Rorate Caeli

DANGER AHEAD. Synod document drafting committee member: Familiaris Consortio? "Circumstances have changed!" Divorced-and-remarried, "decentralization" still on the agenda

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, one of ten mostly-liberal prelates assigned by Pope Francis to the drafting committee for the final Synod relation, has unexpectedly emerged in recent days as a champion for greater "openness" to homosexuals. His comments in today's Vatican press conference are true to form, and given his role in drafting the Synod document hints at something that can be manipulated in favor of Kasperite and liberal concerns. 

It is telling that in speaking of decentralization he, and other champions of this idea, repeatedly refer to the problem of polygamy in Africa as an example of issues that need to be dealt with by local bishops' conferences. One has to ask if this is an agreed-on liberal talking-point to humiliate the African bishops into endorsing the "decentralization" option. 

As we said yesterday, we have no reason to relax our vigilance as the Synod enters its final days. Continued prayers and mortifications are all the more necessary in the lead-up to Saturday, when the final relatio is consigned to Pope Francis.

From News.Va's report on today's Synod press briefing (emphases ours) - take note that the Cardinal's name is weirdly misspelled throughout as "Gracious":

Gracious was asked for his thoughts on “healthy decentralisation.” He said that the Church is one universal body but this also means that there are diverse circumstances in this body. He said that the Church had to deal concretely with situations. It would therefore be appropriate for Episcopal Conferences to study behaviours which occur in their context, he thought. He used polygamy as an example. He said that this was not an issue in India but was in Africa so it would be fitting for the African Church to investigate this. He added that bishops would need to have the right training and assistance theologically and canonically. 
He also said that the drafting committee received between 700-800 “modi” or “comments” for the final text. They were given to experts to be sorted into various different areas. They were looked at by the drafting committee then given to the writers.

The Cardinal was asked about Familiaris Consortio #84 (the document from the 1980 Synod on the Family). In this document St. John Paul II said that the divorced and civilly re-married could not be admitted to the Eucharist. He was asked if the drafting committee would raise this issue in the final document because it had been spoken of often at this Synod. Gracious said that a number of issues were similar but that circumstances have changed. He pointed out that in Familiaris Consortio it also stated that cases should be looked at carefully. He said that St. John Paul II, in that paragraph, stated that we must not put everyone in the same category. The Cardinal said that we cannot treat all people in the same manner. The one who broke up a marital bond is different to another who did not want that to happen and tried by all means to keep it. Gracious said, “to be honest, we don’t have a solution.” He said that there needs to be a study of scripture, moral theology, doctrine, tradition and, hopefully, as understanding is deepened, so too will a way forward emerge.

Cardinal Gracious added that there are divergent views but it is important that a key text is produced which can offer pastoral direction at this time.