Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 2 - Synod 2015

This morning was dedicated to protocol and formalities. The Synod Hall was full: nearly 270 'fathers' of the Synod (most of them bishops, a few major superiors of priestly congregations), on top of 14 fraternal delegates (representing other Churches and Christian communities), 24 experts and 51 auditors (of which there are 17 married couples).

After the opening prayer, the Pope spoke to us. In a brief but powerful talk, he reminded us that the Synod is a journey that encourages wisdom and openness, centred on the good of the Church, the family, and the salvation of souls. It's not a parliament, but rather the visible expression of the journeying Church reflecting on the possibilities of faithfulness to the deposit of the faith in today's context. According to the Pope, the Synod walks forward in the midst of God's People, whose pastors and servants we are. It is a protected space, where the Spirit can speak to us through the voices of those who are open to the God of surprises, the God who created the Law as a gift for the fulfillment of human beings. One condition is necessary for its success: that we be clothed in apostolic courage, humility and prayer. Courage will allow us to bring God's life to others, sharing our convictions and the reasons for our hope. Humility will allow us to listen to others without feeling ourselves superior to them. Prayer will open a space of silence where the voice of God can echo in our hearts. It's not about negociating our way to a consensus, but about listening to the voice of God so that GOD might enlighten us and be our guide.

Cardinal Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod, then gave a report about the work that was accomplished by the secretariate as it prepared our meeting.

Cardinal Erdo, relator general, presented a magisterial speech, quiet classic in style in content, in which he gave his analysis of the questions that face us. I very much liked his introduction, where he recalled the passage in the Gospel of Mark (chapter 6, verse 34) when Jesus comes across a crowd: he looks at these people, is moved with compassion for them, then teaches them at length. The three actions of Jesus structure our own three-part working document: first, we are invited to look at the world which surrounds us; then, we bring to mind the Good News of God's compassion for families; finally, we consider our own role in journeying with and renewing our families.

By the way, readers of this blog who want to follow my comments more closely would find an advantage in having a copy of our working document at hand. You can find it at : http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents/rc_synod_doc_20150623_instrumentum-xiv-assembly_en.html#

After lunch, we started listening to the individual comments of bishops concerning the first part of the working document. These interventions each last three minutes and must concern a particular paragraph of the text, according to the will of the bishop. Il will be presenting my comment tomorrow. It will be focused on the role of women.

Our last hour, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., was given over to 'free' interventions. A few voices were heard, regretting the purely anecdotic or sociological style of the first section. It presents the challenges that couples and families face today, but in a rather dry and objective manner. I suggested to the group that we might work in our small groups to give this section a bit of 'breath', as we try to see these elements with the eyes of faith. We'll see where that suggestions goes..

This has been a long first day, starting with Mass at 7:00 a.m. here at the Casa Romana del Clero where I'll be living for the next three weeks. I'm starting to fall asleep as I write this, so I'm heading off to bed, thinking of all you and carrying you in my prayers. Good night!

10 comments:

  1. Hello your Grace,

    I was wondering, is My Eminence, ++Collins, part of your group? If so has he said anything or made a contribution yet to the synod, (e.g. Group, 3 minute speech...?)

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    1. I do not believe that Vox could have said anything inappropriate, unless telling it as it is, using a yes for yes, and a no for no, can be considered as such.

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    2. I removed it by accident. What I wrote was that perhaps he needs to read Denzinger.

      Bishop, you are a disgrace.

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  3. Hello Bishop,
    I am very concerned with the intellectually dishonest, illogical and immoral approach to Church teaching represented by many Synod participants, where they are determined to separate faith from life/daily practice. If I believe, I act accordingly. If I believe in a just and merciful God, I do not stay in sin believing in mercy by ignoring His Divine Justice. I have been taught by the Church that there is no forgiveness without repentance. For example, a homosexual who does not regret homosexual acts, can not be forgiven. Please, remember the hard and narrow path that leads to Salvation in Truth versus the easy road of compromise with the lying world - when speaking at the Synod. God is merciful and just. Please, for the sake of salvation of souls, do not reduce our Heavenly Father to a New Age nondescript positive attitude, tolerant of everything, including lies and evil.

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  4. GOD BLESS THE PRIEST THAT DRESSED YOU DOWN AND HELD YOU TO ACCOUNT!

    There were a few fireworks at the very end of today's press briefing that took place after the morning sessions. It's clear what's going on here is that there are an awful lot of bishops sitting in the Synod who are not really expressing theological thoughts about some of these issues. Obviously some of them are, but some of them are getting their theology mixed up. And in one particular episode right at the very end of the press conference, one last question came up from the press gallery, and on stage was the archbishop of Gatineau, Quebec, Paul-André Durocher, who was asked, "What about this question of the discipline versus the doctrine of administering Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics? Is it safe to say that this issue is still under debate? And if so, what does that say about the question of the dogma and the discipline?"And he gave an answer that stunned a number of us inside the press room. He said, 'If you want dogma, go read Denzinger. The Synod will be deciding and talking about whether this is a discipline or it's a dogma."That caused one priest who was sitting very, very close to us to sort of go into a rage. He actually confronted the archbishop on the way out of the door and said, "All you bishops, everything you're doing here, is this conciliarism, which is destroying the Church! You are confusing the faithful. You don't know the Faith."There was a very, very strong reaction; you could see the division between faithful Catholic journalists and the more liberal crowd reporting — for America Magazine and National Catholic Distorter (I mean Reporter) and all this. There is quite the division here. It's really funny because every day they stand up and tell us there's no division. And then they stand up and say something divisive, and the whole thing falls apart again. This is very interesting, the way this is all playing out.But hold on! This is only day two. Day two of 21! And I am shocked. I cannot believe a bishop said, "Oh well, you want dogma, go to Denzinger. We'll decide whether doing the discipline differently affects dogma."

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  5. Deaconesses? You're a heretic.
    How can you be trusted to say anything good, beautiful, or true about the family if you are so patently confused about another sacrament of vocation, namely, holy orders?

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    1. Also, I'm in the Galveston diocese. We have, per capita, about twice the diocesan priests that you do in Gatineau. Think there might be a relationship between your confused and confusing sacramental theology, and the fact that young men have no interest in joining your diocese as priests? And adding more women will only make the problem worse. As an ex-Anglican, I've watched that entire religion implode BECAUSE it scrambled to make priestesses.

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