inspiring notes.

    • Diane

      Get an annulment and come back to the fullness of the Catholic Church. Do not expect exceptions for you situation. You chose sex over the Church.

      • Ramon Antonio

        I am married not divorced. I said that clearly. I am only expressing what I hear from people who are actually divorced.

      • Sheila

        I’m divorced and in my pain i tried to remarry. I believe God blessed me and put roadblocks up and stopped me from committing grave mortal sins. Remarriage would have hurt my children even more (annulled or not). By the sheer grace of God and after many years of battling these mental and carnal (selfish) sins in the confessional and winning more and more, it finally occurred to me to learn about and secure an annulment. The process brought me and my now adult children much healing. The annulment was a 2 year process and was granted. It was a process that brought me and my adult children into a fuller relationship with Christ and His Church. It eventually restored the relationship I had with God as a child and young adult. I chose God not man. Spirit not flesh. God has drawn me closer each day to all my heavenly family (Mary and the saints) through her rosary. Man does not come even close to the live I feelbin Chruat Jesus my King. and I are since. I’m single and

    • Chris in Maryland

      No one is being ostracized.

    • MSApis

      St Thomas More had to take a grave decision. He chose the teachings of Jesus rather than his own dignity, sanity, life, and that of his wife and children. So did countless other saints and martyrs in the Church. That is what a Catholic is meant to do – take up his cross and follow Jesus, even unto death.

      • Ramon Antonio

        That’s why he is a saint. But sainthood is a grace not called for everyone in the same form.

        • downyduck

          God has a perfect plan for each of us, and that plan IS sainthood, to be united with Him forever in Heaven. This plan does not include sin, it can’t because it is of God.

        • Chris in Maryland

          Everyone is called to sainthood Ramon…per “Lumen Gentium” and the universal call to holiness.

        • MSApis

          Are you saying that for some sainthood means being given permission to rest in their sins?

    • samton909

      You have to read the whole bible, not just certain parts. There is the part where Jesus says marriage after divorce is adultery. Who is he to judge? He is Jesus, that’s who. You know, the guy we are supposed to be following. Now, NO ONE is ostracized from the church, and people are treated with great tenderness in these situations. But Jesus did say what he said, and the fact that you find other themes in there that YOU THINK overrules Jesus’ clear words on the matter -well that is less than persuasive.

      • Ramon Antonio

        The fact is that such tenderness in not what divorced receive but ostracism of and demands.

    • Mike M

      It’s not just sin according to “dogma.” Jesus told us that their “second marriages” are adultery, which is to say that they’re not actual marriages. He is quoted as saying so in Mark’s Gospel, in Luke’s Gospel, and twice in Matthew’s Gospel. I’m hard pressed to think of a moral teaching that is more clearly stated in the Bible.

      A “full restoration of Catholic life” requires giving up that sinful arrangement. It’s one of the more difficult positions that one can wind up facing, and it’s not one that I envy in the least, but sympathy doesn’t change the fact that that is the situation. We can’t help them to reach full communion or a state of grace by pretending that the separation from God that arises from their actions isn’t real.

      The Church could probably do better in supporting those who are living alone due to an unfortunate separation in their marriage, those who seek to responsibly extricate themselves from arrangements that they shouldn’t have made but understandably enough did. There may be many things that can be done better, but pretending that adulterous unions are not an obstacle to one’s relationship with God is not an option.

      • Ramon Antonio

        There are two recordings of Jesus words about divorce in the Gospels. One, the most cited. The other, the not too cited. That one says that divorce, “except in the case of Concubinage” is not allowed.

        So in fact, Jesus Himself recognized at least one situation in which divorce WAS allowed.

        The separation from God you mention is a implied consequence of divorce. However, Jesus did not separate Himself from the Samaritan woman in e well, from the sirophoenician woman, the adulteress, the one suffering from hemorrhage or else. On the contrary, to those women Jesus performed some of his most crucial sings and miracles. So, where does the Church separates from them is a matter for the Church to decide

        • Mike M

          There are boatloads of scholarship on the “exception” in Matthew which, as those things do, conclude all different things, and I wouldn’t attempt to sort through it all here, nor would I, by any stretch, put myself forward as the final authority on the matter… It is one of the issues that shows the importance of taking the Church’s Tradition into account to help sort through translation issues and other disputable claims. But, without delving too deeply into that, I believe that the text is referring to unions that were not valid marriages in the first place (whether they were recognized as some other sort of union or they were impossible because it was incestuous, or because one of the spouses was actually married to someone else, etc.) That’s why we have an annulment process and why the Church tries to ensure that marriages are valid before they’re ever recognized.

