Re-Reading the Roman Tea Leaves on the Synods on the Family: Reflecting Back and Looking Forward By Rev. James T. Bretzke, S.J., S.T.D. Wade Chair Spring Semester 2015 Professor: Boston College School of Theology & Ministry Scope & Disclaimers Reading Tea-leaves is an imprecise art A Work in Progress & Hitting a Moving Target! Perennial danger of `""DJ4" (hamartia) missing the mark
and the theological vice of $D4H (hubris) pride Can touch only a limited and quite selected range of topics Setting the Topic & Predicting the Future Trajectories Will not be able to answer what might happen vis-vis Church disciplines Wont be able to handle perennial questions such as the high cost of Jesuit education 1st Reading of Roman Tea-Leaves Shifting ecclesial landscape ad intra and ad extra Attitudes toward the World & the Pope Legal vs. Pastoral Paradigms & Deductive vs. Inductive Reading of Truth, leading to new
Moral & Pastoral analysis of concrete situations Gradualism of the Law OR Law of Gradualism Doctrine & Tradition: Continuity & Change Conflict of Duties & Hierarchy of Truths Politics & Primacy of Conscience Sensus Fidelium and the Magisterium Very Brief History of Synods Established by Paul VI to maintain on a smaller scale the collegiality of Vatican II Tri-ennial based on a pre-announced theme A few extra (extraordinary) Synods for special reasons and/or regions (e.g., Africa, Asia, America) 25 Synods between 1965-2014
Usually followed by a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation (ranking below an Encyclical) Last Synod on the Family was 1980, followed by Pope John Paul IIs Familiaris Consortio Preparation for a Synod Announcement of the theme and release of a preparatory document, inviting feedback from the worlds bishops Feedback compiled into Lineamenta and A working document (Instrumentum laboris) is released prior to the Synod Selection of ex officio, elected, and special representatives (named by the Holy Father), including
several lay couples USA Hierarchs in 2014 Synod: Cardinals Burke, Wuerl, Dolan and Archbishop Kurtz (head of the USCCB) Time-line of the Usual Synod: Opening Mass and opening Addresses Interventions by the Synod participants (speeches delivered in the Synod Hall) Compilation of the Relatio which is meant to offer a touchstone for small group discussions Circuli minores (small groups according to languages), assisted by a scribe Compilation of the input of the Circules minores
Release of the Synod Final Report after voting on the document or paragraphs (usually in secret) Innovations in the 2014 Synod Public Questionnaire that Bishops were invited to share broadly Lineamenta and Instrumentum Laboris that acknowledged frankly areas of difficulty and nonacceptance of Church teaching Frank, and even acrimonious, pre-Synod posturing by members on all points on the ecclesiological spectrum Far greater secular media attention in the secular press given to the run-up, reporting and post-Synod analysis Voting results on each Paragraph in the Final Report
Popes Opening Address Told the prelates they should speak openly, without fear of upsetting him or limiting discussions to things he would want to hear. Using the Greek term (parrhesia-- meaning to speak candidly or boldly, and without fear --"speak with parrhesia and listen with humility." Working in a synod, the pontiff continued, does not mean prelates should say only what Francis wants to hear. "This is not good!" said the pope. "A general condition is this," said the pope. "Speak clearly. Let no one say: 'This you cannot say.'" "You need to say all that you feel with parrhesia," he continued.
