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Cardinal Burke a pariah? Not for the Synod Fathers!
- Pope unexpectedly names 6 liberals, including Wuerl, to draft report


Cardinal Burke was among those elected by his fellow bishops of one of the three English-speaking circles (the Anglicus A) as moderatore (chairman) of the group to help in the writing of the group reports that make the final report. There were many "conservatives" elected in the different groups, including Cardinal Sarah, moderator for Gallicus (French-speaking) A, Abp. Léonard, relatore (rapporteur) for Gallicus B; Cardinal Bagnasco, moderator for Italicus B; Cardinal Robles Ortega, moderator for Ibericus (Spanish-speaking) A.

So, what was the Pope's response to these surprising votes? 

He personally appointed ad hoc, and without prior announcement on this before the synod, six other prelates for the composition of the final report (the "Relatio Synodi"), all known as strong liberals: Cardinals Ravasi and Wuerl, Abps. Victor Manuel Fernández, Aguiar Retes, and Bp. Peter Kang, and the Superior General of the Society of Jesus Fr. Adolfo Nicolás Pachon.

Note the following: it's not Rorate that's saying this -- the official news website of the Portuguese Bishops' Conference, Radio Renascença, is the one reporting it (thanks to reader M for the link and the translation below):

The Pope, who never spoke but heard everything that was spoken in the Synod Hall, named, without anyone having foreseen it, six persons to strengthen the committee that should write the Synod report [Relatio Synodi]. Cardinal Erdö, of Budapest, is still heading it.

The fact is worrying those who want to maintain the current discipline of the Church regarding these issues, considering that all the persons named by the Pope are of a liberal tendency, unlike Erdö.

Meanwhile, the Synod Fathers elected, through a secret ballot, the names of those responsible for the language working groups that, in the upcoming week, will debate more specific questions.

Here, though, there was a strengthening of the conservative positions, with names such as Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Sarah, both held in high regard by the conservative wing, as well as Cardinal Bagnasco. [Source]

During the week, one of the numerous rumors spread in the Italian press had even claimed Burke's address in the hall had been received "coldly" by the assembly, with no support whatsoever. The result of the secret ballot reveals otherwise.

***

So, the Pope wants full and free debate, and free deliberations... except when he doesn't. And when the secret ballot reveals a conservative majority -- then he interferes against what had been settled beforehand to get what he wants. It is his prerogative, of course, even if it severely contradicts his own words and commitments, and, ultimately, his reliability. But it is impossible not to recall one of Bertolt Brecht's most famous poems, The Solution (Die Lösung), based on his experience in East Germany, on what is to be done in the case of a difficult and reluctant electoral body:

After the uprising of June 17th
The Secretary of the Authors' Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Which said that the people
Had forfeited the government's confidence
And could only win it back
By redoubled labour. Wouldn't it
Be simpler in that case if the government
Dissolved the people and
Elected another?

_________________________
[Update: Full translation of the Radio Renascença article below. Radio Renascença was founded and is owned by the Lisbon Patriarchate, and by other Portuguese dioceses, and is widely known worldwide as the official radio network of the Portuguese episcopate:]

Synod begins final phase amid tense atmosphere in Rome

The Pope surprised the participants at the Synod by naming six men close to him and seen as liberals to help write the Synod report.

By Aura Miguel - RR [Radio Renascença]: Following a week of confrontations, where it became clear that there were two different approaches to the more controversial issues, as the welcoming of homosexuals or persons in irregular unions, including the access to the sacraments by the latter.

The Pope, who never spoke but heard everything that was spoken in the Synod Hall, named, without anyone having foreseen it, six persons to strengthen the committee that should write the Synod report [Relatio Synodi]. Cardinal Erdö, of Budapest, is still heading it.

The fact is worrying those who want to maintain the current discipline of the Church regarding these issues, considering that all the persons named by the Pope are of a liberal tendency, unlike Erdö.

Meanwhile, the Synod Fathers elected, through a secret ballot, the names of those responsible for the language working groups that, in the upcoming week, will debate more specific questions.

Here, though, there was a strengthening of the conservative positions, with names such as Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Sarah, both held in high regard by the conservative wing, as well as Cardinal Bagnasco.

Signs that the debate should go on, and could even intensify in the upcoming week.