Synods and Sausage: having a Church isn’t for the squeamish...
The opening of the Synod on the Family draws closer. Books in various languages are to be released in which marriage and Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried are studied, with a special eye on the proposals of Card. Kasper. Catholic media and blogs speculate that Pope Francis is irritated, maybe even angry, with those who are criticizing Card. Kasper’s proposals. Perhaps he is even exiling or punishing people. Sides are polarizing. People are having discussions. Hands are wringing.
Can’t we all just get along?
A few thoughts.
First, this is what “synodality” looks like. It’s messy.
Bishops and theologians have at it. They propose. They counter-propose. They raise their voices.
Shall we forget our Church’s history? Look back to the ancient Church and the fiery synods of those days.
Anyone out there remember Vatican II? It was in all the papers.
If people, especially liberals, want a more synod-like approach to how we do things in the Church, this is what they are going to get.
By the way, it doesn’t work very well for the ecclesial communities and churches that have it. But hey! Don’t complain about getting what you have asked for.
The liberal MSM is getting into it too. For example, Nicole Winfield of AP has a bit today about the soon-to-be-released Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (the “five Cardinals” book that dismantles Card. Kasper’s notions – HERE). Here’s a look at some of it:
Conservatives, [Let's stipulate that "conservatives" are the bad guys standing in the way of "mercy" and move on.] including the five cardinal authors, have vehemently ["vehemently"? Read the book before characterizing its tone.] opposed Kasper’s suggestion as contrary to Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Their debate — unusually raw and public for such “princes of the church” [Huh? Where's the "raw" in "We don't agree."] — has crystalized the growing discomfort among conservatives to some of Francis’ words and deeds, and sets the stage for what is likely to be a heated discussion starting Oct. 5. [A "heated" discussion in a "synod"? What a thought! This underscores a problem of perspective among those who lean to the Left. Synods are apparently supposed to be like meetings of the Korean Supreme People's Assembly in which participants clap mechanically for the predetermined (read: liberal) position.]
Francis has asserted church doctrine on the matter but has called for a merciful, pastoral approach: He reportedly told an Argentine woman earlier this year that she was free to receive Communion even though her husband’s first marriage was never annulled. Knowing the issue is divisive, though, he has convened the whole church to debate the issue as part of a broad discussion on family issues over the next two years. [Here, she got it right. The Pope called for discussion of the issue. Even during the airplane presser on the way home from WYD in Rio, the Pope called for the questions to be studied. And now "conservatives" are being "vehement" and the discussion is "raw" when some cardinals and scholars do exactly what the Pope asked for?]
It is rare for cardinals to publicly and pointedly accuse another cardinal of being flat-out wrong, and rarer still for a cardinal to question the pope, as Burke has done. [Woah! Is that what Card. Burke did?] Regarding the purported phone call to the Argentine woman, Burke told the EWTN Catholic channel: “I wouldn’t for a moment impute that Pope Francis intended to give a signal about church doctrine by calling someone on the phone. This is just absurd.” [It is blatantly false and manifestly unfair to state, as Winfield did here, that Card. Burke "questioned" the Pope. And let's be clear. Who knows what the Pope really said in that phone conversation, reported second-hand on Facebook. Furthermore, the Church's doctrine is not established in phone calls to couples living in irregular marriages.]
We are not used to seeing how the Church’s sausage is made. It is messy. Hands get dirty. Lots of things go into it which, considered individually, aren’t very appealing. Having a Church isn’t for the squeamish.
Can’t we all just get along? Sure we can! That doesn’t mean we can’t have heated arguments about matters that are central to our lives as Catholics. We can and must discuss the truth in charity.
Unless, of course, the era of Caritas in veritate … charity in truth… is over.
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