Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Synod - Day 6

Those who follow my blog assiduously (I think there are three or four of you) will have noticed that I skipped Day 5 of the Synod. Not that it wasn't interesting. But I came down with a real man's cold. (You know how much worse that is than a woman's cold. A woman gets a cold and keeps on working and caring for the household; but a man gets a cold and everything stops!) Poor me: coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose, burning throat... and all during a humid heat wave which is causing even the Romans to complain. This Roman October feels like the worst summer days in Gatineau. So I just didn't have the energy to get my ideas together for my blog over the weekend--- all the more so since I had to work a bit on the Synod message. As I remarked in an earlier post, I was named to the committee which must prepare a message for all the families of the world on behalf of the bishops gathered here in Rome. We are well led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, man of great culture, specialist of the Bible and noted author. With him, the work is easy. We spent time together Friday and Today polishing the draft he prepared for us. The text will be published at the end of the Synod. I think it will be quite beautiful.

Meanwhile, we finished the undending 4-minute talks that each bishop was allowed to give (there were nearly 200!) I must admit, after having lived through this twice (the first time being in 2005 when I participated in the Synod on the Eucharist), I would like to see this procedure seriously reviewed. I am sure there are other processes that would be more efficient, interesting and fruitful. I hope they'll make a thorough evaluation of this process after the Synod.

This morning, we received the «relatio post-disceptationem», that is, the synopsis of our discussions of last week. I admire Cardinal Erdo and his team: in two days, they were able to present a synthesis which holds well together, written with an open and engaging style. A serious problem has arisen, however. This text, which is but a working instrument helping us to identify the questions which now need to be clarified, has been made public. Unfortunately, the media have interpreted it as the Synod's position, while it is only a sampling of options that have been presented to date. We now have to work to find a common language, a vision that will be acceptable to the great majority of bishops. This involves mutual listening where individual positions are adjusted in light of the wisdom we hear from others. I believe the final text  will be quite different -- at least on some points -- from the 'relatio' we have received today. We risk seeing an unplesant media spin in the days that will follow. I must say I'm starting to better understand the experience which must have been lived during the sessions of the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago! 

Let me end on a positive note. This eveing, I went to a 'spiritual concert' put on my a friend of mine, Father Pierre Paul, the director of music at Saint Peter's Basilica. This concert was made of various works by Bach and Haendel, interspersed with texts that presented the spiritual journey of Pope Paul VI whose beatification we will celebrate next Sunday to conclude the Synod. This concert was a beautiful moment of prayer for me that allowed me to discover the great spirit of this good Pope who not appreciated enough in our world. On this Canadian feast of thanksgiving, I say Thank you, Lord for music, an undeniable sign for me of the existence of the soul and of the transcendance of the human being. Good night to all!


  1. I think you are forgetting the fact that the person you call as a good Pope was made a mockery of by Canadian Bishops that signed the Winnipeg Statement. To this day, it has not been revoked. I guess that speaks by itself regarding the state of the Canadian Catholic hierarchy.

    Apart from that, you said _Unfortunately, the media have interpreted it as the Synod's position, while it is only a sampling of options that have been presented to date._

    The problem you seem to ignore is that the Church has stooped down to a level where certain members of the hierarchy can openly make such diabolical suggestions. The response from even yourself is to commend the document as very well put together in such a short period of time. Seriously? What about the scandal you are causing? What about the damage done to some of the faithful that may end up giving in to these sins because now they feel that the Church is changing?

    I am losing my faith in the Canadian Bishops because I think they seem to deliberately ignore the obvious for the sake of giving the people what they want as opposed to what they need.

  2. Oh and please, I hope you are planing to make the final document *beautiful* in the sense that it delivers the unadulterated truth rather than some distorted lie to justify living a life of sin.

  3. The relatio is a disgrace. A betrayal!

  4. The document is most unmercifully in affirming sinners in their sin. It is most condescending in supposing that sinners could never turn away from their sinful ways. It's a disaster all around.

  5. I have been a catechist for years. I am currently teaching RCIA and dealing with more than one irregular relationship. I know I will at some point face questions regarding the Synod.

    I have been trying hard to rationalize what's been coming from Rome since Pope Francis was elected. I understand about translations and media bias and all that, but it's exhausting trying to support things that seems to be in such divergence with what we know to be true.

    Please, please do a favour to those of us "in the trenches" and don't repeat the errors of VII. Make the Synod documents as unambiguous as possible, and make them true.

  6. Thanks for your comments. I’m not in Rome right now, with bishops and Cardinals and the Pope. You know where I am? I’m in Denver, Colorado, at home with my wife and infant daughter. I’m right in the middle of the world, trying to live my apostolate for Christ, to build a culture of life and a culture of marriage when neither are particularly favored by the ambient culture. Let me assure you that my witness was made even more difficult by the profoundly uncourageous relatio that the world now thinks the Church supports and teaches. Indeed, I’m a writer, and a current project I’m working on is a book about building a culture of marriage, illuminated especially by the Church’s social Magisterium. This synod has not exactly been a source of encouragement and support to me. If you want the laity to engage in a fruitful apostolate and stand up for the truth, then our shepherds ought to stand up for the truth. I wonder if the Synod fathers really understand how many faithful Catholic hearts have been broken by the obfuscation and confusion coming out of Rome. I wonder if you all appreciate how let down so many of us feel today.

    As a side note, let me say that the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage is deeply inspiring to me. I am a child of divorce—three, actually, and three remarriages between my parents, too. Can you imagine what that was like growing up—and how all of that haunts my own young marriage today? You want to see scars? I have plenty. Mercy is telling the world how evil divorce is and how awfully it harms children. Mercy is telling remarried divorcees that they owe it to themselves, to their spouses, their children, and the greater Christian community to regularize their situations before presenting themselves for Holy Communion. Mercy is telling the truth—compassionately, courageously, fearlessly, lovingly telling the truth.

    Please do not compromise the Church’s Magisterium, indeed, Christ’s own words, based on a false conception of mercy. Do you really believe in the Cross? I mean, really, really believe? How can anyone ever say that following our Lord is too difficult and therefore must be somehow accommodated when the awesome power of the Cross has already won that battle?

  7. This was all about Kasper and his Holy Communion for the divorce and remarried without a decree of nullity, Now, it is revealed that it is really about a blanket acceptance of sodomy, a watering down of marriage, Holy Communion for everyone, a false mercy.

    If they truly believed that Our Lord Jesus Christ was truly present body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament they would not permit this. They would admonish the sinner! They would prevent him or her from eating unto their own condemnation. This is mercy! They can only have lost the faith.

    I've read in a few places of people despairing. I am not despairing but I am bloody angry.


  8. The relatio is full or errors.... it confuses being with acting....it is why we continue in a crisis of truth..... was it not only the other day that two synod fathers continued to speak as if truth is evolving?

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