"And, at the same time, you should listen with humility and accept with an open heart what your brothers say." Divorce & Remarriage Issue 81, Theologian, author of Mercy, retired head of Pontifical Council for Xtian Unity 66, Then Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (replaced shortly after) Mercy vs. Truth Personalist Approach Doctrinal Approach
Discipline vs. Doctrine Pastoral Application Truths of the Faith Invested with Tradition But are often juridical Can Develop Grow In Understanding But De fide definita and can change, be suppressed, or added to
without modifying the underlying doctrine E.g. Friday abstinence or clerical celibacy (defined articles of the faith) do not change E.g., the Trinity or the 2 Natures of Christ Sacraments for Divorced & Remarried: Discipline or Doctrine? The Position of Cardinal Kasper et al. The primary role of the
Sacraments are to help and heal, and thus Reconciliation & Eucharist can (and should) do this. Admission to the Sacraments is a change in Church discipline Sacramental Marriage remains indissoluble to death The Position of Cardinal Burke et al. Discipline is the mirror of
her doctrine Denial of the Sacraments acts as a call to conversion Admission of divorced/remarried would be a sacrilege Changing this practice would attack Truth and would ultimately harm further the couples now barred from the Sacrament Treatment of Gay Family Members? The Pirolas vs. Cardinal Burke
The Austrailian Pirolas Synod Presentation on Accepta nce of Gay Children Friends of ours were planning their Christmas family gathering when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too. They fully believed in the Churchs teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family. Their response could be summed up in three words, He is our son. Cardinal Burkes Interview afte r the
Pirolas Presentation: If homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are reason teaches us that and also our faith then, what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person? Mid-Term Relatio Put together by a special, expanded, Committee appointed directly by the Pope
Surprisingly open language to those not married in the Church, the Divorced/Remarried, and Gay men and women Immediate pushback from a number of Synod Fathers from center to right Dispute over the English translation of the Italian original (Translator Traditor The Translator is the Traitor) Formal Correspondence or Dynamic UnEquivalence? Accogliere le persone omosessuali Welcoming homosexual persons Providing for homosexual persons si prende atto che vi sono casi in cui il mutuo
sostegno fino al sacrificio costituisce un appoggio prezioso per la vita dei partners it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners there are instances where mutual assistance to the point of sacrifice is a valuable support in the life of these persons. Circuli Minores The 10 circuli minores: Discussions on a number of issues that emerged during the general meeting; examine the mid-term
Relatio text to suggest changes, as well as things to add and remove 3 each English &Italian; 2 each French & Spanish (no more Latin group) Change in method of Input into Final Document ( no more thats not in the Final Document) Cardinal Burkes Group Replace Listen, Judge, Act model with See, Judge, Act Take care not to create confusion in the minds and hearts of our people. Any sex outside of marriage is never permissible
No admission to the sacraments of divorced and re-married people Be careful not to imply that certain life-styles are acceptable No GRADUALITY of DOCTRINE of faith and morals English B: Courage to Knock The Church must have the courage to knock on forbidden doors". [W]hat we discover surprises us: what we encounter inside is the loving presence of God which helps us to address the challenges of today, no longer on our terms, but in new ways which might otherwise have been unimaginable.
Knocking on forbidden or unaccustomed doors involves risk and courage. Fear and anxiety of what we think are forbidden doors may mean excluding opening ourselves to the God who always surprises. Alternatives to Pastoral Care for Divorced & Remarried Examination of possible paths of repentance and discernment by which, in particular circumstances, a divorced and remarried person might participate in the sacraments; and about providing alternatives, such as a deeper appreciation of the classical wisdom
and value of spiritual communion. Debate over spiritual communion: if one can make a spiritual communion with Christ, why not a physical communion? Carefully Define Gradualism the meaning of the law of gradualness, .. should not be understood as gradualness of the law. The aim of recognizing gradualness should be to draw people closer to Christ. Truth and mercy are not mutually exclusive terms, and in proclaiming truth we also proclaim the most profound mercy that of reconciliation
and unity with God; on the other hand, it is in mercy that we find truth. English Group C: (Kurtz Group) We rightly wish to welcome, without judgement or condemnation, those who, for some reason, are not yet able to express lifelong commitment in a marriage between a man and a woman. We wish also to give them encouragement, to help them recognize their own goodness, and to care for them as Christ cares for his sheep. We wish them to know that they are loved by God and rejected neither by him nor the Church. [emphasis added]
