Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Synod - Day 7

Today, I lived a truly beautiful 'Church' moment. About twenty cardinals, bishops and priests, sitting for six hours with three married couples, all working through the various points raised in the 'relation post-disceptationem'. I was struck by the quality of the interventions, by the intensity of mutual listening, by the confrontation of cultures and experiences, by the great variety of the questions themselves. I admired the sustained effort to bring the centuries-old wisdom of the Church into dialogue with the modern world. The deeply humanising vision of the Gospel is at the heart of the Synod's work. 

And how did we do this work? Simply by going through the text paragraph by paragraph and reacting according to our worries, our enthusiasms and our convictions. the confrontation of ideas slowly allows us to arrive at a formulation where all can find themselves.

I admire the work of our moderator, Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna, who allows each of us to express ourselves freely and with respect, while ensuring that we move forward efficaciously... for we need to make our way to the end of the text. Our secretary, Bishop Léonard of Brussels, shows a remarkable gift of synthesis and a keen sense of wit. 

Tomorrow, we will discuss the modifications to the text which will have been prepared by Bishop Leonard according to our propositions. A few of us will also present some paragraphs on themes we feel were not well developped in the text. I myself must prepare something on the impact of the internet on family life. A little bit of homework to finish before heading to bed.

So on that note, I wish you all a good night. 

P.S.: A little mistake in yesterday's blog. I should have spoken of Paul VI's beatification, not his canonization. Thanks to all the friends who made me aware of this slip.


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    1. How can you be delighted? Do you delight if a lay group of people were involved with giving you treatment for a disease? How about with performing a surgery?

      Only people that should be involved in this discussion are those who have theological and philosophical expertise on this matter together with an awareness regarding the age old wisdom of the Church. Anything else is bound look like a bunch of amateurs performing a surgery.

  2. You said

    Simply by going through the text paragraph by paragraph and reacting according to our worries, our enthusiasms and our convictions.

    No wonder you are coming up with disastrous ideas. There is no mention of drawing from the accumulated wisdom of our forefathers over 2000 years on the issue of dealing with obstinate sin. You are all there to give your best guess and have the arrogance to presume that you know better?

    And what on earth are three married couples suppossed to tell you? I have met Catholic couples who have been married for a long time but with zero clue on Church theology or raising good Catholic children. What sort of insight do you think they will give? Is that insight valuable or representative of what a good Catholic family should look like? Your methodology at the synod is a joke!!! If I may ask, who selected the couples? Is it not possible that some individuals can pick the couples to further their own agenda rather than the truth?

    About Cardinal Schonborn, I think we can't forget the state of the his own Church in Vienna now, can we? It is not exactly thriving if anyone is unaware. So are we to feel comfort in the fact that a person who can't fix the Church in his care is now in charge of moderating discussions involving policies for the whole Church?

    Don't any of you bother to wonder if the methodology you are using at the synod is going to bring about accurate results? I can't help but think that all you care about is looking good to the secular world.

    1. It's clear you feel very strongly about this issue. Personally, I see nothing wrong with having married couples provide viewpoints on family life. It is not as if they are the ones writing the final document or making final decisions or determining church doctrine. I see no evidence that 2000 years of accumulated wisdom is being ignored in this synod. I would also remind you that you are directing your comments, which border on being rude, to the president of the CCCB, an archbishop, and someone ordained by God to be one of the shepherds of our Church. No one is saying you have to agree with him or any of the other bishops at the synod, but I think a more respectful tone is called for.

    2. The president of the CCCB is talking about how beautiful the synod document is and how he thinks taking advise from lay couples on this issue is amazing. And you think my "tone" is the problem?

      I have explained why I made each allegation including that of ignoring the 2000 year old wisdom of the Church. I have also explained why taking a small sample size of married couples as they are doing in the synod is bizarre (I am sure you would agree as well that the sample size seems hardly representative, yes?).

      So please, I think it will help if you worry less about my tone and the feelings of the CCCB president and more about his lack of concern for safeguarding the truth.

  3. I agree with Luke Stocking about the respectful tone. Something seems to make you very unsatisfied Eufrosnia, because you write so much about what’s going wrong in your opinion...
    I live and work as a theologian in Austria and can tell you that I am very happy about being a part of this local Church. Of course I was also pleased to read about my bishop's doing a good job moderating the group.
    Today in Vienna, Card. Kasper spoke just wunderful about the Vision of pope Francis and also about the Vatican II Spirit at the Synod. There was a long applause after his speech. I was very grateful for his coming.
    Thank you for your words Abp. Durocher!

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    2. Vernoika,

      If you think Cardinal Kasper is speaking "wunderful" words, then obviously there is a problem here, right? Even more problematically, how is it that you as a Catholic (?) theologian think that Cardinal Kasper has said anything short of scandalizing and condemned ideas in this regard that many other Cardinals have quiet rightly taken apart?

    3. Anne,

      As someone who seems of age from your display picture, you should know that pleasant words are not an indication that justice and truth are safeguarded. This sort of emotionalism and sentimentalism is what makes it easy for many to fool people. So my 2 cents is that you forget about my tone and really concentrate on the issue of whether or not the truth is safeguarded here in this synod and what the Bishop is doing to achieve that.

      As I have explained, nothing he has written gives any reason to think that he really cares beyond making people with emotionalism or sentimental mindset feel all gooey inside. That is a problem! It is a problem with far graver consequences than my tone and language.

