Rorate Caeli

So, what did the "Progressive" Bishops discuss in their secret Pre-Synod meeting?

The meeting was first made public by Le Figaro (see here), and took place on Monday in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, run by the Jesuits -- it was later characterized as a routine meeting.

What was exactly discussed there? The German Bishops' Conference made public the anodyne communiqué at the end of this post, but today's Italian daily Il Foglio has more revealing snippets of the confidential conference, obsessed with same-sex caresses and marital infidelity:

And who knows if in the post-synodal relatio to be given to pope Francis will be present also the expressions on "caresses, kisses, and coitus understood as a coming together" that resounded in the venerable halls of the Roman university directed by the Jesuit Fathers. After all, one of the participants focused his own conference on the verification that "sexual stimulus represents the basis for a long-lasting relationship", while a colleague affirmed with great certainty that, "with the lengthening of lifespans, also the borders of fidelity are changed," and that, in sum, being together with the same partner for decades can be quite annoying in the end.

Let us hope the actual transcripts of each conference delivered in this secret German-Swiss-French "Progressive" panel are made public soon. The faithful around the world must know what is being planned by some bishops and their theologians.


Now for the German communiqué:

German Bishops' Conference

Press Release

26 May 2015

Day of Study of the Presidents of the Swiss, French, and German Bishops' Conference in Rome

“The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World”

Upon an invitation from the [three] Presidents of the Swiss, French, and German Bishops' Conference, members of the three Bishops' Conferences, participants of the Synod, professors of theology, members of the Roman Curia, as well as journalists met yesterday in Rome for a Day of Study at the Pontifical Gregorian University. The invitation came out from the yearly meeting of the three Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences which had earlier taken place [this year] in January and in Marseille [France].

Under the overall theme of the upcoming October [2015] Synod of Bishops “ The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World,” the 50 participants discussed various themes for the upcoming Synod. The Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences were especially interested in reflecting upon the Biblical and theological foundations of the topic of the Synod and to discuss the problems that dominate the current debate concerning marriage and the family.

In the first part of the Day of Study, there were reflections made concerning a Catholic Hermeneutic of the Bible on the basis of the words of Jesus about divorce: The words of Jesus concerning marriage and divorce have to be interpreted in the context of his entire proclamation and of the tradition of the Church. According to the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation in the Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, the understanding of tradition is the cause for progress in the history, namely, because of the study and the consideration of the faithful, their understanding of spiritual things, and because of the teaching of the magisterium.

In the second part, there followed various considerations about a theology of love which considers sexuality as a precious gift of God as an expression of love. A further development of the theology of love is necessary, which follows up on the tradition of the moral-theological differentiations and which integrates new insights from anthropology, as well as from sociology.

In the third part of the Day of Study, the topic discussed was the challenge to accept the gift of one's own life and to understand such a biography, also theologically, in this light: socially, in a highly complex and pluralistic society, the individual has a greater responsibility for one's own way of life. Often, it does not follow traditional patterns any more. The personal concepts of life and the conscientious decision of the individual play a greater role. Biographical developments have consequences for the moral view of life. To this [complex], the pastoral approach of the Church concerning marriage and the family has to respond.

All the presentations and all the discussions were able to propose approaches for finding a place for marriage and the family in the Church and in the world. At the same time, the Day of Study made it obvious that further discussions about the future of marriage and the family are necessary and possible and shall be enriched by a further and intense theological reflection. [Rorate translation by Dr. Maike Hickson]