“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism, No. 2205).
The Synod on the Family is over and we have now had a few days to digest all that took place there and catch up with the reading of Pope Francis’ final speech to the Synod Fathers and many of the numerous articles in the media outlets and blogs that have been discussing the outcome. So what do we make of it all?
If I may be so bold to voice a couple of personal misgivings (and keep quiet about others), they would be these:
1. Why was established Doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage [i.e. the insinuating that those in illicit relationships be admitted to Holy Communion “under some circumstances”] even laid on the table for discussion? Or all this talk about homosexuals being made “welcome”? Is it being suggested that some sinful situations are “less equal” than others (h/t George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”) and can be wiggled out of? These ideas were not properly clarified at the Synod and have already caused great confusion among the faithful.
2. My second misgiving is that (as far as I can see) very little, if anything, was really discussed on “The Family” (i.e. one father, one mother, and the children born from their union) and the greatest duty parents have: to prepare their children for Eternity through the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church! Parents have enormous challenges and difficulties in imparting the Faith to their children in our anti-family, promiscuous Western society nowadays. It is a great heartache for dedicated Catholic parents to often see their cherished children abandon the Church as they get sucked up into the powerful secular whirlwind, sometimes even before they have “flown the nest”. I know so many cases where this has happened, some very close to my heart. Families in non-Western societies have added enormous problems to overcome; none of these were dealt with satisfactorily at the Synod either. There is also the problem of a spouse being abandoned by the other (through no fault of their own) and desperately trying to fulfill their parental duty single-handedly to bring up their children with true Catholic values – a very challenging task. Many of us were hoping that how to confront all these issues, and others related to real family problems, would be discussed in the Synod, but we have been left disappointed.
Finally, here are some excerpts from different sources voicing their own feelings of doubt about the outcome of the Synod:
Excerps from Cardinal Mauro Piacenza
The Cardinal Grand Penitentiary of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, exhorts the Church: “If the Church does not maintain doctrine, it can not progress. The Church must constantly pay attention to two areas in particular. On one hand, it must keep the people in the faith and strengthen them that they remain in a state of grace on the inside, and on the other hand it must always go to the outside. If it were not strong within, it could not go out… If we had no healthy people, if the doctors would not be healthy, they could not heal the sick. Therefore, always remember that you can not have the one if you lose the other. The priority (to always realise) is to be found in preserving the deposit of faith, unchanged through the centuries and millennia,” said Cardinal Piacenza. From this position, “the doctrine is therefore not an abstract truth, but a person, Jesus Christ, always and above all else.”
Excerpts from the Bones You Have Crushed
In his speech at the close of the Synod it is true that Francis talked of other temptations, but it is noteworthy that ‘traditionalists’ were first in the line of fire. So I guess that before the ‘liberals and progressives’ (Cardinals Kasper, Madriaga, Schoenborn etc) are punished, we can assume Cardinals Mueller and Napier as well as the already demoted Burke will be first for the chop.
The various temptations put forward by Pope Francis aside from one set, have always been temptations for the Church. It is only in the reign of Francis that to hold fast to the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church, to defend with one’s speech the Church’s teaching, as Cardinal Burke has done, on the Sacrament of Marriage and the institution of the family, that it has been posited, by the Pope himself, that to do so is a ‘temptation’. The Church, in her teachings and her law has never been ‘flexible’ with sin. It has always shown leniency to repentant sinners.
Excerpts from Pat Buchanan
But the synod meets again next year, and the stakes could scarcely be higher for the church and pope.
In his remarks at the synod’s close, Pope Francis mocked “so-called traditionalists” for their “hostile rigidity.”
That is one way of putting it. Another is that traditionalists believe moral truth does not change, nor can Catholic doctrines be altered.
Even a pope cannot do that… [ ]
The Catholic Church is not the Democratic Party of Obama, Hillary and Joe, where principled positions on abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage “evolve.” And when did flexibility in matters of moral principle become a virtue for Catholics?
These and many other worrying opinions from Catholics, loyal to the Church’s unchanging Magisterium, are being discussed around the blogsphere. We now have a whole year to “lick our wounds” and pray hard that the Cardinals and Bishops who will take part in the Synod on the Family next October 2015 will be truly enlightened by the Holy Spirit. (A few outstanding participants of the past Synod showed themselves to be truly that, yet will they be invited next year?)