The Synod on the Family 2015: Between Heresy and Schism, part 3

OCTOBER 16, 2015

The Synod on the Family 2015: Between Heresy and Schism, part 3

Continuing charges of intrigue, manipulation (pp 21, 23, 63, 67, 69) amidst prophecies of apostasy, heresy and formal schism (pp. 28, 31, 33, 35, 46…)


For continuity and a more complete record of the present dangers to traditional Catholic sexual morality, see THE SYNOD ON THE FAMILY-BETWEEN HERESY AND SCHISM 01
11 SEPTEMBER 2015,

and related files listed at the end of this present collation of information.


The Prophecy of St. Francis of Assisi about a Future Pope:

Taken from The Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, Washbourne, 1882, pp. 248-250

With the latest rabid statements from Francis, Bishop of Rome [title, per his request], the castigation of a mother who bore eight children, whom we presume, based on related comments, he considers a rabbit, then giving an audience to a so-called “transgendered” hopeful wishing “to marry”, our Pope appears to have become deranged, if not outright mad. This is also indicative of hypocrisy: The “Who am I to judge* Pope in reference to objective sin, accuses an obedient, heroic woman of subjective sin. Francis exposes his true self along with his actual beliefs about morality, in particular the purpose of marriage.


When he was chosen as Pontiff, it was considered odd that he would choose the name of St. Francis for a number of reasons, but after pondering it a bit more, perhaps God was warning us early on, although by now is there anyone who would need such an admonition? The irony abounds when one reads the prophecy by our Seraph, the glorious St. Francis. Here I am referring to the abuse of papal power when Francis forbade traditional Franciscans the use of the Traditional Mass**. I do not know if the prophecies below refer to our time, but one can’t help considering the possibility, especially in light of the prophecies of St. Malachy*** and the number of Popes, although we are not obliged to believe his list. But when Saints provide us with prophecies, we ought not to be so prudent as to dismiss them out-of-hand necessarily.




We must continue to pray for Pope Francis, while being faithful in resisting whatever attacks the body and soul of the Church, following the exhortation of the Saints.


Shortly before he died, St. Francis of Assisi called together his followers and warned them of the coming troubles, saying:
1. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.
2. The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity.



At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavor to draw many into error and death.
3. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.
4. There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God.
5. Then our Rule and manner of life will be violently opposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are found faithful will receive the crown of life; but woe to those who, trusting solely in their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to support the temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.

6. Those who preserve in their fervor and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and, persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth, but the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all who trust in Him. And in order to be like their Head, [Christ] these, the elect, will act with confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life; choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they will prefer to perish rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy.
7. Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days JESUS CHRIST WILL SEND THEM NOT A TRUE PASTOR, BUT A DESTROYER.”



My comments/inclusions are in green.

I use blue colour for the “good guys”, red for the “bad guys”. If they’re in black… I’ve yet to categorize them.

The collated information is reproduced in chronological order.

“Must read” (my recommendation) items are highlighted
in grey.


The presently well-known and out-spoken conservative and orthodox prelates of the Universal Church:

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Peter Erdö, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda, Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, Cardinal Thomas C. Collins, Cardinal Willem J. Eijk, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Cardinal Daniel Di Nardo, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Cardinal John Njue, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel C.M, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Jorge Medina, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Cardinal Alexandre José Maria dos Santos, Cardinal Jānis Pujats, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, Archbishop Henryk Hoser, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop Tomasz Peta, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan, Bishop Jan Watroba

The most notorious liberals, “progressives” and “moderates”:

Cardinal Walter Kasper, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn OP,
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga SDB
, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Cardinal John Dew, Cardinal Mario Poli, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Cardinal Georges Cottier, Archbishop Bruno Forte, Archbishop Georges Pontier, Archbishop
Blase Cupich, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, Archbishop Daniel Sturla SDB*, Archbishop Heiner Koch, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher,
Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli
Archbishop Mark Coleridge
, Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo, Bishop Johann Jozef Bonny, Bishop Jean-Paul Vesco OP, Bishop Jean-Marie Lovey, Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin, Bishop Franz-Josef Hermann Bode, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, Bishop Felix Gmür, Bishop Markus Büchel, Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto
(Dean of the Roman Rota and head of the Pope’s commission for annulment reform), Fr. François-Xavier Dumortier SJ (Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, which played host to the “Shadow Synods” of May and September 2015), Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ, Director of the La Civilta Cattolica and a leading proponent of the new pastoral direction of the current Pontificate, Fr. Adolfo Nicholás Pachón, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica, etc.

*Appointed by Pope Francis, see

The underlined above are participants in the present October 2015 Synod.

From all appearances, the conservative heavyweights at the Synod are outnumbered by the liberals.






Pope Francis’ Course & Crew for Synod Family Sail Can Sink the Vatican Titanic

By Jerry Slevin, September 13, 2014

Significantly, Francis this week has shocked many Catholics, including his usually devoted Jesuit cheerleader, Vatican expert, Tom Reese, at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), by Francis’ appointments to the “Family Synod of Fathers Without Kids”, which surprisingly included disgraced Cardinals Sodano and Danneels.

It is regrettable the Pope Francis failed to follow the earlier wise advice of another prominent Jesuit, Raymond Schroth, about having an effective commission address the current challenges, instead of another unmanageable papal media extravaganza like the Family Synod. For more on the effective commission approach, please see:

Please see Tom Reese’s complaints about Francis’ Curia influenced approach, and the more than 700 blogger comments received in two days that mostly agreed with Reese or worse, about Francis’ Synod blunders. Predictably, the staunchly “pro-Francis” NCR quickly closed comments and replaced Reese’s negative front page article, before the heavy NCR website weekend traffic arrived, with an article on the wonders of the Vatican Observatory!

Tom Reese’s critical complaints about Francis’ Synod are here:

Please also see the very interesting interplay of Tom Reese’s and my views as discussed by the incisive Catholic theologian, Bill Lindsey, here: […]

Francis then shocked even more Catholics by selecting, for two key priest child abuse “prevention positions”, conflicted former canon lawyers to Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Law and Chicago’s much criticized Cardinal George.

Fr. Robert Oliver, Cardinal Law’s former canon lawyer, will be, in effect, chief of staff for Law’s Boston successor, Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s illusory Vatican  “priest child abuse commission”, and (b) Fr. Robert Geisinger, a Chicago Jesuit, will be new Vatican “chief prosecutor”. Geisinger has had strong ties as a canon lawyer to both Chicago Archdiocesan and Jesuit leaders, some of whom reportedly had extensive histories of secretly protecting priest sex abusers. […]

Pope Francis indisputably showed this week that the welfare of families, especially of children, is less important to him than protecting Vatican cardinals and worldwide bishops from prosecution. Francis’ latest actions irrevocably raised the curtain, that Vatican publicists’ had so carefully crafted, on the latest Papal Wizard’s “Happy Pope” illusion. The Vatican spin machine has finally run out of mystical smokescreens to hide the Vatican’s “Godfather-like” strategy.

Pope Francis has now shown beyond any reasonable doubt that he is “one of the boys” at the Vatican. It is now clear that Francis was elected a year and a half ago by frightened cardinals, primarily, to save themselves from outside government prosecutors investigating numerous priest child abuse and corruption scandals.



Pope Francis appoints new archbishop of Berlin who defends gay unions

By Maike Hickson, Berlin, June 9, 2015

On Monday, June 8, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Heiner Koch of Dresden-Meißen to be the new Archbishop of Berlin, a diocese that constitutes an important position within the Catholic Church in Germany. Bishop Koch had previously been selected as one of the three delegates of the German Bishops’ Conference to participate in the upcoming October 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family. Koch is President of the German Bishops’ Conference’s Commission for Marriage and the Family. He had also been a participant at the recent May 25 private Rome conference at the Gregorian University that caused controversy over its heterodox contents and its intentional lack of transparency. As earlier reported, one of the other participants of this private Meeting, Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff, has just recently also publicly defended practicing homosexuals.

Bishop Koch is already known for his liberalizing tendencies and sympathies toward homosexual couples, as well as toward “remarried” divorcees. As the German Catholic newspaper, Die Tagespost, reported June 8, for example, Bishop Koch recently said the following: “Any bond that strengthens and holds people is in my eyes good; that applies also to same-sex relationships.”

In February 2015, Koch made comments to the German newspaper Nordwest-Zeitung (Oldenburg) that reveal more deeply his own views.  He claimed that the Church needed a new language when dealing with homosexuals. “To present homosexuality as sin is wounding,” Koch said. And he continued: “I know homosexual pairs that live values such as reliability and responsibility in an exemplary way.”

Concerning “remarried” divorcees, Bishop Koch told the Nordwest-Zeitung: “The question is whether we can – under certain conditions – admit to the Eucharist divorced and remarried faithful who have a deep piety.” And he continued: “This could, for example, take place after a long conversation with the confessor.”

This appointment of Bishop Koch by Pope Francis comes shortly after Cardinal Walter Kasper – the main promoter of the liberalizing agenda at the last Synod of Bishops on the Family – had somewhat stammeringly withdrawn his previously made explicit statements that Pope Francis had himself supported his reform proposal.




In an interview with EWTN News Director Raymond Arroyo, host of The World Over, on June 4 while visiting the United States, Cardinal Kasper said ambiguously and hesitatingly: “The Pope wanted that I put the question [forward], and, afterwards, in a general way, before all the cardinals, he expressed his satisfaction with my talk. But not the end, not in the … I wouldn’t say he approved the proposal, no, no, no.”

For an insufficiently informed observer, such equivocation only adds to the confusion about the pope’s actual intentions and encouragements – as well as about his procedural methods and approved episcopal appointments, such as Archbishop Heiner Koch now.



With papally-mandated “Catholic Divorce” destroying a Sacrament, Schism looms large on the Catholic horizon

By Antonio Socci,
September 12/16, 2015

*Several conservative Catholic media agencies cite/reproduce rorate-caeli, e.g.: October 12, 2015


After 2000 years, Divorce is Enforced in the Church — and a Schism Looms Larger than Ever



“Newsweek” recently had a photo of Pope Francis on their front-cover with the headline: “Is the Pope Catholic?”

Subtitle: “Of course he is. You just wouldn’t know it from his press clips.”


Indeed, it is a legitimate question, seeing that the Argentine Pope has prayed in a Mosque and said in an interview to Scalfari: “There is no Catholic God.” The anxiety in the Church is now becoming enormous after the 8th of September. In fact with two Motu Proprios on the nullity of marriage, we have an official act by Bergoglio where we are going off the rails – according to authoritative opinions – by the institution of a sort of “Catholic divorce”.

This would mean the negation of Christ’s commandment on the indissolubility of marriage and the cancellation of two thousand years of Church teaching. So as to understand the gravity of the issue it is enough to remember that the Church suffered the very grave Anglican Schism in the XVI century and lost England completely, simply because the Pope did not recognize King Henry VIII’s divorce, based on a flimsy reason for the nullity of the first marriage.

Could Bergoglio’s Motu Proprio create a new schism? It may.

Yet, if Cardinal Muller himself, Head of the former Holy Office, spoke recently of a possible schism referring to the Synod, there is fear of it even more so after the 8th of September. There have already been signs of some very strident quarrels with some important cardinals at Santa Marta over the past few days. And the Synod promises to be explosive.

Bergoglio, in spite of “collegiality”, which he proclaims in words, decided everything before the Synod he convoked specifically on this issue; not to accomplish what the bishops asked for in October 2014, since the Commission which drew up the Motu Proprio was instituted by him with that mandate, two months earlier on 27th August 2014.

In practical terms, why will the Motu Proprio be contested from the Catholic point of view?



First of all – as Professor De Mattei explains – the totality of the reforms (of apparent facilitation and speeding up) go in the opposite direction from what the Church has always taken. It is a complete overturning of perspective: the defense of the Sacrament is no longer the priority (for the salvation of souls), but primarily the easiness and the speediness of obtaining an annulment. The abolition of the double-sentence is in itself, sufficient [cause] to think this. De Mattei writes: “Cardinal Burke recalled a catastrophic experience. In the United States from July 1971, the so-called Provisional Norms came into effect, which eliminated de facto the obligatory double conforming sentences. The result was that the Episcopal Conference did not negate one single request for dispensation among the hundreds of thousands received, and, in the common perception, this process began to be called “Catholic Divorce”.

Then again, Monsignor Pinto, Dean of the Roman Rota and President of the Commission which drew up the Motu Proprio, openly declared the purpose of this reform. He wrote in the “Osservatore Romano” that Pope Bergoglio has asked “the bishops for a true and proper “conversion”, a change in mentality which convinces them to follow the invitation of Christ”. According to Monsignor Pinto “the invitation of Christ, present in their brother, the Bishop of Rome”, would be that of “passing from the restricted number of a few thousand annulments to that immeasurable [number] of unfortunates who might have a declaration of nullity”. That Christ wanted an “immeasurable” number of annulments is completely unheard of. Yet it is now clear that the goal of the Motu Proprio is large-scale divorce – much quicker, cheaper and easier than State divorce (there are already those who are trying to figure out whether divorce is [more] convenient through priests). Up to now, until Benedict XVI, the ecclesiastical tribunals had always been reproached by popes because they were too indulgent in recognizing annulments. With Bergoglio everything has been overturned, and they are [now] attacked for the opposite reason: large-scale annulment “factories” are to be set up. The Honorable Alessandra Moretti is right then when she says triumphantly that “this epoch-making reform” by the Pope” follows closely the law on quick Divorce which I proposed to the Chamber”. And she underlines “the common vision of the Church and State on this issue”. But there is more.



With this Motu Proprio, new reasons for nullity – without any magisterial and theological base – are being formulated, which could overturn de facto the role of the Church Herself: it would no longer be the Church Herself which must verify the original nullity of sacramental marriage in the eyes of God, but [She] risks becoming an entity that de facto “dissolves” sacramentally valid marriages, for today’s invented reasons. In fact, in the Motu Proprio, de Mattei writes: “The theoretical affirmation of indissolubility of marriage, is accompanied in practice with the right to a declaration of nullity for every failed marriage bond. It will be enough, in conscience, to deem one’s own marriage invalid, in order to have it recognized as null by the Church”.

The explosive charge that changes the “Rules of Procedure” is found mainly in article 14 where ” the lack of faith” of the parties is suggested as a possible cause of simulation or error in consent, and hence of the nullity of the marriage. Up to now, lack of faith as cause for the invalidity of a marriage has always been excluded by the Church, who limits Herself in elevating natural marriage to that of a Sacrament. Benedict XVI explained: “The indissoluble pact between a man and woman, does not require the personal faith of the contracting parties for the aims of sacramentality; what is required, as a necessary minimal condition, is the intention to do what the Church does”. That is to say, [to have] the intention of getting married.

This is so true that the Church also recognizes mixed marriages as sacramental, even when an atheist spouse or one of another religion is involved: all that is required is the desire for natural marriage.

Now everything is being overturned. And in conformity with Bergoglio’s style, an ambiguous form is being used to make the Catholic world believe that doctrine has not been changed. 

On September 9th in [the official newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference] “Avvenire”, canon lawyer Paolo Moneta sustained that “lack of faith was not a cause for nullity before and it is not a cause today either”. Yet, at the same time, Monsignor Pinto, in presenting the Motu Proprio, praised “the innovation of Pope Francis’ pontificate ” and spoke of “the sacrament celebrated with no faith” which will bring an “immeasurable” number of annulments “because of evident absence of faith as a bridge to knowledge and thus to the free will [necessary] to give sacramental consent”. 

This will open the door, without a doubt, for millions of annulments. Millions! Since when did you need to be a saint or have a university degree in theology from the Gregorian to get married?

The Church, in order to recognize a sacramental marriage, has always simply asked for the free decision to marry, according to the characteristics of natural marriage. Further, She has always taught that the spiritual disposition of the spouses (their personal holiness) influences the fruits of the sacrament but certainly not its validity.

Now everything has changed. And among the circumstances that have opened wide the possibility of a super-fast divorce is “the brevity of conjugal cohabitation” or the fact that the couple were married “because of the woman’s unexpected pregnancy”. And what does that have to do with consent?

The unbelievable list actually ends with an “et cetera”. Does it mean that one can amplify at will? What kind of law is this? It will be the weaker parties (the women and children) who will pay the price for this revolution in destabilizing the family, which is already under heavy attack from the secular world.

Sister Lucia, the Fatima visionary, one day said to Cardinal Caffarra: “Father, there will come a time when Satan’s decisive battle with Christ will be over marriage and the family”.

This is it. 

If this the hour of “the bishop dressed in white” there will be sufferings for everyone (remember the vision of the city in ruins?). 


Pope appoints leading opponents of Catholic doctrine to Ordinary Synod

September 15, 2015

Voice of the Family notes with alarm that amongst the special appointees Pope Francis has invited to the Ordinary Synod there are prelates who have demonstrated support for positions contrary to the teaching or practice of the Catholic Church.

(For further information on the positions supported by these prelates, click the relevant links below.)

The list of appointees, who will be attending the Synod solely because of the Holy Father’s invitation, includes:

—Godfried Cardinal Danneels, Archbishop Emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels

—John Cardinal Dew, Archbishop of Wellington

—Walter Cardinal Kasper, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity

—Oscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa

—Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna

—Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

—Archbishop Blaise Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago

The list of special appointees also includes Mgr. Pio Vito Pinto, who headed the commission that introduced radical annulment reforms last week. In an article in the Vatican newspaper,
L’Osservatore Romano
, Mgr. Pinto 
openly stated that the reforms are intended by the Holy Father to (a) benefit the “divorced and remarried” and (b) greatly increase the number of marriages declared null.

There are other prelates attending the Synod whose presence there should cause grave concern to all who wish to defend the family based on marriage, and the children who are its most vulnerable members. These include:

—Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod

—Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Münich and Freising

—Vincent Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

—Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization

—Archbishop Bruno Forte, Special Secretary of the Synod

—Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

—Archbishop Heiner Koch, Archbishop of Berlin

—Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family

—Bishop Franz-Josef Hermann Bode, Bishop of Osnabrück

—Bishop Johan Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp

—Bishop Jean-Paul Vesco, Bishop of Orans


In an interview with Portuguese broadcaster Radio Renascenca Pope Francis confirmed that the Instrumentum Laboris
would be the basis for discussion at the Synod. He said:

“As for the synod, you journalists are already familiar with the Instrumentum Laboris. We are going to speak of that, of what is in there. It’s three weeks, one theme, one chapter, for each week.”

We demonstrated in our analysis of the document that the
Instrumentum Laboris
constitutes a direct attack on the entire edifice of Catholic doctrine on life, marriage and the family. In particular it does this by:

—Undermining the doctrine of Humanae Vitae by proposing a false understanding of the relationship between conscience and the moral law (paragraph 137)

—Discussing artificial methods of reproduction without giving any judgement on the morality of such methods or making any reference to previous Catholic teaching, or to the enormous loss of human life that results from their use (paragraph 34)

—Proposing the admission of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion without amendment of life (paragraphs 120-125)

—Reducing the indissolubility of marriage to the level of an “ideal” (paragraph 42)

—Suggesting that cohabitation and “living together” have “positive aspects” and can, to some extent, be considered legitimate forms of union (paragraphs 57, 61, 63, 99, 102)

—Preparing the ground for the acceptance of same-sex unions by acknowledging the need to define “the specific character of such unions in society” (paragraph 8)

—Denying the full rights of parents regarding the provision of sex education to their children (paragraph 86)

The Ordinary Synod has a heterodox agenda and many of the prelates attending it have already shown themselves either supportive of that agenda or unwilling to resist it. The family is in grave danger from threats emanating from within the Church, as well as from international institutions and national governments.

The time has come for all Catholics, at every level of the Church, to recognize the full gravity of the crisis that now engulfs us. Each and every one of us, clergy or lay, has the right and the duty to defend Catholic doctrine and practice from attacks by members of the hierarchy.

According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

-Code of Canon Law, Canon 212 §3




This cardinal has opposed Church teaching on marriage for years. Why did the pope handpick him for the Synod?

September 17, 2015

Appointment of Cardinal Dew indicates papal support for “Kasper Proposal”

September 17, 2015

John Cardinal Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, is one of the Holy Father’s special appointments to the Ordinary Synod on the Family to be held next month. Last year he attended the Extraordinary Synod as the representative of the Bishops’ Conference of New Zealand. This year however the bishops of New Zealand chose to elect Charles Brennan, Bishop of Palmerston North as their representative.

For what reason did Pope Francis also extend an invitation to John Cardinal Dew?

Pope Francis has long been aware of Cardinal Dew’s strong support for the admission of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion without amendment of life.

During the October 2005 Synod on “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission on the Church” Archbishop Dew argued for the admission of the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion. He said:

“Our Church would be enriched if we were able to invite dedicated Catholics, currently excluded from the Eucharist, to return to the Lord’s Table. There are those whose first marriages ended in sadness; they have never abandoned the Church, but are currently excluded from the Eucharist.”

Earlier this year Dew revealed that he discussed the issue with Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio.

At the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome in October 2014 he continued to undermine Catholic doctrine. On 8th October he disclosed the content of his intervention in the synod hall:

“I gave my own Intervention today and it seemed to be well received by most. I basically said that we have to change the language which is used in various Church documents so that people do not see and hear the Church judging or condemning, passing out rules and laws, but rather showing concern and compassion and reaching out to help people discover God in their lives.”

On the same day Fr. Thomas Rosica, English speaking spokesman for the Holy See, told journalists at a briefing at the Holy See press office that “one of the salient interventions” of the day had made the point that “language such as ‘living in sin’, ‘intrinsically disordered’, or ‘contraceptive mentality’ are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the Church.”

Fr. Rosica continued:

“Marriage is already seen by many as being filtered in harsh language in the Church. How do we make that language appealing, and loving and inviting. We’re not speaking about rules or laws we’re speaking about a person who is Jesus who is the source of our faith, the leader of our Church, he is the one who invites us into a mystery.”

On that same day Archbishop Dew gave an interview to Fr. Rosica’s Salt and Light television network. During the interview he said:

“…the message of the New Zealand bishops was that we wanted to see language in Church documents changed so that it’s something that gives people hope and support and encouragement, rather than being something that appears to many people that they can’t sort of meet the mark, that they can’t live up to the standards that the Church is asking of them.”

He went on to say that 25% of respondents to the pre-synod survey were “non-practicing Catholics” who objected to being “told that because we’re using contraception we’re intrinsically evil or that we’re living in an irregular situation, that the language is so negative that it doesn’t help us.” It was this reason, Archbishop Dew said, that his suggestion in his intervention was “let’s not be concentrating on rules, but looking for language that helps people and encourages people in their journey to God.”


It would seem clear that Pope Francis was well aware of Dew’s opinions and yet he:

1. Elevated him to the College of Cardinals in January 2015

2. Appointed him a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in April 2015

3. Named him one of his personal special appointees to the Ordinary Synod to be held in October 2015, despite the presence of another representative from New Zealand.

There is very good reason to believe Cardinal Dew has been appointed to the Ordinary Synod not despite his heterodox views but because of them.



1P5 Podcast – Episode 20: Are You Angry Yet?

By Steve Skojec, September 26, 2015







Podcast: Play in new window | Download

The anger one feels at the open and flagrant contempt on display for the Catholic faith from the highest echelons of the Church is perhaps matched only by the astonishing naïveté of those members of the faithful who refuse to admit there is a problem. From the tepidity of the Catholic message during the papal visit to the aggrandizement of manifest opponents of the moral law at papal Masses to the conspiracy of known heretics who are so brazen that they admit their misdeeds in public to the never-ending assault of heterodox prelates hand-picked by the pope to have a seat at the Synod…it’s time to be angry. But we mustn’t stop there.

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”– St. Augustine


WARNING: homosexual papal Mass lector in S&M pic! Catholic media is complicit in scandal if they don’t report it. …


It was NO secret: US Bishops knew that homosexual Mo Rocca was the Lector for the Papal Mass

September 26, 2015


In the official programme notes for the Papal Mass in New York City, at Madison Square Gardens, we find Mo Rocca
listed as lector. We are not naive. People are just not spirited in under cover of night to read at a Papal Mass. This would have to have been approved at the highest levels. 

The Mass Programme may be downloaded from the USCCB’s website:

Rocca is an open homosexual, a supporter of “same-sex marriage” and active in promoting the homosexual “community”. 

Who selected Rocca? Why was it not stopped? Lots of questions. No answers and silence from the bishops.

Picture on right, above: Rocca (left) at the GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards in 2013.


“Unacceptable.” The Base Document of the Synod “Compromises the Truth”
All emphases, except colour, are those of the author

By Sandro Magister, Rome, September 29, 2015

On the verge of the synod, three theologians with the support of cardinals and bishops critique and reject the “Instrumentum Laboris.”

Here is the complete text of their charges of accusation:
The text that is made public here joins the numerous statements of various viewpoints on issues of family, marriage, divorce, homosexuality, that have followed each other with growing intensity with the approach of the opening of the synod.
It is presented as a collective work. Not only because the text has three authors, but even more because it was born and raised, over the span of almost a year, at the initiative and with the contribution of numerous other Catholics, priests and laymen, from various nations of Europe, with the attention and support of bishops and cardinals, some of whom will be fathers at the upcoming synod.
The text takes aim at the most controversial paragraphs of the final “Relatio” of the 2014 synod, which were later incorporated into the “Lineamenta” and the “Instrumentum Laboris,” concerning communion for the divorced and remarried, “spiritual communion,” and homosexuals.
In the judgment of the text’s promoters, these paragraphs contradict here and there the doctrine taught to all the faithful by the magisterium of the Church and by the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself, to the point of “compromising the Truth” and therefore making the entire “Instrumentum Laboris” “unacceptable,” as well as any “other document that may reiterate its contents and be put to the vote at the end of the next synodal assembly.”

The three priests and theologians who byline the text are:
Claude Barthe, 68, of Paris, cofounder of the magazine “Catholica,” an expert in canon law and liturgy, promoter of pilgrimages in support of “Summorum Pontificum,” author of works such as “The Mass, a forest of symbols,” “Novelists and Catholicism,” “Thinking differently about ecumenism.”
Antonio Livi, 77, of Rome, dean emeritus of the faculty of philosophy of the Pontifical Lateran University, ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas, and president of the apostolic union “Fides et Ratio” for the defense of Catholic truth. His most recent work, from 2012, is entitled: “True and false theology.”
Alfredo Morselli, 57, of Bologna, pastor, confessor, and preacher of spiritual exercises according to the method of Saint Ignatius. A graduate of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, he is the author of works such as “The negation of the historicity of the Gospels. History, causes, remedies” (2006), and “Then all Israel will be saved” (2010). His archbishop is Cardinal Carlo Caffarra.
The text can be read in its entirety, in the original Italian, on this other page of http://www.chiesa:
Osservazioni sull’ “Instrumentum Laboris”
Reproduced below are the introduction and two of the four chapters into which the text is divided: the first, on communion for the divorced and remarried and the third, on homosexuality.
by Claude Barthe, Antonio Livi, Alfredo Morselli

This document presents in a detailed manner, in the light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and of the “depositum fidei” in general, some difficulties concerning the “Relatio Synodi” of the last extraordinary synod, incorporated and expanded in the “Instrumentum Laboris” for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
It is even apt to observe how the “Instrumentum” goes further than the “Relatio” itself, expanding its scope, going beyond the intentions of the synod fathers themselves. In effect, this document has taken care to pick up and rework even those propositions which, not having been approved by a qualified majority of the last assembly of the extraordinary synod, should not and could not have been included in the final document of that synod and which therefore should have been viewed as rejected.
Therefore, even where the “Instrumentum” appears to be in keeping with Revelation and the Tradition of the Church, the overall result is a compromising of the Truth such as to make the document unacceptable on the whole, unless its contents were to be presented again and put to a vote at the end of the next synodal assembly.
Pastoral care is not the art of compromise and concession: it is the art of caring for souls in the truth. So the warning of the prophet Isaiah applies to all the synod fathers: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
Last but not least it must be noted how the “Instrumentum” has to a great extent been stripped of theological significance and superseded, from the canonical point of view, by the two motu proprios of last August 15, released the following September 8.

1 – Observations on § 122 (52)
A. – An hypothesis incompatible with dogma
B. – An improper use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously drawing arguments from it to support a form of situational ethics


C. – An argument not to the point

2 – Observations on §§ 124-125 (53)
The non-univocal character of the term “spiritual communion” for those who are in God’s grace and those who are not.

3 – Observations on §§ 130-132 (55-56)
“Instrumentum Laboris” and pastoral attention for persons with homosexual tendencies: omissions and silences

4 – Spiritual communion and the divorced and remarried
A more in-depth study on spiritual communion

The next assembly of the Synod of Bishops is intended to deal with many problems concerning the family. Nevertheless, thanks in part to the media uproar and to the pope’s great attentiveness toward the divorced and remarried, the next assembly is considered as the de facto synod of communion for the divorced and remarried. One of the issues that will be addressed seems to be, in fact and for most, the issue of the discussion.
It is well known that in order to resolve a problem it is essential to frame it properly. Unfortunately we have grounds for maintaining that the document that should furnish the correct framing of the whole question – meaning the “Instrumentum Laboris” – is instead misleading and dangerous for our faith.
We present a few observations on the most problematic paragraph, concerning the question of admission to Holy Communion for those who live “more uxorio” in spite of not being canonically married; this is § 122, which reproduces § 52 of the definitive version of the “Relatio finalis” of the 2014 assembly.

The text in question, § 122 (52):
“122. (52) The synod fathers also considered the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Various synod fathers insisted on maintaining the present discipline, because of the constitutive relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church as well as her teaching on the indissoluble character of marriage. Others proposed a more individualized approach, permitting access in certain situations and with certain well-defined conditions, primarily in irreversible situations and those involving moral obligations towards children who would have to endure unjust suffering. Access to the sacraments might take place if preceded by a penitential practice, determined by the diocesan bishop. The subject needs to be thoroughly examined, bearing in mind the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that ‘imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors’ (CCC, 1735).”

There are reasons to maintain that § 122 contains:
A. – An hypothesis incompatible with dogma
B. – An improper use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously drawing arguments from it to support a form of situational ethics
C. – An argument not to the point

A. – An hypothesis incompatible with dogma, such as to present itself as deliberate doubt in a matter of faith
“The synod fathers also considered the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.”
This reflection is illicit and falls under the category of deliberate doubt in a matter of faith, on the basis of what Vatican Council I solemnly declares: “Catholics may never have just cause for calling in doubt, by suspending their assent, the faith which they have already received from the teaching of the Church.” In full conformity with the whole Tradition of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church also places doubt among the sins against faith:
CCC 2088: “There are various ways of sinning against faith: Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. […] If deliberately cultivated, doubt can lead to spiritual blindness”.

That the statement “the civilly divorced and remarried cohabiting ‘more uxorio’ cannot receive Eucharistic communion” belongs to that which is presented for belief as revealed by the Church – and therefore can no longer be brought into question – is proven by:
John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio”, November 22, 1981, § 84:
However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist.”


Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by the Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, September 14, 1994:
“5. The doctrine and discipline of the Church in this matter are amply presented in the post-conciliar period in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. The Exhortation, among other things, reminds pastors that out of love for the truth they are obliged to discern carefully the different situations and exhorts them to encourage the participation of the divorced and remarried in the various events in the life of the Church. At the same time it confirms and indicates the reasons for the constant and universal practice, ‘founded on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion‘ (Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no. 84: AAS 74 (1982) 185). The structure of the Exhortation and the tenor of its words give clearly to understand that this practice, which is presented as binding, cannot be modified because of different situations.
6. Members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion. Should they judge it possible to do so, pastors and confessors, given the gravity of the matter and the spiritual good of these persons (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) as well as the common good of the Church, have the serious duty to admonish them that such a judgment of conscience openly contradicts the Church’s teaching (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 978 § 2). Pastors in their teaching must also remind the faithful entrusted to their care of this doctrine.”

Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration Concerning the Admission to Holy Communion of Faithful Who Are Divorced and Remarried, June 24, 2000:
“The Code of Canon Law establishes that ‘Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion’ (can. 915). In recent years some authors have sustained, using a variety of arguments, that this canon would not be applicable to faithful who are divorced and remarried. […]
“Given this alleged contrast between the discipline of the 1983 Code and the constant teachings of the Church in this area, this Pontifical Council, in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments declares the following:
“1. The prohibition found in the cited canon, by its nature, is derived from divine law and transcends the domain of positive ecclesiastical laws: the latter cannot introduce legislative changes which would oppose the doctrine of the Church. The scriptural text on which the ecclesial tradition has always relied is that of St. Paul: ‘This means that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord. A man should examine himself first only then should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. He who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks a judgment on himself.’ (1 Corinthians 11: 27-29. cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Sacrament of the Eucharist: DH 1646-1647, 1661).”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also “confirms and indicates the reasons for the constant and universal practice, ‘founded on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion'” and “the constant teachings of the Church in this area”:
CCC 1650: “Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’ (Mk 10:11-12). The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence”.

Conclusions of § A
§ 122 of the “Instrumentum Laboris” admits the possibility of that which, for a Catholic, is completely impossible. Access to sacramental communion for the divorced and remarried is presented as a legitimate possibility, when instead this possibility has already been defined as illicit by the previous magisterium (FC, CDF 1994, CCC, Pontifical Council Legislative Texts); it is presented as a possibility that is not only completely theoretical (reasoning “by the impossible”), but real, when instead the only real possibility for a Catholic consistent with the revealed Truth is to affirm the impossibility that the divorced and remarried can licitly receive sacramental communion. The question is presented as theologically open, when in doctrinal and pastoral terms it has been closed (ibid.); it is presented as if beginning from a vacuum in the preceding magisterium, when instead the preceding magisterium has spoken with such authoritativeness as not to admit any more discussion on the matter (ibid.).
If anyone were to insist on discussing again that which is presented for belief as revealed by the Church, formulating hypotheses that turn out to be incompatible with dogma, he would lead the faithful to deliberate doubt in a matter of faith.

B. – An improper use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously drawing arguments from it to support a form of situational ethics
“The subject needs to be thoroughly examined, bearing in mind the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that ‘imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors’ (CCC, 1735).”



These last lines of § 122 of the Instrumentum Laboris refer to § 1735 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to support “the distinction between the objective situation of sin and attenuating circumstances,” in view of a possible admission to the sacraments of the “divorced and remarried.” What does § 1735 of the Catechism really say?

Let’s read it again:
“Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.”

And now let’s try to explain this text: take the hypothetical case of a poor young woman in India or China who is sterilized under pressure, or a young woman in Italy today who is led to get an abortion by her relatives and boyfriend… In this case imputability is diminished or eliminated, however not directly (simpliciter) by the sad circumstances, but by the imperfection of the act: a morally judicable act – a human act, in more precise terms – must be free and intentional.
Today, even in Italy, with the bad education that is received starting in kindergarten, a young woman may very well not realize that abortion is murder: moreover she might be psychologically fragile and not have the natural grit to go against everyone and everything. It is clear that the moral responsibility of this young woman is attenuated.
It is a different matter with a divorced, civilly remarried person who has come back to the faith after the fact: let’s say that his wife has left him, he has remarried with the mistaken idea of making another family, and he can no longer go back to his first, true, only wife (perhaps she has taken up with another man and had children with him); this brother, in spite of praying and actively participating in the life of the parish, being admired by the pastor and by all the faithful, being aware of his state of sin and not stubborn in wanting to justify it, is living more uxorio with the wife he married civilly, not being able to live with her as brother and sister. In this case, the decision to approach the new wife is a perfectly free and intentional act, and what § 1735 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says absolutely cannot be applied.

The Catechism itself in fact teaches, at § 1754:
“Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil”.
And John Paul II, in the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” at § 115, affirmed:
“This is the first time, in fact, that the Magisterium of the Church has set forth in detail the fundamental elements of this teaching, and presented the principles for the pastoral discernment necessary in practical and cultural situations which are complex and even crucial.
“In the light of Revelation and of the Church’s constant teaching, especially that of the Second Vatican Council, I have briefly recalled the essential characteristics of freedom, as well as the fundamental values connected with the dignity of the person and the truth of his acts, so as to be able to discern in obedience to the moral law a grace and a sign of our adoption in the one Son (cf. Ephesians 1:4-6). Specifically, this Encyclical has evaluated certain trends in moral theology today. I now pass this evaluation on to you, in obedience to the word of the Lord who entrusted to Peter the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), in order to clarify and aid our common discernment.
“Each of us knows how important the teaching is which represents the central theme of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts.”

