Friday, October 17, 2014

Days 8 and 9

Thanks for all the get-well wishes. They worked: I'm coughing less and breathing more easily. Blessed be to God!

After day 7 which we passed in our linguistic groups discussing the 'relatio post-disceptationem', day 8 was given over to the proposed amendments of this text. Archbishop Léonard, our group's 'relator', accomplished a remarkable job in collecting the ideas we expressed on day 7 and transforming them into a considerable number of amendments. These we examined closely, nearly word by word before voting on each, one after another. Indeed, for an amendment to be accepted for consideration by the Secretariat of the Synod, it must have received two thirds of the votes in the linguistic group which is bringing it forward.

Some amendments only added a word or two. Others meant a complete rewrite of a numbered paragraph. We were able to find the words that allowed the whole group to support each of the amendments: but it's intense work, requiring a lot of listening and a lot of respect, some creative, much patience. Sometimes, a member would propose expression A, while another would propose expression B; then the discussion would get lively as we debated the value of each expression; until someone proposed expression C, to which all could give their assent. This didn't always mean seeking the 'via media' between the two expressions, but finding the new way that all could take with the conviction they had been respected and understood.

At the end of the day, our three lay couples expressed their great satisfaction, even their joy, at the conclusion of the experience we had just been through. I need to say that these men and women were all highly competent, experts in their field, experienced in the teaching of the Church and their involvement in family ministry. Such was day 8.

Day 9 was shorter than the others. We spent the morning on the small group reports. First, each group met to approve the relators' text (or modify it a bit), and then these texts were read to all in the synodal hall. These reports will all be published, and I invite you to read them to see for yourselves the fruits of the discussions we had in each of the linguistic groups, the richness of the conversation and the quality of the process.

Now the real work starts. Cardinal Erdo's team, which has been enriched with delegates from the five continents named by the Pope, must study each of the amendments (I would estimate there are at least two hundred of them) and re-write the 'relatio post-disceptationem' in order to present a 'relatio finale'. The first version of this 'relatio finale' will be presented to us Saturday morning... which is why we can rest this afternoon and tomorrow morning while the members of this special theme try to come up with a text that will gain the support of the great majority of delegates.

As for the 'message' on which I have been working as part of a small team under the leadership of Cardinal Ravasi, our original text - quite poetic and biblical - had to be shortened at the request of the Secretariate of the Synod. It has become a simpler greeting to the families of the world. However, I'm keeping all our beautiful ideas in mind for use in a homily or two in the future. No use wasting the fruit of our work!

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful updates from the Synod. I assure you of my prayers.

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  2. Hopefully that future homily you allude to will also get published on your blog for our benefit :) It has really been fascinating reading your account of the painstaking process involved in creating these documents. Enjoy your rest day!

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  3. Well, I hope you are also part of the orthodox group that is trying very hard to reject the works of the likes Cdl. Kasper. From what you write though, to be frank with you, you come across as someone who just goes with the flow than having any allegiance to an objective set of truths and the wisdom of the Church.

    If my assessment of you is incorrect, I think you need to change your writing style. It is very scandalizing and gives the impression that you are lukewarm.

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    1. Dear Eufrosnia,
      I can appreciate that you strongly object to many of the points being raised by the synod fathers and I certainly recognize your right to express your objections. We have been invited to express our views frankly and with a willingness to listen respectfully to one another. It is not appropriate to make discrediting remarks about Archbishop Durocher in the process of expressing your concerns and convictions.

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    2. Carol,

      Would you like it if the synod discussed Arianism (which denies the divinity of Christ)? Pelagianism? Calvinism? Or how about Albigensianism? Do you think we should give an open ear to those heresies and entertain the thought of adopting them?

      Those are settled issues in the Church. You don't take them up for discussion again because it only reawakens and adds fuel to those dead heresies. Same is happening at the synod with the issues of sexual morality and the pastoral practice connected to the doctrine.

      This synod is making people like St. Thomas More or every Catholic that suffered under the Anglican persecution to look like a joke. If the Archbishop isn't doing anything against that, I think I have a right to express my disappointment. In fact, I am frankly disappointed that Catholics like yourself aren't expressing disappointment.

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    3. Dear Eufrosnia,

      The Church's teachings about the Trinity and the Divinity of the Jesus Christ are the most foundational in the hierarchy of truths. All other teaching is illumined by them. Our teachings about marriage, family life, and human sexuality are about human relationships. Therefore, they require pastoral discussion, consideration, discernment and response. This is quite different from your examples above. They really are not comparable.

