Rorate Caeli

"The Counterfeit Synod" There's a problem with it.
- A Devastating Critique of a Sick Assembly

A Synod that's kind of a counterfeit?

While it is true that the Church is not a democracy, and that one cannot go forward by majority coups, the faithful as a whole cannot be subjected to theological and doctrinal mini-coups. Just as nature, the Church does not appreciate leaps.

Marco Tosatti
[Senior Religious Analyst for Italian daily] La Stampa
October 15, 2014

When the rapporteur - a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church - ignores more or less explicitly the fatherhood of a report that has his signature on it, then there's a problem

When the same Cardinal, in reference to a passage of the text that is certainly very interesting and filled with problems, is asked for explanations, and turns the answer over to an archbishop that is an assistant secretary (of the Pope) at the Synod, because he is the author, then there's a problem.

When many bishops and cardinals, from Poland to Africa to Australia, complain because the relatio, as it was written and presented to the press, does not reflect according to them what was said in the hall, and adds things that were never mentioned, then there's a problem.

When the text is declared "unacceptable" by cardinals and bishops, "irredeemable" by another one, and when from the Circuli Minores it is said that, "we are working to review the text, eliminate some expressions and so forth, but it is a sick text, and it is not known how much of what is proposed will be accepted," then there's a problem.

When there are bishops - and more than one - who say they do not wish to come back to eventual future Synods, if they take place like this, because they turn into a farce, then there's a problem.

When South African Cardinal Napier affirms by Twitter, that is, in a public way, that "while it is possible that some elements are trying to adapt themselves to the view of the world, the majority wants to remain firmly with truth," that is , affirming exactly the opposite of the theses that some journalists, for the most various reasons, try to validate, then there's a problem.

When, in the choices for the helm of the Synod, an entire continent in which the greatest growth in Christianity and Catholicism in terms of the number of faithful (contrary to Europe and North America, or to Latin America, where Evangelicals swallow up millions of former Catholics), that is, when Africa is forgotten, then there's a problem.

The direction of the Synod has decided to not make public the interventions of the participants, against a decades-old practice, against transparency and the right of Christians to know; and then decided to make public a working document in which a great many [of the Synod Fathers] do not recognize themselves, and in which the most controversial and discussed lines are with great probability the expression of a handful of theologians and bishops. It is hard not to consider an attempt to steer and manipulate the path of the Synod.  When, following the publication of the document, there's an attempt to backpedal [by calling the report a "mere working document"], and Voice of the Family, that gathers millions of Catholics from around the world in fifteen different [pro-life and pro-family] organizations defines it simply as "a betrayal," and affirms that, "Those who are controlling the Synod have betrayed Catholic parents worldwide. We believe that the Synod’s mid-way report is one of the worst official documents drafted in Church history," then there's a problem.

The Synod of Bishops on the Family is the first official meeting of the Church in the reign of pope Francis. And it is not showing itself to be a success under any point of view, except that of confusion. Unfortunately, the Pope does not show up, as it perhaps would be prudent and desirable, to reassure Catholics, above and outside the [different] parties. Cardinal Kasper, one of the strongest main players in the battle, does nothing but repeat that he spoke to the Pope. The selection of archbishop Forte - the author, according to many, of the report of the past days - as adjunct secretary is a papal one. As that of the members added to the committee that will lay out the final report; all of them oriented towards one direction, that however - as Card. Napier says, and not him alone - does not represent the common and majority feeling of the assembly.

And this is not a good thing, if what is sought is a unity of sentiments, and not that which Card. Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, defined as "conformist thinking [pensée unique] within the Church." While it is true that the Church is not a democracy, and that one cannot go forward by majority coups, the faithful as a whole cannot be subjected to theological and doctrinal mini-coups. 

Just as nature, the Church does not appreciate [moving by] leaps.