Conclusions of § B
The words of Saint John Paul II are unmistakable: with the authority of the successor of Peter he reaffirms the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, and in particular of those that always and without exception prohibit intrinsically evil acts. He also refutes the artificial and false separation of those who presume to leave the immutable doctrine unaltered but then reconcile the unreconcilable, meaning that they act pastorally in a way not in keeping with the same doctrine.
In fact the same holy pontiff did not write the encyclical as a speculative exercise apart from the world, but wanted to present the reasons for the pastoral discernment necessary in complex and sometimes critical practical and cultural situations.
Certainly a divorced and remarried person like the one described in the preceding example (absolutely not a rare case) must be loved, followed, accompanied toward complete conversion, and only then will be able to receive the Most Holy Eucharist. This conversion must be proclaimed as really possible with the help of grace, with the patience and mercy of God, without contravening an unquestionable truth of our faith, according to which one cannot receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin.

C. – An argument not to the point

“… irreversible situations and those involving moral obligations towards children who would have to endure unjust suffering.”
Admission to the sacraments has nothing to do with irreversible situations, in which it is no longer possible to reconstitute the first and true marriage.
In these situations, the main moral obligation that the divorced and remarried have toward their children is that of living in the grace of God, in order to be better able to raise them; admitting or not admitting them to the sacraments has nothing to do with their obligations toward their offspring.



Unless one wants to deny that the Church “with firm confidence believes that those who have rejected the Lord’s command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity” (Familiaris Consortio, 84). […]

Pastoral attention for persons with homosexual tendencies is certainly nothing new in the Church’s magisterium. The “Instrumentum Laboris,” with respect to the “Relatio finalis” of 2014, compensates for the most serious omission of this latter document, giving more attention to the families of homosexual persons (families that are almost completely forgotten in the “Relatio”). As just as it may be, urging the avoidance of unjust discrimination against persons with homosexual tendencies while only barely referring to their families is almost off-topic in a synod on the family.
In the composition of the “Instrumentum Laboris,” a paragraph has indeed been added (§ 131) that advises attention for these family units, and yet there is still no trace of important and fundamental indications reiterated by the ordinary magisterium on the matter.
We maintain that at a synod on the family, addressing the issue of homosexuality by saying only that homosexuals must not be treated badly and their families not be left alone, is a sin of omission.

Here is the text in question:
“Pastoral Attention towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies
“130. (55) Some families have members who have a homosexual tendency. In this regard, the synod fathers asked themselves what pastoral attention might be appropriate for them in accordance with Church teaching: ‘There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.’ Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. ‘Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4).
“131. The following point needs to be reiterated: every person, regardless of his/her sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his/her human dignity and received with sensitivity and great care in both the Church and society. It would be desirable that dioceses devote special attention in their pastoral programmes to the accompaniment of families where a member has a homosexual tendency and of homosexual persons themselves.
“132. (56) Exerting pressure in this regard on the Pastors of the Church is totally unacceptable: it is equally unacceptable for international organizations to link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of laws that establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”

It seems to us that the following observations can be made on this text.
Omissions and silences
Seeing that we are piously urged to put ourselves in the “condition of a field hospital that is so beneficial for the proclamation of God’s mercy,” it is opportune to recall that, in every self-respecting hospital, the doctors do their duty when: 1) they diagnose the illness, 2) administer treatment, 3) follow the patient all the way to recovery; moreover the Church is like “a physician who realizes the danger of disease, protects himself and others from it, but at the same time he strives to cure those who have contracted it.”
To reduce the work of the Church to welcoming persons with homosexual tendencies with “respect and delicacy” (or to silence the rest entirely) can at most be likened – still following the metaphor of the field hospital – to palliative care.
Moreover, recalling only the duty of avoiding any display of unjust discrimination, without saying anything else, can seem like conformity to the propaganda against so-called “homophobia,” which we know very well to be a wedge for introducing disastrous norms into legislation and the acceptance of “gender” theory into consciences.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was wise in observing, in 1986, that “one tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.”
When one speaks of unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, it is therefore opportune also to explain clearly what truly unjust discrimination is and what the dutiful denunciation of evil is instead.
The same congregation also reiterated that “departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral.”

1 – We maintain that the illness must be diagnosed clearly, as for example the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith did in 2003; let’s see how the question of unjust discrimination is treated in a fairly clear context:
“Homosexual acts ‘close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2357).
“Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts ‘as a serious depravity…’ (cf. Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declaration ‘Persona Humana,’ December 29, 1975, no. 8). This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries (cf. for example St. Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, V, 3; St. Justin, First Apologia, 27, 1-4; Athenagoras, Plea for the Christians, 34) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

“Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, October 1, 1986, no. 10). They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2359; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, October 1, 1986, no. 12). The homosexual inclination is however ‘objectively disordered’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358) and homosexual practices are ‘sins gravely contrary to chastity’ (Ibid, no. 2396)”.

Moreover, the possibility of sin on the part of persons with homosexual tendencies must be admitted, not excluding confession as a sometimes necessary supernatural aid:
“What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace.”

Love shows itself also by unveiling prospects of false happiness:
“As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.”

2 – In the second place, it is necessary to prescribe treatment:
a) preventing the infections of the spirit of the world…
“… Special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option.”
“[The Church] is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda.”

b) … having recourse also to the human sciences. The treatment prescribed must not be only of a moral character: just as the Church, in order to foster the correct use of marriage, promotes the creation of clinics where natural methods are taught, so also it is opportune that the Church should foster all those forms of psychological support which have been provided in recent years, with encouraging results:
“In a particular way, we would ask the Bishops to support, with the means at their disposal, the development of appropriate forms of pastoral care for homosexual persons. These would include the assistance of the psychological, sociological and medical sciences, in full accord with the teaching of the Church.”

c) … and instilling hope: persons of homosexual orientation must be accompanied on a cultural journey as well, intended to unmask all homosexualist theories (such as “gender” theory) and slogans such as “homosexuals are born that way”; this slogan soothes the consciences of those who want to stay like this, and suppresses the hope of those would would like to get out.

3 – In the third place, the patient must be followed all the way to recovery, which is the life of grace and holiness itself; anything whatsoever not in keeping with faith that is called hardship is – for the believer – a providential occasion of sanctification: “Diligentibus Deum, omnia cooperantur in bonum” (Romans 8: 28). Under this aspect as well, we find no words better than those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
“What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross. That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption. While any call to carry the cross or to understand a Christian’s suffering in this way will predictably be met with bitter ridicule by some, it should be remembered that this is the way to eternal life for all who follow Christ.
“It is, in effect, none other than the teaching of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians when he says that the Spirit produces in the lives of the faithful ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (5:22) and further (v. 24), ‘You cannot belong to Christ unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.’
“It is easily misunderstood, however, if it is merely seen as a pointless effort at self-denial. The Cross is a denial of self, but in service to the will of God himself who makes life come from death and empowers those who trust in him to practise virtue in place of vice.
“To celebrate the Paschal Mystery, it is necessary to let that Mystery become imprinted in the fabric of daily life. To refuse to sacrifice one’s own will in obedience to the will of the Lord is effectively to prevent salvation. Just as the Cross was central to the expression of God’s redemptive love for us in Jesus, so the conformity of the self-denial of homosexual men and women with the sacrifice of the Lord will constitute for them a source of self-giving which will save them from a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them.
“Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God’s personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord’s grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.”

4 – Finally, seeking to protect oneself and others from such infection:
“Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon.”

Recalling the issue of helping families with children of homosexual tendencies offers an occasion to ask ourselves the reason for this mention to the detriment of all the other much more widespread hardships that families experience; moreover the issue is presented in such a way as to blur it from being a family problem into a problem of homosexual persons alone, off-topic with respect to the proper object of the synod.
Moreover, the paragraph in question, albeit while having to stay within the space of a few lines, omits any reference to the true issues connected to the pastoral care of homosexual persons; this silence is all the more culpable given the appalling advance of “gender” ideology today.
The base document of the synod, object of the “Observations”: Instrumentum Laboris



Nearly 800,000 Catholics request doctrinal clarity from Pope Francis

September 29, 2015


A Filial Appeal signed by 790, 190 Catholics, including 201 cardinals, archbishops and bishops, has been submitted today to Pope Francis. The appeal calls on the Holy Father to say “a clarifying word” to dissipate the “widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has been opened within the Church that would accept adultery—by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion—and would virtually accept even homosexual unions when such practices are categorically condemned as being contrary to Divine and natural law”.

The Filial Appeal was launched following the Extraordinary Synod on the Family held in Rome in October 2014. The scandalous synodal documents, and the public dissent of many cardinals and bishops, has caused great confusion about the Church’s teachings on matters relating to human sexuality, marriage and the family. The Filial Appeal therefore requests that Pope Francis resolve the scandal by clearly reaffirming Catholic teaching; this would “prevent the very teaching of Jesus Christ from being watered-down and would dispel the darkness looming over our children’s future should that beacon no longer light their way.”

A spokesman for the appeal, Tommaso Scandroglio, professor of Ethics and Bioethics in the European University of Rome, commented that the Filial Appeal “has had widespread repercussions in the Italian and international press”. He added “the repercussions in the mass media, the number of signatures collected and the number of personalities who have signed indicate that a substantial number of believers are very worried about certain theological tendencies present in the Church today”.

Amongst the many signatories of the Filial Appeal highlighted by the organisers are:

—Jorge Medina Cardinal Estévez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship

—Geraldo Majella Cardinal Agnelo, former Primate of Brazil and Secretary Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome



—Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila

—Most Rev. Désiré Tsarahasana, Archbishop of Toamasina, President of the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar

—Most Rev. Ramón Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa (Philippines)

—Most Rev Alfredo Zecca, Archbishop of Tucumán (Argentina)

—Most Rev. Aldo di Cillo Pagotto, Archbishop of Paraíba (Brazil)

—Most Rev. Gonzalo Restrepo, Archbishop of Manizales (Colombia)

—Most Rev. Francis Chimoio, Archbishop of Maputo (Mozambique)

—Alexandre Cardinal dos Santos, Archbishop Emeritus of Maputo (Mozambique)

—Most Rev. Tomasz Peta, Archbishop of Astana (Kazakhstan)

—Most Rev. Calist Soosa Pakiam, Archbishop of Trivandrum (India)

Many signatories are leaders of pro-family and pro-life movements from every continent. These include John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and co-founder of Voice of the Family and Maria Madise, Manager of Voice of the Family.



Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis may have been his most important. Why the secrecy?

By John-Henry Westen, September 30, 2015

After the initial thrill of the surprise news of Pope Francis’ meeting with embattled Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, some rather disturbing questions arose. Those questions come in light of the secrecy of the meeting with Davis such that Vatican spokesman Father Benedettini told ABC News, “The Vatican does not confirm the meeting, nor does it deny the meeting. There will be no further information given.”

After reports began to circulate that Kim Davis was lying about her encounter with the pope, the Vatican did admit to the meeting. Spokesman Fr. Lombardi said, “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I will not comment on it further.”

In light of the great fanfare and publicity around the pope’s meeting with President Obama, the United Nations, Congressional leaders, prisoners, and immigrants, many wondered why his two visits that underscored religious freedom were so intentionally hidden and downplayed.  His visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor was unscheduled too, but at least confirmed and photographs allowed release.

The impressions left by the bizarre discrepancies were noted with flair by a LifeSite reader in comments under our story on the news of the meeting with Davis:

This message resonates loud and clear to the priests, bishops and laity, ‘Keep your belief inside the walls of your church. Don’t embarrass a sitting head of state who agrees with your Big Picture. Illegal immigrants, the Secret Service will run them out to your motorcade for the foto op. Prisoners guilty of crimes, wash their feet but please make sure the cameras are there. Global warming, write a book, then go on tour. Same-sex marriage; abortion? Mention, but not in those harsh terms.’ A lady being demonized and persecuted for standing on (old fashioned?) Christian values? Sneak her in. “No fotos, por favor.”

We are ever so grateful for the meeting with Kim Davis. It was likely the most important meeting the pope had while in the USA. However the secrecy of the Davis meeting and the downplaying of the Little Sisters meeting in light of the fanfare of the other meetings, leaves the impression that those high profile meetings were the real priority, when in truth it’s just the opposite. 

That same impression was left by the pope’s overt calls for change on poverty, climate change, the death penalty and the arms trade, while calls for change on abortion and same-sex “marriage” were made in veiled references missed by most.

Davis’ lawyer Mat Staver explained the Vatican’s desire for secrecy and the fact that the Vatican is not releasing the photos it took of the meeting, telling CBS, “The Vatican had specific themes it wanted to focus on. … The Vatican wanted to focus its message on a lot of issues.”

The true priorities of the Catholic Church in the US political context were outlined by Cardinal Ratzinger in a letter addressed to US Bishops in 2004 just prior to his elevation to the pontificate.  The purpose of the letter, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion, was to urge the US Bishops to deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion.  In doing so, Ratzinger drew a sharp distinction between, for example, abortion and the death penalty, noting the latter could be supported in good conscience while the former could not.

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia,” said Cardinal Ratzinger. “For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.”

“There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia,” concluded the soon-to-be Pope Benedict XVI.



Imitating Judas: The Kasper Position

By Michael Lofton, October 1, 2015



As many Catholics already know, the Ordinary Synod on the Family is set to meet in Rome in just a few days. One of the issues that will be discussed by the bishops is the Kasper Proposal, described by the Relatio
document from last year’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family as:

“…the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist…. permitting access in certain situations and with certain well-defined conditions, primarily in irreversible situations and those involving moral obligations towards children who would have to endure unjust suffering. Access to the sacraments might take place if preceded by a penitential practice, determined by the diocesan bishop.”

In other words, it suggests that divorced and remarried couples who are not practicing abstinence (i.e. adulterers) should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. Though the “Kasperites” claim to affirm the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage in theory, they suggest that the church should take a more “merciful” approach than the one it has taken for the last 2,000 years – a brash position if there ever was one. This proposal is a hot-button issue not only because it would betray the teachings of Christ on the indissolubility of marriage, but also because it is clearly an opening to allow for obstinate homosexuals to receive Holy Communion as well.

This proposal represents a contradiction. It professes one thing, while suggesting that the church should do another (e.g. say something is a grave sin, while giving Holy Communion to those obstinately engaging in the grave sin, thereby condoning it). Another word for this is “hypocrisy.” This word, often used as a criticism of any inconsistency, has a rather precise and specific application in this instance. Hypocrisy is properly defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform”.

Hypocrisy in the Church is nothing new. One of the apostles was a hypocrite; his name was Judas. This apostle once objected to money being spent on Jesus rather than being put into a money bag for the poor (sound familiar?). His motives, however charitable they may have sounded, were not so pure:

“He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”(John 12:6)

Judas also manifested his hypocrisy by professing to be a disciple of Christ, and yet betraying Him in the Garden of Gethsemane:

“‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.” (Matthew 26:15)

Like Judas, many of the Kasperites suggest that the church should continue to profess the teachings of Christ, and yet betray him in practice. Some may ask, why would the Kasperites maintain such a hypocritical position?

There are several possible motives, but I will explore just two.

First, like Judas and the money bag, they are more concerned about money than the salvation of souls. It is no secret that the main proponents of the Kasper proposal (i.e. most of the German bishops) stand to gain a great deal of money if the church overturns her 2,000 year old practice on Holy Communion. This is so because the church in Germany receives money from the German government for every person that identifies themselves as “Catholic” on their income taxes. Many divorced and remarried Germans who would otherwise identify themselves as “Catholic” do not do so because they are forbidden to receive Holy Communion. This means the German bishops are losing money under the current discipline in the church. Financial gain is an incredibly strong motive to advance the Kasper position.

Second, many of the Kasperites espouse this position as a means of seeking legitimization for their sinful sexual beliefs. A recent example comes from the German bishop Franz-Joseph Bode, who expressed his support for the Kasper Proposal while calling for the Church to privately bless sodomite unions:

“The Catechism makes it clear that we do not discriminate against these people. Just as with other individuals who live together before marriage, it is also a matter of recognizing the strengths of homosexuals, and not simply their weaknesses and shortcomings. Civil unions are not to be equated with marriage. For us, marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and which results in children. The Church can be of assistance in life partnerships through dialogue and positive support. However, there cannot be anything resembling marriage. Nevertheless, one can accompany them with prayer and a private form of blessing.”

For these bishops, it would seem that if they can get the church to give Holy Communion to obstinate adulterers and sodomites, this would legitimize their views that adultery and sodomy aren’t really that bad after all. It is not unreasonable to question if another reason is that some of the Kasperite bishops themselves possess disordered sexual desires, and are seeking to placate their consciences. Lacking certitude in this matter, one is left only to speculate, but as Aristotle said, “Men start revolutionary changes for reasons connected with their private lives.”

What is certain is that these apostolic successors are following the example of only one apostle — Judas — who claimed to follow Christ in word but betrayed him in action. Sadly, if they continue to follow the lead of he about whom Christ said, “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born,” they may very well meet the same fate. (Acts 1:25)



Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri explains how the Synod on the Family will unfold

Vatican City, October 2, 2015

This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, gave a presentation of the phases and methods of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”, which will commence on Sunday 4 October.



“Tomorrow evening, in St. Peter’s Square, in the presence of the Holy Father, a prayer vigil will be held in preparation for the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be attended by the Synod Fathers, the participants in the Synod and all the faithful of the world, on an initiative of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which has invited families, movements and ecclesial associations. At nightfall the beauty of the family will shine through lighted torches. The trustful invocation of the Holy Spirit by the People of God is the prelude to the work of the Synod; indeed, we recall the important tone given to the last Extraordinary General Assembly by the Holy Father, with the powerful homily he gave during the Vigil.

The Mass on Sunday morning, presided by the Holy Father, will signal the opening of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod on ‘The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world’, allowing all the faithful of the world to join the common path of the pastors cum Petro et sub Petro.

This Assembly is the culmination of the synodal journey undertaken two years ago, with the distribution of the first questionnaire to all the particular Churches, enabling the profile of the family in the world, its riches and its challenges, to be outlined. The Extraordinary General Assembly then prepared a Final Report (Relatio Synodi) which raised further questions; the answers have been incorporated in today’s Instrumentum Laboris. With this text in hand, composed of the Relatio Synodi and by the contributions of the particular Churches, the Fathers are preparing to listen to the challenges faced by the family, to discern its vocation, and to announce its mission.


Composition of the Ordinary General Assembly

In accordance with the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum (Art. 5 § 1), the Ordinary General Assembly will be attended by the Heads of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches, the bishops elected by the Synod of Bishops and the Councils of the Hierarchy of the Oriental Catholic Churches, the bishops elected by the Episcopal Conferences, ten religious elected by the Union of Superiors General and the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia. In addition, the Holy Father also appoints some Members, in accordance with the same Synod regulations (Art. 5 § 4).

A total of 270 Synod Fathers will participate in this Assembly. They are divided into the following three categories: 42 ex officio, 183 ex electione and 45 ex nominatione pontificia. The Fathers originate from the five continents, as follows: 54 from Africa, 64 from America, 36 from Asia, 107 from Europe and 9 from Oceania.

The Members ex officio comprise the heads of the 15 Synods of Bishops of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches; 25 heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia; the general secretary and the under Secretary.

The 270 Synod Fathers include: 74 cardinals (including one cardinal Patriarch and 2 major archbishops), six Patriarchs, one major archbishop, 72 archbishops (including three titular), 102 bishops (including six auxiliaries, three apostolic vicars and one emeritus), two parish priests and 13 religious. In addition, other invitees from different cultures and nations will take part in this Synod Assembly (cf. Art. 7 Ordo Synodi): 24 experts and collaborators of the Special Secretary, 51 auditors and 14 fraternal delegates. Noteworthy is the fact that, since this is an Assembly dedicated to the family, particular importance is given to spouses, parents and family heads, of whom a total of 18 are present (17 auditors and one among the experts). Finally, we are pleased to welcome the fraternal delegates who, as representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities, certainly share with the Catholic Church a concern for evangelisation and the pastoral care of families in today’s world.


Synod methodology

Starting from the experience gained during the Third Extraordinary General Assembly last October and taking into account various suggestions have come from many sides, especially by the Synod Fathers, the General Secretariat of the Synod has developed a new methodology to apply the Ordinary General Assembly, approved by the Holy Father at the meeting of the Ordinary Council of the Secretariat on 25-26 May 2015.

Given the methodology of the previous synods, the majority of the Fathers suggested that the General Assembly is made more dynamic and participatory through the distribution of interventions among the individual members at different times, enabling more attention to be devoted each contribution. In addition, the Fathers requested the enhancement of the work in the Circuli Minores, where there is more active participation in the discussion, more direct and immediate connection between the Fathers in their own language, and in which the auditors and fraternal delegates can intervene.

The result of the first Synod phase, developed during the last Extraordinary General Assembly, was the Relatio Synodi, which became, together with an attached series of questions, the Lineamenta of the Ordinary General Assembly presented to the particular Churches and to all other entitled persons. The Instrumentum Laboris, resulting from the composition of the Relatio Synodi and the answers related to it, it is the foundational document of this Synod Assembly.

In the opening session, the President Delegate will greet the Holy Father, who will open the meeting. This will be followed by reports from the General Secretary and the General Rapporteur. The General Rapporteur will then present the themes of the First Part (“Listening to the challenges to the family”; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 6-36). After the testimony of a married couple (auditors), the interventions of the Synod Fathers in the General Congregations, will begin. Their contribution constitutes a development of the basic text.

This will be followed by the sessions of the Circuli minori, in which the Fathers reflect on the basic text supplemented by the contributions made in the assembly hall, in order to develop the “ways” in which the text continues to mature. At the end of the sessions, the rapporteur from each Circulo presents a brief report of their work and indicates the supplements to be inserted in the base text. The reports of the Working Groups will be made public.





The same process is repeated for the Second Part (“The discernment of the vocation of the family”; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 37-68) and the Third Party (“The mission of the family today”; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 69 -147), during the following two weeks.

The Commission for the Elaboration of the Final Report, appointed by the Holy Father, in which all five continents are represented, consists of: Cardinal Peter Erdö, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary), Rapporteur General; the General Secretary; Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto (Italy); Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay (India); Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington (United States of America); Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington (New Zealand); Archbishop Victor Manuel
Fernández, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (Argentina); Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan of Mouila (Gabon); Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (Italy); Father Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, superior general of the Society of Jesus, representing the Union of Superiors General.

The Commission has the duty of following each stage of the project; therefore, it meets at the end of the work on each part and in drafting the final document. At the end of the three stages of work, the Commission oversees preparation of the draft of the Final Report, to be presented in plenary session. Bearing in mind that this project is the composition of three texts that have already been received in the Circuli Minores – whose reports were read in plenary and published – further interventions must be advanced with regard to the collective work conducted so far.

Subsequently, the above Commission oversees the preparation of the final text of the Relatio finalis, to be presented on the morning of Saturday 24 October in plenary session and submitted for approval to the Assembly in the afternoon.

In accordance with the nature of the Synod, this document, the result of the collective work of the Fathers (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 343), will be consigned to the Holy Father (cf. Ordo Synodi Episcoporum, Art. 23 § 4), who is responsible for decisions.

4) Given the large number of those entitled to speak (318 Fathers, the fraternal delegates and auditors) and the extra space reserved for Circuli Minores (13 sessions), each speaker has the right to speak in the House for three minutes and to intervene extensively in the Circuli. As in the past, the General Congregations are granted one hour each, dedicated to free interventions by the Fathers. In addition, it is always possible to submit other written texts to the General Secretariat, in addition to the texts in paper and electronic formats presented in the Assembly Hall.

5) Considering that media communication and information during the last Extraordinary General Assembly was abundant and comprehensive, the same methods will also be used in relation to this General Assembly. In this regard, it is essential to bear in mind the basic criterion mentioned by the Holy Father on a number of occasions: the Synod must be a safe space so that the Holy Spirit can act and so that the Fathers have the freedom to express themselves with parresia.

During the three weeks, the briefing will be maintained as the basis for providing information; it will however be expanded, with a greater presence of the Synod Fathers, and using all available means of communication. The Fathers are free to communicate with the media at their own discretion and responsibility. The various stages in the development of the basic document remain confidential, since during the synodal process, the texts are subject to continuous developments right up to the final draft. However, the reports of the Circuli minori on the three aspects of the work of the Synod will be published. A special Commission, together with the Holy See Press Office, will as usual be responsible for providing information on the Synod.


Further information

On Saturday 17 October from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Synod of Bishops will take place in the Paul VI Hall. The event is open to all who wish to participate, as well as those attending the Synod. In the mind of Blessed Paul VI, who instituted it on 15 September 1965, the Synod was intended to perpetuate the spirit of Vatican Council II in the Church, so that even after its conclusion, it would continue to receive that ‘great abundance of benefits that we have been so happy to see flow to the Christian people during the time of the Council as a result of Our close collaboration with the bishops’.

After the introduction by the General Secretary, the commemorative report will be entrusted to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and president of the Episcopal Conference of Austria. There will then be communications from five prelates representing all continents (Cardinal Gerald Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, for Europe; Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Maputo, for Africa; Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, archbishop of Santiago del Chile and president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, for the Americas; His Beatitude Raphael I Louis Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, and Head of the Synod of the Chaldean Church, for Asia; and Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga and president of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific, for Oceania). Lastly, the Holy Father will give the concluding address.



Vatican: Pope Francis’ only ‘real audience’ at U.S. embassy was with former gay student, partner

By Dustin Siggins, Washington, October 2, 2015

Hours after the Vatican distanced itself from embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, CNN has reported Pope Francis met privately with a gay couple and their friends while in the U.S.

“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” Yayo Grassi told CNN. Grassi was a student of Pope Francis’ in the 1960s in Argentina.



In its statement this morning about the pope’s meeting with Kim Davis, the Vatican press office had said that Davis was just one of a large group of people with whom the pope had briefly met at the nunciature.

The press release added that “the only real audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature (embassy) was with one of his former students and his family.”

Grassi says that former student was himself, and that he was accompanied by his same-sex partner, his mother, and some friends.

“That was me,” Grassi said.

The Vatican confirmed that the meeting took place. “Mr. Yayo Grassi, a former Argentine student of Pope Francis, who had already met other times in the past with the Pope, asked to present his mother and several friends to the Pope during the Pope’s stay in Washington, DC,” said Rev. Thomas Rosica, the English-language attaché for the Vatican’s press office.

“As noted in the past, the Pope, as pastor, has maintained many personal relationships with people in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue.”

While Grassi says the pope has always known of Grassi’s same-sex sexual attractions, Francis has not condemned the former student’s sexuality or relationships. Grassi had previously met with the pope, along with Grassi’s boyfriend Iwan, in Rome.

CNN reports that a video shows Pope Francis hugging both men and kissing them on the cheek.

“He has never been judgmental,” Grassi said. “He has never said anything negative.”

“Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church’s teachings,” Grassi noted. “But as a human being he understands all kinds of situations, and he is open to all kinds of people, including those with different sexual characteristics.”

While Grassi says he is close to the pope, they have also had their disagreements about sexuality. In 2010, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio indicated that same-sex “marriage” is of Satan; Grassi wrote him an e-mail that said “You have been my guide, continuously moving my horizons—you have shaped the most progressive aspects of my worldview.”

“And to hear this from you is so disappointing,” wrote Grassi, who told CNN that the cardinal replied, saying he was sorry to have upset the former student, vowing that “homophobia” was not acceptable in the Catholic Church.

However, National Geographic Magazine, which first reported on the e-mail exchange, added that the pope “did not disavow” what he had said about same-sex ‘marriage.’

Grassi also told CNN that he believes the pope was “misled” into meeting with Davis.



The Left Turns Against the Pope – Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis has left liberals distraught

By Miles Swigart, Washington,
October 02, 2015

Liberals feel betrayed and are turning their back on Pope Francis for having a private meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.
Rowan county clerk Kim Davis made headlines over the summer when she refused for reasons of conscience to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The couples filed a lawsuit against her, eventually resulting in jail time for Davis, who had defied court orders to issue the licenses. Davis was subsequently released, and has become something of a folk hero to conservatives, while the liberal media has demonized her.
It came as a shock to the left, therefore, when “their” Pope was revealed to have arranged a private meeting with Kim Davis. According to Davis’ attorney Mat Staver, the Pope had requested to meet privately with her.

[It] was just Pope Francis, Kim Davis, her husband Joe and other papal staff and security. No one else was in the room. Pope Francis came out. He held out his hands. He asked Kim Davis to pray for him. … He encouraged her. He said, “Thank you for your courage,” and he also said, “Stay strong.”

Kim Davis was invited to the meeting by a high-ranking Vatican official connected to the Secretariat of State of the Holy See acting on behalf of the Pope himself, Breitbart revealed. 
Originally, the Vatican 
confirmed that these events took place. However, it made another statement this morning downplaying the event, saying, “The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis, and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis, issued a statement today responding to the Vatican’s backtracking.

Despite a statement this morning by a Vatican official, the Pope’s own words about conscientious objection being a human right and his private meeting with Kim Davis indicate support for the universal right of conscientious objection, even for government officials. The meeting with Kim Davis was initiated by the Vatican, and the private meeting occurred at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 24. This meeting was a private meeting without any other members of the public present. …

[T]he meeting was a pastoral meeting to encourage Kim Davis in which Pope Francis thanked her for her courage and told her to “stay strong.”

Liberty Counsel also rejected Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica’s claim that Davis was just one among a number of guests the Pope met with that morning.

Kim and Joe Davis were picked up by security at the hotel in which she and her husband were staying and driven to the Vatican Embassy. Kim and Joe Davis waited for the private meeting with the Pope. There were no other people in the room.





This was a private meeting between Pope Francis and Kim and Joe Davis. This was not a meeting with other people in which Kim and Joe Davis were a part, but rather a private meeting with no other people in the room except Vatican security and personnel.

And responding to an inaccuracy reported in Reuters, Liberty Counsel continued:

There was no line of people before, near, or around Kim Davis. Had Kim Davis been in a line of people or been seen by anyone outside of Vatican personnel, we would not have been able to keep her visit secret. 

Several explanations have been given as to why the Vatican is trying to downplay the issue, even to the point of fudging the facts. Catholic journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty tweeted that it was likely owing to the complaints of Jesuits, who would’ve made their distress known to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.

Regardless of the Vatican’s statement, the damage has been done, and this event has caused liberals to storm the media with their feelings of betrayal and outrage. 
Charles P. Pierce at Esquire called the Holy Father’s meeting with Kim Davis “a sin against charity” and the “dumbest thing this Pope has ever done,” while Father James Martin, SJ 
tried to deflect the event by saying the Pope met many people during his visit, and this one means no more than the rest of them.
“If it turns out the meeting actually happened, I would be very disappointed in Pope Francis,” said Frank DeBernardo, executive director of the pro-homosexualist group New Ways Ministry. “There were numerous calls for him to meet with LGBT Catholics and families while in the U.S., and the Vatican ignored them all.”
Twitter was set ablaze with tweets from the outraged, including Mashable writer Brian Ries and his followers. 

It seems that after two years of being told Pope Francis is a progressive theologian, lauded by the secular media for his stances on the environment and immigration, and his infamous “Who am I to judge?” comment in reference to a priest with same-sex attraction, the news that Pope Francis is true to Catholic teaching against same-sex “marriage” may be too much of a shock for liberals to make sense of, leaving them to try and downplay the meeting with Davis.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League summarized his thoughts with the following: “The Catholic and secular Left are beside themselves. They thought they owned the Pope, and now they are in a state of disbelief. If they don’t get what they want at the Synod next month, watch for them to turn on him with a vengeance.”



10 prelates to draft Synod of Bishops’ final document

October 02, 2015

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, has announced the names of the nine prelates who will work with him to draft the final report of the upcoming synod on the family.

Each of the three weeks of the synod, which begins on October 4 and concludes on October 25, is devoted to the discussion of one chapter of the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris, or working document. The final report, based on the discussions, will be presented to the synod fathers on October 24, whereupon it will be presented to the Holy Father, who is free to accept or reject the various recommendations.

The members of the committee for the drafting of the final report are Cardinal Baldisseri and:

—Cardinal Peter Erdö (Hungary)

—Archbishop Bruno Forte (Italy)

—Cardinal Oswald Gracias (India)

—Cardinal Donald Wuerl (United States)

—Cardinal John Dew (New Zealand)

—Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández (Argentina)

—Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan (Gabon)

—Bishop Marcello Semeraro (Italy)

—Father Adolfo Nicolás Pachón (superior general, Society of Jesus)



Why we fear the Ordinary Synod is being manipulated

October 2, 2015

It is widely considered that the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, held in Rome last October, was manipulated by those controlling it in order to promote changes in the teachings of the Catholic Church on questions relating to human sexuality, marriage and the family.

The evidence for such a view has been very ably set out by experienced Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin in his recent book The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? (A review of the book can be found here)An overview of events can also be found in Voice of the Family’s document The Extraordinary Synod on the Family: A Narrative Account.

A number of cardinals who participated in the Synod have made public accusations that manipulation took place; these include Raymond Cardinal Burke, Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier and George Cardinal Pell.





Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has raised fears about the manipulation of the Ordinary Synod, which will open on Sunday 4th October. In the recently published book Christ’s New Homeland Africa: Contribution to the Synod on the Family by African Pastors, His Eminence wrote (our emphasis):

“As the starting date for the XIV General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops dedicated to “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World” approaches, the particular Churches, the theological faculties, and groups and associations of families are intensifying their preparations for this major ecclesial event. At the same time, there is a sense that opinion makers, pressure groups, and lobbies are coming to the fore. We also see communications strategies being implemented; it would even seem that new methodologies for the synod assembly are being examined in order to give a voice to some lines of thought while endeavoring to make others inaudible, if not to silence them completely. Everything leads us to believe that the next synod assembly will be for many people a synod with high stakes. The future of the family is indeed at stake for mankind today.”


The warning of Cardinal Sarah, coming as it does from within the Roman Curia, must be taken seriously. Voice of the Family would therefore like to propose a number of reasons for believing that Ordinary Synod is being manipulated:

1. Those responsible for the manipulation of the Extraordinary Synod remain in control of the Ordinary Synod

Despite the widespread accusations of manipulation made against Cardinal Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Bruno Forte, Special Secretary of the Synod, they remain in their positions. The allegations against Cardinal Baldisseri and Archbishop Forte are discussed at length in The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?

Fr Federico Lombardi SJ remains in charge of the Holy See press office despite also being implicated in the manipulation of the Extraordinary Synod. The press conferences held last October were widely considered to have deliberately skewed the reporting of the synod fathers’ interventions. Cardinal Burke, who was present at the synod, stated that “the daily briefings organized by Father Lombardi facilitated the manipulation”. Fr Thomas Rosica, who used his role as English-speaking spokesman to stress those contributions that pushed a so-called “progressive” agenda also remains in his position.

The President of the Synod of Bishops, of course, remains Pope Francis. Cardinal Baldisseri has stressed the centrality of the Pope to the work of General Secretariat:

“The pope is the president of the synod of bishops. I am the secretary general, but I don’t have anyone else above me, such as a prefect of a congregation or a president of a council. I don’t have anyone else above me, only the pope. The pope presided over all the council meetings of the secretariat. He presides. I am the secretary. And so the documents were all seen and approved by the pope, with the approval of his presence.  Even the documents during the synod, such as the Relatio ante disceptationem, the Relatio post disceptationem and the Relatio synodi
were seen by him before they were published.


2. The
Instrumentum Laboris
remains the agenda of the Ordinary Synod despite, as demonstrated in
Voice of the Family’s analysis, clearly undermining the entire edifice of Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

Cardinal Baldisseri confirmed at a press conference at the Vatican this morning that the Instrumentum Laboris will be the basis of discussions at the synod. The text is divided into three parts, each of which forms the agenda for each of the three weeks of the synod.

In an interview with Portuguese broadcaster Radio Renascenca, which was released on 14 September, Pope Francis confirmed that the Instrumentum Laboris would be the basis for discussion at the Synod. He said:

“As for the synod, you journalists are already familiar with the Instrumentum Laboris. We are going to speak of that, of what is in there.”


3. The Synod Secretariat has “devised a new method” of conducting the Synod. The “new method” has only been made public two days before the Synod begins.

The Ordinary Synod will be conducted in a significantly different manner to the Extraordinary Synod. The synod fathers will spend much more time in small language based discussion groups and comparatively little time in plenary sessions. There will be no Relatio ante disceptationem or Relatio post disceptationem. This means that, unlike last year when the Relatio post disceptationem revealed the agenda at work and provoked a fight-back, the synod fathers will receive no indication of the content of the final report until the very last day of the Synod.

After being questioned by a journalist Cardinal Baldisseri stated that the synod fathers were informed a month ago that there would be a new method. He very noticeably fell short of affirming that they were actually told what the new procedures would be.


