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Friday, October 10, 2014

What's Wrong with the Synod on the Family?

Plenty! I have high regard for Phil Lawler and he is no knee jerk critic. So when he points out problems, orthodox Catholics would do well to listen. I've highlighted a few particularly important passages in red. Pray for the Synod Fathers. If they "squander this opportunity" or, even worse, follow a liberalizing agenda that further confuses the faithful like so many clergy did after Vatican II and Humanae Vitae, God help them on Judgment Day. Check out the complete articles by clicking on Part I and Part II.

Part I -- Shuffling the Deck Chairs:
If what we hear from the Synod Hall is an accurate representation of the actual discussion, the bishops are missing the big picture. Worse, they are squandering an opportunity to deliver the one message that our society most desperately needs to hear....

[A]s we have lost our theoretical understanding of what constitutes real marriage, we have also lost our practical ability to hold marriages together. The widespread acceptance of divorce...was the first sign of that failure. But the problem grew exponentially with the acceptance of “no-fault” divorce laws, which made it possible for one party to sever a marriage contract. As Stephen Baskerville observed for Crisis magazine: “Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.”...

Real marriage has three essential characteristics:
it is faithful, fruitful, and for life....If a couple enters into a union intent only on satisfying their own needs and desires, they are missing a vital ingredient: the orientation toward children. Thus we arrive at the great secret of Catholic teaching on marriage: the need to be open to life.
Since the squall of protest that greeted the release of Humanae Vitae in 1968, most Catholic leaders have lapsed into silence on the issue of contraception. As a result, the link between marriage and children—the reason why marriage is in essence a family affair—has been lost to public view.... 
And today the only institution that can lead our society to recover a proper understanding of marriage and family life is the Church. By preaching the fullness of Catholic teaching on marriage, the Synod could heal a shattered society. If instead they dwell obsessively on a small corner of the problem—the plight of the divorced and remarried—the Synod fathers would be guilty of apostolic negligence.
Part II --  Debate is free, open (and censored):
Speaking to the Synod of Bishops on its first day of discussions, Pope Francis urged the participants to speak out boldly, “without human respect, without timidity.”....This, we were told, would be a meeting marked by candor, by open debate, by an absence of restraint on the free flow of ideas. 
The reality has been quite dramatically different. The Synod meeting of October 2014 has been far less transparent than previous sessions. The information reaching the Catholic world has been tightly controlled, heavily filtered—and, therefore, easily manipulated....
But what real harm would be done, if the world saw Catholic bishops engaged in a heated debate? We know that there are differences of opinion among the Synod fathers; what would be lost if those differences were a matter of public record?...
As the Synod fathers see the highly colored stories that appear in the mass media, and wonder which of their colleagues might have been sources, the atmosphere of trust deteriorates. Writing from Rome early this week, Robert Royal reported that the atmosphere around the Synod has been tense....
At least among conservative Catholics, the tension and even bitterness have been aggravated by a clear double standard in the calls for an open, unfettered discussion. Cardinal Raymond Burke has provided a model of speaking “without human respect, without timidity.” But the impolitic American prelate has been unceremoniously ousted from the Congregation for Bishops....
Meanwhile Cardinal Walter Kasper...has been ubiquitous in the media, promoting his argument that the Church should allow Catholics who are divorced and remarried to receive Communion. Yet reliable sources say that Cardinal Müller has been told not to promote a book in which he criticizes the “Kasper proposal.”...
Even before the Synod fathers arrived in Rome...the “narrative” for his Synod session had already been settled. The story line, in the eyes of the world, is whether the Pope and his favorite theologian can overcome the resistance of the Vatican’s old guard.
Is that an accurate description of what is actually taking place in the Synod Hall? We don’t know, because we don’t know what is happening.
I hope you are praying and offering sacrifices for the Synod because it looks like a repeat of the fiasco after Vatican II and the release of Humanae Vitae. The real "old guard" are the aging dissenters who attacked Humanae Vitae and pursued their agenda with the "Spirit of Vatican II" Revolution. I can't help fearing that we are witnessing Revolution part II. And the double standard is certainly more and more obvious to the faithful in the pew. We know that nothing can destroy Christ's Church, but even Jesus asked, "When I return will there be any faith on the earth?"

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