      All of that aside (as important as it is), I simply want to say that it seems to me that it is quite possible to express your disappointment without making derogatory remarks about Archbishop Durocher - a pastoral leader who has given his life in the service of our Church and who is highly esteemed for his faithfulness. Doing so would allow for a much more fruitful sharing of ideas.

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    4. The indissolubility of marriage and how we treat those who obstinately cling to sin is pretty foundational too. Do you think 1 Corinthians 5 is outdated? That the Church today knows better than St. Paul who laid the foundations for the Church?

      It seems to me like you just choose arbitrarily what you want to consider as settled. In truth, the sacrament of marriage and the fact that sodomy is a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance was settled as well. But we have our president Bishop not saying a single word against it. Does that not strike you as odd?

      I swear, it feels like our CCCB president couldn't care less. That worries me. Does it not worry you? Or are you also in full swing to welcome anything and everything that makes people "happy"?

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    5. Carol,

      I would also like to add the following which I posted in reply to another person below.

      The Apostles filled with the Holy Spirit had this to say to the Church

      St Paul

      "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you?" (1 Cor 5:1-2)

      "Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?" (1 Cor 5:6)

      St. John the Evangelist

      "Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person." (2 John 10-11)

      St. Paul again

      "Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar?" 2 Cor 6:14-15)

      I think it is appropriate to recall St. Cyprian as well who said "he who soothes a sinner with flattering words administers fuel to his sin."

      Do we see such wisdom reflected in the decisions of our prelates? I don't think so.

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    6. Wishing you well, Eufrosnia. Blessings.

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  4. Upon reading a thoughtful commentary on the synod, this morning, by Neil Ormerod (an Austrailan theologian I greatly appreciate) I was struck by his effective articulation of an insight I've been trying to clarify all week: "It’s not often that Catholics get to see the processes of Church decision making made so transparent. The recent reports from the Synod on the Family have been a real eye-opener for those used to being presented with an ecclesial fait accompli, with all debate and discussion behind closed doors. Topics on which the Church has put a relatively uniform face, at least at an official level, now reveals a degree of pluriformity...." I think it's important for those of us observing the synod to realize that, in this past week, we have been witnessing the same complex, "messy" process that has always marked the construction of the beliefs and practices of the Church. When I look to our earliest days - and the way that Peter and Paul had to respectfully disagree with one another - we see how tension and paradox are part of our life. Both Peter and Paul are our founding evangelists. Yet, they did not see "eye-to-eye" on many significant things. These differences do not discredit the leadership of either of them. And, somehow, in the midst of their human imperfections, and all of the tensions they held, the Spirit was able to move. Part of the wisdom modeled here, I think, is that we must be able to disagree without turning on each other! :-) It's interesting to note that research in human development reveals that this is actually very difficult to do, and requires quite a high level of human maturity.

    Surely it is a sign of God's graciousness that in the midst of all of the joys and sorrows - the places of ease and those of tension - the Spirit has worked over the millennia and continues to work today right before our eyes! I'm particularly grateful to Archbishop Durocher for the most insightful and transparent way he has opened up a window onto this historic synodal process for us. It is yet another sign of what all who know him clearly recognize: an exceptional, generous pastoral leader of passionate faithfulness and commitment to the Church.

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  5. I want to thank Carol for her thoughts as it sums up what I've been feeling all along while reading Archbishop Durocher's blog.

    It is not an easy thing to be a member of the Catholic Church because of all the differing viewpoints and attitudes. However, we must remember who Jesus called: James and John wanted to be seated at either side of Jesus in the Kingdom, Peter denied Jesus three times and Judas betrayed Jesus! They didn't get it until they experienced the Risen Christ. (I only hope Judas got to as well, eventually.) If there is room in God's vision for these men and all the different personalities that have followed in the saints, then there is room for all of us. It is a show of character to see past the differences and still maintain our dignity and integrity through the disagreements.

    Archbishop Durocher, thank you. You did not have to include us in the process of the synod. It is a testament to your inclusive vision of Church. I am touched for being included and I am proud to be Catholic and Canadian and having you as our CCCB President. Rest assured of my prayers and I hope you get some time to enjoy the city. There is nothing like Italian gelato! or Italian espresso! Buon appetito!

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    1. The Apostles filled with the Holy Spirit had this to say to the Church

      St Paul

      "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you?" (1 Cor 5:1-2)

      "Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?" (1 Cor 5:6)

      St. John the Evangelist

      "Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person." (2 John 10-11)

      St. Paul again

      "Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar?" 2 Cor 6:14-15

      I think it is appropriate to recall St. Cyprian as well who said "he who soothes a sinner with flattering words administers fuel to his sin."

      Do we see such wisdom reflected in the decisions of our prelates? I don't think so.

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