Italian Groups: A,B,C Surprise over the public release of the Relatio Effects of Migration on Family Breakup Biotechnologies pose challenges No to the idea of same-sex marriage, but the Church should appear as an house open which appreciates the gifts of everyone of good will who sincerely seeks God. Need for further study of the Orthodox and other Churches practices regarding Divorced and Remarried. Need to re-examine the annulment procedures Gregory the Great: The Pastoral Task is the Proof of Love
Final Document (Relatio Synodi) 190 eligible to vote; 183 in the Aula (some abstained from certain paragraph votes) 58 of 62 paragraphs approved by two-thirds or higher of those voting. NO single Paragraph got unanimous support, except for #2! Though all paragraphs of the Final Report passed with a majority of the 190 bishops eligible to vote, 3 problematic paragraphs failed to reach the desired two-thirds majority Pope Francis ordered the document with individual vote tallies to be published It will likely serve as a foundation for discussion in the 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family
The 4 most controversial Paragraphs follow Unanimous Support Only for #2 2. Within the family are joys and trials, deep love and relationships which, at times, can be wounded. The family is truly the school of humanity (Gaudium et Spes, 52), which is much needed today. Despite the many signs of crisis in the family institution in various areas of the global village, the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people, and serves as the basis of the Churchs need to proclaim untiringly and with profound conviction the Gospel of the Family, entrusted to her together with the revelation of Gods love in Jesus Christ and ceaselessly taught by the Fathers, the masters of spirituality and the Churchs Magisterium. The
family is uniquely important to the Church and in these times, when all believers are invited to think of others rather than themselves, the family needs to be rediscovered as the essential agent in the work of evangelization. Wordle of Final Relatio #2 Dialogue with those in Civil Marriage & De facto unions #41Placet 125; Non placet 54 (179 total votes with 69.9% YES and 30.1% NO) Reached a two-thirds of those voting, but just shy of a two-thirds of those eligible to vote (and so some conservatives report this
Paragraph as likewise failing to gather the hoped-for two-thirds) Those voting NO probably resisted the appearance tacit acceptance of nonsacramental unions this paragraph might be read as allowing. Communion for Divorced/Remarried couples #52 Placet 104; Non placet 74 (178 total votes with 59.5% YES and 41.5% NO) This was probably the clearest defeat for the Cardinal Kasper bloc, even though they did garner a simple majority of those voting. It was also the Paragraph least open to
spin on its meaning. Spiritual Communion Instead 53. Placet 112; Non placet 64: 176 total votes with 63% YES; and 27% NO Here the NO votes probably were from the more liberal contingent who argued that if people could be encouraged to spiritual communion they should also be allowed to receive actual Communion Treating Homosexuals with Respect #55: Placet 118; Non placet 62: Total 180
with 65.5% YES and 34.5% NO Probably the key sentence was Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies ought to be treated with respect and delicacy Some probably voted NO believing this whole paragraph too watered down; others might have voted NO fearing it would signal tacit acceptance of an intrinsically disordered orientation The Popes Final Discourse Termed the process a camino which could be translated as a road, process or even a pilgrimage
Acknowledged consolations, tensions, and 5 principal temptations faced by everyone present: Hostile rigidity to the letter of the law OR to ideological positions rather than leaving ourselves open to the Spirit Dont seek to do good that puts band-aids on wounds without first treating or healing them Dont transform stones into bread and bread into stones to cast against sinners, the weak, and the sick Dont forsake the Cross in order to adapt to the world Dont misuse the Depositum fidei either thinking ourselves its owners rather than guardians OR dont use language in such a way as to employ many words while saying nothing much at all Immediate Post-Synod spin
Media (depending on orientation) list the Final Report as either a major success or resounding defeat for Pope Francis Odium theologicum (theological hatred) Cardinal Burke acknowledges hes being removed from his post, and continues to give quite critical interviews to the Press Cardinals Burke and Mller (CDF) are the only two at the Mass of Beatification for Paul VI who fail to greet Pope Francis with the customary embrace (reported in the Italian Press) Negative views On the Synod We have many Cardinals and Bishops of the Holy Catholic
