Fr Zuhlsdorf and his source in Rome shed some light on the synod’s final report:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, since I have been on pilgrimage, I’ve tried to be in as much of a Synod Free Zone as possible.
However, I am gifted with some pretty good sources who are following everything closely.
I’ve been brought up to date.
I will hereunder share an edited version of something I got via email. It is reliable. For now I will leave him in the safe shadows of anonymity but hereby send public thanks for his work.
Father Z has today UPDATED his post with some feedback from ‘a friend who is a canonist’.
Yesterday, Cardinal George Pell commented on the final document of the Synod on the Family at the general assembly of the Una Voce Federation that was also taking place in Rome. Pell said, that the Synod was „very hard work“.
The final document contained 94 paragraphs. Most of them were not controversial. The paragraphs 84, 85 and 86 had substantial minorities opposing them:
84: 187 yes and 72 no.
85: 178 yes and 80 no.
86: 190 yes and 64 no.
According to Pell a minority of bishops objected because they thought that the true teaching was not taught explicitly enough. He excused the Synod fathers with the argument that they – although they happen to be bishops – “have never done any or much Thomistic philosophy”.
Pell saw a danger in the paragraph about conscience because people could use “conscience” and then “do what they want”. But the paragraph about conscience was rewritten in the last days: “You need to study it, but it is basically good.”
According to Pell, the Synod did not focus at all on the three topics Communion for the divorced and remarried, on the idea of conscience or on the acceptance of homosexuality: “Catholic doctrine is stated clearly.”
Pell admits that the language is “different” and verbose. It is not a document that he would have written: “Some people will say it is terrible, but it is not terrible.” For him the final version is almost a miracle if compared with the draft: “The Synod itself is much, much better than the worst we have feared.”
“There is nothing there endorsing Communion for the divorced and remarried. There is nothing there endorsing a penitential process. There is nothing there that is saying homosexual activity is justified.”
Pell does not know, how the text will be explained or spined. He is sure, that there will be attempts to “make something out of it.”
He explains that according to the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, “there is no doctrinal error in anything that has been published”.
Cardinal Pell rightly says that ‘There is nothing there endorsing Communion for the divorced and remarried. There is nothing there endorsing a penitential process‘ but as the breakdown of the text at wdtprs.com shows, there are passages that, taken in isolation, could be used to justify (no matter how invalid an interpretation this would be, given the overall thrust of the document) penitential pathways, etc. And surprise, surprise, Cardinal Nichols is already doing just that:
He’s careful not to say outright that he is advocating reception of the Eucharist by those in a state of mortal sin, but that’s basically what he is getting at. As Gertrude wrote on another thread, this is all far from over – we won’t really know where we stand until the Holy Father produces an Apostolic Exhortation (if he does produce one at all that is).
Actions speak louder than words and the ones pulling the strings of power don’t care about documents or simple majority voting.
A cracking piece by Robert Royal here:
It’s concluding statement makes an especially good point regarding the air of uncertainty that has been generated during this entire pontificate, as well as the two synods in particular:
The Final Report is a tolerable text, especially for something produced by a committee of 270. If it had been passed under the papacy of John Paul II, it would have raised little, if any, alarm. But in a context of mutual suspicion and anger, what is tolerable may become intolerable.
Also, another very good piece here to remind us all of the value in taking the long view of these events, and to remember what good seeds have been sown during the last two papacies:
And for a good dose of laughter to take the edge off all the tension…