    4. Eufrosnia, I suppose you even have problems with the pope Francis because all that, what Cardinal Kasper told us yesterday was about the vision of the pope and of theaching of the Church (last 2000 years) such as: Wisdom of the people (lay and ordained, as Carol wrote below), compassion, being in process, open eyes, joy and hope of the Gospel... All those things which make very authentic Christians of us. And yes, I am Catholic.
      Our discussion and the problems with the progress on the Synode have to do with SAFETY (of the teaching of the Church) and with FREEDOM (new ways making us anxious)... I am convinced that we need both to be balanced in our Church.

    5. Veronika,

      Let us hypothetically say that what Cardinal Kasper proposes, which is an error, is indeed what Pope Francis supports. Does this mean that we should then agree with that proposal? If you are unaware, Popes have been and can be wrong in their private leanings. To give you a historical example, Pope John XXII infamously promoted as error on the subject of particular judgement which nearly tore the Church apart.

      So all of this is to say that we should evaluate the proposal on its own merits and not based on who is proposing it. To that end, the proposal is a diabolical error.

      On the claim of Cardinal Kasper that his proposal is consistent with 2000 years of Church teaching and praxis, I think there is enough dissertations now from various groups that show that it is false. So I fail to see what you are trying to say on that point.

      Finally, I do not see what concept of freedom you speak of here. Catholicism allows a specific kind of freedom and has a strict way of defining it. The Catholic sense of freedom is not something that is contention with the truth (Church teaching and praxis). It is also not a matter of what we are personally convinced of. That would be Protestantism right?

      The Catholic Church should always proclaim truth and the pastoral praxis should be about safeguarding the truth. Does that mean some members will be cut-off? Sure it does and even the first Apostles had no problems with that (1 Cor 5, 2 John 10-11).

      Are we to think that you or the current Church knows better in this regard than St. Paul and St. John who were the first to receive the truth from Jesus?

      The Church does not run on the mere wisdom from anecdotal evidence but on the wisdom that comes from those who know the truth and wisdom accumulated by faithful Catholics (those who we have raised to our altars) who tried to live that truth through the centuries.

    6. I don't think that anything ever wrote can change your mind. So at least I hope that you also believe in the Holy Spirit who is acting all the time in the Church and even in people's lives. He is the one who suprises us and make us grow - to live according to these suprises I ment with what I called "freedom".

    7. Veronika,

      If you try to convince me that 1+1 = 5, no matter how much you write, I would be reasonable in opposing your proposition, yes? Same with this issue.

      As for invoking the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit ensures that the Church will nor err in her doctrine. The Holy Spirit does not prevent Church prelates from committing murder let alone acting unwisely by rejecting Church teaching and praxis. Now I am sure that as a theologian you are aware of this, yes?

      In that sense, there is much to worry about. The actions of our prelates can lead to the spread of immorality and error which will result in loss of many souls to hell. The Holy Spirit is not to blame for that because there has never been such a promise to the Church by God that the prelates will be forced to act correctly by the Holy Spirit.

      Also, if I may ask, how do you suppose one identifies a surprise is from the Holy Spirit or the Devil? As far as I am aware, the Holy Spirit does not drop doctrinal bombs. In fact, we know something is from the Holy Spirit if that is consistent with the Church teaching and praxis.

    8. Thank your for your answer, Eufrosnia.
      I acknowledge that you want the best. I don’t try to convince you – it’s up to you how you look at the world and the people around you.
      But as you see there are much more than just one point of view about what is the „best“ way in our Church. For me it is very difficult to see the hope and the joy of the Gospel in your negative words, but maybe you have experienced something very bad what makes you so anxious (about “dropping doctrinal bombs”) and doesn’t allow you to look at the way of discussions at the Synode with more hope.
      I wish you lots of reasons to experience joy and peacefulness. Maybe you will be happy about the unity in diversity than – even in our Church.

    9. Veronika,

      My entire point is that it is not up to me how I look at the world around me. Neither is it up to you as well. What we personally believe about the world does not automatically mean it is true. There is an objective reality out there and either what we believe is consistent with it or incorrect.

      Our Christian hope in this context has always been in the fact that if we repent, amend our life and accept the good news, we will be saved. To try and justify not repenting and amending ones life because it otherwise feels "too negative" is just appealing to personal beliefs rather than the truth, yes?

  4. I would like to add my support to the remarks of M. Stocking and Mme. Prinz-Fulopova. A respectful tone is what is needed for healthy conversation. Furthermore, Archbishop Durocher is demonstrating his excellence as a pastor and his generosity as a synod Father by taking the time to include us and share his reflections. We owe him our respect and gratitude.
    I would also like to comment as a practical theologian living and working in Canada. Since its inception, the Church has shaped its teaching by engaging the wisdom of all the faithful - both lay and ordained. All have their respective wisdom to bring to the process of discernment about how the Church's Tradition (the Gospel and all the teachings) affirm, critique and challenge contemporary reality. What we see in this method being utilized by the synod is our most ancient practice of sound theological reflection that supports Spirit-filled discernment. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Archbishop Durocher for giving us such a privileged view of how this is unfolding over these days of the synod.
    Sincerely, Carol Kuzmochka

    1. Please, now this is what I identify as humor. You make it sound as if the Church in Canada is thriving after following the "wisdom of the lay people". We were one of the first countries to end up legalizing sodomy and having things like the Toby act in Ontario.

      Oh and lets not forget the Winnipeg Statement against Humanae Vitae

      So those of you who are worried about my tone here, why is it that you aren't too worried about the acts of your Bishops in Canada? If I were a betting woman, I would say that you just love this heterodoxy and find it irksome that others get mad over it.

  5. What is your view of the racist comments about Africa by the German Cardinal Kasper?

  6. Very worrying is the disgraceful remarks towards our African and Asian Catholics by Cardinal Kasper.....

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