4. Cardinal Baldisseri refused to explain how the membership of the small groups was determined

The cardinals and bishops will spend most of their time at the Synod in small language based groups. There are thirteen such groups which include four groups conducted in English, three in Spanish, three in French, two in Italian and one in German.

Upon being questioned by a journalist Cardinal Baldisseri refused to explain how the membership of each group was determined. This will do little to allay concerns that the synod fathers will be allocated to the small groups in such a way as will best further the agenda of those controlling the synod.



5. Cardinal Baldisseri refused twice to affirm that Article 26 § 1 of the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum will be respected. This article requires a 2/3 majority for approval of items put to vote.

Article 26 § 1 states:

To arrive at the majority of votes, if the vote is for the approval of some item, 2/3 of the votes of the Members casting ballots is required; if for the rejection of some item, the absolute majority of the same Members is necessary.

Paragraphs 52, 53 and 55 of the Relatio Synodi (final report) of the Extraordinary Synod failed to achieve a 2/3 majority of the synod fathers’ votes. According to the rules of the synod they should have been rejected. However these controversial paragraphs, which discussed homosexuality and Holy Communion for those living in public adultery, were included in the published report on the direct instructions of Pope Francis. They were also included in the Lineamenta
and the Instrumentum Laboris.

Texts that were rejected by the Extraordinary Synod therefore form part of the agenda of the Ordinary Synod.

Cardinal Baldisseri was asked twice whether Article 26 § 1 would be observed at the Ordinary Synod. He ignored the question the first time it was put to him and the second time he simply stated that it remained in place in the official rules. This gives us little confidence that the voting process will not be abused again.


6. Pope Francis has entrusted leading dissenters with the responsibility of drafting the final report of the Synod

The committee consists of ten prelates, at least seven of whom hold so-called “progressive” views. Voice of the Family has already raised particular concerns about:

—Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops

—Archbishop Bruno Forte, Special Secretary of the Synod of Bishops

—Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

—John Atcherly Cardinal Dew, Archbishop of Wellington

Also considered “progressive” are Archbishop Victor Manuel
Fernández, Rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, Bishop of Albano, and Adolfo Nicholás Pachón, Superior General of the Society of Jesus.


7. A committee has been established to supervise the synod… and it will include Cardinal Baldisseri and Archbishop Forte

At this morning’s press conference Cardinal Baldisseri reassured journalists that there was no need to be concerned about allegations that the synod would be manipulated because a committee of ten would oversee the proceedings. He then announced that the membership of the committee would include himself and Archbishop Forte. In other words, the committee which is supposed to give us confidence that no manipulation is taking place includes the very men most implicated in the manipulation.

Jonathan Swift, the foremost prose satirist in the English language, could not have invented a better tale than the true story of the Synod on the Family.



8 Reasons to Believe the Synod will be manipulated

By Steve Skojec,
October 3, 2015

Voice of the Family has arisen as a real champion since last year’s Synod, a clear voice calling for the preservation of the Church’s teachings on marriage and family. In a thorough analysis published yesterday, they offer seven pieces of evidence that plans to manipulate the Synod may already be afoot:

[Reasons 1 through 7 as in the article immediately above]

Voice of the Family also includes some words of warning from Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, about his concerns for the Synod. Please visit their full article to see the text of his comments.


One thing Voice of the Family did not mention is the information we shared with you earlier this week:

There have been reports of a “Parallel Synod” already at work on the documents that may be presented at the conclusion of the Synod, despite the fact that the work of the Synod fathers won’t begin until tomorrow.


In this context [that is, of the procedural changes mentioned by Edward Pentin], news has arrived to us for about twelve days that around thirty people, almost all of them Jesuits, with the occasional Argentinian, are working on the themes on the Synod, in a very reserved way, under the coordination of Father Antonio Spadaro, the director of Civiltà Cattolica [the official journal of the Holy See], who spends a long time in Santa Marta, in consultation with the Pope.

The discretion in the works extends also to the Jesuits of the same House, the villa of Civiltà Cattolica, Villa Malta, on the Pincio [Hill], where part of the work is done. One possibility is that the “task force”
works to provide the Pope the instruments for an eventual post-synodal document on the theme of the Eucharist to the remarried divorced, on cohabiting [couples], and same-sex couples.

From where we sit, this looks like a pretty stacked deck.




‘The Pope Has the Final Word’ – An Assessment of the New Synod Rules

By Edward Pentin,
October 3, 2015

After the chicanery of last year’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the Vatican has clearly been taking steps, on paper at least, to make the larger and longer Ordinary Synod that begins on Sunday more transparent and less open to manipulation. 

Various officials, synod fathers and observers had been expressing private concerns that the three-week synod, which acts as a consultative body for the Holy Father, will lack transparency.

Some of those concerns remain, in addition to some new ones (these are listed below), but some novelties, announced at a Vatican briefing on Friday, have been introduced that mark an improvement on last year’s meeting.

These are:

—Reports from the 13 small working groups, each made up of 20 members, will be published at the end of each of the three weeks, so 39 in total, allowing those outside the synod to see how the debates are progressing.

—A commission of 10 synod fathers from all five continents will supervise the work over the three weeks and write the final report. This is to “ensure there is no suspicion, no manipulation, so to say”, according to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

—Africa’s representative on the commission, Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan, president of Gabon’s bishops’ conference, signed the Filial Appeal calling on Pope Francis to clarify Church doctrine at the synod.

—50 synod fathers will be attending press conferences across all language groups over the three weeks.

—Synod fathers are allowed to give as many interviews as they wish, and the Vatican is even providing a venue for television and radio, the Augustinianum adjacent to St. Peter’s square, where they can be interviewed.

—The Vatican will publish the names of the heads of each working group, and provide a list of all those synod fathers who took the floor.

—Synod fathers’ interventions during the General Congregations are shortened to 3 minutes due to the large number, but they can provide additional texts expressing more of their thoughts.

—Although Cardinal Baldisseri was reticent to confirm the statutory 2/3 voting rules, sources say the final report will be voted on paragraph by paragraph with a required majority of 2/3 vote to be approved. Final approval of the report depends on Pope Francis.

Concerns remain, however, and these are as follows:

—Members of the final report-oversight commission* are largely made up of synod fathers known for their dissenting opinions. Around half are known to support Cardinal Walter Kasper‘s thesis for admitting some civilly remarried divorcees to Holy Communion, including Cardinal Baldisseri who continues to manage the synod.

—Two of the commission’s members monitoring this year’s meeting were those most criticized for engineering last year’s meeting: Cardinal Baldisseri and Archbishop Bruno Forte, the synod’s special secretary, known to have been the principal author of last year’s highly controversial interim report.

—Critics argue that a greater focus on small groups during this synod is aimed at weakening the voice of certain groups, most noticeably those of African synod fathers who will be split up according to language.

—It’s not clear yet how the make-up of the groups will be determined.

—The bulk of the synod’s proceedings will continue to be filtered through language attachés, some of whom are known to favor dissenting views. The reporting will also be incomplete as the attachés will largely report on what synod fathers in their own language say.

—The Holy See Press Office has considerable unchecked control over what it disseminates to the media. The Vatican has also invited the media to request interviews with synod fathers through the Press Office, but observers see this as a means of controlling who says what to whom. The Augustinianum venue for interviews is also seen as a means of preventing ad hoc and informal exchanges.

—The Instrumentum Laboris remains, at the moment at least, the basis of the Ordinary Synod, despite critics arguing that it is has philosophical flaws and undermines the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.

—There is no confirmation of a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, thereby leaving open the possibility that the synod will issue nothing definitive, and the subject matter will remain liable to interpretation and perhaps the responsibility of individual bishops’ conferences.

*see list on page 21 or page 47

Despite these flaws (and more may arise during the three weeks), taken as a whole, the new procedure appears to be an improvement over last year. It will arguably be more difficult at this month’s synod to push through an agenda over the heads of the synod fathers as happened last October.

Furthermore, as Cardinal Baldisseri told reporters yesterday, “the Pope has the final word”, consistent with canon law.
So regardless of what the synod decides, ultimately anything definitive, or not as the case may be, now rests solely with the Holy Father.

But as one senior Vatican official told me, there is a sense that whatever steps have been taken to avoid manipulation at this month’s synod, those running it have already achieved what they wanted “by having their agenda placed in the public mind.”

“This synod could be predominantly Thomist or champion the teachings of John Paul II – it makes no difference,” he said. “They’ve accomplish what they wanted. They have established doubt and confusion in the minds of many, and given conviction to those supportive of their agenda.”



Looking at it more hopefully, however, perhaps this month’s synod offers an opportunity to at least go some way to addressing that confusion and finally put things right.

The Pope has recommended this can best be done through prayer, but also perhaps by the synod fathers heeding Benedict XVI’s advice, given privately after last year’s assembly: “Halten Sie sich unbedingt an die Lehre!” (“Strictly adhere to the doctrine!”).



INTERVIEW: Vatican Theologian Confesses: «I’m Happy to Be Gay and I Have a Partner» Video

October 3, 2015

“I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity. I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realised that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman”. Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, 43 and Polish, who has been living in Rome for 17 years, speaks with a calm smile on his face. He is not just any priest, but has been a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2003, is assistant secretary of the International Theological Commission of the Vatican, and teaches theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. Never before has a priest with such a high-profile role in the Vatican made a similar statement. Today, on the eve of the Synod on the family, Monsignor Charamsa will be in Rome at the LGBT Catholic International Meeting organized by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, to support the discussion on gay Catholics.


“I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity. I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realised that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman”. Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, 43 and Polish, who has been living in Rome for 17 years, speaks with a calm smile on his face. He is not just any priest, but has been a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2003, is assistant secretary of the International Theological Commission of the Vatican, and teaches theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. Never before has a priest with such a high-profile role in the Vatican made a similar statement.

Today, on the eve of the Synod on the family, Monsignor Charamsa will be in Rome at the LGBT Catholic International Meeting organized by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, to support the discussion on gay Catholics.

Why did you decide to come out?
“There comes a day when something inside you snaps, and you can’t go on. If I had been alone I would have lived the nightmare of a denied homosexuality, but God never leaves us alone. And I think He has helped me take this important existential step. It’s important because of its consequences, but it’s also the premise for living honestly, which should be natural for every homosexual. The Church is already behind in tackling the issue, and we can’t wait another 50 years, which is why I’ve decided to tell the Church who I am. I’m doing it for myself, for my community, and for the Church. It is also my duty towards the community of sexual minorities”.
What do you think you will achieve?
“It seems to me that in the Church we are ignorant about homosexuality because we don’t really know any homosexuals. We have them all around us, of course, but we never look them in the eye, because they seldom say who they are. I hope that my personal experience will help stir the Church’s consciousness in some way. I will personally reveal my identity to the Holy Father in a letter. And I will tell the universities in Rome where I teach who I am; to my great sorrow I will probably no longer be allowed to work in Catholic education”.

You are making this announcement on the eve of the Synod on the Family, which begins tomorrow at the Vatican.
“Yes, I would like to tell the Synod that homosexual love is a kind of family love, a love that needs the family. Everyone – gays, lesbians and transsexuals included – foster in their hearts a desire for love and family. Everyone has the right to love, and that love must be protected by society and law. But above all it must be nourished by the Church. Christianity is the religion of love, and love is central to the figure of Jesus we bring to the world. A lesbian or gay couple should be able to openly say to their Church: ‘we love each other according to our nature, and offer this gift of our love to others, because it is a public matter, not just a private one; we are not merely engaged in some extreme pursuit of pleasure'”.
But this is not how the Church sees things.
“No, this is not the position of current Church doctrine, but similar views have been aired in theological scholarship. Above all in Protestant scholarship, but we also have excellent Catholic theologians who have given important contributions in the field”.

Catholic Catechism based on the Bible defines homosexuality as an “intrinsically disordered” tendency…
“The Bible says nothing on the subject of homosexuality. It instead speaks of acts that I would call “homogenital”. Even heterosexual people may perform such acts, as happens in many prisons, but in that case they are acting against their nature and therefore committing a sin. When a gay person engages in those same acts, they are instead expressing their nature. The biblical sodomite has nothing to do with two gays that love each other in modern-day Italy and want to marry. I am unable to find a single passage, even in St Paul, that may be seen as referring to homosexual persons asking to be respected as such, since at the time the concept was unknown”.


Catholic doctrine excludes gays from the priesthood: how did you manage to become a priest?
“The rule was introduced in 2005 when I was already a priest, and only applies to new ordinations. For me it was a shock. It didn’t use to be like this, and I think this is a mistake that needs to be corrected”. Have you always known you are gay? “Yes, but at first I didn’t accept the fact; I submitted zealously to the teaching of the Church and to the life it forced upon me, according to the principle that ‘homosexuality does not exist (and if it does, it needs to be destroyed)'”.
How did you go from denial to being happy about being gay?
“Through study, prayer and reflection. A dialogue with God and the study of theology, philosophy and science were crucial. Moreover, I now have a partner who has helped me transform my fears into the power of love”.
A partner? Is that not even more irreconcilable with being a Catholic priest?
“I know that the Church will see me as someone who has failed to keep a promise, who has lost his way, and what’s worse, not with a woman, but a man! I also know that I will have to give up the ministry, even though it is my whole life. But I’m not doing this so that I can live with my partner. The reasons are much wider-ranging and based on a reflection on Church doctrine”.
Could you explain?
“If I failed to be open, if I didn’t accept myself, I couldn’t be a good priest in any case, because I couldn’t act as an intermediary for the joy of God. Humanity has made great progress in its understanding of these issues, but the Church is lagging behind. This is not the first time, of course, but when you are slow to understand astronomy the consequences are not as serious as when the delay regards people’s most intimate being. The Church needs to realise that it is failing to rise to the challenge of our times”.



Vatican acts after priest declares publicly that he is gay and has a partner

By Cindy Wooden, October 3, 2015


On the eve of the family synod, a Polish monsignor who works in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has publicly declared that he is gay and has a stable partner.

Mgr. Krzystof Charamsa, (left above, with his partner Eduard), 43, gave interviews to Polish and Italian media on October 2 and planned a press conference the following day outside the offices of the congregation. The conference, however, was moved to a restaurant nearby.

Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Oct. 3 that Mgr. Charamsa and his reflections on his life and sexuality were deserving of respect, but “the decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure.”

The world Synod of Bishops on the family is scheduled to begin on Sunday with a Mass.

“Mgr. Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the pontifical universities,” where he teaches: the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, Fr Lombardi said.

“The other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan ordinary,” the Bishop of Pelplin, Poland, Fr Lombardi said. Mgr. Charamsa, who has worked at the doctrinal congregation since 2003, was ordained for the Diocese of Pelplin in 1997.

In one of the interviews before his press conference, Mgr. Charamsa told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: “I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity. I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realized that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.”

Most priests, like Mgr. Charamsa, in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church take a vow of celibacy.



On the topic of homosexuality, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “Tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The catechism also says, homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

“Homosexual persons are called to chastity,” the catechism says.

In connection with the synod on the family, Mgr. Charamsa planned to participate in a conference organised by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics to discuss issues related to the Catholic Church, family life and homosexuality.



Vatican Dismisses CDF Official after Admitting to Being Actively Homosexual

By Edward Pentin,
October 3, 2015

The Vatican has dismissed an official working in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after he announced he was living in a homosexual relationship and wished to change the catechism’s teaching on homosexuality.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said:

“With regard to the declarations and interview given by Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa it should be observed that, notwithstanding the respect due to the events and personal situations, and reflections on the issue, the decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure. Msgr. Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary.”

The Polish priest, who has worked as an official in the CDF since 2003 and served as assistant secretary to the International Theological Commission, released a video calling on the Church to change what he saw as her “homophobic” ways. He also gave an interview which appeared in Saturday’s edition of Corriere della Sera.

Msgr. Charamsa planned to attend a conference of LGBT Catholics in Rome on Saturday. Sources have confirmed that his announcement was specifically aimed at influencing the Synod on the Family which begins this weekend.

His comments against the Church’s teaching on homosexual practice contrast with a Rome conference held Friday in which homosexuals witnessed to the beauty and value of the Church’s doctrine in this area after turning away from a homosexual lifestyle to embrace a life of chastity.

Msgr. Charamsa, 43, was known in the Vatican as a diligent, scholarly individual who taught theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He reportedly never said anything to undermine Church teaching, but acquaintances noticed that his demeanor and appearance radically changed after he started a relationship with another man. It’s not clear if he will leave the priesthood, but he is expected to launch an “activist career” in this area.

His announcement has been viewed by some as an attack on the Vatican and Polish bishops, but informed sources deny this. Instead, it is more likely he sees greater possibilities under Pope Francis’ pontificate for acceptance of homosexual activity which the Church has always taught is sinful behavior.

Although no concrete evidence confirms he belongs to a homosexual lobby, which is widely believed to exist at the highest levels of the Vatican, Msgr. Charamsa made public his orientation this week after launching an eight-page attack on Father Dariusz Oko in “Tygodnik Powszechny”, a leftist Polish newspaper.

Father Oko, a respected theologian and expert in the works of Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan, is also widely known in Poland to have a detailed knowledge of the homosexual lobby existing in the Polish church.

An English translation of Father Oko’s response to Msgr. Charamsa’s attack can be found here.



Group protests Church’s bid to discuss gay rights

By B. Sreejan, October 3, 2015

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India: A believers’ group belonging to the Catholic Church began a two-day protest prayer here on Friday demanding that the portion dealing with gays in the family document be not taken up for discussion at the special synod beginning at Rome on October 4. The synod, the second in a row to discuss the same document, convened by Pope Francis, is expected to deal with issues like simplifying procedures for annulling marriages and treating persons with homosexual tendencies and their families with compassion.
“We are launching a protest because the leaders of the Church in India are silent on the document. Homosexuality is against Christianity and true believers can’t accept it. We are stunned to learn that the family document has suggestions to accept gay marriages and it is likely to be accepted in the synod,” said Sebastian T J, the coordinator of the group, Spirit in Jesus ministries.
He quoted the Bible (Book of Genesis) to say that brimstones and fire were rained by God on the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah for harbouring homosexuals. “Though the holy Bible is that much clear on the topic, our bishops pretend ignorance,” he said.



The protests began with a retreat at the Panchayat Hall here on Friday. On Saturday evening, members of the Spirit of Jesus from various parts of the state will stage a japamala (rosary) rally from LMS Junction to East Fort via MG Road.
Brother Tom Zacharia and Sister Catherine Mariam who give spiritual leadership to the group will lead the protest. Next week, they plan to stage a similar prayer protest in front of the Vatican embassy in New Delhi.
The Spirit of Jesus’ demand, however, has failed to move the church leadership. “There are fundamental elements in all religions and they try to interpret holy books in their own ways. It leads to serious problems too,” said Syro-Malabar Church spokesperson Fr. Paul Thelakkat.
“My understanding is that the fury of God against the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah relates with the mistreating of guests,” he said. “The synod is going to discuss a resolution. It is so sad to say that the Church should not even discuss the issue. Gays are human beings and they need consideration,” he said.
Fr. Thelakkat said Spirit of Jesus is a group which has split away from the Catholic Church and the Church leadership doesn’t approve their arguments.



What We May Expect From the Synod: A Brief Synopsis

By Dr. Jeffrey Bond, October 4, 2015

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

– Mark 10:2-12 – Gospel for October 4, 2015 (27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Missal of Paul VI)


Round two of the Synod on the Family begins today. We know there will be struggle and strife because it makes no sense to dialogue about a matter that was settled by the Church long ago. Nonetheless, the debate will go on.

It would seem that there are three possible outcomes:

(1) The Synod will simply reaffirm Catholic doctrine on the family; or

(2) The Synod will explicitly change Catholic doctrine on the family; or

(3) The Synod will reaffirm Catholic doctrine but change pastoral practice in such a way as to weaken and undermine doctrine.

The first outcome is highly unlikely. If Pope Francis were not in favor of a significant change with respect to the Church’s stance toward the divorced and remarried (and possibly homosexual unions), then he would have long ago made it perfectly clear that there are definite boundaries that cannot be crossed when it comes to further dialogue about these matters.

The second outcome is also highly unlikely. The plans of the modernists would then be fully exposed for all to see, and formal schism would soon follow once faithful cardinals, bishops and priests refused communion to those living publicly in the mortal sin of adultery and sodomy.

The third outcome, about which Cardinal Burke has warned the faithful, is the most likely. Francis will probably follow the example of John Paul II who did not and could not change Church doctrine on the death penalty, yet gutted the teaching by proclaiming that modern times had rendered it virtually unnecessary in practice. Francis will likewise reaffirm the dogma of the indissolubility of marriage while hollowing out its core through some labyrinthine means by which divorced and remarried Catholics can receive communion.
The change will be peddled to the faithful as an expression of our Lord’s “mercy” toward sinners. More chaos and confusion will then follow as orthodox Catholics are further divided against each other as they debate the proper response to the new “pastoral” practices, and attempt to reconcile what cannot be reconciled.

Pray that the orthodox bishops at the Synod have the courage to defend our Lord and His Church against the modernists.



What Every Synod Father Should Know: An Urgent Letter

By Clare McGrath-Merkle, OCDS, MA, MTS, ABD, October 5, 2015 (All emphases the author’s)

As a scholar studying the history of Reformation ideals, I would like to humbly warn faithful Synod Fathers of several clear and present dangers facing them in the Synod and resting behind the arguments of would-be Reformers – dangers which are not readily apparent.

First and foremost, as with earlier Reformers, the current Reformers claim that no changes in doctrine are to be expected.





This is patently false. Calvin wrote his major work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, in an effort to mainly change Christian piety, as did the co-author of the Augustinus, Saint-Cyran. They knew that popular spirituality fuels changes in theology. No lasting change against the hierarchy would prevail without this change. Systemic theologians were blinded to the power of changing praxis. See with the eyes of Christ and you will see past this ruse.

Second, Reformers always have the upper hand and are far better prepared for arguments than those upholding Tradition. Why? They have worked for many years, and in network, to bring about change. They know the surface landscape of Tradition better than anyone else, some better than bishops. They are on home court. That said, their arguments are not to the point. Dig and pray deeply and you will find the place to stand to prevent them from moving the Church away from Christ, the measure of all things.

Third, know your arguments and stick to the basics. For example: to the argument that non-heterosexual unions are good for persons: the ends of marriage include children, for example. A marital good related to marriage is that it must tend toward a marital end. Living with non-spouses may have goods but not marital goods.

Fourth, to the argument that the Eucharist is medicine for the soul, not a reward for sinlessness: of course. But, under this argument is the much larger and insidious controversy at the Second Vatican Council – that between whether the Church should be considered a sacrament or the Mystical Body. At base, the proposed idea of communion for the divorced/remarried is an attack on the Mystical Body. We are all sacraments to the world but only insofar we are members of Christ’s Body first.

Fifth, there is no compromise with the current proposals. They proceed from complex philosophical ideals antithetical to foundational theological concepts, as Professor Thomas Stark noted. Not many scholars have studied these ideals or these connections in-depth enough to have formulated responses. Reformers have.
Sixth and last, the idea that praxis can be altered in accordance with and under the office of individual bishops is a false notion – what is proposed is the replacement of the primacy of office, always in accord with the greater Church, with that of the primacy of person. This was at the heart of the Reformists’ proposals, which led to great variances in practice and belief.



Key Synod official sounds strong conservative theme at opening session

October 5, 2015

A key official of the Synod of Bishops set a strongly conservative tone, unambiguously supporting the traditional teachings of the Church on marriage and sexuality, in the opening session of the October meeting.

Cardinal Peter Erdö of Budapest—who, as relator general, was responsible for summarizing the main themes of the working document to be discussed by the bishops— tackled some of the most contentious issues directly during his Monday-morning address. The Hungarian cardinal stated that Catholics who are divorced and remarried cannot be admitted to Communion as long as they remain in a second conjugal union. He also rejected the idea that homosexual relationships can be treated as similar to marriages.

Cardinal Erdö’s lengthy opening speech set a surprising tone for the October meeting, in light of the widespread expectation that the Synod will endorse the “Kasper proposal,” offering a means of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion; and will take a more positive attitude toward homosexual unions.

The first session of the 2015 Synod meeting opened with a short meditation offered by Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga. Then Pope Francis spoke to the participants, explaining his expectations for the Synod.

The Synod, the Pope reminded the bishops, “is neither a convention, nor a salon, nor a parliament, nor a senate, where people make deals and reach compromises.” Rather, he said, the Synod is the means by which the Church “interrogates herself with regard to her fidelity to the deposit of faith.”

That deposit of faith, the Pope continued, is not a “museum to visit, nor even something merely to safeguard, but is a living source from which the Church shall drink, to satisfy the thirst of, and illuminate, the deposit of life.”

The Pope asked the bishops to work with “apostolic courage, which refuses to be intimidated in the face of the temptations of the world.”

Following the Pope’s address, the Synod delegates were welcomed by Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris, acting as president-delegate of the assembly. Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, then reviewed the procedures in place for the October meeting. Cardinal Erdö was the final speaker for the Monday-morning session.

Noting that the Synod is taking place at a time when society is experiencing a “flight from institutions,” Cardinal Erdö insisted on the duty of the Church to uphold the indissolubility of sacramental marriage.

Addressing the Kasper proposal directly, the Hungarian prelate said that while the Church must show mercy to people whose marriages have failed, the acceptance of Christ’ mercy “demands conversion.” In the case of Catholics who have entered into a second marriage, he said, the rule barring reception of the Eucharist is not an “arbitrary prohibition” but a recognition of the “objective truth” that their living arrangement is contrary to the Gospel. Cardinal Erdõ said that divorced and remarried Catholics should be encouraged to take an active role in the life of the Church, but that is “different from admission to the Eucharist.”




Regarding homosexual relationships, Cardinal Erdö said that it is wrong to suggest that same-sex unions are comparable to marriages. Citing a 2003 Vatican document, he said: “There is no basis for comparing or making analogies, even remotely, between homosexual unions and God’s plan for matrimony and the family.”

Cardinal Erdö also indicated that he would not accept the calls for “gradualism” in pastoral practice—the suggestions that Catholic pastors could accept couples living in irregular unions, while hoping to guide them into a fuller acceptance of Church teaching. “Between truth and falsehood, between good and bad, there is no law of gradualism,” he said.

In a press conference following the first Synod session, Archbishop Bruno Forte told reporters that the perception of marked divisions among the world’s bishops has been exaggerated because of “bi-polar interpretation” in much media coverage. The notion that the bishops are sharply at odds with each other, he said, is “not the perception inside the Synod.”

Cardinal Erdö, however, returned to the themes of his address when he told reporters that the Synod should not consider any dramatic change in teaching. Catholic doctrine can and should be developed, he said. However, “development is not unlimited. We have to look at tradition.”



Gay Vatican official who ‘came out’ may influence Synod in a way he didn’t expect—or want

October 6, 2015

Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa evidently thought that he was advancing the homosexual cause by coming out as gay on the eve of the Synod of Bishops. I think he miscalculated badly.

The Vatican quickly dismissed Msgr. Charamsa from his post at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). He had anticipated that, and said he was willing to accept it for the good of the cause. “I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realized that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.” 

Sure, the Polish priest captured the headlines. When an official of the Roman Curia proudly announces that he has a homosexual lover, he’s will draw plenty of publicity. Given the sympathies of the mass media, most of that publicity will be favorable. 

But Msgr. Charamsa said that he wanted to influence the Synod by his announcement; he wanted to impress upon the bishops that homosexual love “must be nourished by the Church.” Is that the lesson that bishops will learn from his shocking announcement?

By making his shocking announcement, Msgr. Charamsa alerted the Catholic world to the fact that he—an official at the CDF, which handles questions of doctrine; and a theology instructor at two pontifical institutions—actively opposes the teachings of the Church. For years he has been working inside the Vatican, not to defend Church teaching but to change it. He has been, in effect, a double agent.

After Pope Benedict XVI resigned, and through the first few months of the current pontificate, there was a great deal of talk in Rome about an alleged “gay lobby” at the Vatican. Discussion of that topic gradually died down; now it has resumed. How can an active homosexual, with a gay lover and an animus against Church teaching, thrive within the Roman Curia? Msgr. Charamsa’s press conference has given new life to that discussion.

During the next three weeks, whenever the subject of homosexuality is discussed at the Synod, bishops will naturally think about the Charamsa scandal. They will wonder once again about the influence of a “gay lobby,” and wonder whether that lobby is working with the Synod itself. They might even ask themselves how much damage the lobby has already done.



Words of Encouragement from our contemporary Athanasius

By Steve Skojec, October 6, 2015

Regular readers are no doubt aware of the fondness I have for Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan. While it is true that other bishops and cardinals are even now defending Our Lord’s truth, Bishop Schneider is, like his namesake saint, a uniquely strong voice crying out among the bishops of the world addressing clearly, courageously, and unequivocally the crisis in the Church. While he has become well-known for his critiques of the Synod and those bringing an anti-Catholic agenda to it, he had already established a reputation as a defender of the Most Holy Eucharist and one of the Church’s bright lights on liturgy and doctrinal clarity.

Near the end of last month, I wrote to Bishop Schneider to ask for his counsel. I was feeling the burden of what we do here at 1P5, and the discouragement I was hearing from people in private correspondence, as well as my own frustration. I said:

I am absolutely astonished at what his happening in the open in the Church right now. Bishops who openly contradict Catholic teaching. Scandals like an openly homosexual celebrity doing a reading at the Papal Mass. The list of papal appointees to the Synod is terrifying. So much confusion and deception.

Many are looking to me and to the work we do for encouragement. I have told them to remember Christ asleep in the boat during the storm. Where shall we look for support, for leadership, when so few bishops seem interested in standing for the teachings of Our Lord?

We are praying for you. Please also pray for us. I fear that many are losing their faith that the Church is truly indefectible, and is the only True Faith and path to eternal salvation.



His response, as has been the case every other time I’ve interacted with him, was beautiful and encouraging. I present it to you exactly as he wrote it so as not to alter it in any way:

Dear Mr. Steve Skojec, thank you for your greetings.

Indeed the crisis of the faith inside the Church is reaching its heights. This is a special time, which the inscrutable wisdom of God permits to purify and to strengthen our faith. God is using in this time the little one in the Church, the pure faith mostly of the lay faithful to keep the faith intact and to hand it over to the next generations. It is an honour that we can be witnesses and defenders of our dear Catholic faith not only against the enemies outside but also in the face of the traitors inside the Church, even when these traitors are bishops or cardinals. The Church is always in the hand of our Lord, even in our dark days. I think that God permits that the evil inside the Church must grow and reveal itself in all its wickedness and then God will intervene and make shine the truth and the beauty if the faith, of the liturgy and of the moral life anew. As saint Paul said: when there increased the evil, the grace increased still more. Be confident and be proud and joyful because of our Catholic faith. God bless you. Yours in Christ

+ Athanasius Schneider


I have already quoted this message elsewhere, inasmuch as he returns continuously to the theme that it has fallen to us, the lay faithful, to defend Catholicism from the enemies within. And it truly is an honor to take up the standard.

But another point he makes here is, perhaps, of even greater importance: “I think that God permits that the evil inside the Church must grow and reveal itself in all its wickedness and then God will intervene
and make shine the truth and the beauty [of] the faith, of the liturgy and of the moral life anew.”

Many of us are fearful, because of what we see coming. But what if this is what God wants? What if He is allowing this Synod to come to its fruition in perverse distortions of doctrine or praxis so that it may become clear who Our Lord’s enemies are, and how He will confound them? I have had this thought in my mind for some time, but Bishop Schneider’s letter confirms it. I have found it beneficial to no longer pray specifically that the Synod preserve the doctrine on marriage, but instead that God’s will be done with the Synod. If He wants preservation of doctrine through this body, so be it. If He wants schism or heresy or apostasy so that the cancer may be excised from the Church, so be it.

I want what He wants, and only that.

I recently wrote about Christ asleep in the boat, and referenced it in my correspondence above. This is the closest biblical analogy I see to our present situation. Why was Christ unconcerned with the storm? Were the apostles just being wimps? Of course not. These were career fishermen. They knew the ocean better than anyone. They knew when to worry about the weather. That storm must have been truly terrifying.

But with a word, the winds and the seas obeyed Him. He was testing the apostles. He wanted them to have faith. He wanted them to prove that they loved Him and trusted Him, even if they didn’t fully understand the magnitude of having the Creator of the Universe in their midst. And it was a teaching moment. He was showing them in a way that they would never forget that He has power over and above all things – the sort of power that can overcome death on a cross. The same power that guarantees the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church.

We have a unique opportunity. We have a front-row seat to the kind of event that most of us have only ever read about in history books or the lives of the saints. Vatican II is said to have ushered in “the age of the laity” – it appears it couldn’t have come at a better time. It has fallen to us to safeguard the faith, and to defend our Holy Mother Church, “not only against the enemies outside but also in the face of the traitors inside … even when these traitors are bishops are cardinals.”

Deus vult!



Gay Catholic group launches in Rome as synod gets underway

October 6, 2015

A group for gay Catholics launched in Rome just before the start of the synod on the family. People from 31 countries gathered in Italy’s capital from October 1-4 for an assembly to launch the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC).

A steering committee was elected for the Network with representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. The committee includes women, men and the parent of a gay person.

The GNRC Assembly included a public conference, entitled Ways of Love: Snapshots of Catholic Pastoral Encounters with LGBT People and their Families. The conference featured an interview with former Irish President, Dr. Mary McAleese. A keynote address was given by Bishop Raul Vera OP of Saltillo, Mexico, who also presided at a closing Mass on Sunday.

GNRC Assembly delegates approved a letter that has been sent to all of the participants in the synod on the family.

“We come from over thirty countries, both as individuals and as representatives of groups, who have been involved with the flourishing of people like ourselves in the lives of our local churches, (as well as with many other tasks),” the letter said.

“The last years have not been an easy ride! Many in our Church thought that they were serving God by hating us, and some still do, especially among the hierarchy; but we can tell you with joy, that we have kept alive our Confession of the Catholic faith! We have kept the faith under persecution, and are ready to join with you in the joyful announcement of the Gospel to which Pope Francis has called us.”



The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics held a four-day assembly in Rome over the weekend


It added: “Because God is wonderful, we have found that through this life as dregs among the people of God, the Holy Spirit has given us a surprising (at least to us) capacity to stand up and be counted, not to be frightened of those who fear us, not to be resentful of the incapacity for approval, and the bureaucratic meanness of spirit and dishonesty to which we have regularly been subjected. We have learned that it is not what the Church can do for us, but what we can do for the Church that matters.”

The synod on the family began in Rome today with Pope Francis telling participants that the “synod is a journey undertaken together in the spirit of collegiality”.



Synod will not result in ‘spectacular change’ in doctrine, says cardinal

October 6, 2015

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois says observers expecting shift in Church teaching ‘are going to be disappointed’

Observers expecting the family synod to result in a “spectacular change” of Church doctrine will be disappointed, a senior cardinal has said.

Speaking at a Vatican press conference on Monday, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois said: “If you have come to Rome with the idea that you are going to witness a spectacular change in Church doctrine, you are going to be disappointed.

“Nor do you need a synod to work that out. All you have to do is listen to the Pope’s homilies on the family, week after week at his Wednesday public audiences.”

The cardinal is the Archbishop of Paris and one of four delegate presidents at the synod.

His comments were echoed by Archbishop Bruno Forte, the synod’s special secretary, who added that the media wrongly presented bishops as divided into two parties. “We are pastors, filled with faith, open to God,” he said.

At the press conference synod rapporteur Cardinal Péter Erdö defended his comments about Communion for the remarried in his opening address at the synod. In his address Cardinal Erdö had said: “The integration of the divorced and remarried in the life of the ecclesial community can take many forms, [but it] is different from admission to the Eucharist.”

Cardinal Erdö told reporters that for the divorced and civilly remarried “it is not failure of first marriage, but living in a second union that prevents access to Eucharist”. Cardinal Erdö emphasised that marriage was indissoluble. “God offers forgiveness to sinners, but asks for conversion,” he said.



Secular Conservative “The Week:” Does Pope Francis Fear God?

October 6, 2015 Traditionalist – All emphases theirs




OK, it’s a self-described traddie writing at The Week, but it is still something to see a secular conservative publication asking the $1 million question: does Pope Francis have the Faith handed on by the Apostles? Perhaps asking the question is to answer it. I add emphasis and comments:


In the next three weeks, I fully expect the leadership of my own One Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church to fall into apostasy, at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family that begins today in Rome. This is the outcome Pope Francis has shaped over the entirety of his pontificate, and particularly with his recent appointments.

An event like this —heresy promulgated by the Pope and his bishops — is believed by most Catholics to be impossible. But they should be prepared for it anyway. This is not an ordinary religious conference, but one to be dreaded.