          And people living in problematic unions (like those of the civilly remarried) are not shut off from having any relationship with Christ or from having any role in the Church. Their participation is just limited because participation in certain parts of the Church’s life would, by its nature, require them to give up their attachment to their sinful arrangements. One cannot walk out of Confession absolved of all sin if they are still clinging to an ongoing sinful arrangement… That’s not an issue that’s unique to the “remarried.” The sacrament requires that you (not you, Ramon, but the generic pronoun) have rejected your sins and intend not to continue them. If you are still in an adulterous relationship and don’t plan on immediately ending it, as if you’re still employed in an inherently sinful job and you’re not on your way to resign, then you haven’t repented, and you can’t get the absolution that you’re not actually seeking. And, in that state of mortal sin, you, like everyone else who is in a state of mortal sin (as I’ve found myself unfortunately often), are not supposed to receive communion. There are still ways for you to have a relationship with God and a role in the Church (albeit impaired ones), and there are still ways for you to receive the grace necessary to turn from your life of sin. There is also a way to return to full communion, but that starts with ceasing to commit adultery.

  • Jim L

    What a strange time we live in that we are all poised on the edge of our seats hoping that the bishops, cardinals, and pope determine that they are Catholic.

    • Donna

      My thoughts precisely! We are definitely living in very strange times…when the truth of what we believe as a Catholic…is having to be debated and is being so distorted! Following the 10 Commandments is pretty basic…now they are being dissected and rewritten for those who do not follow them so they do not have to feel guilt or repentance for their sins.

  • Chris in Maryland

    It was encouraging to see Cdl. Chaput’s wholesome critique of the synod’s “guiding document” which he called depressing and incoherent. As Fr. Murray so aptly stated on ewtn’s World Over Live, this synod gives faithful theologians the chance to stand up for the truth of the Gospel…despite I might add…the attempt by the “Baldisserri-Kasper-Rosica” commissariat to muzzle the truth and smuggle in the errors they cling to.

  • Chris in Maryland

    My sense is that Pope F is going to do exactly what he wants…just as he did with his hasty rejection of John Paul II’s carefully built annulment safeguards. I hope I am wrong, but I believe he is trying to import diluted and corrosive 1960s Jesuit mush … The kind you have at Fordham, Georgetown etc…

  • edith wohldmann

    Mercy for remarried, homosexuals: yes, yes, and yes. Where should our focus be? 1st commandment: Love God with all your heart, soul and might. “Who keeps my commandment is who loves me”. The sexual revolution has lead us from sin to sin to worse sin. I called out to God, confused after my divorce. Is the purpose of life to lead a nice comfortable life or to follow Christ? Every person (not just religious are called to the imitation of our Savior). I did not remarry and raised my children alone. Divorce is what everybody should avoid and fight against. If we have to divorce, living a life for Christ is not so bad, you receive many graces. I see a lot of broken people in our Western societies. Remarried couples have the penance of not receiving the Holy communion. We have several couples in my parish that participate in the parish and do no receive Communion. I think it should be a time for repentance to say “Lord, we have sinned, have mercy on us and bless us”. That would amount to a great year of mercy. The Synod is confusing because the teaching of Holy Church is crystal clear and there are many who want to manipulate and do away with sin. What do we say on Ash Wednesday: Repent, and believe in the Gospel. Follow Christ and the teaching of the Church and you will be happy in this life and in eternal bliss.

    • Chris in Maryland

      Amen true sister in Christ…Amen.

    • You should have been an auditor at the Synod. But then the innovators would have said, ‘beautiful and heroic testimony @edith wohldmann, but that’s unreachable to the ordinary Christian, who need … mercy … ‘

  • TomD

    I suspect that much of the reaction about the outcome of the Synod isn’t focused on a concern that doctrine will change, it is the concern that certain pastoral “compromises” will be used to undermine the teachings of the Church.

    In many respects, this is how the heterodox in the Church approach these issues . . . while not attacking the doctrine directly, they seek to gnaw away at it and undermine it through pastoral compromise.

  • Chris in Maryland

    It was also “too-clever-by-half” for the rev. spadaro to conjure up the “hermeneutic-of-conspiracy” weapon against those who resist his zeitgest.

    • Netmilsmom

      It’s a Soviet tactic. Read the book Disinformation.

  • MSApis

    “When the bishops have spoken about diversity in families, so far it’s always been to acknowledge families in other cultures than Europe and North America.”

    What exactly is meant by this? Do not families in ‘other cultures’ consist of father, mother, children and relatives?

    Or are we to understand in this context polygamous ‘families’, ‘families’ with concubines, ‘families’ where the man treats wife and children as mere chattels and has the right to dispose of them as such, ‘families’ where incest is acceptable, ‘families’ where consanguinity between spouses is not considered an issue, ‘families’ where marriage is consummated with minors, ‘families’ that practice genital mutilation – for both male and female, depending on the culture? Yes, that’s diversity, but it’s not Catholicism.

