The Vatican released the full text of the closing message from the Synod today and it's actually quite good. Unfortunately, it can hardly undo the damage of the Ratio that went viral around the world last week to confuse Catholics and non-Catholics alike. That document focused almost exclusively on sexual issues (homosexuality, cohabitation, and reception of Communion after divorce and remarriage) and implied that the old rigid, intolerant Church has seen the light and is being transform into an open, tolerant pastoral one.
My own diocese (Arlington) joined the mainstream media this week with a frontpage CNS (Catholic News Service) article headlined "A place for gays, nonmarital unions."
The article reiterated the "conciliatory language" that we've all heard repeated over and over ad nauseum during the synod about all the gifts those in seriously sinful situations have to offer the Church, and how we must now be pastoral (as if the Church has never been pastoral in the past 2000 years). As CNS writes, "The statement represents a marked shift in tone on the subject (emphasis added) for an official Vatican document."
One can point out that the Ratio was anything but an "official Vatican document." But how many reading the CNS piece will realize that the report was released without any agreement from the Synod Fathers who didn't even see it before it was distributed to the press? In fact, the Ratio sparked a rebellion in the meeting hall! But how many Catholics know that? How many Catholics in the pew followed the synod at all? Presumably, most get their information filtered through the mainstream media and CNS which is in most diocesan papers. That message almost unilaterally implies that the "Church is changing." .
CNS quoted Cardinal Erdo" saying, "A "new sensitivity in the pastoral care of today consists in grasping the positive reality of civil marriages and...cohabitation" and goes on to imply that Church law on the indissolubility of marriage can change through a law of "graduality" (Is that a word?) which "takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace, and the attenuating circumstances."
If that sounds like situation ethics to you, you're paying attention.
The Extraordinary Synod was a disaster. And there's an entire year for the spinners and ear-ticklers to prep everyone for the "changes"that are coming. Of course, the doctrine cannot and will not change, but the flock will be set up to expect it. When change doesn't happen, how many already lax Catholics will simply "follow their consciences" and reject one more set of Church teachings to the peril of their souls?
Pat Archbold at the Catholic Register had plenty to say about the disaster of the Synod (He wrote the article before release of the final report.) and I agree with his assessment. One hates to be pessimistic, and of course Christ's victory is assured in the end, but how many Catholic families will end up as collateral damage as the modernists lob their grenades at Holy Mother Church and her teachings?