My prediction is that, after much fixing and machinations by its leaders, the Synod on the Family will declare that the Holy Spirit led them to a new understanding of the truth. The Synod’s leaders will adopt the position that those living in second marriages, irrespective of the status of their first marriage, should be admitted to Holy Communion. This is commonly called the “Kasper proposal” after its author, the German Cardinal Walter Kasper.

The Synod will likely leave the details of a “penitential period of reflection” for these souls up to local bishops and parish priests. The leading bishops will assure critics that in fact no doctrine has been changed, only a discipline — even if these will make no sense when considered together. [Doctrine cannot be separated from practice. This is the thinnest – and frankly, falsest – of fig leafs.  In reality, it’s a joke. Doctrine is nothing without its being put into practice, and practice that contradicts Doctrine winds up destroying that Doctrine, no matter what the paper may say. Fr. Rosica has helpfully informed us this has been the point all along.]

But make no mistake, the Synod will make the sacrilege of the Eucharist St. Paul warns against an official policy of the Roman Catholic Church. And in the process the Synod will encourage the breakup of more marriages. [I continue praying for a miracle]

Certain theologians will cheer this as a radical break. They will declare this change of discipline to be what the critics alleged all along: a rupture within the tradition of the church, a change in doctrine. They will say that this glorious event proves the church is capable not only of developing its doctrines, but also of evolving them into something new, even something that contradicts the old. Those who had made themselves enemies of papal authority for decades will become a new kind of ultramontanist. The papacy that had been the final guardian of the faith will now become an ongoing oracle, dispensing new gospel teachings that our Lord and the Apostles missed. [And I don’t know how we recover from that, should it come to pass]


The editorial is long, but I encourage you to read all of it. Author Michael Dougherty goes on to describe how the synodal process has been manipulated, with last year’s most controversial figures making up the majority of the “final committee” that will pretend to process the synodal discussions and inform the Pope of their contents. But since it is already known that another, more secret group is already working on some post-synodal encyclical or other “doctrinal” effort, even the final committee stacked through and through with modernist/progressives appears to be a Potemkin village construct. And just today, Pope Francis answered “conservative” complaints over the synodal process and the makeup of its leadership that the entire process and the makeup of all the key leadership posts were all his direct decision. Even more terrifying, there were apparently proposals today to grant “general absolution” during the Year of Mercy to the entire Church, a complete and total ecclesiastical and theological novelty which would make a mockery of sacramental Confession.

Modernists fear men, not God.  That is the apotheosis of modernism, a religion of men for men with the pleasing of men as its final end. Their religion constructs a new “god” on the rotting corpse of Western civilization, with opinion polling the source of “revelation” and a life of self-indulgence and worldly feel-good rhetoric its process of “sanctification.”  Hundreds of millions have already fallen away from this meaningless, inefficacious pretense of religion, and hundreds of millions more will do so in the coming years.  Leftists constantly project their “hidden” sins onto others, so in all the recent diatribes against “ideology,” it must always be born in mind that for modernists, their religion is their ideology.

May God have mercy on us all. The Barque of Peter appears headed into truly uncharted waters, and I don’t know how some future pilot can plot a course of return.



Archbishop urges Pope Francis’s Synod on the Family: Consider allowing female deacons

By Michelle Boorstein,
October 6, 2015

A Canadian archbishop told a major Vatican meeting on family issues Tuesday that the church should consider allowing women to serve as deacons.

Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, who was recently president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, was one of many top church leaders who gave short speeches to the hundreds of bishops meeting in Rome.

Pope Francis convened the meeting this month to suggest ways the Catholic Church can support modern families but within the context of traditional church teachings. The meeting opened Sunday and so far has been made up of bishops speaking for three minutes apiece about their various ideas on family issues and church teachings.




Durocher declined to comment to The Post, but pointed to a Catholic News Service piece about his comments. In the piece he says he had used his time mostly to talk about the role of women in the church, and about domestic violence and ways Catholic theology views gender roles.

Deacons in the Catholic Church can preach and preside at baptisms, funerals and weddings, but may not celebrate Mass or hear confessions. Becoming a deacon in the church requires training but not going to seminary, as priests do.

“I think we should really start looking seriously at the possibility of ordaining women deacons,” he told CNS he had told the synod. He also said he had recommended the synod “clearly state that you cannot justify the domination of men over women — certainly not violence — through biblical interpretation,” particularly what he called incorrect interpretations of Scripture that women should be submissive to their husbands.

[A little primer on the meeting beginning in Rome]

Francis has urged synod participants to raise whatever is on their minds about family, although there is a working document from a pre-synod a year ago that lays out the general road map for this meeting. That document called for giving women greater responsibility in the church.

Debate has been going on pretty steadily within the church for decades about the possibility of women becoming deacons and priests, and has been routinely rejected by most church leaders who find it too dramatic a break with the history of Catholicism. Advocates of women in those roles note that there are scriptural references from the early church to women playing roles of spiritual leadership.

Church-watchers seemed skeptical Durocher’s idea would go far during this synod, but for different reasons: Some said it went too far, others said not far enough. Theologians also disagree about the nature of deacons, and whether the position is more like a priest or more in the school of general ministry and thus more open to expanding to include women.

Durocher told CNS that the office that deacons hold — called “the diaconate” — “has been defined as not being ordered toward priesthood but toward ministry.”

Chad Pecknold, a theologian at Catholic University, disagreed, saying it is “exceptionally clear” that deacons are like priests — ordained and part of the “holy orders.”

“If you’ve opened the diaconate to women, you are opening up the door to female priests,” Pecknold said. “It’s Pope Francis’s stated intent that we pay attention to the role of women in the church. And it’s a fairly easy kind of thing to suggest: ‘Let’s have women be deacons.’ But when you look carefully, you see it’s not an easy fix. It changes church teaching on the diaconate.”

Part of the debate over the years, Pecknold said, is whether this issue is one of church law — which can be changed — or of doctrine, which cannot. Pecknold noted that Francis just last month created a new, high-level Vatican body to deal with laity and family issues. A woman, Pecknold said, could head this body.

Candida Moss, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame, said Durocher’s suggestion Tuesday would be welcomed by some advocates for women’s ordination but that in reality “it’s an unhappy compromise for everyone.”

Theologians agree that the word “deacon” is used in the New Testament in some places to refer to women, but they disagree on what the word meant. Church tradition does not, Moss said, “maintain that women performed priestly roles.”

In other words, embracing female deacons and citing Scripture, she said, is a “return to biblical fundamentals.” Accepting female priests, on the other hand, requires an acknowledgement of change, of development in doctrine, she said.

“Allowing women to serve as deacons, therefore, is not a sign of progress … the ecclesial glass ceiling is very much intact,” she said.

Women’s Ordination Worldwide, a decades-old group advocating for women to be ordained in all Catholic ministries, issued a statement Tuesday saying it applauded Durocher for “raising the suggestion to the exclusively male-voting body” and for making a connection between the status of women in the church and their safety in the world.

Female deacons would be welcome, WOW said, but only as a step toward women’s full inclusion in church leadership.

“The hierarchy deprives people of the pastors God calls for them and of the leadership gifts found in women who would serve the Church; upholding this discrimination, as though it were the will of God, is simply indefensible,” WOW’s statement read.

Francis triggered debate early in his pontificate by saying the church needs to advance a “theology of women” and praised the fact that feminine pronouns are used to describe the entire church. Some Catholic women embraced what they saw as a call to raising women’s leadership, while others saw an unproductive division between the sexes.

Mary Hasson, a fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center — a more conservative think tank on faith issues — said while she welcomed the archbishop’s interest in expanding leadership roles for women, she opposes the ordination of women because it’s unclear historically what the role of female deacons was. “For too many years, the misguided lobbying for women priests monopolized the conversation about women’s contributions to the life of the church. Pope Francis is urging greater participation of women, so let’s have that conversation without getting sidetracked by a quest for ordination,” Hasson said.

Moss noted that Francis has spoken often about women’s role as mothers, and in the United States he urged people to start families earlier and to have children.

The role of women is one of the family topics the bishops are discussing this month at the synod, after which Francis is expected to write a teaching. Some predict it could make dramatic changes — such as allowing people who divorced and remarried outside the church to still take Communion and fully participate in church life — while others think Francis will probably encourage people to stay with the same practices and doctrine.



“We’ll probably end up with the same comment that women should have greater leadership roles and we can’t spell out what that means except it’s not clerical,” Moss said. “Or, this could be an exciting moment, but we say that a lot with Francis. It’s exciting because we’re even having this conversation.”



“Do they not fear God?”

By Steve
Skojec, October 5, 2015

Over at The Week, ( my friend (and very occasional contributor to 1P5) Michael Dougherty offers one of the best explanations I’ve seen about what we’re facing and why we’re facing it. But first, he swings for the fences:


In the next three weeks, I fully expect the leadership of my own One Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church to fall into apostasy, at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family that begins today in Rome.
This is the outcome Pope Francis has shaped over the entirety of his pontificate, and particularly with his recent appointments. An event like this —heresy promulgated by the Pope and his bishops — is believed by most Catholics to be impossible. But they should be prepared for it anyway. This is not an ordinary religious conference, but one to be dreaded.

My prediction is that, after much fixing and machinations by its leaders, the Synod on the Family will declare that the Holy Spirit led them to a new understanding of the truth. The Synod’s leaders will adopt the position that those living in second marriages, irrespective of the status of their first marriage, should be admitted to Holy Communion. This is commonly called the “Kasper proposal” after its author, the German Cardinal Walter Kasper. The Synod will likely leave the details of a “penitential period of reflection” for these souls up to local bishops and parish priests. The leading bishops will assure critics that in fact no doctrine has been changed, only a discipline — even if these will make no sense when considered together.

But make no mistake, the Synod will make the sacrilege of the Eucharist St. Paul warns against an official policy of the Roman Catholic Church. And in the process the Synod will encourage the breakup of more marriages.


Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, the fact remains that this dark thought lurks in the minds of many who are watching the Synod. Not knowing how God will allow this and being unsure of the way it will happen does very little to assuage the fears that it will happen. And while Dougherty begins with an uppercut that leaves you reeling, it’s vital to regain your focus and keep slogging. The rest of his analysis is indispensable:


The truth, if the prelates can shoulder it, is that the loss of Catholic faith we are witnessing in the Synod process should have been expected. At the Second Vatican Council and afterward, the church itself contributed to the worst spasm of iconoclasm in the history of Christendom. The past had to be destroyed. The council called for the revision of all the laws that governed the material objects of Catholic worship, from altars to images to tabernacles to baptistries. Shortly afterward the entire Mass — the central act of Catholic worship — was re-written according to shoddy, ideologically motivated scholarship.

Theologians like Karl Rahner substituted new theologies for the Mass that specifically suppressed any understanding of it as a propitiatory sacrifice. Across the world, altars and altar rails were smashed, statues and confessionals thrown in the dump. Thomas Cranmer, a leader of the English Reformation, must have laughed from his grave.

A novice student of religious studies can recognize what happened. If all the physical and verbal aspects of worship are changed, and the very rationale of the act is changed, then you are not reforming a people’s religion, you are substituting a new one in the old one’s place.

This act of substitution is in the language of Rahner’s writing on the Mass, where the priest becomes a mere “presider” — or worse, a “president” — and the church becomes an “assembly.” And so, quite naturally, most Masses in most modern churches have exactly the wan atmosphere of a high school assembly. The church now puts sanctimony in the place of sanctity, therapeutic self-acceptance in the place of holiness, “participation” in the place of devotion, and love of man where once was the love of God. Ultimately, man is substituted for God himself.

The “New Mass” of the Second Vatican Council, in a halting and incomplete way, expresses a completely new theology, one that is nearly the opposite of Catholicism. Instead of Christ dying on the cross to redeem sinners, he dies on the cross because man’s dignity demands that he does so. The recognition of this supreme dignity of man at the Mass is not a sacrifice, but a memorial gathering. And this gathering foreshadows the as-yet-unrealized unity of all men, not the heavenly feast. Thus after the moment of consecration, instead of allowing Catholics a moment to contemplate the mystery of the incarnation and the sacrifice of Calvary, they stand up and nervously shake hands. Because it is not just a new religion, but a banal one.

Kasper’s own writing evinces an entirely untraditional concept of God himself. God does not make the world in which we inhabit. Instead, reality is historically constructed by man and for man. Man discovers the “truth” by opening himself up to an experience of transcendence, and does so progressively throughout history, drawing ever forward to his ultimate historical realization. For all of his fondness for Hegel, Kasper’s theology amounts to a spiritualized Whig view of history. Naturally he concludes that the dogmas of the church must change, since “dogma never settles a theological issue once and for all.”

Some opponents of the Kasper proposal think they are facing a merely incoherent plan to change the discipline of the church. They think that it is a category error, that Kasper and his allies have confused things that are judged in prudence (like whether lay Catholics ought to abstain from meat on Friday) with those that are a logical consequence of unchangeable doctrine and the words of scripture (like the rule that those in mortal sin must abstain from Holy Communion).




But it is not a question of discipline. For Kasper and for his confreres, the proposal is an attempt to realize the new religion more fully, the religion that is haltingly expressed not just in the imposition of a “New Mass” after the Second Vatican Council, but also in rite of the New Mass itself — the religion that ceaselessly evolves to accommodate (Western) man’s desires. (Emphasis added)


This is the crux of it all. This is why so-called “traditionalist” writers focus so obsessively on liturgy. This is why we repeat the phrase, “Save the liturgy, save the world.” This is why then-Cardinal Ratzinger so famously lamented:


“I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter anymore whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us.

“But if in the liturgy the communion of faith no longer appears, nor the universal unity of the Church and of her history, nor the mystery of the living Christ, where is it that the Church still appears in her spiritual substance?,” he asked.

Too often, Ratzinger lamented, “the community is only celebrating itself without its being worthwhile to do so.”


is why Bishop Athanasius Schneider made it crystal clear last year that the heart of the crisis we face at the Synod has everything to do with how we worship:


I think this issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried will blow up and show the real crisis in the Church. The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism, forgetting the Christocentrism. Indeed, this is the deepest evil, when man or the clergy are putting themselves in the centre when they are celebrating liturgy and when they are changing the revealed truth of God, e.g. concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.

‘The crisis reveals itself also in the manner in which the Eucharistic Lord is treated. The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church. When the heart is weak, the whole body is weak. So when the practice around the Eucharist is weak, then the heart and the life of the Church is weak. And when people have no more supernatural vision of God in the Eucharist then they will start the worship of man, and then also doctrine will change to the desire of man.

‘This crisis is when we place ourselves, including the priests, at the centre and when God is put in the corner and this is happening also materially. The Blessed Sacrament is sometimes in a cupboard away from the centre and the chair of the priest is in the centre. We have already been in this situation for 40 or 50 years and there is the real danger that God and his Commandments and laws will be put on the side and the human natural desiring in the centre. There is causal connection between the Eucharistic and the doctrinal crisis.

‘Our first duty as human beings is to adore God, not us, but Him. Unfortunately, the liturgical practice of the last 40 years has been very anthropocentric.

‘Participating in liturgy is firstly not about doing things but praying and worshipping, to love God with all your soul. This is true participation, to be united with God in your soul. Exterior participation is not essential.

‘The crisis is really this: we have not put Christ or God at the centre. And Christ is God incarnated. Our problem today is that we put away the incarnation. We have eclipsed it. If God remains in my mind only as an idea, this is Gnostic. In other religions e.g. Jews, Muslims, God is not incarnated. For them, God is in the book, but He is not concrete. Only in Christianity, and really in the Catholic Church, is the incarnation fully realised and this has to be stressed therefore also in every point of the liturgy. God is here and really present. So every detail has meaning.

‘We are living in an un-Christian society, in a new paganism. The temptation today for the clergy is to adapt to the new world to the new paganism, to be collaborationists. We are in a similar situation to the first centuries, when the majority of the society was pagan, and Christianity was discriminated against.’


The differences between the Novus Ordo and the Vetus Ordo are not simply matters of taste; there are fundamental theological and anthropological distinctions between the two forms of the Roman rite. The former is manifestly an anthropocentric endeavor, in its ecumenical aims, in its stripped-down prayers, in its orientation, and in its room for improvisation. Martin Mosebach lamented that while the Mass of Paul VI can be celebrated reverently, it is merely an option. To celebrate the older missal irreverently, one must make an effort to do so – breaking rubrics, rushing hurriedly through the prayers, failing to implement the beauty of sacred music or a properly adorned altar, etc. But the prayers of that liturgy themselves stand as a bulwark against true irreverence. There is no room within the ancient rubrics for a priest to go off on an ad-hoc soliloquy, and the prescription of where he is to stand and what he is to do and the direction he is supposed to face diminishes the possibility of him dominating the sanctuary by his presence. He is forced, whether he likes it or not, to decrease, so that Christ may increase. As one traditional priest of my acquaintance put it, “I am a slave of the liturgy. The Church tells me where to stand, where to place my hands, when to genuflect, when to kiss the altar…I disappear, and it is Christ’s priesthood working through me.”

My gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for Summorum Pontificum is real, but I worry that the Hegelian dialectic he established between the venerable Mass of the Ages and the “banal, on the spot product” that is the newer form (his words, not mine) is like “dialoguing” with the Devil. How can we find a compromise between what is sacred and what is profane? Meeting in the middle is, nonetheless, a diminution. We recognize this in the marriage debate, recognizing the absurdity of a “third way” between adultery and marital fidelity, so why are we so blind when it comes to the central act of worship that so deeply informs our approach to the entirety of our Faith?





Christ has been kicked out of the sanctuary in the post-conciliar liturgy to make room for us — often literally, depending upon the architecture of your parish — so why do we expect to find Him given a central place in the sacred union of spouses? We have taught our people that God is a means to our ends, and now we find ourselves confused that this perversion is reaching its logical terminus?

The facts we have to face about the enormous conflict between pre and post-conciliar sacramental and theological milieus are as stunning as the conclusions we’re all having to grapple with about what is happening at the Synod. They seem unthinkable, but it’s time to think it: Catholicism before the Second Vatican Council and Catholicism after are so manifestly different that they very nearly represent two different religions. This is a matter not just of externals, which are of course crucially important, but of beliefs, which take their cue from signs and symbols.

If we change the discipline around marriage in such a way as to give the impression that it is dissoluble, or at least annullable at will, so when we change the discipline of the sacraments we gave the impression that everything we once believed was not so important after all. The disaster that has followed makes clear the success of the latter program, and it is this very sea change in belief that has paved the way for our present moment. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi isn’t just a fun thing to say in Latin. It’s the blueprint for the entire infernal machine.

I don’t know to what degree Dougherty’s prediction will come true; it is clear that we are seeing apostolic apostasy writ large, and that the apostates have been given an unfair advantage by Christ’s own Vicar. I believe in the Church and in her indefectibility; I believe in Christ’s promise that she will not fall. But our understanding of what Our Lord means and the reality of how it will come to pass are often far different. I think often of the apostles, dumbfounded that Jesus actually died and was laid in the tomb. This had long been a stumbling-block for them, and He had only allowed those who had seen Him transfigured to be with Him in His moments of deepest agony, so certain was he of the scandal it would cause to the others. Even in keeping the faith on that first Holy Saturday, they must have been tempted with the worst doubts and fears. Was anything they believed in true? Was it all just a hoax that had come to a horrible end? Poor Thomas couldn’t believe that his Lord was back from the dead until he personally probed the wounds.

We can’t know how God’s plans will unfold, but we must have confidence that they will come to pass in exactly the way He desires. In the meantime, as we re-evaluate the trust we’ve placed in those who hold the highest places of leadership in the Church, we would do well to re-examine the meager fare that they have offered us for the last 50 years. It has not sustained the faith. We are here, in this moment of crisis, not by accident, but by design.

I hope you’ll pray with me for the restoration of the Church and her sacred liturgy according to God’s will and not our own. That may very well mean that things must get worse before they get better. If so, then let us not be sad: the beast must fully reveal itself before it can be put down.

Dougherty asks in his conclusion if these men fear God. The answer is: “Obviously not yet, but soon.”



Letters from the Synod: October 6, 2015

By Xavier Rynne II, October 6, 2015



Questions Raised Again About Official Synod Briefings

By Edward
Pentin, October 7, 2015

At a Vatican press conference on the synod yesterday, language attachés for the meeting highlighted a number of subjects that appeared to take precedent in the opening debates.

To take the English language attaché, Father Thomas Rosica, as an example, he placed a special emphasis on the need to end “exclusionary language” saying a synod father, (or was it synod fathers?) said the Church should “embrace reality as it is and not be afraid of new and complex situations.”

Father Rosica was particularly focused on “homosexuals or gay persons,” saying “we don’t pity gay persons, but we recognize them for who they are — they are our sons and daughters and brothers and neighbors and colleagues.”

He later returned to the subject of homosexual relationships, saying the subject “came up several times” and that a synod father asked, “How do we speak about them and offer a hand of welcome to them?”

It wasn’t clear who said what under the synod rules, but neither was it clear how many synod fathers addressed the issues Father Rosica, or the other language attaches, had mentioned.

In effect, this meant the public were left with a skewed interpretation of what was said at the opening debate, as happened throughout the last synod.

Thankfully, reliable sources have shared with me a few of the subjects covered by other synod fathers, helping to provide a more rounded picture of what was discussed: 

* A number of synod fathers spoke in support of Cardinal Peter Erdö‘s introductory speech, including one who underlined the importance of keeping fidelity to truth about marriage, the family and the Eucharist.




* A synod father asked “What are we doing here?” and stressed the synod is about the family, not other relationships such as homosexual ones. He also stressed that if the synod accepts the divorced-remarried issue, the Church effectively “supports divorce”.

* Another said the emphasis should be the sacrament of marriage, so the spiritual beauty of marriage is brought to the fore. Often the Church is not united around the “positive vision” of marriage and family. He said instability around marriage is “against its nature”.

* A synod father referenced St. Augustine, saying some of the baptized living in “irregular situations” don’t want to approach the Sacrament of Penance; he said the crisis of the family is a crisis of faith. He quoted 2 Timothy 4:2-5

* Another intervention noted the flock are too few, and that one should show respect for families which battle and try to remain faithful, those who in particular remain faithful to their marital vows given before God, although there are controversies and difficulties.

* A further intervention stressed that the Church has to defend that which God revealed about marriage and family and that the work of prelates is to support healthy families. A danger for families are “certain cultural currents,” as well as a sociological approach. In order to serve the family one has to take as the point of departure the word of God.

These were just some of the interventions the press didn’t hear about from Father Rosica among the 72 delivered to the synod on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

The other language attaches also largely left such interventions out, although as we reported yesterday, the French and German ones did at least mention that some synod fathers had used their interventions to stress the importance of scripture, tradition and truth in this debate.



Bad news coming at a torrent from the Synod

October 7, 2015

Aye yay yay, we’re barely 4 days in and the bad news is coming in droves. Just a few of the high-, or low-lights:

Quebecois Archbishop urges Pope Francis to consider ordaining women to the diaconate.

Sure to solve all our problems, let’s have women deacons! Of course, anyone with a few functioning brain cells know this is just a step to the real goal, female priestesses in an even more openly feminized clergy.

Moving on from mere divorce and remarriage, now polygamy is under consideration. Fr. Tom Rosica, the radical’s radical (about whom hints of a sodomite inclination have been swirling of late), says: “There must be an end to exclusionary language and a strong emphasis on embracing reality as it is,” said the Vatican English-language spokesman. So much for Jesus Christ!

In a move obviously coordinated with the Vatican, Spanish daily El Mundo ran a photo of Pope Francis‘ meeting with a gomorrist couple featuring a woman who has mutilated herself with surgeries and drugs to better play at being a man. Too bad for her, no amount of testosterone shots or body mutilation is going to give her a Y chromosome. The foul image is below:

The sodomite couple that met in a definite audience (not a pretend one like Kim Davis, apparently) with Pope Francis claims it was the Vatican that leaked news of the meeting, including numerous photos and a video of the very happy Pope meeting his BFF.

Hopes were raised on the first full day of the Synod (Monday) when Cardinal Peter Erdõ released an introductory document for the synodal discussions that seemed fairly well grounded in orthodox Catholic thought. However, Voice of the Family (VOTF) has related that those hopes were dashed by Pope Francis’ personal intervention on Tuesday, which steered the synod back onto what VOTF calls a much more heterodox trajectory:


The hopes of faithful Catholics were raised on Monday by the reassertions of Catholic orthodoxy made in the relazione introduttiva of the General Relator of the Synod, Péter Cardinal Erdõ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. Yesterday Erdö’s report and position were seriously undermined after an intervention of Pope Francis indicated to the synod fathers that the question of Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried” was still open. Cardinal Erdõ was also undermined by remarks made by synod fathers invited to a press conference organised by Holy See press spokesman Fr Lombardi S.J…

Pope Francis delivered an unscheduled intervention in the synod yesterday morning.

He instructed synod fathers that they should consider the Ordinary Synod to be in perfect continuity with the Extraordinary Synod. He told them that they were to consider only three synodal documents as formal documents of the synod; these were his own opening address at the Extraordinary Synod, the Relatio Synodi of the Extraordinary Synod, and his own closing address of that synod. The heterodox nature of the Relatio Synodi, which received the Holy Father’s personal approval, was discussed by Voice of the Family in our Analysis of the Final Report of the Extraordinary Synod.

The Holy Father also said that the question of the reception of Holy Communion by the “divorced and remarried” was not the only one for the Synod to consider. This would indicate however that Pope Francis considers the question to be open, despite being clearly resolved by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teaching of his predecessors. The content of the Holy Father’s intervention was repeated a number of times by Fr Lombardi and other speakers at the press conference.

The intervention of the Holy Father yesterday has undermined the authority of Cardinal Erdö’s report and has signaled to the synod fathers that the Holy Father would prefer the discussions of the synod to proceed along the lines established by the heterodox Relatio Synodi rather than the orthodox introductory address of Cardinal Erdõ.




The Holy Father’s actions have gravely weakened the cardinal’s efforts to reorient the Ordinary Synod towards an affirmation and defence of Catholic doctrine…

At yesterday’s press conference Fr Thomas Rosica, English-speaking press spokesman for the Holy See, gave what he described as a summary of the interventions of the synod fathers. The interventions summarised by Rosica were almost uniformly “progressive”.


I included that bit about Fr. Rosica, because there are increasing media reports that Rosica is giving a very biased account of the synodal interventions. That is, he is highlighting and trumpeting the progressive interventions, while ignoring or minimizing the more orthodox ones. Via Edward Pentin, some of the more orthodox interventions were purported to include:


* A number of synod fathers spoke in support of Cardinal Peter Erdö’s introductory speech, including one who underlined the importance of keeping fidelity to truth about marriage, the family and the Eucharist.

* A synod father asked “What are we doing here?” and stressed the synod is about the family, not other relationships such as homosexual ones. He also stressed that if the synod accepts the divorced-remarried issue, the Church effectively “supports divorce”.

* Another said the emphasis should be the sacrament of marriage, so the spiritual beauty of marriage is brought to the fore. Often the Church is not united around the “positive vision” of marriage and family. He said instability around marriage is “against its nature”.

* Another intervention noted the flock are too few, and that one should show respect for families which battle and try to remain faithful, those who in particular remain faithful to their marital vows given before God, although there are controversies and difficulties.


Rosica is apparently not alone in giving a very skewed accounting of the interventions in the other language groups.  They are apparently doing the same, as well, although Pentin claims the French and Germans are at least mentioning some of the more orthodox efforts, rather than ignore them entirely as Fr. Rosica does.

To me, the appointing of Fr. Rosica to be the English language PR man for this papacy is one of the most revealing actions taken to date. There are few more reliably modernist-progressive priests of public note in service today. He’s also the consummate Church politician – that is to say, he encapsulates almost all that is most wrong with the priesthood today. Appointing him to by the PR man for what is probably the most important, influential language group in the Church today (English) was a huge signal – really, something more like an upturned middle phalanges to the orthodox Catholic world.

This is the man who hearts the arch-heretic Gregory Baum, after all.



Has the intervention of Pope Francis returned Synod to heterodox trajectory?

October 7, 2015

The Ordinary Synod on the Family moved much closer yesterday to a repudiation of the teachings of the Catholic Church on human sexuality.

The hopes of faithful Catholics were raised on Monday by the reassertions of Catholic orthodoxy made in the relazione introduttiva of the General Relator of the Synod, Péter Cardinal Erdõ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest.

Yesterday Erdö’s report and position were seriously undermined after an intervention of Pope Francis indicated to the synod fathers that the question of Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried” was still open. Cardinal Erdő was also undermined by remarks made by synod fathers invited to a press conference organised by Holy See press spokesman Fr. Lombardi S.J.


Cardinal Erdő’s relazione introduttiva

In his opening report, delivered on Monday morning, Cardinal Erdő upheld Catholic doctrine across the whole spectrum of teachings pertaining to human sexuality. The General Relator decisively rejected the proposal of Cardinal Kasper on the admission to Holy Communion of those living in public adultery and clearly restated Catholic teaching on issues such homosexuality, the indissolubility of marriage and contraception. He also repudiated the false understanding of mercy that has been increasingly prevalent in the lead-up to the Ordinary Synod. “Mercy”, said the cardinal, “demands conversion.” A fuller analysis of Erdő’s report can be found here.


Cardinal Erdő and Archbishop Forte adopt divergent approaches at press conference

Cardinal Erdő’s defence of Catholic teaching continued at the press conference held at the Holy See Press Office on Monday afternoon. The conference was also attended by Archbishop Bruno Forte, Special Secretary of the Synod, and by Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris.

Cardinal Erdő was asked by journalists to comment on his report in connection with the reception of Holy Communion by the “divorced and remarried”. In response he defended his decision to uphold Catholic doctrine and stressed that, far from being unlimited, doctrinal development could only take place in accordance with Tradition.




He also rejected the suggestion that there was an Eastern Orthodox alternative to Catholic doctrine and discipline by drawing attention to the divisions that exist within the Orthodox Church. Most pointed perhaps, was his remark that the Gospel reading on the day the synod opened was, coincidentally, Our Lord’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage as recorded in St Luke’s Gospel.

Archbishop Bruno Forte, who is known to have drafted heterodox passages on homosexuality in last year’s relatio post disceptationem, responded to Cardinal Erdő at the earliest opportunity. He ignored a question put to him by a journalist about large families and instead returned the discussion to Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried”.

Archbishop Forte stressed that the synod was a “pastoral synod” focused on “pastoral care”. There was a need to find “new ways to approach the pastoral challenges” because “times change, situations change”. He said the “pastoral challenges are there and we must face them”. (The translation of Archbishop Forte’s remarks is taken from the simultaneous translation provided by the Holy See Press Office.)

Forte’s remarks fit the general narrative pursued by dissenting prelates at the Synod. Their modus operandi is to insist that the Church’s doctrine will remain untouched but that pastoral practice will change. In fact, the so-called pastoral changes that they propose, such as the readmission of unrepentant adulterers to Holy Communion, do in fact contradict Catholic doctrine.


The intervention of Pope Francis

Pope Francis delivered an unscheduled intervention in the synod yesterday morning. He instructed synod fathers that they should consider the Ordinary Synod to be in perfect continuity with the Extraordinary Synod. He told them that they were to consider only three synodal documents as formal documents of the synod; these were his own opening address at the Extraordinary Synod, the Relatio Synodi of the Extraordinary Synod, and his own closing address of that synod. The heterodox nature of the Relatio Synodi, which received the Holy Father’s personal approval, was discussed by Voice of the Family in our Analysis of the Final Report of the Extraordinary Synod. The Holy Father also said that the question of the reception of Holy Communion by the “divorced and remarried” was not the only one for the Synod to consider. This would indicate however that Pope Francis considers the question to be open, despite being clearly resolved by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teaching of his predecessors. The content of the Holy Father’s intervention was repeated a number of times by Fr Lombardi and other speakers at the press conference.

The intervention of the Holy Father yesterday has undermined the authority of Cardinal Erdő’s report and has signaled to the synod fathers that the Holy Father would prefer the discussions of the synod to proceed along the lines established by the heterodox Relatio Synodi rather than the orthodox introductory address of Cardinal Erdő. The Holy Father’s actions have gravely weakened the cardinal’s efforts to reorient the Ordinary Synod towards an affirmation and defence of Catholic doctrine.


Two archbishops undermine the report of Cardinal Erdő and refuse to affirm Catholic faith

At a press conference held in the Holy See Press Office yesterday afternoon Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, was asked whether, following the report of Cardinal Erdő, the question of the reception of Holy Communion by the “divorced and remarried” was closed. By affirming that “the question is still open” Archbishop Celli not only undermined the witness of Cardinal Erdő but, much more seriously, repudiated the constant teaching of the magisterium of the Church.

Yesterday’s press conference was also attended by Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau (Canada). Durocher was asked by a journalist whether it could now be said that the issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the “divorced and remarried” should be considered a matter of “pastoral practice” rather than “doctrine”. Archbishop Durocher refused to take the opportunity offered to him to affirm the teaching of the Church; instead he simply stated that the synod fathers have different views on this point.


Fr Rosica’s summary of the “progressive” revolution against Catholic doctrine

At yesterday’s press conference Fr Thomas Rosica, English-speaking press spokesman for the Holy See, gave what he described as a summary of the interventions of the synod fathers. The interventions summarised by Rosica were almost uniformly “progressive”.

Fr. Rosica’s summary stressed the need for “an end to exclusionary language” and a need to “embrace reality as it is” and not to be “afraid of new and complex situations”. One synod father is reported to have said that “in the pastoral care of people the language of inclusion must be our language, always considering pastoral and canonical possibilities and solutions.” Rosica made reference to interventions calling for a “new catechesis for marriage”, “new language to speak to the people of our time”, new “pastoral approaches for those living together before marriage” and a new approach towards homosexuality that would no longer give the impression that Catholics felt “pity” towards homosexuals. Rosica also drew attention to a call to extend the practice of general absolution for the Year of Mercy and to a contribution that asked “are there new ways of using the permanent diaconate, and those who are permanent deacons, to be real ministers of mercy?” Another intervention asked “are we the masters of the table of the Eucharist or the servants of that table welcoming people to it?”

One of the most disturbing aspects of Rosica’s summary was the suggestion that the question of Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried” could be solved in different ways in different parts of the world. This would lead to different practices, and thus different doctrines, in different parts of the Church. Such division is, of course, inseparable from schism.





The opening report of the General Relator, Cardinal Erdő, raised hopes that it might be possible for the Ordinary Synod to be reoriented in an orthodox direction despite the heterodox Instrumentum Laboris that serves as its agenda. The undermining of Cardinal Erdő’s report by the intervention of Pope Francis seems to place the synod back on a heterodox orientation. If the Relatio Synodi and Instrumentum Laboris continue to be the basis for the Ordinary Synod’s work, then those responsible for the synod, and those who follow their lead, will remain on a trajectory towards formal repudiation of the doctrine of the Catholic Church.



Cardinal Burke’s FUS* Keynote Included in New Book on The Synod

By Michael Sirilla, October 6, 2015 *Franciscan University of Steubenville

Editor’s note: the following is taken from the introduction to the upcoming book from Emmaus Road Publishing, From the Beginning: The Mission and Vocation of the Family in the Contemporary World. The introduction was written by Dr. Michael Sirilla, professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is reproduced by him here. The book received an initial limited print run in order that it might be given to a number of the Synod fathers. It will become available to the public in the near future at the link above.  

On September 8, 2015, the Franciscan University of Steubenville hosted a panel discussion and keynote address delivered by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on the Instrumentum Laboris for the fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 4-25.  The topic of the Synod is “the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.”  After His Eminence’s keynote address, eight scholars representing various branches of theology and philosophy read abstracts of longer essays they had written.  The Synod’s topic is timely as the institution of marriage, especially as understood in the light of Christ’s teachings, is under siege.  The Instrumentum Laboris incorporates the final relatio from the 2014 third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic of Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.  Before, during, and since that synod, it has become painfully clear that on the questions of contraception, divorce, the nature of marriage, homosexual relations, reception of Holy Communion for those who are divorced and have attempted civil remarriage, and similar matters, confusion is coming not only from our secularized post-Christian culture but from a group of very influential Catholic prelates within the Church herself.