    So-called ‘European’ families matter because it’s in the heart of Europe that the Church established and maintained the norms of a family according to the teachings of Our Lord.

  • Chris in Maryland

    All are called to sainthood…a universal call to holiness per… I believe…”Lumen Gentium.”

  • Chris in Maryland

    Here is the giant sign of error by Pope F and his embrace of the Kasper ideology – they have stated that those who are upholding the unchanged teaching on marriage are “Pharisaical.” This word was used by Pope F himself. Yet it was the Pharisees who demanded divorce and remarriage – and Jesus rebuked them. The Pope F position = the position of the Pharisees. So as Jesus reminded us…do what they say…but not what they do.

  • Diane

    I feel that the pro-homosexual clergy are trying to pretend away sin. They talk about the Doctrine not changing, but only the practice. This is mumbo jumbo to mean the same thing. But, they think that if they say it just right, they can pretend that it is not sin and pretend that the did not change the teachings of Jesus Christ. That is why the Pope must be load and clear that everything remains the same. The Teachings of Jesus Christ, the Laws of God, the Holy Bible, the Doctrines of the Catholic Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the laws of nature. I hope the outcome of the Synod is to bring to the light of day all those who do not support all of the things I mentioned above and will be told that they must leave the Church, so we can have a more perfect Church, that will be much smaller.


    Thank you Mr. Royal for your much appreciated coverage of the Synod. I always read your daily posts. I must admit, though I was puzzled about your mention of an “unfocussed panic”

    In your post above, you mention ‘I feel an obligation to emphasize this positive feature of the Synod because many of the reactions to what’s been going on that have been reaching us in Rome from the United States manifest a kind of unfocused panic, as if everything people fear the Church might change is actually about to happen” ….

    For me, ‘the panic’ is quite focussed. There is an agenda, which the pope appears to be privy to, and approving of, and which some prelates seem determined to implement. Edwin Pentin, – in the October 8, 2012 e-issue of the National Catholic Register – in the article entitled “Married people have their say in the Synod”, relates the following in the next few paragraphs (my bold text):

    “However, synod fathers continue to have serious concerns about the instrumentum laboris which, for the first time, remains the main text for the synod for the bishops to work on, and which will end up as the final document.

    For the first time also, amending paragraphs of the document requires those in the small groups passing a vote by a two-thirds majority instead of a vote on propositions at the end. The collective ‘modi’ (amendments)are then submitted to a commission to evaluate
    which amendments are to be made or not.

    This means that controversial paragraphs in the document, such as the Cardinal Kasper proposal that failed to achieve a two-thirds majority at the end of the last synod, appear to now require a two-thirds majority vote to amend them.

    The burden of proof now is on the side that wants to amend them,” said a synod official. “So bishops are now trying to clarify that three controversial paragraphs that did not get the two-thirds majority now require a two-thirds majority just to change them”.

    Participants are also concerned that these paragraphs that failed to achieve the required votes last time were retained in the final document of the extraordinary synod — a document that Pope Francis stressed this week is one of three “official documents” of the meeting, along with his two speeches of the last synod.” (Edwin Pentin, National Catholic Register, Oct 8, 2015)

    Furthermore, the “backlash” toward traditionally minded Cardinals continues: Rorate Caeli, in their report on Day 6 of the Synod, reports that “According to the Synod calendar, the discussion in the Hall and in the small groups were to follow the order of each of the three parts of the basic document, the Instrumentum Laboris, with each of them introduced each time by a “presentation of the Relator-General”, Cardinal Peter Erdo.”
    and then Rorate Caeli goes on to say:
    ….”Cardinal Erdo — author on October 5 of a remarkable introductory general report that sowed panic among the innovators — was not given the microphone to return to present the three parts of the Instrumentum, and the interventions in the Hall went ahead on their own…..”

    Given the above, where it seems that the rules are changed at whim, when the Synod proceedings do not go the way of the Synod management and, I might add, the Holy Father, want, I think Catholics who are closely following the Synod have at the least, very grave cause for concern – if panic is too strong a word to use right now.

  • Quo Vadis

    It seems to me there is a great “fear” among a group of “liberal” bishops of a smaller Church composed of what I will call traditional Doctrine. They would rather have a popular larger Church acceptable to modern cultural where they will have less explaining to do.

    Except of course when they meet their “Big” boss who will have many questions….

  • Delphin

    As a Catholic revert now living in a ‘Josephite’ relationship with my ‘spouse’ of nearly 40 years (damn the lies of the 60s), our Church will be made to adhere to the teachings of our Lord by those of us who have sacrificed the things of this world, according to His word, and for His glory. There is no ‘other option’. We’re out here, we’re faithful, and we’re willing to fight the Good Fight. Hell hath no fury….