Monday 20 October 2014

Francis And The Close Of The Synod

I have tried to write something positive on the way the Synod has gone and how Francis handled it, but I cannot do so without feeling that I am defending Francis and ought not to be. He may be of good heart and intention, but he seems to be blind to what is going on in in his name as his legacy to history.This Synod was so distributing to so many that I was glad to see it come to an end. 

I found myself tempted to laugh at Francis’ opening comments in his Closing Address because he said the fathers had “truly lived the experience of ‘Synod,’ a path of solidarity, a ‘journey together’.” Rubbish! There is the blindness! There were two paths being taken: one in continuity with the Deposit of Faith; another which deviated from it. Such divergence is not journey together: it is journeying in and toward division. Rather than laugh, I lamented that Francis seemed to see the division displayed as positive journeying. Only The Enemy -who desires to sift us like wheat- could see it as positive -Francis is mistaking divisive talk for discussion. They are not the same thing at all. Discussion is good and Francis is right to permit it, but discussion does not include defensive and accusatory talk, which is what this synod tasted of to many.

Sadly this synod played around with doctrine from day one when Cardinal Kasper first asked that it look at admitting those in irregular unions to Holy Communion. It continued in the Interim Report after the first week. And all of this without a word of correction from the Pope. He might say he wanted free discussion, but there can be no free discussion on how to tolerate sin. Truly, we have missed a golden opportunity to look at the threats to the family in today's world and to seek ways of addressing those threats in order to support family life and heal those whose lives are being wounded or have been wounded.

The divided nature of the Synod is seen even in Francis' closing statement, where he complains about traditionalists trying to hold onto the Deposit of Faith, and then about those who do not want to hold onto it (those who act as its masters or owners). Well, he can’t have it both ways in 2015; he will have to stand either with Traditionalists to defend The Faith; with those who seek to ensure Canon Law protects the living-out of that Deposit, or he will stand against them. The signs given at this Synod were not good in that he allowed the Church’s perennial lex credendi lex vivendi to be questioned.

Without making any assertion about Francis himself, I take up the quote that “for evil to flourish all it takes is that good men doing nothing” –and from the day Kasper laid out his stall through to the Interim report, Francis did nothing to defend the Church’s Doctrine or the laws which serve to protect it in daily life. One can only assume that since he did not step on Kasper’s proposals from day one that he thought there was some validity and mileage in what Kasper said. That would be very disturbing if true.

I wait to see if Francis will come out on the side of the Deposit of Faith at the 2015 Synod or show himself to be one of those think of themselves not as its guardian, but as its owner or master...

Prayer and sacrifice are needed for the graced outcome of the 2015 Synod and its resulting Apostolic Exhortation.


  1. You are right Fr. I think Francis is on the liberal side. But . . . . it will all work out OK in the end.

    1. Thank you Pascal.
      I think Francis came into the papacy very liberal and would have liked to continue in that stream, but may be re-evaluating his positions in the light of seeing the world-wide episcopate will not stand for having the Deposit of faith abandoned. It is easy to be liberal as a Bishop when your close friends in the episcopate seem liberal; but when we they see the wider picture they can be shaken up and realise the Church is not as liberal as they thought; that they have been living in a liberal ghetto which does is not representative of the entire Church as they surmised.
      God Bless.

  2. The Pope seems to be a man so full of contradictions who is unable to clearly say what he believes that we will probably still be trying to guess what his pontificate was all about when he has gone to his reward.

    For me an iconic memory of him will be his homily that railed against those who gossiped and insulted people, in which he then went on to insult as many different people he could think of. Is there some kind of Jesuit mind-messing technique which I am just too naive to be aware of?

    If there is, maybe I will be able to understand where the middle ground is between those who hold fast to Tradition and those who want to get rid of it?

    1. Thank you Deacon Augustine.
      In seminary we had a joke about the Archbishops of Canterbury needing a more comfortable fence to sit on. Middle ground is often compromise, and that is always a painful place to be.
      God Bless

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you John.
      Of course, the polar opposite to Jansenist rigorism is denial of original sin, depravity etc., with no need for Conversion and Redemption. Both extremes are heretical.
      What we need is clear reaffirmation of our doctrines with a clear yet respectful way of calling back to a faithful life those who are living in irregular situations.
      God Bless

  4. Thank you, Father, for defending the magisterium----not a popular position for a priest these days. You are in my prayers, way over here on the 'left' coast of the US.

    1. Thank you, Mary.
      It is not easy for anyone to defend the Magisterium and her teaching today.
      God Bless you and yours.


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