To assist those bishops who are preparing to participate in the ordinary synod, as well as the faithful in general, we offer this volume which is headed by Cardinal Burke’s keynote address and followed by the complete essays of six of the eight panelists.  Dr. Stephen Hildebrand (Franciscan University of Steubenville [FUS], patristics) and Mrs. Pia Crosby (FUS, MA theology student, patristics) through a careful analysis of patristic texts and practice argue that it would constitute a regression and even a denial of the truth about marriage to adopt Cardinal Kasper’s proposal for an oikonomia (that is, an “accommodation”), consisting in admitting to the Blessed Sacrament divorced Catholics who have attempted remarriage.  Dr. Patrick Lee (FUS, bioethics) returns us to the nature of marriage properly understood as a voluntary union of love open to the procreation of new life.  This commitment is lifelong and the indissolubility of marriage is able to be known naturally or philosophically.  In my essay (I am a professor of systematic theology at FUS) I argue that Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, as found in the Instrumentum Laboris for the 2015 ordinary synod, must be rejected by the synod fathers and by the pope as gravely sinful and scandalous in the strict sense.  That proposal is essentially a directive for bishops to commit the grave sin of sacrilege by admitting to Communion persons who have not repented.   Based on the principle lex orandi lex credendi, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (Wyoming Catholic College, liturgical theology) examines how some of the tremendous changes in the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council have contributed to the widespread confusion among the faithful on the truth about Christian marriage and the family.  Dr. John Bergsma (FUS, biblical theology) highlights the irony embedded in the claim of those who impugn as “pharisees” those who defend Christ’s teaching that “from the beginning” God instituted marriage as an indissoluble bond of love for the procreation of offspring (Matthew 19:8).

Also included in this volume are the abstracts of the two remaining scholars who presented at the panel discussion at FUS: Fr. Sean Sheridan, TOR (President FUS, canon law) and Dr. Donald Asci (FUS, moral theology).  This volume opens with the full text of Cardinal Burke’s keynote address in which he thoroughly and critically examines the canonical suggestions found in the Instrumentum Laboris for the 2015 ordinary synod on the process of matrimonial nullity.

It is our sincere hope that this volume will be of assistance to the synod fathers, to pastors of souls, and to the faithful as the Church contemplates the precious gift of marriage, instituted naturally by God “from the beginning” and elevated to a sacrament by Christ.


Fr. Rosica’s Bias: Are We Getting the Whole Synod Story?

By Steve Skojec, October 7, 2015

What’s really going on inside the Synod? That’s the question many are trying to answer, including those journalists tasked with covering the proceedings. Despite revised procedures that were designed to give the appearance of transparency, the inner workings of the Synod are being obscured by a filter of “language attachés,” whose job it is to tell the media from various countries their version of what’s happening inside.



Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica is the official point-man in relating what’s transpiring behind closed doors to English-speaking audiences. Considering the significance of his role, it is relevant to relate what we know about Fr. Rosica — a figure not without controversy in recent months — in order that we may attempt to understand any possible agenda that could affect his duties. His report earlier this week — complete with references to accommodating polygamy! — left many Catholics feeling uneasy. On CNN last month, his response to Anderson Cooper’s question about streamlining the annulment process also raised eyebrows:

ROSICA: Yes, stream line and also offer it as a possibility and experience of mercy and you can start over. Something is broken, love is failed, your life is not condemned, your life is not finished. Let’s get on with this. Let’s correct the situation so that people have another chance. All of it has to be understood. He’s [Pope Francis] got this theme of mercy in him. It’s his DNA, his model. (Emphasis added)


Remember, this is the same Fr. Rosica who threatened to sue a Canadian blogger for criticizing comments made by Rosica on the very issues being discussed at the Synod. According to Austin Ruse:

At issue are a number of posts criticizing Rosica for his role in the unusually contentious Extraordinary Synod on the Family at the Vatican last October, which drew global attention to the debate within the Catholic hierarchy over communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the Church’s approach to homosexual unions. Some feared, and others hoped, that the Church was set to change traditional doctrine. The blog Vox Cantoris claimed that Father Rosica, who was one of the official spokesmen of the Synod, was central to efforts to change at least Church practice, if not Church teaching.


Fr. Rosica eventually backed down from his litigation threats in the face of significant backlash, but as we previously reported, a shot was fired, and was heard loud and clear by Catholic bloggers around the world.

More recently, it was Fr. Rosica who, during the papal visit to the United States, went on Fox News Sunday and said,

The backdrop [of the papal visit] is a world steeped in violence and bloodshed and rancor and hatred, and here we have coming — to your city, to your diocese — a real prince of peace. If there’s any princely title that should be associated with Francis, it’s “The Prince of Peace.”

(You can see it for yourself here, beginning at 5:08 on the video timeline.)


It is an uncomfortable thing to have a priest acting in an official capacity as a Vatican spokesman using Our Lord’s prophetic title from Isaiah 9:6 to describe his boss. But this was not an isolated incident.

After Pope Francis’s speech in Philadelphia, Rosica said, “I have often wondered how Jesus taught on a Galilean hillside. Tonight in Philadelphia I saw how Jesus taught.”

Such statements might be explained away as a sort of overzealous enthusiasm, but they also raise questions of impropriety, inasmuch as they can be interpreted as a sort of borderline-idolatry. If Rosica were saying that Francis is like Jesus, that’d be one thing. But his words, taken literally, make it sound as though he is describing Jesus Himself. Another such statement was posted the following day:



It would not be unreasonable to discuss in greater depth what is at work behind Fr. Rosica’s conflations between the Vicar of Christ and Christ Himself, and whether these might be dismissed as rhetorical excesses. But that is not our concern here. What does concern us is that Rosica is clearly a man so uncritically in awe of his pontiff that it would be implausible to expect him to report the Synod proceedings objectively – especially if he believes he knows the Holy Father’s agenda and desires to promote it. And with Father Rosica serving as the principle conduit through which we in the English-speaking world are receiving our information about the Synod, this presents a serious problem.



Fortunately for us, the ever-stalwart Ed Pentin continues to dig deeper and provides glimpses of what is actually happening behind the scenes – and there is more resistance to the agenda of “accompaniment” and accommodation of sin than Fr. Rosica lets on:

It wasn’t clear who said what under the synod rules, but neither was it clear how many synod fathers addressed the issues Father Rosica, or the other language attaches, had mentioned.

In effect, this meant the public were left with a skewed interpretation of what was said at the opening debate, as happened throughout the last synod.

Thankfully, reliable sources have shared with me a few of the subjects covered by other synod fathers, helping to provide a more rounded picture of what was discussed:

* A number of synod fathers spoke in support of Cardinal Peter Erdö’s introductory speech, including one who underlined the importance of keeping fidelity to truth about marriage, the family and the Eucharist.

* A synod father asked “What are we doing here?” and stressed the synod is about the family, not other relationships such as homosexual ones. He also stressed that if the synod accepts the divorced-remarried issue, the Church effectively “supports divorce”.

* Another said the emphasis should be the sacrament of marriage, so the spiritual beauty of marriage is brought to the fore. Often the Church is not united around the “positive vision” of marriage and family. He said instability around marriage is “against its nature”.

* A synod father referenced St. Augustine, saying some of the baptized living in “irregular situations” don’t want to approach the Sacrament of Penance; he said the crisis of the family is a crisis of faith. He quoted 2 Timothy 4:2-5

* Another intervention noted the flock are too few, and that one should show respect for families which battle and try to remain faithful, those who in particular remain faithful to their marital vows given before God, although there are controversies and difficulties.

* A further intervention stressed that the Church has to defend that which God revealed about marriage and family and that the work of prelates is to support healthy families. A danger for families are “certain cultural currents,” as well as a sociological approach. In order to serve the family one has to take point of departure the word of God.

These were just some of the interventions the press didn’t hear about from Father Rosica among the 72 delivered to the synod on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.


We have heard that even before the Synod began, a secret group of theologians began work on its final documents, which would make it somewhat difficult for them to accurately reflect the proceedings. We know that whatever happens in the Synod, Pope Francis has the final say on what we are to take from it. We have been told that Francis’s own intervention in the opening days of the Synod has kept the most controversial aspects of last year’s portion in central focus. And now, we have one of Francis’s biggest fans in the position of telling us what (and only what) he thinks we should know about the proceedings.

Fortunately for us, journalists like Pentin have their own sources within the Synod. But as long as the smokescreen persists, we’ll only be receiving an occluded view.


A reader’s comment



Re: the picture you posted, the one the newly elected pope is meeting with Fr. Rosica]. For some reason, when watching this meeting on TV, it disturbed me. It seemed the two were celebrating the papal ascension … almost like we did it!



Three things you need to know about Pope Francis and the cardinal disgraced in a sex abuse scandal

By Damian Thompson, October 8, 2015




This picture of Pope Francis apparently talking to retired Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels at the Synod on the Family, which began this week, is circulating on Twitter and disturbing many Catholics. This is what you need to know:

1. Five years ago, Cardinal Danneels tried to cover up a revolting case of family sex abuse.

As the National Catholic Reporter revealed on August 30, 2010:

Audio recordings leaked to the Belgian media this weekend reveal Belgium’s Cardinal Godfried Danneels urging a sex abuse victim not to make public that his abuser was his uncle Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium. The recordings show Danneels pressuring the young man not to force Vangheluwe to resign.

The transcript quoted by the newspaper is chilling:

Cardinal Danneels asks if the nephew wants Vangheluwe to resign and adds: ‘But that is his decision. I can mention it but that’s all. You expect me to do something that I cannot do. I don’t know what more to do. Or perhaps I have to find some other way to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.’

When the nephew stresses that the cardinal must speak to pope and that Vangheluwe must be sanctioned by the church, Cardinal Danneels responds ‘Yes but… You can also ask forgiveness and, well, you can also acknowledge your own guilt.’

Nephew: ‘Whose forgiveness do I have to seek? I am not the one to ask for forgiveness.’

Danneels: ‘He can do that. That’s correct.’

Later, Cardinal Danneels asks that the conversation not be made public and suggests to the nephew: ‘You can figure that he will resign next year and that he agrees to make no more appearances on television, that sort of thing, and before you know it a year has gone by.’

Nephew: ‘No! I am putting this in your hands and the two of you have to make a decision.’

[Danneels replies] ‘So you can grab us and try to blackmail us, huh, and say: ‘you have to do something!’

Confronted by the tape-recording, Danneels – who had recently stepped down as archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels – waffled unconvincingly about wanting to resolve a dispute in the bishop’s family. He had been ‘improvising’, he said. Vangheluwe, inevitably, had to resign immediately in disgrace. But Danneels was also disgraced by the revelations, first carried by the Belgian newspaper De Standaard. Not only did he try to arrange a temporary cover-up of the bishop’s molestation of his nephew, but he also suggested that the victim should seek forgiveness – and accused the man of attempted blackmail when he demanded that Danneels should tell Pope Benedict XVI about the abuse.



2. Knowing about the sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis has given Danneels a place of honour at the Synod on the Family

The 279 ‘Synod Fathers’ debating the most sensitive issues of family and sexuality include 45 personally chosen by Francis. They are dominated by senior clergy whose voices he wanted heard at the synod but who did not automatically qualify for membership. Here is a screenshot of the top of the list on the Vatican website:











The placing of Danneels’ name second on the list suggests the strong approval of the Pope, despite the Belgian’s ultra-radical views, which include support for a church-recognised ‘sort of marriage’ for gay couples. This dismays senior cardinals – but they are far more worried by the sex-abuse matter. Francis knew before he made the appointment that Danneels had tried to engage in a cover-up. Yet he went ahead.


3. Cardinal Danneels has been boasting that he helped elect Francis as pope

At the launch of his authorised biography in Brussels last month, Danneels claimed to have been part of a ‘mafia club’ of senior cardinals opposed to Benedict XVI who wanted to ensure that a liberal pope succeeded Benedict XVI. Jorge Bergoglio was their favourite candidate. Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much in to this – the papacy was hardly in the club’s gift. But when I asked a senior Vatican source this week why Francis had invited Danneels to the synod – on the face of it, a grotesquely inappropriate move – he replied: ‘As a thank-you for the votes he helped deliver.’ That is guesswork, and assumes a degree of cynical calculation that we don’t associate with Francis. I mention it because this explanation is taken seriously at such a high level within conservative circles in the Vatican.

I’ve touched on the Danneels scandal briefly in my article on the synod for this week’s magazine. Now the matter needs to be properly investigated. Pope Francis must explain why a man who tried to conceal sex abuse within a family is a leading participant in a synod discussing the pastoral care of families.

So far, the media have shown no interest in this story. That wouldn’t be the case if Benedict XVI were still pope.





8 October – Thoughts about the Synod at this point

Posted on 8 October 2015 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

It seems that His Eminence George Card. Pell made a statement from the floor suggesting that the composition of the group appointed to write the Final Report was not all that it could be.

It seems that, then, the Pope himself shut that down.

A couple things follow.

First, since His Holiness stomped on
Card. Erdõ
the General Relator, for his opening speech and then stomped, or at least kicked a little, Card. Pell for his suggestions about the writing committee, then I suppose that Pope Francis now “owns” this Synod. Whatever the results, they are his.

Second, a question is raised. If the Synod is all about involvement and consultation and participation and sharing, etc. Why was Card. Pell’s suggestion about the Final Report committee not more warmly received? A while back we heard reports that the Final Report was already being written. Could that have anything to do with it?




Synod. First Shot on Target Comes From the Conservatives

By Sandro Magister, Vatican City, October 8, 2015

Thanks above all to the introductory talk of Cardinal Erdö, adamant in excluding the ambiguous “openness” of the base document. But the innovators are already on the counterattack. And they’re counting on the support of the pope

In the first days of the synod on the family, Pope Francis has already spoken twice.
The first time as scheduled, in his capacity as president, with the talk for the opening of the work on Monday, October 5:
Introduzione del Santo Padre Francesco
The second time on the morning of October 6, driven to do so by the tempestuous opening, on the previous day, of the discussion among the synod fathers.
The text of this second talk has not been made public, but according to the account of it in “L’Osservatore Romano,” Francis took care to reiterate three things:
– the validity as the basis of discussion of the “Instrumentum laboris,” which he personally approved, he said, and made up of the final “Relatio” of the previous synod “combined with the contributions that came afterward”;
– the status of the final “Relatio” of 2014 and of the two papal discourses for the beginning and end of that session as the only “official documents of last year’s synod”;
– the certainty that in the unfolding of the synod so far “Catholic doctrine on marriage has not been touched.”
With this, Francis wanted above all to dismiss the most radical contestations that in the run-up to the synod had been focused on the “Instrumentum laboris.”
As for example in the text signed by three theologians with the support of several European bishops and cardinals published on http://www.chiesa on September 29:
“Unacceptable.” The Base Document of the Synod “Compromises the Truth”
Or as in the book “Christ’s New Homeland – Africa,” written by Cardinal Robert Sarah together with six other cardinals and four African bishops, in which some of the points of the final “Relatio” of the 2014 synod, afterward incorporated into the “Lineamenta” and the “Instrumentum laboris,” were rejected as “sowers of doubt” – on such a cornerstone as the indissolubility of marriage – or even as “unacceptable” and “scandalous”:
First Five, Now Seventeen Anti-Kasper Cardinals (31.8.2015)
In reality, the “Instrumentum laboris” already marked steps backward, more in line with the traditional teaching of the Church, with respect to the “openness” of the final “Relatio” of 2014, which in turn had scaled down the even more reckless forays of the “Relatio post disceptationem” halfway through the synod, on burning questions like divorce and homosexuality:
Synod. Cold Shower for the Innovators (30.6.2015)
But what has been most striking, at the start of the synod, has been the resoluteness with which cardinal relator Péter Erdö in his talk at the opening of the work, has swept away even the residual ambiguities present in the “Instrumentum”:
Relazione introduttiva del relatore generale
In English, translated by Catholic News Agency:
Full text of Cardinal Erdö’s introductory report
In 2014 as well, Cardinal Erdö was relator general. According to form, his “signature” was also on the notorious “Relatio post disceptationem,” from which he nonetheless distanced himself afterward, publicly pointing to the special secretary of the synod, Bruno Forte, as the true author of the most controversial passages:
The True Story of This Synod. Director, Performers, Assistants (17.10.2014)

But having learned his lesson, this time Erdö has produced – by his own pen – an introductory talk of crystalline clarity and of impeccable adherence to the perennial doctrine of the Church, which has brought not a little surprise and irritation to the innovators.
Just one example.
For the civilly divorced and remarried faithful who find themselves in a situation of irreversible cohabitation, the “Instrumentum labors” says:
“Concerning the aforementioned subject, a great number agree that a journey of reconciliation or penance, under the auspices of the local bishop. […] Some refer to a way of penance, meaning a process of clarifying matters after experiencing a failure and a reorientation which is to be accompanied by a priest who is appointed for this purpose. This process ought to lead the party concerned to an honest judgment of his/her situation. At the same time, the priest himself might come to a sufficient evaluation as to be able to suitably apply the power of binding and loosing to the situation.”
In the wake of this ambiguous statement, in an interview with “La Civiltà Cattolica” of last Sep. 26, cardinal of Vienna Christoph Schönborn – but he was not alone in this – envisioned a pathway to Eucharistic communion for these persons:
“There are situations in which the priest, the guide, who knows the persons, can come to the point of saying: ‘Your situation is such that, in conscience, in your and in my conscience as a pastor, I see your place in the sacramental life of the Church.”
But Cardinal Erdö, in his opening talk at the synod, ruled out such a solution, first with thorough argumentation and at last by invoking the support both of John Paul II’s “Familiaris Consortio” (FC) and of a manual by an eighteenth-century Jesuit canonist:


“The integration of the divorced and remarried into the life of the ecclesial community can be realized in various forms, other than admission to the Eucharist, as FC 84 already suggests. In the traditional practice of the Latin Church, the penitential way could signify, for those who were not yet ready to change their condition of life but nevertheless felt the desire of conversion, that confessors could hear their confession, giving them good advice and proposing exercises of penance in order to direct them toward conversion, but without giving them the absolution that was possible only for those who in fact proposed to change their lives (cf. F. A. Febeus, S.I., De regulis iuris canonici Liber unicus, Venetiis 1735, pp. 91-92)”.
It comes as no surprise that Cardinal Erdö was asked on that same day – both in the synod hall and at the press conference – to justify this peremptory reaffirmation of the discipline in effect, concerning the divorced and remarried and other controversial points.
And he told the journalists that he had simply wanted to “assemble the voice of the Church,” or rather, “the objective result, almost mathematical, of what came to the secretariat of the synod in the interval between the two sessions and after the publication of the ‘Instrumentum laboris,'” in which “from the majority of the responses it emerged that there is the intention to take into account” the documents of the magisterium applicable to these issues.
A revealing response that throws light on the real result of the consultation conducted all over the world in view of the synod, quantified by the secretary general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, in 102 responses from episcopal conferences and in 400 other observations sent from dioceses, parishes, associations, families, and ordinary faithful.
At the same press conference, however, special secretary of the synod Bruno Forte did not fail to provide the countermelody to Erdö, reopening the breach for those innovations which the Hungarian cardinal had excluded:
“Although it holds true that this synod must not be expected to change doctrine, it must be said very clearly that this synod is not meeting to say nothing. It is not a doctrinal synod, but it is pastoral. Addressing pastoral questions and seeking new ways of approach brings the Church closer to the women and men of our time.”
And in the assembly there has been no lack of those who have urged not “universal” answers to the problems under discussion, but the freedom of “regional, national, or continental solutions for challenges that are so different,” as is already taking place in some areas of the Church, especially the German-speaking.
It must not be overlooked, moreover, that Cardinal Erdö’s talk, read in the assembly in Italian, has not been translated into any other language by the secretariat of the synod. With the effect of making it hardly comprehensible to a good number of synod fathers and of shelving it as quickly as possible.
Not only the merit, however, but also the working method of this synod has immediately been made an object of discussion.
Many fathers, for example, have not appreciated the reduction of time for the general discussion in the assembly and the limit of just 3 minutes set for the individual presentations.
But the target of criticism has been above all the composition of the commission charged with writing, through various successive drafts, the “Relatio” to be put to the vote point by point on the concluding day of the synod, and finally delivered to the pope.
The ten members of the commission, all appointed by Francis, are the following:
Péter Erdö, relator general of the synod;
– Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general;
– Bruno Forte, special secretary;

Oswald Gracias
, for Asia;
– Donald William Wuerl, for North America;
– Víctor Manuel Fernández, for Latin America;
Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan, for Africa;
– John Atcherley Dew, for Oceania;
– Marcello Semeraro, for Europe;
– Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, for the religious orders.
Four of these (Wuerl, Fernández, Dew, and Semeraro) have come to the synod not because they were elected by their respective episcopates or by reason of the positions they occupy, but only because they were called personally by Francis.
And if to these are added Baldisseri, Forte, and Nicolás Pachón, it is easy to remark the clear prevalence on the commission of persons oriented more or less markedly toward change.
In particular, everyone remembers Forte’s maneuvers at the synod of 2014, while Fernández is known for his indiscretion:
E questo sarebbe il teologo di fiducia del papa?
As for Fr. Nicolás Pachón, secretary general of the Jesuits, he stated his perspective to “Corriere della Sera” of October 7: “Of course, on his own Francis could go faster. But the Church needs time to change.”
But it must be said that Cardinal Erdõ has also been called to the synod personally by the pope, and has been reconfirmed by him as relator general, proof of just how much the decisions of Jorge Mario Bergoglio escape easy classification.
In any case, Pope Francis also wanted to clarify the synodal procedures, in his unscheduled talk on the morning of Oct. 6.
According to Fr. Federico Lombardi, the pope remarked that “the decisions of method were also shared and approved by him, and therefore cannot be brought back into discussion.”
Even less can they be interpreted – he added polemically – with a “conspiracy hermeneutic.”


Returning to the pope’s statement that in the unfolding of the synod so far, “Catholic doctrine on marriage has not been touched,” it must be noted that this sort of affirmation is also repeated ceaselessly by all the supporters of change.
Their mantra, in fact, is that the doctrine remains intact, because the only updating wanted is “pastoral.”
And therefore, since all the proposals for change presented at the synod so far are impeccable on the level of doctrine, all that remains is to select from among these the most “merciful.”
It will be seen in the future how much progress this reasoning will make, when it intends to hold together, for example, the dogma of indissolubility with the blessing of second marriages.
All the names of those present at the synod:
Elenco dei partecipanti
The moderators and relators elected in the thirteen linguistic circles into which the discussion is divided:
Elenco dei moderatori e relatori dei “Circuli minores”
Some of these elected are already known from coverage of the synod, like for example cardinals Sarah, Pell, Bagnasco, Rodríguez Maradiaga, Schönborn, Piacenza, and archbishop Joseph
Others are less well-known but no less significant. For example, the “Circulus anglicus D,” one of the four English-language groups, has elected as relator Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput, who organized the world meeting of families and hosted Pope Francis during his journey in the United States, and as president the Canadian cardinal Thomas C. Collins, archbishop of Toronto and author in 2014 of an extensive interview with the American Catholic blog “The Word on Fire,” very clear and well-reasoned in defending the doctrine and practice of the Church concerning marriage:
Marriage, Divorce, and Communion



African bishops throw swift punch at ‘ideological colonization’

Vatican City, October 8, 2015

Heavy criticism of the West imposing secular values on Africa in exchange for aid emerged as a theme from the continent’s bishops, as the Vatican’s synod on the family kicks off its first week. From press conferences to individual interviews, multiple prelates voiced concern over what Pope Francis has termed “ideological colonization,” in which Western nations have made the acceptance of legislature favoring gay rights and “marriage” contingent on receiving financial aid.

“It’s one thing that the African bishops are very, very conscious of,” Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa told journalists Oct. 7. “What we are talking about is when countries are told unless you pass certain legislation, you’re not going to get aid from the governments or aid agencies,” he said, pointing to the danger of “political colonization” being replaced “by a different kind of colonization.”


Cardinal Napier held up the example of the Obama administration, specifically the President’s visit to Kenya in July. During his two-day trip to the country Obama spoke out about the importance of gay rights, despite requests from Kenya’s leaders to not address the issue.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya, as well as several other African countries. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State “repeated much the same message” to Africa as well, he added.

In an Oct. 8 interview with CNA, Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu and president of the Ugandan Episcopal Conference called the act “criminal,” and said ideologies must never be attached to receiving aid, which is meant to save lives. “The issue of homosexuality should not be linked with saying ‘if you don’t accept this we won’t help you,’ that is criminal, I call it criminal,” he said. “Aid should not be linked with ideological acceptance or rejection. Aid is to save human life. If you link it to ideology it becomes contradictory…it is self-defeating.” Human beings must be helped without any conditions attached, Archbishop Odama said, adding that the survival of human life “is paramount,” and that the family exists precisely to promote human life. “Any other society, any other groups elsewhere should exist to promote life and protect life, so if it intends to limit the life to be protected or to be accepted to a certain way of thinking then we run short,” he said. “So any issue against human life is an issue against humanity in general.”

In an Oct. 8 press briefing with journalists, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana lamented how some European countries pressured Africa to accept legislation favoring gay “marriage” after Pope Francis made his  2013 “Who am I to judge?* comment on the way back from Rio de Janiero in reference gay individuals authentically seeking Christ.

The comment, he said, “had huge repercussions in our country (Ghana),” and prompted one European country – which he identified as Britain – “to tell us that if we do not accept this gay marriages and the rest, they were not going to give us financial help.”

“We found it rather very sad that some government could take the sovereignty of another country and say ‘if you don’t do this we won’t do that,'” he said, calling the move a “gross violation of what we call the sovereignty of countries.”

Similarly, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M, archbishop of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, told CNA Oct. 8 that Africa’s traditional values must be respected.

He recalled how when Benedict XVI visited Africa in 2011, the pontiff said that the African continent has “their own values you are in fact the spiritual lung of the world and you can become the spiritual lungs of the world because you have traditional values.”


Protecting those values, such as life and the love and protection of it, is of utmost importance to the African bishops, the cardinal said, explaining that they have already spoken about these issues and “we will speak about them more I feel.”



Holy See Press Office COVER-UP: Cardinal who openly promoted divorce was publicly rebuked by Greek-Melkite Patriarch

October 7, 2015

Friends, we can do an “end run” around the Holy See Press Office
censors, courtesy of the internet. We must all do our part: Toronto Catholic Witness is monitoring the Polish Catholic press, Polish media and reporting accordingly. 

For the rest, see the portion in italics in the article below -Michael


Bishop contradicts Christ, spouts heresy at Synod

October 8, 2015

This is getting to be a film at 11 kind of thing. Panamanian
Jose Luiz Lacunza Maestrojuán

(elevated by Pope Francis) decided that Grace is no longer operative, the New Covenant no longer exists, and we have to go back to Moses’ way of dealing with things:


Here is one happening that was NOT mentioned in the Synod Briefings given by the adulterist and homosexualist churchmen. It took place on Monday, October the 5th, 2015 and is reported by an eminent European Prelate,
Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki on his 
Cardinal Jose Luiz Lacunza
Maestrojuán, the president of the Panamanian Bishops’ Conference, and Rapporteur at the Synod of the Family suggested on October 5, 2015, during his allotted three minute speech, that the Law of Christ be overturned and the Church adapt a position on divorce following Moses. The Cardinal was quoted by Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki (translated by Toronto Catholic Witness) as saying:

“Moses drew near to the people and gave way. Likewise today, the ‘hardness of hearts’ opposes God’s plan. Could Peter not be merciful like Moses”?

There we have it: a priest of Jesus Christ, a bishop, a Prince of the Church openly before his brother bishops, before the whole Church: contradicting Our Lord Jesus Christ! However! A voice of Catholic sanity, from the Greek-Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, His Beatitude Gregory III Laham, responded:
“One should always speak of the “sacrament of matrimony” and not “marriage”.  To show the spiritual beauty of marriage. To assist spouses one must show them the unchangeable, spiritual vision of matrimony. Many times we are not united with the positive vision of marriage and the family. Jesus corrected Moses. Dissoluble marriage is against its nature”.
More to follow. 
Simply put, what we are getting from the Holy See Press Office is propaganda.


The Cardinal’s statement is simply incredible. Well if we’re going to roll back to Moses’ time, then we should stone those adulterers who have valid first marriages but have shacked up with others, shouldn’t we? Oh, I get it, we only go back to Moses’ time when that’s convenient to faithless shepherds desirous to cave to the zeitgeist. Sorry, all this just makes me sick.

These guys aren’t of the Faith. I don’t think saying “different religion” begins to cover what we’re seeing here, because not only do they reject the Catholic Faith, but they seek to twist and pervert like latter day Canaanites. Simply incredible. We see here literal rejection of the entire concept of Grace and an admission that somehow, Christ just isn’t good enough anymore. Always bear in mind left-wing projection – what they attribute to others, they almost invariably feel themselves.  Thus, we know all we need to know about this soiled Cardinal.

But remember, it’s we trads who are the faithless pharisees. And Archbishop Lefebvre is a protestant.



Archbishop Gadecki: Reducing Theology to Sociology Has No Future

By Edward Pentin, October 9, 2015

The president of the Polish bishops’ conference has underlined that marriage is between a man and a woman, that justice and mercy are “inseparably bound”, and that a modern tendency to reduce theology to sociology “has no future.” 

In a recent, lengthy and hard-hitting EWTN-Germany interview, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki also said gender ideology can best be countered by Church doctrine, that the media’s portrayal of marriage and family “is a tragedy”, and that movies and television can often, inadvertently, destroy marriage.

Speaking last week just ahead of the Synod on the Family, he further stated that if one loses any notion of sin, “then practically every attitude is good” and there is “nothing from which one has to convert.” He also advocated “better marriage preparation” and to give more attention to adult catechesis “in various forms, the simplest being sacramental catechesis.”

Here below is the full text of Archbishop Gadecki’s interview in English.



EWTN: Your Excellency, the first question: Today, we live in a world that seems to be dominated by a misunderstanding of terms. Therefore, it is helpful to begin by defining what we, as Catholics, understand by the term, “Sacramental Marriage.”

GADECKI: One could look at it from the perspective of canon law, or one could also look at it from the perspective of pastoral teaching. In number 48 of the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic marriage is described as “intima communio vitae et amoris,” so practically, as an intimate companionship of life and of the love of two people, a man and a woman, who mutually complement each other. This complementarity defines the Catholic marriage. However, that’s not all because – at the same time – overlying the marriage is a communion with Christ, which is why the Catholic marriage is not merely a sociological relationship and social plain on which man and woman stand. It is rather – at the same time – an image of the relationship and communion that exists between Christ and the Church. Hence, we heard before the Synod – the first session of the extraordinary Synod – we heard a Jewish Rabbi, who spoke about marriage: that we all must be aware that there is a difference between an ordinary, natural marriage and a religious marriage. In the natural marriage, there are two people, namely man and woman.  In the religious marriage, there are three people, namely, God, man and woman. And this is applicable to Catholic marriage, which is not just a communion between two human persons; rather, it is elevated by grace, by Christ.

EWTN: In Germany, the discussion of the Synod concentrates itself primarily around two problems.  One problem is the permission of married persons to Holy Communion, who live in an extramarital relationship.  The other problem is the recognition of same-sex relationships.  Archbishop, what do you make of it?

GADECKI: When talking about homosexual relationships, they can never be called “marriages.” They can call it what they want, but in the understanding of the Church, there is no such thing as a marriage between two people of the same sex, whether it be two women or two men. Therefore, this topic should not be a subject of the Synod because the Synod deals with the family in the Catholic understanding.  In contrast, we have here a relationship that has nothing to do with Catholicism. We may act with respect toward the dignity of every person, who abides in such a relationship – toward his or her human dignity – but we absolutely cannot call it a marriage. And a state, which calls such a relationship a “marriage,” does great harm to the culture, which has established itself over 2000 years. That’s one thing. When talking about allowing divorced and remarried persons to Holy Communion, there is a huge restriction of the Synod’s set of topics because the Synod is not gathered to decide on this point. The Synod is gathered to resolve the new pastoral problems of marriages and families and to show the vocation of marriage and family in light of divine revelation so that they are in accord with, and not against, divine revelation. Therefore, I think that those who reflect on whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive communion must “unfortunately” hear the voice, which was there from the beginning on, to which Jesus suggested in chapter 10 of Mark’s Gospel and in chapter 19 of the Matthew’s Gospel, where he says that it was not so in the beginning. From an exegetical perspective, one can say that it is not only about the “time” – that at the creation of the world or before the creation of the world, it was not so. So, one can temporally understand the “in the beginning it was not so,” but it could also be understood as St. Augustine did: “from the beginning on,” which means “in Jesus Christ.” Christ is the Beginning, the Word, and the Wisdom of God who created the world. So, “in the beginning,” which means “in Christ,” it was not so. Christ calls himself the “Beginning.” And there is one other interpretation, which is very interesting, whose origin is beyond the Jewish tradition.  It comes from the Greek tradition. It says “en arche,” which means “according to the law.” “According to the law,” it was not so. “Bereshit” can also be translated as “en arche” in Greek. “According to the law, it was not so.” For the Catholic Church, the words of Christ against divorce and new relationships form not only a guideline as the way to holiness but also establish the sacrament.

EWTN: But what does that mean? Now there are some theologians who say that the pastoral situation should change, but the doctrine should not. If the pastoral approach changes, then does the doctrine also change?

GADECKI: Everything changes. If the thinking changes, then the praxis also changes. Therefore, one cannot change the doctrine expecting that the praxis will stay the same or that it will not undergo any changes.

EWTN: I want to return once more about the question of same-sex partnerships, which should strictly not be a topic of the Synod. Nonetheless, we hear of more voices in Germany that the people in these relationships are living in “fidelity and responsibility.” The sociological data show something else. Archbishop, what’s your take on it?

GADECKI: Let’s put it this way: surveys and sociology in relation to theology can have a supportive but not a determining role. Christ said, “Male and female he created them” and only a complimentary relationship, which they mutually serve each other, is a relationship that one can rightly call, according to the bible, a family – initially a marriage, then a family. And therefore the whole drive of modernity is what we now feel and in a very strong form because during the first session of the Synod, the African Bishops bemoaned that large aid funds were made available in order to establish the so called “gay marriage” as legally allowed in these African countries. It seems to me that we sense something similar when pressure comes from organizations originating closer to us than those that the African countries endure.

EWTN: Which organizations are you talking about?

GADECKI: I think that on one side, there are those organizations, which command massive monetary resources and which are, at the same time influenced by this homosexual crisis. Whether it’s Brussels, or New York or Washington, is anyone’s guess, but there is definitely a homosexual lobby that clearly attempts not only to gain tolerance concerning itself, but also tries to upend the classical sense of marriage that has an tremendous tradition behind it. 




EWTN: And does this so-called “Gay lobby” also operate in the Church?

GADECKI: I do not think that prudent bishops or priests could create such an influential lobby that functions in the Church and could produce results in accordance with the worldwide gay lobby. Perhaps there is someone with homosexual tendencies who would like for his presence to be tolerated. The Church can cherish and tolerate everyone, but she can absolutely not promote active homosexuality, something that clearly has been decided in the bible. The Church lives from the Word of God. There is no possibility to allow such a condition in which we turn our back on the bible; otherwise we would be avoiding our source, without which the Church becomes a desert.

EWTN: A few influential voices in Germany have said in other words, “the Church in Germany cannot wait until the Synod or someone else makes assertive decisions because we have to act today.” My question is, is it possible to think that something in the German Church could be allowed that would not be allowed, say, in the Polish or African churches?

GADECKI: That isn’t possible. Since a canonical praxis is possible; in other words, there is certain pragmatism; certain provisions exist for the life of the Church in each country considering the circumstances of each country in which the church exists. The organization of the life of the Church looks different in Africa than it does in Greenland, or Europe, or South America. But this organization of the life of the Church is a secondary question. On the contrary, the unity of the doctrine is the top priority, that is to say the one and the same teaching of the Catholic Church. The Church cannot sing with 100 different voices like the post-moderns would hope.  Also if it seems that we carry the impression that these voices are sparse and say that something else among ourselves is contradictory to one other, then that is the effect of a mistake, but not a questioning of principle, which is the one and Catholic doctrine of teaching from which the Magisterium is based. If 10 or 100 different doctrines taught the Church, then she would break into 10 or 100 different churches, but the Church is one, catholic and apostolic. 

EWTN: Archbishop, you are an exegete. Sacred Scripture clearly states, “What God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Now we have different exegetes, including Italians, who are trying to show that these words are about indissolubility are actually about dissolubility. What do you think about these theories, Archbishop?

GADECKI: I think that this is an expression of a tremendous recourse, which happens in relation to the Words of Christ himself.  This recourse is comprehensible if we look at Judaism and Islam. Judaism and Islam, as far as I understand, deal with a contract.  Marriage is a contract between two parties.  This contract can be dissolved at any time.  Many of our women, even here in Poland, commit a big mistake by letting themselves be led by emotions, which is understandable, and enter into a union, say with a Muslim, with the belief that they are bound in a sacrament, while for the Muslim, it is only a contract, which can be dissolved at any moment regardless of whether or not it is the agreement of both parties.  And it seems to me that these new exegetical theories that appear, regardless whether in Germany or Italy, somehow try to legalize divorce and say that, in essence, Christ didn’t say what he said.  And then in a pragmatic way, we solve the problem that concerns the Dogma of the indissolubility of marriage.  For me, this is an expression of intelligent forsakenness. 