Church who publicly put Gods law in opposition to Gods mercy! We have Cardinals and Bishops who say that the very words of Jesus, the same second person of the Trinity who suffered and died so that we might live, insufficiently express love! Add to this the daily expressions of indifferentism and every other facet of Modernism (see Pascendi Dominici Gregis ) that are promulgated not only without fear of reproach, but with loud praise. To say such things and to promote such thinking is cooperation with the devil, the devil that has as its end the destruction of the Church. Whether these persons do this knowingly or unknowingly I cannot say, but I can say that it is evil. Patrick Archbold National Catholic Register 10 October 2014
Critique of the Pope As well We have a Pope whose intentions could not have been more crudely expressed over the past eighteen months of astonishing insults and denigration of practically all the elements of apostolic and ecclesiastical tradition. Francis has clearly been preparing for this moment since the day of his election, if not before, and now it has arrived in all its inglorious splendor. Let us call this Synod what it is: a secretive, manipulated, progressive-dominated cabal, led by septuagenarian and octogenarian diehards of the conciliar renewal, who are rushing to finish their workso rudely interrupted by Pope Benedictlest death release the Church from their clutches before they
are quite done Chris Ferrara in The Remnant Pope Francis has been authorizing Communion to those in mortal sin for years. Sandro Magister Espresso And as it is Catholic doctrine that the pope is infallible, that he cannot err when speaking ex cathedra on faith and morals, this would imply that Francis was not a valid pope and the chair of Peter is empty. Catholic politician Providence RI Bishop Thomas Tobin PostSynod Sound Bytes In trying to accommodate the needs of the age, as Pope Francis suggests, the Church risks the danger of losing its courageous, counter-cultural, prophetic voice, a voice that the world needs to hear. The concept of having a representative body of the
Church voting on doctrinal applications and pastoral solutions strikes me as being rather Protestant. Pope Francis is fond of creating a mess. Mission accomplished. Relax. Gods still in charge. Ongoing Misunderstanding of Doctrine vs. Discipline Distinction NY Times Columnist Ross Douthat The Pope and the Precipice (26 October 2014): [Conservative Catholics] might want to consider the possibility that they have a role to play, and that this pope may be preserved from error only if the church itself
resists him. Cardinal George Pell: Doctrine does develop, we understand truth more deeply, but there are no doctrinal backflips in Catholic history. The apostolic tradition announced first by Christ and founded in the Scriptures is the touchstone for truth and genuine pastoral practice. What Next? Synod 2015 The Synod and the Church ad extra The Final Relatio will be accompanied by a questionnaire and should serve as a working document for the discussion in the local churches over the next year.
Bishops in particular are to discuss this report not only among themselves but also in their own dioceses, with their priests, the lay faithful and especially with families. Hopefully a spirit and process similar to the first sessions of Vatican II "The Next Synod is a Battle between Christ and the Antichrist: - On whose side will you stand?" The Church of the last decades has functioned, or rather malfunctioned, She has been weak to the point of losing blood on the ground of doctrine and morality unsparing in her
repression and negation of every legitimate opinion that has the intent of reaffirming the doctrinal and moral truths, and to give free reign to those whose intent is to destroy her. Alessandro Gnocchi In Rorate Coeli Blog 2015 USA Synod Delegates Elected (in order of votes): Archbishops Kurtz (USCCB President) Chaput (Philadelphia), Cardinal DiNardo (Houston), and Archbishop Gomez (L.A.)
Substitutes: Archbishops Cupich (Chicago) and Cordileone (San Francisco) Probable Ex officio: Cardinals Dolan and Wuerl Unlikely participant: Cardinal Burke Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, on the 2014 Synod: I was very disturbed by what happened I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion. We also need to thank God for the gift of this present, difficult moment, . Because conflict always does two things: It purifies the church, and it clarifies the
character of the enemies who hate her. (Clarification of above remarks): To get your information from the press is a mistake because they dont know well enough how to understand it so they can tell people what happened. In some cases theyre certainly the enemy and they want to distort the Church. Other 2015 Synod Fathers Sandro Magister: The most active are the cardinals, the bishops, the theologians who want to innovate in Church doctrine and practice on marriage and homosexuality. But in the first round of elections for the next synod, the defenders of tradition are much more numerous. Clearly Pope Francis has confirmed the choices of the
individual bishops conferences and has not attempted to have elected his candidates (if he even has such a slate in pectore or otherwise) Pope also has named as participants identified with the more conservative wing, such as Father Jos Granados of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family Living in Sin? Cardinal Marx On Divorced & Remarried: What can we do when a
person marries, divorces and later finds a new partner? There are different positions. Some bishops at the synod said, They are living in sin. But others said, You cannot say that somebody is in sin every day. That is not possible. You see, there are questions we must speak about. On Same-Sex Relationships
