Thursday, 13 March 2014
The Synod -Is The Cat out Of The Bag?
Little more can be said about the forthcoming Synod if Cardinal Kasper’s reported words are correct, i.e., that if the Synod does not change things there is no point in having it. Such words indicate a predetermined outcome on the horizon, which does not leave much room for the Holy Spirit to guide the proceedings and may even extend to a resistance of the Holy Spirit. We can only pray that His presence and guidance is irresistible to the participants.
We have perhaps all have occasion to suspect a Parish Pastor or Diocesan Bishop of calling a meeting simply to tick the box of consultation, but such consultation and the programmes which follow are local and not geared towards alteration of the Doctrine and/or discipline of the Universal Church. If a Roman Synod is being called simply to tick the box of consultation, that is disreputable and dangerous; disreputable because we are not talking about a pastoral or administrative programme within a locality but of the universal discipline of the most holy things on earth: the Sacraments; it is dangerous because it exposes souls to the flaws of a human, emotion-led agenda.
If there are participants coming to the Synod who are consciously seeking to alter the constant practice of the Church and her teaching on the unacceptability of re-marriage, they are going to bring the Synod dangerously close to putting souls in jeopardy by seeking to allow them to live in conflict with Christ Who is Truth. Such participants would be rightfully taking note of the emotional pain suffered by many and seeking to alleviate that pain, but alleviate it by giving primacy in pastoral care to care of the emotions rather than to care of the soul, and it is souls we must save.
I hope directives that hold together both Truth believed and Truth lived can be discerned under the guidance of the Holy Ghost; it is not impossible. But I suspect it could only be done by reference to Internal Forum solutions where the invalidity of a marriage is morally certain but cannot be publicly proven. Unfortunately, such solutions are open to abuse by unscrupulous souls (people and pastors) which puts their souls in danger, and in any case cannot be applied to same-sex pairings.
Good people are indeed suffering much pain at being unable to receive the sacraments, a pain which cannot leave any priest unmoved, but any directives must hold together Truth believed and Truth lived; we cannot be allowed to live contrary to the Truth. While we must not pre-judge what the Holy Ghost can do at the Synod, or indeed the openness of the participants to hearing Him, that they may come to the Synod with a predetermined outcome is disturbing since it is the Ten Commandments, the pronouncement of Christ in the Gospel and the constant teaching of the Church they will have to over-ride to facilitate an outcome that is incompatible with the integrity of the most holy things on earth -the sacraments. The eternal good of souls is at stake here, not simply their happiness on earth.