EWTN: The so-called “progressive” voices like to call upon the Second Vatican Council but forget the teachings of “the saint of the family” John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Which valuable aspect of the teaching of St. John Paul should we not let be forgotten?

GADECKI: I think that everything that was written by Cardinal Wojtyla, including Person and Act, was a major contribution to the thinking on marriage and family. Then came Familiaris Consortio and the “Letter to Families.”  Each document is a powerful step forward. Those who challenge these teachings don’t have a sheer idea as to what they actually do. They claim that they are “outdated,” which was over 20 years ago and now we have to move on. The Gospel and the Magisterium of the Church are subject to the same rights, which we define as tradition. In the Church, tradition has its defined form. Tradition is not some conservative source. Tradition is the enduring development with immutability of essence. As Vincent of Lerins said, tradition is like a child. It develops every day. It becomes smarter, bigger, more mature and better educated. But on the other hand, it never essentially changes. It is born like a human, develops like a human, and dies like a human.  It never essentially changes. In this sense, the term bears two contradictions: the enduring development and the challenge of change. When we look at the doctrine of the Church, we see that there is a development of the doctrine, but this development never crosses out the Gospel.  You can’t cross out the backbone of the Church.

EWTN: John Paul II is not only a “saint of the family” but also a great missionary of “divine mercy” by the encyclical Dives in Misericordia
and the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska. Today, people like to talk about “mercy,” but forget about “justice,” “sin,” and also “truth.” 

GADECKI: That is a huge hermeneutical mistake. “Justice” and “mercy” are actually inseparably bound together because they show, so to say, two sides of a situation.  Justice is giving another person what that person is rightly due. Mercy is giving another person what is not rightly and justly due to another.  In other words, both of these realities seem to be in opposition to one another, but are actually inseparable according to the understanding of Catholic doctrine. Divine mercy, which has no limits, is inseparable and best illustrated in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Parable of the Prodigal Son shows the steadfastness of divine mercy, that is to say that God is not conditioned by the action of man. He is not conditioned by the action of sinners because God remains merciful to the end. In contrast, the human person doesn’t experience mercy when one sins and says therefore “praise me;” rather, mercy is experienced when one has reached the pit of despair, sees that it was clearly better to be in the house of the Father, and takes a step back to the way to God. 




EWTN: What does mercy mean in reference to the family?

GADECKI: In the same spirit, God reveals his merciful love in relation to every person, but especially to marriages and families, which are a special creation of this divine love. And surely, divine love reveals itself in marriages and families more than it does outside of marriages and families, or at least this love is easier to perceive. Regardless in what situation marriages find themselves in, whether they be normal or not, they must be conscious that divine mercy unchangingly accompanies them the whole time because only in such a setting as this will marriages not fall into the feeling of guilt; rather, they strive to come out of sin and turn back towards grace.

EWTN: Today, the understanding of a “sense of sin” is vanishing. We hear those, who demand an adaptation of the Church to the world, which often leads to us forgetting the third person in the relationship – God – due to a reduction of theology to sociology. Is this path promising?

GADECKI: It has no future. Sometimes we use sociology in order to describe religious phenomena, but that is a fragile, inadequate tool. On the contrary, if one loses this notion of sinfulness, then practically every attitude is good. There is nothing from which one has to convert, but the Gospel begins with the words, “Repent and believe in the Kingdom of God!” And Jesus Christ speaks of himself, of his mission, why he has come into the world, of his coming to the sinners.  If we don’t recognize sinfulness, then we can say that the coming of Christ is void of its meaning. We void the meaning of the whole work of the incarnation because we say that Christ has not come to us; however, beyond Christ, there is no salvation or redemption. 

EWTN: I want to make reference to the contemporary challenges that face the family.  One of these challenges is the so-called “gender theory” or “gender-mainstreaming.” Archbishop, you have personally experienced communism.  Do you see similarities between the emergence of cultural Marxism today and that of communism from the past, against which the family and marriage fought?

GADECKI: Surely, there is something in common. There is a present similarity between these two trends because both communism and post-communist leftist movements hold no value with respect to the human person. In other words, they do not respect the human person and its value like Christianity does; these movements attempt to ruin all interpersonal relationships. Communism wanted to break up the society by class and by the solidarity of the class, and also antagonize one against another. And now this is happening through another, more subtle intrusion – the tenets of gender: the questioning of correctness of the existence of marriage and family; the destruction of the institution of marriage; and family as “oppressive,” which contributes against the growth of humanity and its existence would reduce humanity. Therefore, I think there are different instruments and different methodologies, but the goal is the same: the pulverization of the society so that the human person stays alone and people can boldly and more skillfully manipulate humanity.

EWTN: Archbishop, do you then mean that this more subtle theory is also considerably more dangerous?

GADECKI: No doubt. Humanity has not oriented itself very quickly to today’s theories, for in the earlier Marxist class systems, humanity knew that injustice was in the theories. And if today one were to talk about gender – that humanity is different and that there are different cultures, then one would be fishing for something that appears very worthwhile, say treating each person individually on a subjective basis, which, by the way, is the foundation of individualism. In other words, when genderism enters the room, it is about a pure ideology, which actually tries to destroy marital and familial relationships evincing the society that many want to create is classless. 

EWTN: How can the Church counteract “gender-mainstreaming” and the cultural “Marxism?”

GADECKI: I think that this can be counteracted through the doctrine of the true Christian teaching: that which makes people conscious of the value of the human person, about the splendor of marriage and family, about love and responsibility, which is connected to the whole, about everything that is, up to this point, present in the teaching of the Church. The responsiveness and assistance, which the Church can render towards marriage and family, establishes that the Church has an anthropology that corresponds to humanity. And by teaching and remembering this, the Church accomplishes a big step forward toward this situation, which Pope Francis called a “field hospital.” She takes on the role of the “field hospital” where the broken are brought to be healed. This healing does not often succeed because the human person today can be so closed in his individualism that he does not allow any other thought to approach him besides his own opinions and convictions. There are also certainly other difficulties that we need to be aware of like a good preparation for marriage and family – that those who enter into marriage are made aware that it isn’t about “folklore” such as flowers, music and pictures, but that they are entering into a sacrament, which is inseparable and indissoluble. Particularly, it seems that a good marriage preparation includes an exploration of the couple’s faith, or if they actually have any faith.  For if they have no faith, their entrance into marriage will be hurt, and the sacrament will never arrive at its fulfillment, even though Christ ceaselessly accompanies them with His grace. Those are some possible ways to help marriages and families. The differences between then and now of the teaching of the Church, in view of this, entails that people then had prepared earlier, closer and more direct preceding the wedding, in contrast with today in which the preparation is for marriage until death, for continual accompaniment until death.  And in this preparation, a particular change occurred: back then people held the idea that the priest was assumed to be the one to help the couple prepare for the wedding and accompany them in various ways. However, the discourse today, especially in the first part of the Synod, is that there has to be a much stronger Christian involvement with families. These Christian marriages in parishes should engage in helping struggling families and be an example of a life and show others that it is possible to live in a relationship in which there is fidelity, in which there is an indissoluble bond, and in which there is also, at the same time, love, which is inwardly and outwardly expressed. 




EWTN: Genderism and cultural Marxism are political challenges that we face today. Another challenge is the economization of marriages; in other words, when talking about both partners in a marriage, there is an internal economization of marriage just as there is an external economization. In what way can the Church act in order to support marriages in light of this challenge?

GADECKI: I think that the basic type of support lies in drawing attention to the fact that the human person has priority over everything else, including the economy, culture, politics, and anything else. The human person is the reference point of the Church. If this is so, the human person is not at the service of the economy; rather, the economy is to serve people.  If you take the present situation and look closely, one notices the full subordination of the family to other things such as the economy – each family member under the economy. We presently find examples of this in corporations, where people are maximally exploited because in this economy, it is about nothing but massive profits, in principle. You can indeed talk about cultural changes, but that does not have a greater meaning.  In this case, it is mainly about beating out even more money. 

EWTN: Marriage is certainly not a commodity…

GADECKI: And marriage is not a commodity. And if we now subordinate marriage and family to the economy, we have actually ruined marriage because so long as it brings in profit, it will be exploited by the economy. If this subordination would no longer bring in profit, then we would leave what remains from marriage. And as a result, the subordination ends.

EWTN: How can the church make people more cognizant of this problem?

GADECKI: If anything, by the social teaching of the Church as opposed to anything else. People need to be made aware that the human person has more value in what the person is rather than in what the person has. That is the philosophical thought taken up and renewed by Pope John Paul II, who spoke to marriages and families. For if they are only geared towards quick economic development, great damage is done unto the family. We have many examples of that today – of young, intelligent, educated people; also women, who begin their professional life and are exploited by their employers – corporations – until the very end. They tell me of a reoccurring phenomenon; namely, that people work 12 or 14 hours daily, sit until late at night in the office working, and this life works out for a few years. After a good education and a nice salary, it works out. And then after a while it begins to go downhill, and they begin to take drugs to procure the daily rhythm.  And after a certain time, this will be noticeable and they are thrown away like trash. Then the next person comes in and makes the same mistakes and goes out the same way. If we accept such a subordinate criteria for the economy, we undoubtedly ruin marriage and the family. And now I hear that the newest sociological studies have turned the situation around, and now people are beginning to say that a married woman in the workplace is much more valuable than an unmarried woman. In other words, they are more valuable than those who are “single” and have put everything into a full career. Those who are married women and mothers are much more responsible, plan better, can better allot their energy, and are simply more valuable to their respective institutions than those who are not married and don’t have families. The criteria changes, the situation changes, and the Church should not run after every concern just to ultimately sit back with empty hands.

EWTN: Another source of challenges comes from the media and their images of relationships, family, and marriage on the Internet and in television. How can the Church react to these challenges?

GADECKI: Yes, that’s true. The image of marriage and family in the media is a tragedy. What is mostly depicted as “marriage” by the media has nothing to do with Christianity. That is the view of the actors on life, which is later transferred and projected to the society. People, who perhaps, shall we say, are somewhat simple, receive these programs unresponsively, especially television programs. And after a while, they begin to mimic these behaviors that they see: adultery, infidelity, exchange of partners, the drive for success, lust, glamour and so on. Like it or not, the media destroys marriage. Of course it cannot be said universally that all of media does so, but in the majority, I think. It is not only a plan that the media deploys, but also something that corresponds to the nature of the media because the television media especially has a narrow perspective of reality and can only show this narrow view of reality – only what can pass through the camera lens.  On this account, so it appears to me, the nature of the media is itself a fraud. 

EWTN: Where can Catholics find good examples?

GADECKI: I think that in this moment, we convince ourselves more and more that if there were not a strong Catholic media, people would find themselves in a hopeless situation. And thus, in reading today, tons of books, even good books, are published that nobody wants to read, and – let’s put it this way – they are not especially big academic books for which one requires a certain preparation; rather, they are popular works about marriage, the family, about children that nobody wants to read.  That’s why I think that if people have already fallen into this view, we must at least attempt to show the fuller reality in Catholic media, through which people are encouraged to strive for what is “above” so that they will not be pulled down – like the media – into the deep abyss; rather, that they turn back towards the “Spirit.”  So that they don’t live, as St. Paul said, striving for the body, but they strive for the “Spirit.”         

EWTN: A consequence of the many negative examples is a huge lack of knowledge, even among the laity in the Church, on what marriage is, what the family is, what’s behind them, and despite catechesis in Germany, and perhaps partly in Poland too, this lack of knowledge seems to be catastrophic. What can the Church do so that Catholics are aware of what they should believe?

GADECKI: Yes. I would begin the answer here by saying that the lack of knowledge of the teachings on marriage is not greater than the lack of knowledge about some other topic. Today, we could say, it’s sufficient just to go to school, and when the school year begins, the children have already forgotten what they learned the previous year. 




The schooling of children is a terribly complicated matter, very complicated and very difficult. It reaches some, but for others it does not, bypassing them into oblivion and is eventually washed out. One completes a college education as a great expert of one specific narrow field, but everything else appears of little importance or essence to his work. Something similar is happening with Catholic teaching. One learns the catechism from grammar school to high school and even through college, in campus ministry. And from this comes the common tragic result: someone heard something somewhere but does not know what it’s about. Therefore, we have to take care of the teaching of priests who preach, but in relation to television, that’s nothing – practically a couple of minutes compared to many hours of the impact of television, but the situation is not hopeless. For if, say, a person takes this interest up, then he goes back later and searches on his own.  Today, the Internet is, on one hand, an abyss, and on the other, we could say, an encyclopedia of knowledge, perhaps not the highest, but at least something simpler that can also be used for Catholic teaching. In Poland, the Church websites and those of church organizations and groups are very rich.

EWTN: Also with regards to marriage?

GADECKI: Yes, the whole apostolic teaching office is translated into Polish and accessible. Also accessible are all of the texts from Paul VI, John Paul II, as well as Pope Benedict XVI, and his Opera Omnia, which have been published by the Catholic University of Lublin. So whoever feels the desire can arrive at the source. 

EWTN: Must the Church offer marriage preparation courses and do they need to be intensified during married life?

GADECKI: Yes, this is also a problem that these marriage preparation courses, so to say, do not have the character of the completion of office work; rather, that they give a solid foundation for marriage and family. We are also thinking of another form. We are preparing it, and a certain part of it – adult catechesis – has already been done knowing that the catechesis does not bring the children and youth much because it will actually be ruined by the parents, most frequently by their behavior or by apathy in contrary to what the children have learned. So we have to give more attention to adult catechesis in various forms, the simplest being sacramental catechesis. When their child is Baptized, receives first Holy Communion, or is Confirmed, the catechesis won’t be about the children but about the situation of the parents – how they are and what they can do to become closer to Christ. 

EWTN: In your opinion, Archbishop, when we look full of hope towards the future, in what areas should the Church be especially present in order to support marriages and families? What are the fields?  Media?  Marriage preparation courses?

GADECKI: I think media, catechesis, ordinary teaching, publications, all these manners – also Catholic readings, Catholic press – are good and at a good standard.  They are all the means that the Church disposes of.  In relation to the prewar times, they are smaller in number.  Back then, during the time between wars, the Catholic press was strong, tremendously strong, but compared to today, we can say that the quality has risen.

EWTN: And what about the groups in which married couples can actually meet?

GADECKI: There are certainly more family support groups… for us the domestic church is highly developed. In other words, there are people who have been through a liturgical-pastoral preparation led by the Oasis movement of Fr. Blachnitzki and have just married and are now forming church groups in homes among families. In Germany, these similar types of groups also exist, in which families form particular circles, meet, support each other and travel with the children together. Something similar happens here as special attention is given to the immersion into the doctrine. There is also Equipes Notre Dame and other movements that support families. There is certainly reassurance especially from young married people who have a need for such support. 

EWTN: I want to go back again to the question about people in irregular situations who live according to the doctrine of the Church.  How should the Church take care of these people so that they are still present in the Church since this relationship to the Church often falters?

GADECKI: The Synod has principally directed attention to this: to those who are separated; to those who are divorced but not committing themselves to a new relationship; to those who are divorced and committing themselves to a new civil relationship. All of these situations are essentially different and the Church should approach each in a different way. Those who live in separation are strengthened by and encouraged to receive Holy Communion because clearly, let’s put it this way – they live in a situation that does not challenge the sacramental relationship in the sense that there is no dissolution of the indissoluble relationship. Then similarly with those who are divorced but not committed to a new relationship, they also have the right to receive Holy Communion. Often, they don’t know that at all. Those who are divorced and committed to a new relationship must also know that, contrary to what many think, the Church is not closed to them, although it cannot give permission to receive Holy Communion since this is an expression of a full relationship with Christ. They are invited to hear the Word of God, to attend Mass, to engage in charitable works, and to support other families. There are places in the Church in which divorcees who live in new civil relationships can be valuable to themselves and to others.

EWTN: How strongly engaged can people, who are divorced and have remarried, be engaged in the life of the parish? We’re talking about service as perhaps a lector or catechist who prepares children for first Holy Communion. Presently, the Church sees no such possibilities. 

GADECKI: That is a difficult issue, since we have here not only the question of the impossibility of receiving Holy Communion, but also the representation of the Church in these demanding ministries. For example, the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion cannot be anyone who is divorced and in a new civil relationship because they would be, in a way, an anti-witness, but he or she can be, say, very helpful and be likewise realized in charitable works. 




He or she can of course teach, but as we fundamentally say in Poland, he or she should not be a catechist since this is a sort of challenge to witness, of authentic witness. So certain functions, not limited only to Holy Communion, needing a legitimate witness, should not be assumed by divorcees living in a new marital relationship.

EWTN: I want to direct attention to the question about children who are often the first victim when a relationship fails, when the parents separate. Must the church increase her attention to and raise her voices for the children?

GADECKI: Of course. Since what practically exists in divorce is some kind of egoism of the adults. They look at themselves, the impossibility of the two people living together, and at the attempts that led to nothing, but they don’t look a bit at the child. Indeed, a great success of the first Synod was the discussion of homosexual persons – that the problem of homosexuals adopting children is a small example of the rights of the child. Thus, not only do adults have rights, but children have theirs as well. And children have the right to be raised in a complementary family with a mother and a father.  In a nutshell: children are not toys in the hands of adults that please them once and then can be thrown away.

EWTN: That means that it is also about the responsibility of the parents.

GADECKI: Yes, responsibility. In the case that they resort to divorce, the children wander from one parent to the other as the court decides, and no longer have an example of a good and healthy relationship. And with high likelihood, it will clearly be more difficult for them to start their own family because every little difficulty leads to them letting go of relationships and will search out the next person to exploit.

EWTN: When it comes to the Polish church, is she bright, clear and also faithful to the doctrinal teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI?  Does Pope Francis exactly know the standpoint of the Polish Church?

GADECKI: I think he knows it because in practice, the participation of the Polish Church at the first Synod was rather loud. We clearly said that we hold ourselves to and do not deviate from the traditional doctrine of the Church just like the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I think that everyone who reads what Pope Benedict XVI said to the Roman Rota from 2007 to 2013 finds therein the teaching that can’t be inverted. That is really brilliant teaching – a truly brilliant teaching – under which one should be subordinated and which one should accept. One should not submit to the streams and tendencies of the new age because the streams will be one thing today and another tomorrow. And the mission of the Church is not to run after the world, but to guide the world and show it the right path. I spoke of this last time here in Thorn at the Crowning of Mary. In a way, the Church takes on the role of a GPS-Navigation system for the human person.  I mean that wherever the person is located, wherever he’s gone astray, or has fallen, it suffices that he connects with the Church, and she will show him the way to the goal regardless of what place in the world he is in and regardless of what spiritual situation he finds himself in. 

EWTN: Does that also mean that there can be no compromises given out that would not be faithful to Doctrine?

GADECKI: I don’t see a possibility to create a compromise between truth and falsity.  Which compromise could even be given between truth and falsity?

EWTN: A final question with regard to the future: Archbishop, what hopes do you have for the coming Synod?

GADECKI: I think on one side, it will confirm the one teaching we know and that is not an invention of this or any pope, rather is the one of the Church. That is the great stream of the intellectual efforts of the Church and of the faith of the Church. On the other side, it will show how in new ways we can realize the vocation to marriage and family in greater fidelity to Christ and in which way within the Church, which is composed of many different people with various vocations, can be given support through communion. Today, the human person is more exposed to intense pressure and finds himself in a much more secularized world than earlier. In this support, the Church helps the human person not lose itself in the whole. For it is not only a question, to put it this way, of whether or not I take the right steps in life; rather, it is a question about eternity.



Synod Interventions of Archbishops Kurtz and Chaput

By Edward Pentin, October 9, 2015

Here below are the complete texts of the “expanded intervention” released by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, Ky., and president of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, and that of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.

The two American synod fathers, who made their interventions public in accordance with the synod rules, gave their three minute interventions in the opening sessions of the Synod on the Family that runs until Oct. 25.


Abp. Kurtz’s intervention: My hope for the Synod: Calling forth and forming missionary families in Christ

“In one of Pope Francis’ weekly reflections on marriage and the family leading up to the synod on the family, he spoke of the need “to give back a leading role to the family that listens to the word of God and puts it into practice” (Sept. 2, 2015). This theme — of giving leadership to the family – is also raised in the working document for the synod, which described the family as “an essential agent in the work of evangelization” and as having a “missionary identity” (“Instrumentum Laboris” 2, 5).




I believe that a priority of the church, both at the synod and beyond, must be to call forth the indispensable witness of Christian families, and to form families to live their missionary vocation. In other words, the family should not only receive the Church’s pastoral care (though it is essential that proper care be offered), but should also actively participate in the Church’s mission. To that end, I propose two considerations.

First, we must trust in and announce anew the powerful, redemptive grace of Jesus Christ. Our way forward must always look to him with confidence. In the sacrament of marriage, Jesus himself abides with Christian spouses. The Holy Spirit penetrates the life of the spouses who are consecrated and equipped for their mission. We must trust in God’s grace as we help Christian husbands and wives embrace and live the truth of the sacrament they have received.

Second, as the synod seeks to offer concrete solutions to the many difficulties families face, we must enlist the help of the family itself in a very deliberate way and provide families with the formation they need to be active agents of evangelization.

We need families who can witness — even through their own wounds and difficulties — to the beauty of marriage and family life. The need for such families was made clear by Pope Francis in his homily at the opening Mass of the synod (Oct. 4, 2015). He pointed out a paradox: People today often ridicule the plan of God for marriage and family, but at the same time they “continue to be attracted and fascinated by every authentic love, by every steadfast love, by every fruitful love, by every faithful and enduring love.” Families who by the grace of God model tenderness, forgiveness and the joy of family life make marriage credible and show that the Gospel of the family is truly good news.

Evangelizing as a family is done in the very midst of family life, “a place where evangelical holiness is lived out in the most ordinary conditions” (Pope Francis, address at prayer vigil for the synod, Oct. 3, 2015). Missionary families reach out to others. They can participate in the church’s mission as a field hospital, described beautifully by Pope Francis as: “doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support … to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer” (homily, Oct. 4, 2015).

How do we promote this compelling vision of missionary families? Solid formation and support for families are essential. Just as the local church invests years of effort into future priests’ education and preparation for ministry, so, too, must we offer intentional and ongoing formation so that the family can truly live its missionary identity. Important here would be small groups of families who encourage each other in the ups and downs of family life and strong connections between the church in the parish and the church in the home (the domestic church).

Moving forward, I also believe the way we speak is important. We must not speak only “about” the family, but also “to and with” the family. We must “learn from the family, readily acknowledging its dignity, its strength and its value, despite all its problems and difficulties” (Pope Francis, address at prayer vigil, Oct. 3, 2015). Families face challenges and are wounded, yes, but they also possess incredible vitality and strength.

In sum, my hope is that the synod takes up and furthers the vision of families as active agents of evangelization and missionaries, especially to other families. Even more, I hope that one fruit of the synod is increased attention to calling forth, forming and supporting families in their missionary vocation. Let us give back a leading role to the Christian family. In Christ is our confidence.”


Archbishop Chaput’s intervention: Marriage as a Witness to Hope


The Instrumentum seemed to present us with two conflicting views: pastoral despair or a decision to hope. When Jesus experienced the pastoral despair of his Apostles, he reminded them that for man a thing may seem impossible, but for God all things are possible.

In mastering nature for the purpose of human development, we human beings have wounded our oceans and the air we breathe. We’ve poisoned the human body with contraceptives. And we’ve scrambled the understanding of our own sexuality. In the name of individual fulfillment, we’ve busied ourselves with creating a new Babel of tyranny that feeds our desires but starves the soul.

Paragraphs 7-10 of the Instrumentum did a good job of describing the condition of today’s families. But overall, the text engenders a subtle hopelessness. This leads to a spirit of compromise with certain sinful patterns of life and the reduction of Christian truths about marriage and sexuality to a set of beautiful ideals — which then leads to surrendering the redemptive mission of the Church.

The work of this synod needs to show much more confidence in the Word of God, the transformative power of grace, and the ability of people to actually live what the Church believes. And it should honor the heroism of abandoned spouses who remain faithful to their vows and the teaching of the Church.

George Bernanos said that the virtue of hope is “despair, overcome.” We have no reason to despair. We have every reason to hope. Pope Francis saw this himself in Philadelphia. Nearly 900,000 people crowded the streets for the papal Mass that closed the World Meeting of Families.

They were there because they love the Pope, but also because they believe in marriage. They believe in the family. And they were hungry to be fed by real food from the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

We need to call people to perseverance in grace and to trust in the greatness God intended for them — not confirm them in their errors. Marriage embodies Christian hope – hope made flesh and sealed permanently in the love of a man and a woman.

This synod needs to preach that truth more clearly with the radical passion of the Cross and Resurrection.”



Synod document is supposed ‘to be martyred’, says Cardinal Tagle

By Catholic News Service, October 9, 2015

The working document of the family synod is meant to be ripped apart, Cardinal Luis Tagle has said, at the end of the first week of the synod of bishops.

After criticism from some quarters, the Filipino cardinal said: “In fact it is called a martyred document, it must be ready to be martyred, to be shot. Otherwise there is no point in calling 300 people (to Rome) just to say, ‘Yes, this is it.'”

The first week of the Synod on the family ended with near unanimous calls to be more positive in describing family life today and to show more appreciation for Catholic families living close to the church’s ideals. But there were also widespread questions among synod participants about the work they are expected to produce. After listening to speeches and working in small groups all week, synod participants listened to the small group reports today.

“At times our work has seemed more muddled than methodical,” wrote Australian
Archbishop Mark Coleridge
on behalf of the synod’s English Group C. “Our hope is that focus, if not perfect clarity, will emerge as the synod unfolds and we become more assured about both task and method.”

During a press briefing today Cardinal Tagle of Manila, one of the synod presidents, told reporters that changes in the synod’s method created some confusion, especially for members who have attended past synods and were accustomed to drawing up a list of propositions to give to the pope. Instead, they have been asked to amend the synod’s working document.

The speeches in the synod hall the first week and the discussions in the small groups focused on the first chapter of the working document; all the small group reports offered suggestions for improving the text while some criticized it harshly, saying much of the text was “flawed,” “inadequate, especially in its theology,” and too Western-centric. But, the cardinal said, it was meant to be ripped apart.

The working document includes input from so many different people that the main aim in drafting it was to get everyone’s opinion in and not to produce “a synthetic, cohesive treatise on the vocation and mission of the family,” said Cardinal Tagle, who helped draft the text.

The criticism, therefore, was expected and is “very much welcome,” he added. Almost all the groups insisted whatever document the synod produced at the end would need to be clear, simple and realistic.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told reporters at the briefing that his small group called for a text using understandable words that “inspired and attract.”

“If marriage is a vocation, which we believe it is, we can’t promote vocations by talking first about its problems,” said the report of English Group D, chaired by Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto with Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia serving as secretary.

Several groups also insisted the document should include more quotations from Scripture, a clearer reaffirmation of church teaching and, according to one Italian group, ample citations from early church theologians.

Cardinal Tagle said even though the text would be rooted in the Bible, the language used should be “more edifying or encouraging,” and less verbose. There was a recognition that a final document would have to avoid so-called “Church-speak,” especially if it was going to speak to young people whose formation might not be so sophisticated, he said. But because it is a work in progress, “We will see what will happen.”

Another Italian group, Group A, said its members want a document using “formulas that from the beginning leave no doubt that the only model of family that corresponds to church doctrine is that founded on the marriage of one man and one woman.”

Like the other groups, French Group C insisted the synod find the right language and tone to speak of the family. “There is a danger in talking about ‘family’ in the abstract, as a reality that is external to us,” the members said. But, in fact, the families the bishops are talking about include the families formed by the bishops’ own parents, their brothers and sisters, cousins and nieces and nephews.

The bishops, the French group wrote, also are people of faith and pastors; faith in Jesus and concern for people in their family lives must be clear in what the synod produces.

French Group A said the synod’s text “must adopt a tone that promotes dialogue with our contemporaries.”

At the same time, the group reported, “we are aware that these next two weeks will not be enough” to complete thoroughly the work the synod has been asked to do.

English Group C agreed. “To address the many issues that we have discussed will take more than the first week or even the three weeks of the synod. A longer journey stretches before us, just as an earlier journey has led us to this point — not just from late 2013 when Pope Francis announced the journey of the two synods but from the Second Vatican Council and all that led to it.”

Several groups also urged the synod to discuss “gender theory,” which argues that male and female characteristics are not biologically determined but are malleable social constructs.

Italian Group A said the synod must point out “the risks of gender ideology as well as its negative impact on educational programs in many countries.”

French Group C explained that sociologists and philosophers developed gender theories in an attempt “to analyze certain human and social phenomena to enrich our understanding of the world. But when these theories become absolute, they tend to produce a single thought system that tries to sweep away everything in its path. In seeking to impose a point of view that denies the relationship between gender and the sexual being that we are in our bodies,” it denies what is “most noble and humanising” in the family , parenting and human love.



Group Discernment versus Groupthink

By James Martin, SJ, October 9, 2015

The Synod on the Family has seen many observers and participants expressing almost daily frustration over the apparent confusion in, or “confusing signals” being sent by: the synod as a whole, the freewheeling media conferences and even the very process. One small group called the “Instrumentum Laboris,” that is, the working document, “chaotic.” Other small groups expressed a more general fear about “confusion” at the synod. Last year, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that he feared that any “confusion” that might come from the synod, and how it is perceived, is “of the devil.” Stakes are even higher now that some have hinted that Pope Francis would not produce an “apostolic exhortation,” which often smooths over differences, but rather that the synod’s final report may be the last word on the recent deliberations on important issues in the church.

As with many aspects of Pope Francis’ leadership, his approach to the synod may best be understood through his background as a Jesuit. For example, his initial selection of a group of nine advisers, the so-called “G-9,” which surprised most Vaticanologists, who wondered why the pope wouldn’t rely on the heads of major congregations, made perfect sense to Jesuits. They grasped that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., was simply doing what every Jesuit provincial does: selecting a group of “consultors” from outside the normal chains of command to advise him. 

Here, while the pope’s approach to the synod is familiar to Jesuits and their colleagues, it may be unfamiliar to participants and observers. It is called group discernment, or communal discernment, and it is by its very nature is messy, confusing and even chaotic.

Discernment is the overall term used by Jesuits and their colleagues to describe the way that decisions are made in a prayerful way. St. Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuit founder, lays out many of these methods in his classic text The Spiritual Exercises. At heart, the process begins with the belief that God wants a person, or a group, to make good, healthy and life-giving decisions; and through the “discernment of spirits,” that is, sorting out what is coming from God and what is not, one gains clarity into the best path. God therefore both wants and enables individuals and groups to arrive at good decisions.

Group discernment is the discernment process when it involves two or more people. But some of the elements of group discernment, which can be complicated and even counterintuitive, may be unfamiliar for participants in the synod, as well as for many observers and commentators. This is not only because previous synods were more restricted in their ability to discuss topics as openly, but that certain elements of group discernment are challenging even for those who have had long experience with the process.

Group discernment requires the following of all the participants.

1.) Freedom. At the heart of every group discernment is the idea that everyone should be “indifferent,” that is, radically free to follow God’s will wherever it may lead. Of course, as St. Ignatius indicates in the Exercises, prior commitments and fidelity to church teachings are essential, but one cannot be “attached” to anything that would prevent the Spirit of God from moving freely through the group. St. Ignatius speaks of “disordered attachments,” fealty to things, ideas and people (likewise, to status and reputation) that prevents one from thinking, speaking and acting freely. The most essential element of group discernment is this absolutely radical freedom.

This may create tension among those who feel that any movement away from the status quo is in opposition to fidelity to the church or that change itself would cause confusion. That is, some may feel that attachments not only to church teaching but also to the status quo are valuable. In group discernment, by contrast, unnecessary attachments are to be released. Freedom is paramount.

2.) Complete openness. This was hinted at by the pope’s speech to the first session, in 2014, in which he encouraged parrhesia, a bold openness and freedom of speech. “Let no one say, ‘This you cannot say,” he told the assembled bishops. The key idea is that the Spirit is at work in the sometimes confusing and chaotic discussions and, more importantly, through every participant. Group discernment calls for a willingness to be open with one’s thoughts and feelings, and also to be open to another person’s thoughts and feelings, no matter how threatening they may seem. Moreover, in a group discernment it may be the least likely person or group through whom the Spirit moves most strongly.

This may be in tension with those who feel that those with the most authority, learning or experience naturally have the correct “answer.” (In fact, in group discernment the “answer” is the goal not the starting point.) It may also be in tension with the fear of being open out of worry that someone may consider a person on the “wrong” side of things. Finally, it may be in tension with a kind of “groupthink” that prevents a person from expressing an opinion at odds with the majority of the group.

3.) Patience. The Spirit blows where it will. It takes its time for people to offer their reflections, for questions, for discussion, for clarifications, for prayer and for discernment. The Holy Spirit cannot be rushed. So it may take days for a decision that was expected to take hours, and weeks for a decision that was expected in a day.

This may be in tension with the timetable imposed naturally on a group of busy participants.

4.) Significant time for prayer. An essential element of group discernment is group prayer, but also private prayer–and large blocks of it. And following that, for discussions with the group about what has occurred in one’s prayer (as each feels comfortable). Group discernment means bringing before God what one feels about the discussions of the day, examining carefully what lingering resistance there may be in hearing another person’s opinions, being willing to share the fruits of prayer honestly, and also asking God for help. All this takes time.

Again, this may be in tension with the timetable imposed on a busy group, as well as perhaps a fear of openness about one’s personal prayer.



5.) Confirmation. After a decision has been made by the group, St. Ignatius expects the participants involved to feel a feeling of what he calls “confirmation,” a sense of peace or rightness. Confirmation is notoriously difficult to define. But it is an essential part of the process. It is not relief that a process is over, much less elation that your side has “won.” You aren’t happy with the decision simply because your argument has carried the day, or even because you are content that everyone seems pleased with the outcome. Rather, after all the voices have been heard, and true clarity that has emerged, you experience a confirming peace that is itself a gift from God. It is, if you will, God’s “indication” that the group is on the right path. One feels in concord with God’s desires because one is in concord with God’s desires. As I said, Ignatius expected confirmation of a decision.

This especially subtle aspect of discernment is not so much in tension with any aspect of the synod, but may simply be unfamiliar to the participants. 

As I listen to the participants and observers who seem to fear “confusion” and “chaos,” I hear a natural fear of what many Jesuits are used to doing. But, as I said, it’s natural. Even for Jesuits group discernment is difficult and frustrating: for it requires freedom, openness, patience, time for prayer and an understanding of confirmation.

But in my estimation, unless the participants are invited to see the synod as a form of a group discernment, there will continue to be a clash of cultures, and frustration on all sides.




English synod group A’s report: full text – The full report of Circulus Anglicus ‘A’

October 9, 2015


English synod group B’s report: full text – The full report of Circulus Anglicus ‘B’

October 9, 2015


English synod group C’s report: full text – The full report of Circulus Anglicus ‘C’

October 9, 2015



Report: Homosexual Propaganda Being Circulated at the Synod

By Steve Skojec, Rome, October 10, 2015

The Toronto Catholic Witness blog has been providing an invaluable service to the English-speaking Catholic world with their translations of the Synod reports being published by Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki. Today, Abp. Gadecki revealed another major piece of information about what’s happening at the Synod when he reported that pro-homosexual propaganda is being distributed. FromTCW:


Who is allowing this? 

How did this pro-homosexual propaganda get in?  

Just who are the homosexualists in the Vatican? Are they practicing homosexuals? 

Are they Cardinals? Archbishops? Are they bishops, mid-level homosexual infiltrators like the self-outed Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa? 

Just how many are involved in this powerful, malignant homo-lobby? 

Catholics have a right to know!

The screenshot of the Archbishop’s blog: 



Toronto Catholic Witness translation:

“One of the Catholic publications that was distributed during the Synod, was written by women theologians justifying homosexual unions”



This is a tightly-controlled Synod. We’ve received reports that even certain Catholic journalists have had difficulty with their press passes. How is propaganda of this nature being circulated unless it’s by someone on the inside?

Let’s hope that whoever is responsible is identified and held accountable – if not by the Synod fathers, then by the Catholic press and bloggers who are covering the event.