The church says that a gay relationship is not on the same level as a relationship between a man and a woman. That is clear. But when they are faithful, when they are engaged for the poor, when they are working, it is not possible to say, Everything you do, because you are a homosexual, is negative. That must be said, and I have heard no objection. It is not possible to see a person from only one point of view, without seeing the whole situation of a
person. That is very important for sexual ethics Fraternal Correction of German Bishops by Cardinal Kurt Koch Kaspers Successor as Prefect of Pontifical Council of Christian Unity (since 2010) Sharply criticized the German bishops position on reading the signs of the times, calling it to be reminiscent of an earlier
capitulation to the Third Reich, And that the recourse to experience of real life is not a third font of Revelation (the only two fonts being Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium) Living in Sin? Cardinal Burke The Church cannot change her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the grave sinfulness of sexual relations outside the matrimonial union and the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts. Any change with regard to the reception of
Holy Communion on the part of those in irregular matrimonial unions cannot occur. The doctrine is clear it is the word of Christ Himself Who said, Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. Who am I to judge? We are held to judge if we see an act which is objectively disordered if people are involved in Cardinal Burke & His Conscience I cannot accept that Communion can be given to a person in an irregular union because it is adultery. On the
question of people of the same sex, this has nothing to do with marriage. This is an affliction suffered by some people whereby they are attracted against nature sexually to people of the same sex. Question: If perchance the pope will persist in this direction, what will you do? Cardinal Burke: I shall resist, I can Synodality: ala Robert Mickens The official Roman response has always been the same: People reject the teachings because they don't know or understand them; if these are reproposed in a new way the people will embrace them."
[Mickens continues] Pope Francis clearly understands that this has been a non-solution. And that is why he has invited the bishops of the world to discuss, debate and delve ever deeper into the thorny issues that are contested, rejected or simply ignored. He is the first pope since the Second Vatican Council to specifically encourage such open discussion on divisive issues. But he hasnt limited the debate to high-ranking prelates. He's actually instructed the bishops to widen the conversation by canvassing their priests and people at the grass level. In this way, he has called the entire Church to seek answers together in conversation, study, prayer and discernment. He has initiated a journey. This is key to his desire to make "synodality" (walking together) a constitutive part of decision-making (governance) process of the universal Church. Robert Mickens, A Synod That Will Not End, Global Pulse Magazine 6 February 2015
Pre-Emptive Positioning Example E.g., the March 12, 2015 Statement of the Polish Bishops Conference: The teaching and the tradition of the Church shows that people living in non-sacramental union deprive themselves of the possibility of receiving Holy Communion.* [The reference here is to invalid unions contracted by Catholics. Catholics in valid natural marriages, which occur when a Catholic marries an unbaptised person, may receive the sacraments.] The Polish Bishops also just formally endorsed the entire Burke et al. book Remaining in the Truth of Christ when it was released in a Polish translation.
Projected Key Players On the Court for the 2015 Synod Cardinal Baldisseri, General Secretary Archbishop Bruno Forte, Special Secretary Cardinal Pter Erd, Relator (Hungary) Cardinal Luis Chito Tagle, Manila, Philippines Cardinal Wilfred Napier, South Africa Cardinal Kurt Koch, Pontifical Council for Xtian Unity Cardinal Gerhard Mller, CDF Cardinal Reinhard Marx from Munich, Germany Archbishop Charles Chaput from Philadelphia Cardinal Vincent Nichols from the UK Archbishop Diarmuid Martin from Dublin, Ireland
And Fans in the Stands? First & Foremost: People in the Pews Vaticaniste, Catholic Periodicals & Secular Media Social media & Blogs, especially of the Right Wing Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke & followers Cardinal Walter Kasper & followers Final Words as Antidote to Odium theologicum In fide, unitas: in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas "In faith, unity; in doubt, liberty; in all things, charity." Attributed to St. Augustine, this is an important
principle of Christian discernment: unity in faith is important, but in cases of doubt a plurality of opinions and practices should be allowed, and the over-riding principle must always be charity towards each other. And to quote Providence RI Bishop Thomas Tobin: Relax, God is still in charge! For further reading from the Shameless Commerce Division
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