Synod. One Tweet Does Not a Summer Make

The work of the assembly has never been so secretive. Useless news served up by the official channels. Nonexistent translations for fathers who don’t know Italian. The symbolic gesture of rupture from the Polish bishops
By Sandro Magister, Rome, October 10, 2015

That right from the beginning there was dissatisfaction among the synod fathers over how the procedures of the synod had been established was no mystery. And in fact, some of them have immediately raised a protest, in the first of the general congregations, held like the others behind closed doors.
Vatican Council II had already shown how control over the procedures is a decisive factor in governing and steering an assembly.
In order to silence the protest, on the morning of the second day of the synod Pope Francis spoke in person. He took ownership of the decision over the procedures adopted, and asked the fathers “not to give in to the conspiracy hermeneutic, which is sociologically weak and spiritually does not help.”
But it took a tweet from a Jesuit member of the synod, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” to get the news of these exact words of Francis, which authorized spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, also a Jesuit, had held back from citing in summarizing the pope’s remarks for the press.
Pressed by journalists the next day, Fr. Lombardi said that he had not reported those words and also did not want to deny them, because “I follow precise criteria in communication, so it is not the case that I have to say everything that anyone might think needs to be said.”
And with this the director of the Vatican press office candidly admitted that he too – like the other official spokesmen of the synod – is under precise rules of engagement to which he must adhere.
One revealing episode of how the machinery of the synod has been overhauled since Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been pope, at his behest.
With the previous popes as well, the synods were held behind closed doors. Every day, however, journalists were provided with a list of all of the fathers who spoke, together with summaries of their remarks written by the authors themselves, which “L’Osservatore Romano” also published daily.
Moreover, for accredited journalists divided into linguistic groups there were briefings every day with authorized spokesmen who provided more details on the unfolding of the discussion.
None of this in the two synods convened by Pope Francis. Journalists are given only the names of the fathers who spoke, plus a summary list of the issues addressed, but without ever saying who said what.
Which is useless material for anyone who wants to reconstruct the real development of the synod. But this is what Francis wants, as he himself has said more than once.
The synod fathers are not bound by these same constraints. Each one, if he wishes, can make his remarks public. Or give interviews. Or recount to those who would like to hear it what happens in the assembly. But it is evident that this disorganized liberality is different from providing journalists with complete and impartial documentation every day.
In the absence of adequate, systematic information on the part of the Holy See, a core group of synod fathers has decided to do on their own, spontaneously, what the organization of the synod refuses to do.
On Thursday, October 8, the website of the Polish episcopal conference published a detailed account in French of the 42 presentations in the assembly on the first day of the synod:
Interventions des Peres Synodaux. Deuxième Assemblée Générale

This is how it became known, for example, that Belgian bishop Johan Jozef Bonny has called for “an appreciation of the positive elements of civil unions” and for “wiggle room for the local bishops.”
That newly created cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán has asked Peter, meeting the pope, “to be just as merciful as Moses,” who granted divorce for the “hard of heart.”
But that Belarusian archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz has objected to them that “giving the sacraments to the divorced and remarried is accepting divorce” and that in any case this was not the moment to speak about it, but in the third week of the synod as established in the working agenda.
It has become known that German cardinal Reinhard Marx has said that he was negatively “astonished by the introductory talk of Cardinal Péter Erdö.”
While on the contrary Venezuelan cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino “thanked Erdö for the beautiful text of the presentation.”
Canadian archbishop Paul André Durocher has thoroughly criticized the first part of the “Instrumentum Laboris” – the base document of the discussion, reconfirmed as such by the pope –  because it is “purely sociological” and therefore to be “completed in a perspective of faith.”


And Australian cardinal George Pell has made the same criticism, afterward taking aim at the procedures imposed at the synod and asking polemically: “Why has the commission that will draft the final relation of the synod been set up like this?,” knowing very well that it was the pope who chose the members of the commission, with an overwhelming prevalence of innovators.
It is only thanks to the Polish bishops, therefore, that there has come a more detailed picture of the tempestuous discussion that drove Pope Francis, the next morning, to intervene.
There are five Polish cardinals and bishops at the synod, and they move as a closely-knit team, of a decisively “conservative” stamp, as shown by the collective position statement published in six languages before the synod on the website of the episcopal conference:

Position of the Polish Bishops before the Synod
Many were naively wondering if their initiative of publishing the detailed account of the first day of the work would induce the secretariat of the synod, and ultimately the pope, to ensure more adequate media coverage of the event.
What has really happened is that the Polish bishops have removed that page from their site, after the remonstrances in the assembly of Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the synod.
Then there is another change in the organization of synods that has come with Pope Francis, also concerning media coverage but even more the work in the assembly.
Before Francis, the synods turned the Vatican into a feverish work zone. A squadron of dozens of translators, many of them called in from outside of Italy, were put to work 24 hours a day to ensure instantaneous availability of all the synodal texts in several languages, and that meant all of them, from the introductory talk to the reports of the “circuli minores” to the final propositions, including written summaries of all the remarks in the assembly.
Today not even a trace of this workshop remains. The introductory talk by Cardinal Péter Erdö – although it was recognized as being of capital importance by those in favor and those opposed – was read in the assembly in Italian. And so it has remained, in spite of the fact that many of the 270 synod fathers are far from comfortable with the language of Dante. If a complete translation in English was put online a few hours later, this was the work not of the Vatican offices but of Catholic News Agency in the United States:
Full text of Cardinal Erdõ’s introductory report
Many of the fathers fear that the same thing will happen to the reports of the smaller linguistic groups, each one produced in the respective language and destined to remain so, without any sort of translation.
But the worst will come with the final relation, to be voted on point by point in the frenetic finishing touches of the synod. “If it is read and put to the vote only in Italian, many of us are at risk of not being really sure of what we will be voting on,” Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput complained at a press conference.
The same thing happened at the synod of October 2014. Not to mention the foul play behind the scenes while the work was in full swing, when those who had control over the procedures – the special secretariat of the synod in the first place – took advantage of this to produce that ill-fated document which bore the title of “Relatio post disceptationem,” afterward unmasked in public by Cardinal Erdö himself and demolished by the subsequent discussions in the assembly:
The True Story of This Synod. Director, Performers, Assistants (17.10.2014)
A more detailed reconstruction of that and other maneuvers is in this eBook by Edward Pentin, published by Ignatius Press:
The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?
The “conspiracy hermeneutic” against which Pope Francis has lashed out is not, unfortunately, without its footholds.
The relation of the thirteen “circuli minores” presented in the assembly on October 9:
Relazioni dei circoli minori sulla prima parte dell'”instrumentum laboris”


Paulist Fathers Call for “Broad” Definition of Family

By Brian
October 10, 2015

The intrusion of moral relativism into the Church continues on yet another front.
This time it is courtesy of the Paulist Fathers.
This priestly society of apostolic life was founded by Father Isaac Hecker and four other Protestant converts in North America in the nineteenth century.

From their website:

The Paulists seek to meet the contemporary culture on its own terms, to present the Gospel message in ways that are compelling but not diluted, so that the fullness of the Catholic faith may lead others to find Christ’s deep peace and “unreachable quietness.” Paulists do not condemn culture, nor do they try to conform the Gospel to it. Rather, we preach the Gospel in new ways and in new forms, so that the deep spiritual longings of the culture might find fulfillment in Jesus Christ. To this end, Paulists use printing presses, movie cameras, and the Internet to give voice to the words of Christ – the Word Himself – to a new generation of Americans.


The Paulists define their mission as one of evangelization, ecumenism, reconciliation and interreligious dialogue. Much of their charism is centered on traveling throughout the country offering the Mass, preaching, and leading retreats and parish missions.



While the Paulists claim that they do not attempt to conform the Gospel to the culture, their recent statement regarding the Synod on the Family tells a different story. Taking a page out of the book of the most progressive delegates to the Synod, the Paulist Fathers now openly advocate for the Church to adopt the errors of the current age. Calling for a more inclusive notion of family they write:


“First and foremost, we think the very definition of “family” ought to be as broad as possible, allowing for traditional as well as contemporary models and cultural differences. While “families” are and rightly ought to be the core building blocks in society, the fact is that real families (i.e., household communities) come in all sizes, shapes, and configurations. The concept of ‘one-size-fits-all’ family ministry seems inadequate, outdated and insufficient. It seems to us that the Synod on the Family ought to listen to the peoples of the world – old and young, married and single, parents and children, those together as well as those estranged or divorced, straight as well as the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and questioning community (LGBTQ). What are their joys and hopes? What are their griefs and anguishes? How might we, as the followers of Christ, help them the most? How can we help the human family and individual human families move forward – humanely, personally, interpersonally and spiritually?”


Mind you, this is their open letter to the synod, their contribution to the current ongoing discussion on the family within the Church. Their view, much like the secular culture, is to redefine the family, embracing the errors of a post-Christian culture. The boldness with which they advocate their recommendations is quite telling of the current ecclesial environment.


Moving along to address the “LGBTQ Persons and Gay Commitments” their statement continues:

“We Paulists find ourselves in the 21st century being called to open our hearts and our church doors to those of the LGBTQ communities. Lesbian women, gay men, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as those still questioning face many challenges: to figure out and accept their own sexual identities, to share their experience with family and loved ones, and to find their place in our society and in the Church. In a traditional theology or philosophy classroom, distinctions concerning human nature, sexual orientation and gender roles seem to be more or less easily mapped out. However, in modern medicine, recent genetics and gender studies, the halls of psychiatry and psychological counseling, in recent jurisprudence, as well as in the interpersonal lives and complexity of real LGBTQ people, these distinctions are less clear, less absolute, and undoubtedly in need of further study and theological discernment.


“It has been our pastoral and personal experience, that members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community are people of good will, deep faith, with an abiding sense of their own Catholicity who have probed the depths of their consciences in their desire for the sacraments. We urge those gathered for the Synod to consider the personal needs, sexual experience, and covenant commitment of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers with the utmost pastoral care and sensitivity.”


This is not the language of repentance, conversion and true mercy. This is nothing less than cultural capitulation and conformity to the false gospel of heterodox prelates.

The Paulists also touch upon the divorced and civilly remarried, advocating for Eucharistic sacrilege:


“When it comes to access to sacraments for such persons, we Paulists, consistent with our tradition, tend to side with those who emphasize that Jesus came as a healer, a physician for those who are ill and in need of care and nourishment. We urge the Synod to consider St. John XXIII’s admonition that the “medicine of mercy,” the Eucharist, is to be freely dispensed. Pope Francis points out that the Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. Medicine and food are meant to heal and nourish. We trust the power of the sacrament to do its healing work. We recommend finding ways to welcome more people to the Eucharist, not to exclude them. Once someone has been fed, they then have the sustenance to accept Christ’s way of life more fully in their lives.”


Notice the manner in which they speak of the Eucharist as a “medicine” for the weak, adopting Kasperite language, when it is mortal sin they are speaking of and not only venial sin. This blurring of theological lines is an assault on both the Sacrament of Matrimony and the Holy Eucharist. It is also completely lacking mercy, as those who receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin bring condemnation upon themselves according to Saint Paul (tragically ironic considering he is the patron of these very same Paulists).

It is unfortunate that this society of apostolic life, professing such erroneous views, are considered to be obedient and in full communion with the Church, while other traditional orders and priestly societies are either decimated, ostracized, or vilified while teaching eternal and immutable truths with clarity and without compromise.



Letters from the Synod: special edition, October 10, 2015

By Xavier Rynne II, October 10, 2015





Cardinal De Paolis: “Today there is a lot of talk about compassion, love and mercy. But without truth, we are way off course.”

[Report by Daniele Sebastianelli, translation by Contributor Francesca Romana], October 12, 2015

Faced with the crisis in marriage and the family, answers can only come from the certitudes of the faith.

This was affirmed by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, President emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, when he intervened at the Meeting Marriage and the Family. Between Praxis and Dogma in the Church, organized by the Lepanto Foundation and the Association “Famiglia Domani” which took place on the 10th of October in Rome at the ‘Sala S. Pio X, Via dell’Ospedale’. Among those participating were Monsignor Antonio Livi, Professor Roberto de Mattei and Professor Giovanni Turco. There were several hundred people in attendance including many priests and religious.

“We need truth”, said the Cardinal forcefully, “Today there is a lot of talk about compassion, love and mercy. But without truth, we are way off course”. According to Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the impression is that “these days words mean nothing anymore”, whereas “we need content in order to rediscover the true reality”. Referring to the question of the divorced and remarried, the Cardinal was very clear. The adoption “of pastoral practice that goes against doctrine is of a frightening incoherence. It is not Christian. In essence, “if I have a medicine that doesn’t work it means that I haven’t understood very well what disease the person has. If I just change the medicine instead of understanding the causes of the disease, I might even kill the sick person. There is only one solution said the prelate: “sinners must not be rejected, but the right path needs to be found [for them]. The path of love in the Truth.”

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, of the Congregation of Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo (‘Scalabriniani’), was the Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See and Pontifical Delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. A distinguished moral theologian, the Cardinal delivered written speeches on the subject of Christian marriage and the family.

Professor Roberto de Mattei, president of the Lepanto Foundation, inaugurated the conference. “Marriage and the family” he asserted “are in peril today, threatened not only by enemies on the outside, but unfortunately, also inside the City of God”, and are being “called into question inside the Church”, something that “has never happened in history”. After running through some historical passages in the life of the Church, de Mattei recalled the example of St. Peter Damien and of all the great reformers of his time, who “didn’t invoke the law of ‘graduality’ or that of the lesser evil; they didn’t define the concubinage of priests as an irreversible situation to acknowledge; and they didn’t encourage appreciating the positive elements of homosexual unions and cohabitation outside of marriage.”

For his part, Professor Giovanni Turco, from the University of Studies in Udine, focused his attention on the principle of non-contradiction according to which “each thing is what it is. Also marriage and the family”. Hence “marriage is either indissoluble or it isn’t”. There’s no getting round it. For the professor “A false and erroneous definition of a problem, will bring about a false solution to that problem”, since “the good is the criteria of praxis, not the contrary.”

Monsignor Antonio Livi, former Dean of the Faculty of the Pontifical Lateran University, said that “Pastoral praxis has the precise aim of working for the good of souls”. If this is not understood, the Monsignor affirmed “a hidden purpose may be pursued, i.e. convincing others to believe in something that is false. And this is hypocrisy.



Synod Manipulators Reach New Low: Silencing the victims — then taunting and bullying them

October 12, 2015

Isn’t this “the age of the laity”? Yet, if the laity, the faithful laity — the laity who believe in what Christ and His Church have always taught about the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, Family, Penance, the Blessed Sacrament — want a little tiny bit of more information from what these hyper-clericalist Modernists are trying to manipulate behind closed doors at the Synod, and they find the occasional ally at the occasional good and faithful bishop, then they are humiliated.

Take the example of the poor President of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland, Archbishop Gadecki, who tried to provide to his faithful some information of what was being discussed, before being told to remove all information by the Synod Secretary-General, Cardinal Baldisseri.

The pope’s personal friend, occasional unofficial spokesman (the pope often uses him to send indirect messages), and director of the Holy See official journal, Civiltà Cattolica, Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ, had the gall this Sunday to make fun of the relentless rule-changing of the Synod (rules changing every single day), and the permanent climate of fear, censorship, and information control by saying the others were trying to mummify the Synod. Which was a sign that the “Synod works”.

Those who want a rigid & mummified #Synod15 are attacking its method & communication. It means that the Synod works! — Antonio Spadaro SJ (@antoniospadaro) October 11, 2015

Of course, this makes as much sense as saying that a medical treatment is successful because the patient is complaining incessantly of searing and unbearable pain caused by the medication — if he dies from the treatment, then, it is the ultimate sign of success! Those are the geniuses in charge of the Holy Roman Church these days…

P.S. Deacon Nick Donnelly did not have to go far away to reveal the true meaning of Father Spadaro’s image: it is the faithful Church, that is being muzzled and suffocated.

#RosicaBlockParty‘s rejoinder to @antoniospadaro‘s mummy cartoon #synod15

— Nick Donnelly (@ProtectthePope) October 11, 2015



Archbishop Gadecki’s intervention: The Church cannot bend to the will of man

October 12, 2015

We are honoured to publish an English translation of the intervention made to the Ordinary Synod by Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference:


To begin with, I would like to stress that the following presentation does not express only my personal opinion but the opinion of the entire Polish Episcopal Conference.

1. There is no doubt that the Church of our times—in the spirit of mercy—has to help those who are divorced and “remarried” civilly to see (with prompt charity) that they are not separated from the Church but can—and indeed should—participate in her life insofar as they are baptized.

They ought to be exhorted to listen to the Word of God, to frequent the sacrifice of the Mass; to persevere in prayer; to increase their works of charity and initiatives of the community that favour justice; to educate their children in the Christian faith; to cultivate the spirit and the works of penance to so implore, day after day, the grace of God. May the Church demonstrate herself to be a merciful Mother that may sustain them in the Faith and in Hope.

2. The Church, nevertheless, in the teaching regarding the admission of the divorced and civilly “remarried” to Holy Communion cannot bend to the will of man but to the will of Christ. Therefore, the Church cannot let herself be conditioned neither by sentiments of false compassion for people nor by false models of thought, even if they are diffused in the context in which she finds herself.

The admission to Holy Communion of those who continue to cohabit more uxorio without a sacramental bond would be in contrast with the Tradition of the Church. Already the documents of the very first synods of Elvira, Arles, Neocesarea (which took place between 304 and 319) reaffirm the doctrine of the Church not to admit to Eucharistic Communion the divorced and “remarried.”

3. The fundamental reason is that “their state and their condition of life objectively contradict that bond of love between Christ and the Church that is signified and actuated in the Eucharist.” (Familiaris consortio 84)

The Eucharist is the sacrament of the baptized that are in gratia sacramentalis. The admission to Holy Communion of persons who are divorced and civilly “remarried,” i.e. of persons that are not in sacramental grace, could cause much damage not only for that which pertains to the pastoral care of families but also for the doctrine of the Church regarding sanctifying grace.

In fact, such an admission would open the door to all the persons who are in mortal sin to receive Holy Communion; in consequence this would cancel the Sacrament of Penance and would debase the importance of living in sanctifying grace.

Finally, it needs to be reaffirmed that the Church cannot accept the so-called law of graduality or the gradual path. As Pope Francis reminded us, those of us gathered here do not want and do not have any power to change the doctrine of the Church.



Thirteen Cardinals Have Written to the Pope. Here’s the Letter

By Sandro Magister, Rome, October 12, 2015

But Francis has rejected their requests en bloc.

And meanwhile, the “Relatio finalis” has disappeared from the program of the synod
On Monday, October 5, at the beginning of work at the synod on the family, Cardinal George Pell delivered a letter to Pope Francis, signed by him and twelve other cardinals, all present in the synod hall.
The thirteen signatories occupy positions of the first rank in the Church’s hierarchy, and three of them are part of the synod’s executive body.
They are, in alphabetical order:
Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, theologian, formerly the first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family;
Thomas C. Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada;
Timothy M.
, archbishop of New York, United States;
Willem J. Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland;
Péter Erdõ, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, president of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and relator general of the synod underway, as also at the previous session of October 2014;
Gerhard L. Müller, former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, since 2012 prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith;
Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014;
George Pell, archbishop emeritus of Sydney, Australia, since 2014 prefect in the Vatican of the secretariat for the economy;
Mauro Piacenza, Genoa, Italy, former prefect of the congregation for the clergy, since 2013 penitentiary major;
Robert Sarah, former archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, since 2014 prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments;
Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy;
Jorge L. Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela;


André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014.
In the letter, concise and perfectly clear, the thirteen cardinals bring to the pope’s attention the serious “concerns” of themselves and other synod fathers over the procedures of the synod, in their judgment “designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions,” and over the “Instrumentum laboris,” viewed as inadequate as a “guiding text or the foundation of a final document.”

Here is the text of the letter, in the original English.
Your Holiness,
As the Synod on the Family begins, and with a desire to see it fruitfully serve the Church and your ministry, we respectfully ask you to consider a number of concerns we have heard from other synod fathers, and which we share.
While the synod’s preparatory document, the “Instrumentum Laboris,” has admirable elements, it also has sections that would benefit from substantial reflection and reworking.  The new procedures guiding the synod seem to guarantee it excessive influence on the synod’s deliberations and on the final synodal document.  As it stands, and given the concerns we have already heard from many of the fathers about its various problematic sections, the “Instrumentum” cannot adequately serve as a guiding text or the foundation of a final document.
The new synodal procedures will be seen in some quarters as lacking openness and genuine collegiality.  In the past, the process of offering propositions and voting on them served the valuable purpose of taking the measure of the synod fathers’ minds.  The absence of propositions and their related discussions and voting seems to discourage open debate and to confine discussion to small groups; thus it seems urgent to us that the crafting of propositions to be voted on by the entire synod should be restored. Voting on a final document comes too late in the process for a full review and serious adjustment of the text.
Additionally, the lack of input by the synod fathers in the composition of the drafting committee has created considerable unease. Members have been appointed, not elected, without consultation.  Likewise, anyone drafting anything at the level of the small circles should be elected, not appointed.
In turn, these things have created a concern that the new procedures are not true to the traditional spirit and purpose of a synod.  It is unclear why these procedural changes are necessary.  A number of fathers feel the new process seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions.
Finally and perhaps most urgently, various fathers have expressed concern that a synod designed to address a vital pastoral matter – reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family – may become dominated by the theological/doctrinal issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.  If so, this will inevitably raise even more fundamental issues about how the Church, going forward, should interpret and apply the Word of God, her doctrines and her disciplines to changes in culture.  The collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation, warrants great caution in our own synodal discussions.
Your Holiness, we offer these thoughts in a spirit of fidelity, and we thank you for considering them.
Faithfully yours in Jesus Christ.


On the afternoon of that same Monday, October 5, during the first discussion in the assembly, Cardinal Pell and other synod fathers referred to some of the questions presented in the letter, without citing it.
Pope Francis was present and listening. And the next morning, on Tuesday, October 6, he spoke.
The text of these unscheduled remarks has not been made public, but only summarized verbally by Fr. Federico Lombardi and in writing by “L’Osservatore Romano.” As follows:
“The pontiff wanted to reaffirm that the current synod is in continuity with the one celebrated last year. With regard to the “Instrumentum laboris,” Francis emphasized that this results from the ‘Relatio synodi’ together with the contributions that came afterward, that is was approved by the post-synodal council – meeting in the presence of the pontiff – and that it is the basis for continuing the debate and discussions of the upcoming days. In this context, the contributions of the various linguistic groups take on essential importance. The pope also recalled that the three official documents of last year’s synod are the two discourses, initial and final, and the ‘Relatio synodi.’ The pontiff emphasized that Catholic doctrine on marriage has not been touched and then cautioned against the impression that the only problem of the synod is that of communion for the divorced, appealing against a reduction in the horizons of the synod.”

To this account from “L’Osservatore Romano,” Fr. Lombardi added that “the decisions of method were also shared and approved by the pope, and therefore cannot be brought back into discussion.”
From this it can be gathered that Francis has rejected the requests of the letter en bloc, apart from the marginal recommendation not to reduce the discussion only to “communion for the divorced.”
And he has not rejected them without a polemical jab, as afterward made known – in a tweet that has not been disowned – by the director of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” Antonio Spadaro, also present in the hall, according to whom the pope told the fathers “not to give in to the conspiracy hermeneutic, which is sociologically weak and spiritually unhelpful.”
All of this at the beginning of the synod. But toward the end of the first week of work, something else happened. Once again contrary to the wishes of the letter from the thirteen cardinals.
On Friday, October 9, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila and president delegate of the synod, said out of the blue that with regard to the final relation, “we await the decision of the pope.”


And the next day, Fr. Lombardi clarified that “we do not yet have certainty on how the conclusion of the synod will take place, meaning if there will or will not be a final document. We will see if the pope gives precise indications.”
Incredible but true. With the synod in full swing, a question mark has suddenly been raised over the very existence of that “Relatio finalis” which figured in the programs as the goal toward which all of the work of the synod was finalized.
The “Relatio finalis,” in fact, was the subject of extensive remarks from the secretary general of the synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, in his official presentation on October 2:
Briefing su tema e metodo della XIV assemblea generale ordinaria del sinodo dei vescovi
That same day, Baldisseri also revealed that Pope Francis had appointed a commission of five cardinals and bishops precisely “for the elaboration of the final relation.”
On October 5, in the opening talk for the work of the synod, Baldisseri returned to illustrate in even greater detail the phases of elaboration and approval for the “Relatio”:
Relazione del segretario generale
And he talked about it again in the assembly on the morning of October 6, right before the pope spoke.
Not to mention the official working calendar for the synod, which still assigns four full days, from October 21-24, to the writing of the “final relation,” to its presentation in the assembly, to the discussion and presentation of written observations, to its rewriting, to its re-presentation in the assembly and to the definitive vote:
Calendario dei lavori
In the letter to Pope Francis, the thirteen cardinals expressed their hopes for the restoration of the procedure of past synods, which ended with votes, one by one, on “propositions” to be offered to the pope. Or that at least, in the absence of these propositions, there be a point-by-point vote on a “Relatio finalis” written by an elected commission, not one appointed from on high.
But if even the “Relatio” – as implied – is to be no more, the only product of the synod can be nothing other than a re-elaboration of that “Instrumentum laboris” which the thirteen signers of the letter maintain is incapable of acting as “the foundation of a final document,” partly because of its “various problematic sections,” which are of uncertain fidelity to doctrine.
Because it is true that the 270 synod fathers are working day after day to re-elaborate the “Instrumentum” from the ground up. But it is just as true that the rewriting of the text will be the prerogative of that commission entirely appointed by Pope Francis in which the innovators have an overwhelming majority, the opposite of what holds true in the assembly. And in a sprawling, rambling text like the “Instrumentum” – not telegraphic like the “propositions” of many past synods – it is much easier for a repeat of the 2014 synod to take place, with the inclusion of vague, kaleidoscopic formulas that are hard to reject in assembly with a straightforward vote.
“Catholic doctrine on marriage has not been touched,” Pope Francis pledged in referring to the entire conduct of the synod from 2014 to today, in response to the “concerns” of the thirteen cardinals of the letter.
But Cardinal Tagle, a prominent representative of the innovators, also said at the press conference on October 9, with visible satisfaction:
“The new method adopted by the synod has definitely caused a bit of confusion, but it is good to be confused once in a while. If things are always clear, then we might not be in real life anymore.”
For more details on the press conferences of October 9 and 10:
Sinodo in confusione. La “Relatio finalis” tra gli oggetti smarriti



A. Statement by Cardinal Pell: Synod Fathers are concerned about conduct of the Synod

October 12/13, 2015

Earlier today journalist Sandro Magister published a letter that he reported had been signed by thirteen cardinals. The letter raised serious concerns about the
Instrumentum Laboris
of the Ordinary Synod and about the procedures by which the synod is being conducted. Shortly after Magister’s article was published four of the cardinals named denied that they had signed the letter.

The existence of a letter was confirmed by one of the named signatories, Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, but he said that the text that Magister had published was not the text of the letter that he had signed. Cardinal Napier told Crux that he shared the concern expressed in the letter about “the choice of the people that are writing up the final document” and said that “If we’re going to get a fair expression of what the synod is about, [such as] what the Church in Africa really would like to see happening” then different people would have to be chosen.

George Cardinal Pell has issued a statement, also confirming that a letter exists, but stating that neither the text, nor the list of signatories published by Magister was accurate.

Cardinal Pell also asserts that the synod fathers are indeed concerned about the composition of the commission that will draw up the final report and about the synodal procedures.

We reproduce his statement in full:



Statement from Spokesperson for Cardinal George Pell

Monday 12 October 2015

A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell said that there is strong agreement in the Synod on most points but obviously there is some disagreement because minority elements want to change the Church’s teachings on the proper dispositions necessary for the reception of Communion.

Obviously there is no possibility of change on this doctrine.

A private letter should remain private but it seems that there are errors in both the content and the list of signatories.

The Cardinal is aware that concerns remain among many of the Synod Fathers about the composition of the drafting committee of the final relatio and about the process by which it will be presented to the Synod fathers and voted upon.



America magazine (they are with the liberal camp -Michael) is reporting that they have learned from “informed sources” that the thirteen cardinals who signed the letter are:

Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna

Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto

Daniel Cardinal Di Nardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

Timothy Cardinal
Dolan, Archbishop of New York

Willem Cardinal Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht

Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban, President Delegate of the Synod

John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi

George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;

Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City

Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments;

Elio Cardinal Sgreccia, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life

Jorge Cardinal Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas



B. Fr. Lombardi on the “Letter to the Pope from thirteen cardinals”

Vatican City, October 13, 2015

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has given the following clarification regarding the publication yesterday of a “Letter to the Pope from thirteen cardinals”.

As we are aware, at least four of the Synod Fathers who were included in the list of signatories have denied their involvement (Cardinals Angelo Scola, Andre Vingt-Trois, Mauro Piacenza and Peter Erdõ).

Cardinal Pell has declared that a letter sent to the Pope was confidential and should have remained as such, and that neither the text published nor the signatories correspond to what was sent to the Pope.

I would add that, in terms of content, the difficulties included in the letter were mentioned on Monday evening in the Synod Hall, as I have previously said, although not covered extensively or in detail.

As we know, the General Secretary and the Pope responded clearly the following morning. Therefore, to provide this text and this list of signatories some days later constitutes a disruption that was not intended by the signatories (at least by the most authoritative). Therefore it would be inappropriate to allow it to have any influence.

That observations can be made regarding the methodology of the Synod is neither new nor surprising. However, once agreed upon, a commitment is made to put it into practice in the best way possible.

This is what is taking place. There is very extensive collaboration in the task of allowing the Synod to make good progress on its path. It may be observed that some of the “signatories” are elected Moderators of the Circuli Minori, and have been working intensively. The overall climate of the Assembly is without doubt positive.

Cardinal Napier has expressly asked me to clarify the comments published in an interview with “Crux”, which do not correspond to his opinion. With regard to the composition of the “Commission of the 10” for the final text, it was incorrectly written that “… Napier said, adding that he would actually challenge ‘Pope Francis’ right to choose that'”. Cardinal Napier has requested that this be corrected, affirming the exact opposite: “… no-one challenges Pope Francis’ right to choose that”.

I have no further observations to make.



Leading cardinals confront Pope Francis over manipulation of Synod

Rome, October 12, 2015

UPDATE 10/12/15 at 10:02 EST: America Magazine reports
that it has confirmed with reliable sources that 13 Cardinals did in fact sign the letter, although the list is somewhat different from the original list reported by Sandro Magister. The list is below. 



UPDATE 10/12/15 at 2:11 EST: A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell has issued a statement saying that “a private letter should remain private,” and added that “there are errors in both the content and the list of signatories.” However, he has confirmed that “concerns remain among many of the Synod Fathers about the composition of the drafting committee of the final relatio and about the process by which it will be presented to the Synod fathers and voted upon.” He also said that “obviously there is some disagreement because minority elements want to change the Church’s teachings on the proper dispositions necessary for the reception of Communion.” He dismissed this proposed change, saying: “Obviously there is no possibility of change on this doctrine.”

Meanwhile, Cardinal Napier has acknowledged in an interview with Crux to having signed a letter, but said the content of the letter was somewhat different than what was first reported by Sandro Magister, focusing specifically on concerns about the make-up of the commission drafting the final report. 

UPDATE 10/12/15: The original report by veteran Vatican reporter Sandro Magister named 13 cardinals as signatories on the letter, however at least four have now denied signing it. As the list of signatories is now unclear we have removed the names. 


(Voice of the Family) – A group of cardinals, reportedly including Cardinals George Pell, Wilfred Napier, and others, has written to Pope Francis to protest about the direction being taken at the Ordinary Synod on the Family. The letter, which was reportedly handed to the Pope by Cardinal Pell on Monday 5th October, is a devastating critique of the conduct of the synod.

The cardinals state that:

—the Instrumentum Laboris cannot “adequately serve as a guiding text or the foundation of a final document” because of its “problematic elements”

—the new synodal procedures are seen as “lacking openness and genuine collegiality” and “not true to the traditional spirit and purpose of a synod”

—the “lack of input by the synod fathers in the composition of the drafting committee has created considerable unease”

—and a “number of fathers feel the new process seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions”.

They conclude:

Finally and perhaps most urgently, various fathers have expressed concern that a synod designed to address a vital pastoral matter – reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family – may become dominated by the theological/doctrinal issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.  If so, this will inevitably raise even more fundamental issues about how the Church, going forward, should interpret and apply the Word of God, her doctrines and her disciplines to changes in culture.  The collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation, warrants great caution in our own synodal discussions.

Reports indicate that Pope Francis addressed the synod the next day and told synod fathers “not to give in to the conspiracy hermeneutic, which is sociologically weak and spiritually unhelpful.” The pope’s remarks, which are sure to be interpreted as a public dismissal of his cardinals’ concerns, will heighten disquiet about his own role in the synodal process. As President of the Synod of Bishops the pope is ultimately responsible for the way the synod is conducted and for the documents issued by the Synod Secretariat.


STORY: A secret plot to control the Synod? No; it’s not secret at all.

The centrality of Pope Francis to the conduct of the synod has been underlined by Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri. In an interview earlier this year he said:

The pope is the president of the synod of bishops. I am the secretary general, but I don’t have anyone else above me, such as a prefect of a congregation or a president of a council. I don’t have anyone else above me, only the pope. The pope presided over all the council meetings of the secretariat. He presides. I am the secretary. And so the documents were all seen and approved by the pope, with the approval of his presence.  Even the documents during the synod, such as the Relatio ante disceptationem, the Relatio post disceptationem and the Relatio synodi were seen by him before they were published.

The concerns raised in the cardinals’ letter have also been expressed by Voice of the Family. The approach adopted in the Instrumentum Laboris is wholly unacceptable and, as our analysis demonstrates, the document contains numerous passages that contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church. The synod fathers must refuse their assent to any final document that adopts the same approach as the Instrumentum Laboris.


The list of signatories, according to America Magazine: 

Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, formerly the first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family;

Thomas C. Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada;

Daniel N. Di Nardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, vice-president of the U.S. Bishops Conference;

Timothy M.
Dolan, archbishop of New York, United States;

Willem J. Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland;

Gerhard L. Müller, former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, since 2012 prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith;



Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014;

John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya.                       

George Pell, archbishop emeritus of Sydney, Australia, since 2014 prefect in the Vatican of the secretariat for the economy;

Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, Mexico;

Robert Sarah, former archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, since 2014 prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments;

Elio Sgreccia, president-emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Vatican City;

Jorge L. Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela.



Cardinals Confront the Pope: 13 Prelates to Know and Share

By Steve Skojec, October 12, 2015




Archbishop Fülöp Kocsis: Synod must name Satan as source of attacks on family

October 12/13, 2015

Voice of the Family is honoured to make available to the public this English translation of the intervention made to the Ordinary Synod by Archbishop Fülöp Kocsis, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archeparchy of Hajdúdorog:


I am focusing my observation on paragraph 8 of chapter 1, but in truth I sense a general deficiency in the text as a whole, the lack of something that should penetrate our vision regarding these themes. For this reason, I could still indicate all of the paragraphs that, analyzing the contemporary situation, speak of a changed society and epoch, calling these difficulties which have appeared in recent times “challenges.”

It appears to me that the text misses a clarification which is more precise from its inception, from the root of these changes: from where do they come? The great part of these are not compatible with the plan of God; they do not come from Him. If it is thus, then it must be said: From where do these changes, these difficulties, derive?

We must say with clarity that in our very spoilt world the family and the man of good will with good intentions is under attack, under a ferocious and enormous attack. And this attack is of the Devil. We must call these diabolic forces which have a role to play with these phenomena by name because this way we can find some indications even for the research of possible solutions.

“Our battle in fact is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the dominations of the dark world, against the spirits of evil that live in the celestial regions.” (Ephesians 6, 12)

Thus, we can clearly see that in reality a spiritual struggle is required in order to fight the attacks of Satan in these our times. I would very much see with favour a marked emphasis of this spiritual struggle, even in the final part of the document where the proposals and possible solutions must be formulated.

“Take therefore the armour of God, in order that you may resist in the evil day and remain firm after having overcome all of the obstacles.” (Ephesians 6, 12)



Synods Originally Meant to Preserve and Strengthen Doctrine and Discipline

By Edward Pentin, October 12, 2015

In the face of concerns that after the Synod on the Family pastoral innovations could be introduced that are inconsistent with Church doctrine and thereby foster disunity in the Church, it’s worth recalling a speech Cardinal Raymond Burke made in Rome shortly before the current synod got underway.




Speaking at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome Sept. 30, the patron of the Knights of Malta underlined not only the Church’s two millennia teaching on marriage, but also reminded those present of the true purpose of synods in preserving doctrine and discipline.

Synods, he stressed, have “no authority to change doctrine and discipline”, adding that their nature is stated clearly in canon 342 of the Code of Canon Law, which he went on to quote:

“The Synod of Bishops is a group of Bishops selected from different parts of the world, who meet together at specified times to promote the close relationship between the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops. These Bishops, by their counsel, assist the Roman Pontiff in the defense and development of faith and morals and in the preservation and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline. They also consider questions concerning the mission of the Church in the world.”

The Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Burke added, is therefore “not convened by the Roman Pontiff to suggest changes in the doctrine and discipline of the Church, but rather to assist the Roman Pontiff in safeguarding and promotion of sound doctrine concerning faith and morals, and in strengthening the discipline for which the truths of faith are experienced in practice.”

Furthermore, he said it is “important to remember” that the canon itself is taken from Blessed Paul VI’s 1965 Motu Proprio Apostolica sollicitudo, issued at the end of the Second Vatican Council.

He said the decree and the rules that they put into practice state clearly that the Synod “exists to foster communion in the Church, giving the Roman Pontiff a particular institution [Synod of Bishops] so he can receive the help of the episcopate scattered around the world in his Petrine service”.

Also referring to the dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Burke stressed the Synod of Bishops is a “privileged instrument” serving the “very delicate” relationship between the Pope and bishops. He stressed that, even though there is no time to do so now, “it’s important to study in depth” the original purpose of the Synod of Bishops, “to avoid harmful distortions to the universal Church.”

Going to the peripheries, as the Holy Father often asks, also means reaching the “high standard of ordinary Christian living,” according to the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II, Cardinal Burke said. The synod, therefore, has the task of “suggesting ways for the Church to be more faithful to the truth about marriage and the family, contained in “the Gospel and the living Tradition.”

The Church and the Synod, Cardinal Burke went on, must therefore “give special attention to the sanctity of marriage, fidelity, indissolubility and procreativity of the matrimonial union,” he said.

Christian family life in today’s culture is “necessarily a sign of contradiction,” he added.  “The Synod must be the occasion for the universal Church to give inspiration and strength to Catholic couples for their testimony to the truth of Christ, which our culture so desperately needs.”

He therefore stressed that the meeting “must be a help to the Christian families in being, according to the ancient description, the domestic Church, the first place where the Catholic faith is taught, celebrated and lived.”

The faithful, living in difficult marriages, he said, “should enjoy the special attention of the Church which, in imitation of the Saviour, proclaims to them the truth of Christ and brings to them the grace of Christ to live faithfully and generously the vocation to marriage to the end.”

The cardinal also discussed canonical problems related to streamlining annulments, as well as reiterating his serious concerns about Cardinal Walter Kasper‘s thesis on readmitting civilly remarried divorcees to Holy Communion.

He concluded: “We live in a time in which the marriage is under really fierce attack, trying to tarnish and sully the sublime beauty of the married state that God wanted from the beginning, from creation.”

Divorce, he said, “has become very common”, as has the wish to remove from the conjugal union its “procreative essence”.

The culture, he added, “has gone even further in its affront to God and His law, claiming to give the name of marriage to sexual relations between persons of the same sex. 

“Even in the Church,” he continued, “there are those obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage.

“There are also those who deny that married persons receive the special grace to live heroically faithful love, lasting and procreative, while the Lord himself assured us that God gives to married couples the grace to live their daily life, the mystery of their union According to the Gospel truth.”

In the current situation, Cardinal Burke said, the Church’s witness to the splendor of the truth of marriage must be “clear and courageous.”

Stressing the need for respect for the legal aspect of marriage, Cardinal Burke said it is “impossible that the Church safeguards and promotes married life without observing justice” otherwise “to speak of love” has no meaning, “which is the essence of marriage, what St. Paul called a great mystery because it is a participation in the love of Christ, the Bridegroom, for the Church, His Bride.” 



Cardinal Pell: Many Synod Fathers Still Concerned About Drafting Committee Composition

By Edward Pentin, October 12, 2015

In a statement released this evening, a spokesman for Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, has said the cardinal is aware that “concerns remain” among “many synod fathers” about the composition of the drafting committee of the final relatio of the Ordinary Synod on the Family.




The cardinal is also aware that concerns remain about the process by which the final relatio will be presented to the synod fathers, and voting on the document, the statement reads. 

The communique follows reports that a number of cardinals signed a letter to the Pope on the first day of the synod last week, voicing such concerns.

The Pope sought to allay their apprehensions in an unscheduled address to the synod on the second day of the meeting.

The spokesman said the letter to the Pope was private and “should remain private” and that there were “errors in both the content and the list of signatories” (four cardinals today denied signing it).  

He also said “obviously there is no possibility of change” in the Church’s doctrine on proper dispositions necessary for the reception of Holy Communion, despite “minority elements” wanting to change the Church’s teaching in this regard.


Statement from Spokesperson for Cardinal George Pell

Monday 12 October 2015

A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell said that there is strong agreement in the Synod on most points but obviously there is some disagreement because minority elements want to change the Church’s teachings on the proper dispositions necessary for the reception of Communion.

Obviously there is no possibility of change on this doctrine.

A private letter should remain private but it seems that there are errors in both the content and the list of signatories.

The Cardinal is aware that concerns remain among many of the Synod Fathers about the composition of the drafting committee of the final relatio and about the process by which it will be presented to the Synod fathers and voted upon.



Hell of a Synod

By Michael Voris, October 12, 2015

As we pore over the reams of video and news articles and headlines and radio interviews and web postings and social media blasts and tweets and every other imaginable source of information, one thing is very apparent: There is very little discussion of Hell and people going there. When people like Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., for example, grant an interview and say something like “everything is off to a fabulous start,” that depends on whom you ask — because there are really two camps, ideologically speaking here, with smaller subsets within each camp. There is the supernatural camp and the natural camp. And they couldn’t be farther apart in their ideologies.

The supernatural camp is so invested in this Synod because it understands at the end of the day all these discussions firstly and ultimately boil down to a question of salvation. Receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin is a sacrilege. Die unrepentant of that and you incur eternal damnation. Homosexual acts willfully and knowingly committed are mortal sins. Die unrepentant of that and you incur eternal damnation.

For the supernatural camp, this is the struggle and the only struggle that matters. And for the record, Church Militant is firmly in the supernatural camp. For us and others, prelates and laity, that is what matters at this Synod. Period.

Ah, but for the natural camp, the priority is something totally and completely different. That’s because they don’t really believe in Hell, or don’t really believe anyone goes there except for serial killers (maybe) and traditional-minded Catholics (for certain). And if anyone doubts that claim about their lack of belief in Hell or people really going there, we need only refer you back to our encounter last year with papal spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica, who told me that to my face. When I said in a discussion with him after a press briefing that people who die in mortal sin go to Hell, he said point blank, “Michael, the Church doesn’t teach that.” 

For the naturalists this is all about how to make the Church relevant to contemporary man. They are the quintessential sell-outs: those who have spent decades trying to re-form the Church and drain it of its supernatural quality. To accomplish this, they keep a close track of the world’s pulse and are constantly shifting language and vocabulary around to make themselves and their Church sound “with it.”

And yes, we do mean their Church — because these men are about as Catholic as Judas was. They talk in syrupy sound bites and convoluted, nonsensical phrases, but at the end of the day have no more concern for souls than the man in the moon. They have lost the Faith, and so, being professional Churchmen, they need to invent a new mission for their New Church. They spew heresy disguised as politically correct language aimed at “inclusion” and “welcoming” but are sinister in their approach.

Things have reached a bit of an impasse at the Synod, as many of the bishops are now saying publicly. The impasse is over how to speak to an indifferent world the truths of Christ in such a way as not to water down the doctrine. Even the press corps in the press briefing room has now popped that question at least twice, sensing the impossibility of trying to have your cake and eat it, too. Both Canadian archbishop Paul Andre Durocher in the naturalist camp as well as Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput admitted to the difficulty of trying to square this circle.

The real underlying tension is the one present in the Church at large, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it has found its way into this Synod. It is the issue of being “offensive.” It is the one thing that you cannot be in the Church today, under any circumstances. If you say anything that causes offense, you are shown the door immediately. John the Baptist would have a difficult time in such circumstances, not to mention, oh, say, Jesus Christ, of whom St. Mark records for us “they took offense at Him.”




For 50 years now Church leaders have increasingly danced to this tune — that the teachings must be said in a way that can be “accepted” by the world. They have forgotten that the “world” is the enemy of the Church. If the world is liking what it’s hearing coming from the Church, then there’s something wrong with what’s coming from the Church. That’s why all the original bishops — of whom these men at this Synod are the successors — were almost all martyred, something the current officeholders seem to fail to grasp.


No one is advocating to go out and try to be offensive by calling people names. But if you are a bishop, and you fail to make the point very clearly, with no if, ands, or buts about it that what’s at stake here is the eternal destiny of mankind, then you will be damned. What is so hard about sticking in one paragraph into the final document, preferably right at the top, something like:

Out of a love for the souls of men, we bishops gathered together here in the Synod with the successor of St. Peter declare our sacred charge is the salvation of souls. To that end, we must inform the world of the Cross and its accompanying suffering here on earth, but its eternal reward unto life everlasting.

Owing to this, we can in no way even consider sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion, condoning or even the appearance of condoning homosexual unions.”

Our first charge as the successor of the Apostles is to preach what they preached, and our concern is your salvation in the next life.


See, simple lay Catholics are at a loss to understand why that kind of simple declarative, inclusive language cannot be used. Can’t get much more “inclusive” than “we want everyone to go to Heaven and no one to go to Hell because that’s what God wants.” Have these men forgotten what they learned as little boys about Heaven, Hell, the devil? Have they forgotten the four last things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell? Have they no fear of God? If they go home from this Synod leaving doubt in the minds of the faithful, not to mention those looking at the Church, and those people fall further into sin, they will have an eternal price to pay. It’s not their Church, even though the naturalist bishops believe it is.

We will see in the coming weeks if a John Fisher or John the Baptist steps forward. If not, may God have mercy on the souls of these bishops.



EWTN’s ‘honest analysis’ of Synod: Media confined to covering press conferences, Vatican spokesmen like Fr. Rosica

By Steve Jalsevac, October 12, 2015 EXTRACT

The October 8 EWTN World Over program led by Raymond Arroyo, who was joined by canon lawyer and New York pastor Fr. Gerald Murray, as well as Robert Royal, editor of the, presented a surprisingly “honest analysis” of the tumultuous first week of the Synod on the Family.

Arroyo and his two guests expressed many concerns about the Synod process and what took place during the first week. They notably commented at length on the statements about homosexuals by Fr. Thomas Rosica that they said “seemed to come out of nowhere” and which were not mentioned by the other language Vatican press office reporters as having been discussed by the bishops. […]

Arroyo emphasized that the Synod “is merely an advisory meeting of the bishops. It is in no way binding on the pope” and therefore it is uncertain what impact all the discussions will have on the final outcome, to be determined solely by Francis. […]

Arroyo observed that “the pope took to the floor” early on, “to calm the fathers” about marriage and vouched for the method and process of the Synod that many are concerned about – a move that Royal said was “extraordinary.”

The EWTN program then plunged into the comments on homosexuality that were introduced and emphasized by Vatican English correspondent, Fr. Thomas Rosica.

It was not mentioned that Fr. Rosica is well-known to favor a liberalization of Church teaching and practice related to homosexuality, especially given his long relationship with and effusive praise for heretical Canadian former priest and Vatican II advisor, Gregory Baum. Baum has been the leading Catholic in Canada to advocate for acceptance, among many other things, not only of homosexuality itself, but also for acceptance of active homosexual clergy. […]



Zero Transparency

By Michael Voris, October 13, 2015

The beginning of the second week came to a screeching halt in the press hall when Fr. Federico Lombardi and Fr. Thomas Rosica had to address the news of a letter that had been signed by a number of cardinals last week saying, in short, that the infamous Instrumentum Laboris (the guiding document of the Synod) was insufficient in its approach to Church teaching.

Now the letter was presented to the Holy Father last Monday in the first week. Italian reporters broke the news of the letter earlier this week. The letter was signed by at least 11 cardinals saying, in short, the document isn’t sufficient.




When news circulated immediately, the Vatican press officials had to respond. But they knew about this last week and said nothing about it. In fact, whenever anything happens of controversy in the Synod Hall among the bishops, Fr. Lombardi and Fr. Rosica say nothing, reveal nothing, and talk about none of it. They are masters at their profession of manipulating and orchestrating the flow of information to the media.

Something a little less controversial had occurred last week, and when the press found about it and asked questions about it and why Fr. Lombardi hadn’t told them about it, Lombardi simply answered, “I don’t have to tell you anything I don’t want to.”

And the point here is this: You cannot trust what you are hearing from Fr. Lombardi and Fr. Rosica. They either say things that aren’t true or won’t talk about things that are true. The official word that comes out about anything has to be immediately doubted as either not true or incomplete or a misdirection. This is the kind of thing you expect from the White House, not official representatives of the Catholic Church.

Why all the secrecy, the deception, the stacking of the deck? These are legitimate questions, and the Vatican has a duty to deal in a straightforward fashion, not play duck and weave when it comes to information.

But here’s the canvas all this is being painted on: Many cardinals and bishops at the Synod want to change the discipline of divorced and civilly remarried couple being refused Holy Communion. Cardinals like Marx and Kasper from Germany, Tagle from the Philippines, John Dew from New Zealand, Donald Wuerl from the United States, and many others want to open up Holy Communion to those living in adultery, and then label it as “mercy.”

So far, the press has heard very little from Fr. Lombardi and Fr. Rosica except those heterodox positions. They have been very sparing in news of cardinals who oppose this. This approach slants the coverage, makes it seem to the assembled reporters that this is the way of things — and then the reporters write their stories and convey this heterodox information to the world. Meanwhile, those cardinals who oppose this heterodoxy are not heard from, aren’t brought to the press briefings, and their concerns and objections are not reported by Frs. Lombardi and Rosica. It’s like dealing with the KGB information officer.

Every day, reporters gather into the press hall to essentially be presented propaganda from heterodox Churchmen, who use the Vatican’s Press Office to muzzle orthodox dissent from within the Synod Hall. This gives a massively distorted picture of the reality in the hall, whatever it is. Reporters are forced to go and talk privately with bishops and their staffs to get some idea of what’s going on, because what we are being told is going on is not the real story.

So the question is very simply stated: Why the deception?

A number of cardinals got together and wrote a letter objecting to the catechetical deception going on in the Hall. Maybe it’s time for reporters to get together and write their own letter about professional deception. And while we are all busy writing that letter, we need to add a P.S. about Fr. Rosica and his non-stop drum-banging to keep the issue of homosexuality alive in the press room. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t introduce heterodox language about gay sex into the press hall discussion.

Most recently, attributing it to the discussions in the Hall, Fr. Rosica said we have to begin to accept the changing understanding of family. He spoke of single-parent families, and, of course, managed to slip in (like he always does) his daily dose of sodomite propaganda: “same-sex families.” Rosica is constantly jamming — a term developed by militant homosexuals which means constantly injecting into the conversation incorrect vocabulary that blurs the lines. 

There is no such thing as a same-sex family. Families are modeled on the Holy Family, not the current societal trendy flavor of the month, especially one as twisted and perverse as children submitted to two men having sex.

Rosica has to go — and while they’re at it, so does most of the staff at the press hall. Until they start being more open and transparent, as well as more orthodox, they aren’t worth listening to.


4 of 355 readers’ comments

1. Does the Holy Father have absolutely no advisors who are faithful to the Magisterium????

2. Why hasn’t the Pope replaced Fr. Rosica? If someone were using language that’s unacceptable in the workplace, they would surely be warned to tone it down. Why is it that Fr. Rosica is allowed to use every tactic possible to further his agenda, which is contrary to the purpose of the Synod to begin with? I haven’t heard anything about the natural family yet! Half this Synod is over and I don’t think it’s going as well as it should. I think we all need to write to our Bishops, to tell them how we feel. Perhaps, they just might listen to us!

3. The problem is not Fr Lombardi and Fr Rosica. They are there under superior orders, doing what they are told to do.

4. I met Fr. Rosica at a local church, right after the election of Pope Francis. He was extremely gong-ho on the election of Pope Francis. Perhaps they thought it would be easy to manipulate him. I pray he proves them wrong.
He is due to come again to another local church…probably after the Synod to promote his/their agenda…

He is the chaplain of our University here in the city. He is also the CEO of the Salt & Light TV, perfect venue to promote whatever he is promoting.
I wondered about him. Now that the puzzle is starting to take shape, the picture is becoming more vivid.
We are starting a Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus specifically for this Synod. Why don’t we all pray together? Amen?



The Church cannot change her language about homosexuality

October 13, 2015



Since the Ordinary Synod began the “summaries” of the interventions of the synod fathers given by the Holy See press office have been dominated by calls for a change in the language used by the Church when speaking about the moral law.

It is clear that the Church’s traditional way of expressing herself is a particular target of those working to undermine Catholic doctrine at the synod.

In his “summary” last Tuesday Fr. Thomas Rosica

“There must be an end to exclusionary language and a strong emphasis on embracing reality as it is. We should not be afraid of new and complex situations… The Jubilee of Mercy also requires a new form of language, both public and private. [It] requires a language of mercy.… The language of inclusion must be our language, always considering pastoral and canonical possibilities and solutions.”

In an interview with Crux, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia said:

“[We need] a new way of speaking about the situation of those who are same-sex attracted or in a same-sex partnership of some kind, or those who are divorced and civilly remarried … I think there would be very large support for [more positive, inclusive language about homosexuality], something like 70/30. There’s very strong support for a less condemnatory approach, and language is at the heart of that.”

Voice of the Family wishes to point out that such views are contrary to the Church’s directions to bishops.

In 1975 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Declaration, approved by Pope Paul VI, on “Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” (entitled “Persona Humana“), which said:

“It is up to the Bishops to instruct the faithful in the moral teaching concerning sexual morality, however great may be the difficulties in carrying out this work in the face of ideas and practices generally prevailing today. This traditional doctrine must be studied more deeply. It must be handed on in a way capable of properly enlightening the consciences of those confronted with new situations and it must be enriched with a discernment of all the elements that can truthfully and usefully be brought forward about the meaning and value of human sexuality. But the principles and norms of moral living reaffirmed in this Declaration must be faithfully held and taught.”

Regarding the comments of Fr Rosica and Archbishop Coleridge, Voice of the Family points out that such a change in language will undoubtedly serve the machinations of those groups seeking to thwart the Church’s witness to the truth about human sexuality. In 1986 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) issued a Letter, approved by Pope John Paul II, to bishops “on the pastoral care of homosexual persons”. The Letter

“ask[ed] the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programmes which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful.”

These admonitions by the CDF are not simply disciplinary norms for bishops for dealing with controversial issues. The admonitions are based upon the knowledge that for the Church to alter her language would be to risk corrupting the Church’s teaching itself.

Here is the language which St Paul uses regarding homosexuality (Romans 1:24-27):

“Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.”

In that passage, St Paul is both (a) using the type of “condemnatory” or “exclusionary” language (“shameful”, “filthy”) which many synod fathers seek to banish and (b) making clear the link between counterfeit theology (“changed the truth of God into a lie”) and immorality.

Elsewhere in his Epistle, St Paul warns about how a lack of clear teaching will lead to indifference and heresy:

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise you, except you utter by the tongue plain speech, how shall it be known what is said? For you shall be speaking into the air.” (1 Corinthians 14:8-9)

“Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

This is why in 1905 Pope St Pius X instituted the Oath against Modernism, to sworn by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries. The person swearing the oath said:

“I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously”


“I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.”

In brief, the calls for the Church to put aside its doctrine and use new language instead stem from an unacceptable desire to marry the spirit of the age, as Voice of the Family has warned in its analyses of the Ordinary Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris and of the Extraordinary Synod’s Relatio Synodi.




Sister Lucia: “Final Confrontation between the Lord and Satan will be over Family and Marriage.”

By Steve Skojec,
October 13, 2015

Rorate Caeli has released a translation of a remarkable interview, originally published in 2008, with Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna. In it, he references correspondence he had with Sister Lucia, the principle visionary of Our Lady at Fatima:


Q. There is a prophecy by Sister Lucia dos Santos, of Fatima, which concerns “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan”. The battlefield is the family. Life and the family. We know that you were given charge by John Paul II to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family.

CCC: Yes, I was. At the start of this work entrusted to me by the Servant of God John Paul II, I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her Bishop as I couldn’t do so directly. Unexplainably however, since I didn’t expect an answer, seeing that I had only asked for prayers, I received a very long letter with her signature – now in the Institute’s archives. In it we find written: the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.

Talking also to John Paul II, you felt too that this was the crux, as it touches the very pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman among the generations. If the founding pillar is touched the entire building collapses and we see this now, because we are at this point and we know it. And I’m moved when I read the best biographies of Padre Pio, on how this man was so attentive to the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of the spouses, even with justifiable rigor on occasion.


Does this come as any surprise to those watching the events currently unfolding in the Church? We have referenced various apparitions in the past that are related to this, beginning with Our Lady of Good Success, in the 17th century:

“Thus I make it known to you that from the end of the 19th century and shortly after the middle of the 20th century…the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of morals… As for the Sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and deeply profaned. Freemasonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the aim of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin and encouraging procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church… In this supreme moment of need for the Church, the one who should speak will fall silent.”


When we reflect on the division among prelates at the Synod, Our Lady of Akita comes to mind:

“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”


Catholics are not required to believe in even the most approved and venerated private revelations, but many of us choose to do so. Does this battle relate to the famous discourse Pope Leo XIII was alleged to have heard in a vision between Christ and Satan, which led him to compose the prayer to St. Michael? How long the final battle will last, and what will come after?

It is impossible to know. But the notion that there is at this very moment a battle taking place for the heart of the Church and the souls of the faithful is no longer in dispute.



A ploy that will boomerang

By John Thavis,
October 13, 2015

As the smoke clears, somewhat, over the “Letter of the 13” cardinals to Pope Francis regarding the Synod of Bishops, a couple of things stand out.

First is that some synod participants – a small minority, it appears – don’t trust the synodal process as modified by Pope Francis to be fair or collegial. They chose to raise the issue in a private letter rather than on the floor of the synod; that set a political dynamic in motion, one that was easily exploited.

Second, despite Pope Francis’ reform efforts at the Vatican, the culture of leaks, manipulation and power struggles is still very much alive in Rome. Indeed, at times this week the clock seemed to have turned back to the final days of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, when petty scandals and internal conflicts became such an embarrassment to the church.

We still don’t know exactly what the letter said, but by most accounts it included objections to the process by which the synod’s conclusions will be expressed, specifically the role of a 10-member writing commission appointed by the pope. The suggestion that Francis cannot be trusted to select an unbiased editorial group and to guide the synod to an honest conclusion is rather astonishing.

The letter also warned that a synod that was intended to reinforce the church’s teachings on the dignity of marriage and family could end up being dominated by the issue of Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.



Maybe Pope Francis does not believe that raising these issues is out of line. After all, he has said repeatedly that he wants to hear directly from those who disagree with him. And the pope, in fact, appeared to respond to the letter-writers in two ways: by having the synod’s secretary-general explain the procedural details more fully, and by saying himself that the synod would not change church doctrine on marriage, and was far from a single-issue discussion on divorced Catholics.

The pope also pointedly cautioned against what he called a “hermeneutic of conspiracy,” by which I can only suppose he meant the eagerness to embrace the rumors that this synod has been “rigged” from the start.

In effect, I think the pope neutralized these objections with his unexpected words to the synod, which came a day after the “Letter of the 13” was hand-delivered to him.

And that’s precisely when the move to “leak” the letter – or a version of it – was made, clearly an attempt to make it look like the pope was facing an internal revolt. The wheels began falling off this maneuver almost immediately, when several cardinals denied having signed the letter and others said the content was mistakenly reported.

Today, the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said the leak was a “disruption” to the synod that was not intended by the signatories, and that a very positive atmosphere reigns at the synod.

My reading of all this is that the ploy has backfired. I suspect most synod participants are not amused at this rather obvious attempt to pre-emptively discredit the synod’s outcome.



Explosive Revelation: Miniature Shadow Synod being held with Pope and outside guests every day at Santa Marta

October 13, 2015 Emphases theirs

Buried within the article published today in the Catholic German newspaper Die Tagespost is the incredible news that helps to explain both the amazing way in which rules are changed by the hour at the 2015 Synod, and the constant leaks of threats and papal opinions. Every day a kind of miniature Shadow Synod meets at the Domus Sanctae Marthae with the Pope (including some Synod Fathers and some outside guests) to decide what steps should be taken at the Synod.

Maybe not even the author realized how explosive the revelation he included nonchalantly in his piece below is: there is no method, rules, or roadmap in the Synod of Bishops, just a will to reach a specific end, no matter what means are used.



No Complete Clarity

By Guido Horst, Die Tagespost, page 5
Rome: Not very much leaks out of the Synod – and it is still an open question, just how its end and concluding word of the pope will look like


[…] Who says what, how much the two fronts clash against each other – and nobody so far denied that these fronts exist – what happens substantially in the Synod Hall – all these things are not getting into the public. […] Only in the coming days, will it come out how many Synod Fathers wish which changes to the Church’s practice. As Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, one of the four delegate presidents of the Synod, said a few days ago in front of journalists: the three hundred bishops did not come together in order not to decide upon anything. The uncertainty about how the outcome will be of these three-week long negotiations is being heightened by the fact that in the guest house of the Vatican, Santa Marta, there takes place a kind of ‘Shadow Synod’: Pope Francis meets with participants of the Synod and with outside guests in order to speak with them individually. In the end, it is up to the pope to make a decision about the still open questions and to communicate his decision to the whole Church in a concluding text. That, however, is up to now the greatest riddle which underlies the whole Synod. […]


Therefore, since the formal ending of the Synod is completely open, it applies even more so to the way and the manner as to how Pope Francis will speak his concluding word concerning marriage and the family in the contemporary world on the basis of this two-year-long synodal process. He can take a long time and write a post-synodal text, as it has been the case with most of the past Synods. But, he also can already speak – in a comprehensive way, and in whatever form he chooses – the concluding word concerning marriage and the family on the last working day of the Synod, on October 24.

In any event, for this Synod, the Message of the Synod Fathers to the People of God has already been deleted; and an approved drafting committee did not even need to have been elected – which points to the fact that the attention of the world’s public and beyond shall be fully directed to the papal final document. Some rumors – according to which this final document even lies, already fully prepared, in a drawer, or that it is just now in the middle of its being written by a working group – do not lack a certain malice, because that would mean that the work of the ongoing synodal process has been a sham consultation. And it was especially Pope Francis who started his pontificate with the wish that the synodal processes shall become more important with regard to the leadership of the Church.



What the synod is really all about

By Fr. Raymond de Souza,
October 13, 2015

family synod’s first week included the feast of John Henry Newman, fixed not on the date of his death as is customary, but on October 9, the date of his reception into the Catholic Church in 1845.

Newman’s feast is not much observed in Rome; even at his titular church of San Giorgio in Velabro there was no note of it. (There was though a large poster in the portico advertising a triduum for St. John Leonardi, whose feast is also October 9 in the universal calendar.)

That Newman’s conversion is his feast day draws attention to the signal decision that had the greatest impact on English ecclesial life. Newman himself wrote of the centrality of conversion in his life.

His first experience of it was in his youth, an interior conversion from an indifferent (Anglican) membership to an intense life of Christian discipleship.

Conversion is at the heart of the debates at the synod. The differing camps are variously described as favouring either doctrinal clarity or pastoral charity, or emphasising truth on one hand or mercy on the other. Newman’s life, both as an Anglican and in becoming Catholic, seems to me to propose another way of looking at the synod.

Being Catholic is not simply something one is, inherited passively from family or culture, but rather something that has to be chosen. That choice involves choosing to be something different – or something more – than what one currently is, which can serve as a rough description of conversion. The question before the synod fathers is whether people today are capable of conversion and, to put the matter more bluntly, is the Gospel still worth converting one’s life toward?

There is no debate among pastors about whether the Church should draw close to those in difficulty, accompanying them on their path through life. The question is whether that accompaniment should satisfy itself with offering solace to those where they are, or rather aim to convert them to a different way of life. The dominant reason many European bishops desire to modify Catholic sacramental practice to accommodate the sexual revolution is because they lack confidence that conversion is truly possible. Bishops from more vital local churches see conversions frequently; consequently they are convinced that the purpose of accompaniment is to receive the grace of conversion.

Building his October 10 synod intervention around the biblical episode of Emmaus, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto – a scholar with a great love for Newman – addressed himself to the synod’s treatment of “the art of accompaniment”.

“First, Jesus drew near, and accompanied his downcast disciples as they walked in the wrong direction, into the night,” Cardinal Collins said. “He started by asking questions about their present disposition and by listening to them, but he did not stop there. Instead, he challenged them with the Word of God: ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!’ (Luke 24:25) His presentation of the objective vision of Scripture broke through their subjective self-absorption and, along with his loving presence, brought them to conversion. The disciples of Emmaus accepted the Word of God that challenged them, and … they changed direction and, with burning hearts, raced through the night to Jerusalem to bear joyful witness to the community gathered there.”

To convert is to change direction, to run back in the opposite direction. The great division at the synod is between those pastors who are confident that conversion on the road to Emmaus, or to Damascus, or to Littlemore, is still possible, and those whose confidence has become weak.

If conversion to the fullness of the Gospel is a lively possibility, then it is possible to speak urgently about the “foolishness” and “slowness of heart” of those being accompanied. Yet if conversion is not possible, then to speak in such a way would be pointlessly harsh, if not cruel. There are not a few synod fathers who would consider the language of Jesus on the road to Emmaus as just that.

Those who blanch at the demands of conversion are apt to seek a middle way. Newman himself attempted to establish whether a Via Media might be possible that would allow him to remain an Anglican. Convinced that none such was possible, conversion became the hard, but clear, path before him.

In Rome there is much talk about “journeying together”, as the Greek etymology of “synod” has it. The question remains though about the destination of the journey. Toward Jerusalem or farther into the night?



Permitting the Sacraments to be invalidly received is an unbelievable sacrilege

October 13, 2015

For a bit of Catholic sanity, an excerpt from the late 1800s Catechism Explained on the unbelievable evil of invalid/sacrilegious reception of the Sacraments. This may be something of a water is wet revelation to most readers, but given what’s abroad in the Church today, I thought it not a bad reminder:


Due preparation must be made before receiving the Sacraments, in order to obtain the graces they convey.

Anyone who approaches the Sacraments of Baptism or Penance without a thorough change of heart, or who receives the other Sacraments in the state of mortal sin, commits the terrible sin of sacrilege and will not obtain the graces of the Holy Ghost until the hindrance to Grace has been removed [and the original sin and the sacrilege be confessed]




On this account, in the early ages of Christianity a two years’ probation was required before admission to Baptism, the object of this being to give the heathens time to reform their life. St. Peter in his preaching insisted on the necessity of penance and sincere conversion (Acts 2:38, 3:19).

To this day the Church requires those who approach Holy Communion to go to Confession first.  How reprehensible is the conduct of those who, from force of habit, or because of some special indulgence, go to Confession without purposing a serious amendment of life!  

“The Sacraments,” St. Augustine says, “are the salvation of those who use them aright, the damnation of those who misuse them.”  

That which is meat to the healthy is poison to the sick……..And if anyone is so unhappy as to receive the one of the Sacraments sacrilegiously, he may yet participate in the grace of the Sacrament, if the obstacle to it be removed.

———-End Quote———-

Why is changing practice regarding distributing the Blessed Sacrament to the divorced and civilly remarried wrong? Because it will pile sacrilege upon sacrilege, no matter what the discipline may pretend.  It will only encourage the sins that lead to still more sacrilege.  It is an attempt to turn the Church into a mockery of herself, into something very akin to the devil’s playground.  I don’t think there could be any worse sacrilege than that.



Cardinal Dolan: Faithful Catholics are ‘new minority’ who often feel ‘excluded,’ even in the Church

By Lisa Bourne, October 13/14, 2015

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan put a new spin on the increasing calls for “inclusivity” in the Church, saying that Catholics who are actively striving to live their faith are the “new minority,” and imploring the Church not to shut them out.

“Can I suggest as well that there is now a new minority in the world and even in the Church?” Cardinal Dolan asked. “I am thinking of those who, relying on God’s grace and mercy, strive for virtue and fidelity.”

As debate continues over the synod process and Church teaching on marriage and sexuality, the cardinal gave an apparent response to the push by some Synod fathers to normalize various unnatural or irregular unions and lifestyles in conflict with Church principles, making his comments in his October 12 column, “Inclusion of the New Minority.”

Drawing from a key term often used by homosexual advocates, Cardinal Dolan said in his column that the Synod has had a consistent theme of “inclusion,” listing groups he’s heard discussed there, including those suffering with same-sex attraction and those who are divorced.

However in making the point that the Church welcomes all – particularly those who feel excluded – the cardinal itemized a list that differs markedly from the usual list:

Couples who — given the fact that, at least in North America, only half of our people even enter the sacrament of matrimony –  approach the Church for the sacrament;  Couples who, inspired by the Church’s teaching that marriage is forever, have persevered through trials; couples who welcome God’s gifts of many babies; a young man and woman who have chosen not to live together until marriage; a gay man or woman who wants to be chaste; a couple who has decided that the wife would sacrifice a promising professional career to stay at home and raise their children

“These wonderful people today often feel themselves a minority, certainly in culture, but even, at times in the Church!” he exclaimed. “I believe there are many more of them than we think, but, given today’s pressure, they often feel excluded.”

The New York prelate went on to question where Catholics who strive to live in faithful accord with the Church are supposed to find reassurance. “Where do they receive support and encouragement? From TV?” he asked. “From magazines or newspapers? From movies? From Broadway? From their peers?” 

“Forget it!” Cardinal Dolan said, calling on the Church to include those striving for fidelity to Her.

“They are looking to the Church, and to us, for support and encouragement, a warm sense of inclusion,” he stated. “We cannot let them down!”

Cardinal Dolan, who upset many Catholics earlier this year by appearing as grand marshal of the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade after the parade reversed a ban on allowing homosexual advocacy groups to march, was named among a group of cardinals that petitioned Pope Francis at the outset of this year’s Synod over concerns the Synod was moving away from  reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family and was being conducted with a lack of transparency.



Synod, Week 2, Day 2: The Catholic Faith – and the Diabolical Communion

October 13, 2015

The Catholic Faith:

In the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense Catholic, which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors. Saint Vincent of Lérins, Commonitorium, A.D. 434



The Diabolical Communion:
Abbot Jeremias Schröder, OSB*, Archabbot President of the Congregation of Sant’Ottilia, was one of the three Synod Fathers handpicked by the Synod administration today as spokesmen for the official Press Conference of the Holy See Press Office. What was his most remarkable pronouncement? The Wall Street Journal’s Francis Rocca reports:

German Abbot Jeremias Schröder says questions of Communion for remarried & ministry to gay people could be delegated to bishops’ conferences

—Francis X. Rocca (@FrancisXRocca) October 13, 2015

*See Synod spokesman: Majority back letting local churches decide on how to deal with homosexuality



No excuse for Synod Fathers’ ignorance of Church teaching

October 14, 2015

It is reported that Archbishop Henryk Hoser, one of the Polish bishops attending the Synod on the Family, has told the Polish newspaper Niedziela (translation courtesy of Toronto Catholic Witness):

“With regret, I must say that the teaching of St. Pope John Paul II on marriage and the family is not familiar to many Synod Fathers. Unfortunately, at this moment it is a blank mark in the Church’s consciousness. In the text of the Instrumentum Laboris we find very few references to the teaching of the Pope, recalling to us fundamental teachings of the Church on marriage, such as documents like the Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” and the “Letter to Families”. You cannot fruitfully and effectively direct the Synod on the Family without knowledge of even these two texts”


“We have a lot of terms that are contained in the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” which should appear in the statements of Synod members, but they do not. We have avoidance of the problem of contraception, of which I spoke in the Synod aula. About the scourge of abortion and disrespect for life, not much is spoken. Generally nothing is said of their consequences, not only spiritual and psychological, but biological, that affects the person and consequently the whole of humanity. Nothing is said about the anthropology of Blessed Paul VI and the Church’s teaching on the unity of the human person consisting of spirit, soul and body, but these are organic components of every human being made by God the Creator”.

Voice of the Family shares all of Archbishop Hoser’s observations quoted above. No Synod Father – indeed, no bishop – can have any excuse for being ignorant of Familiaris Consortio or Humanae Vitae. As we pointed out in our blogpost yesterday (“The Church cannot change her language about homosexuality“), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has directed that:

“It is up to the Bishops to instruct the faithful in the moral teaching concerning sexual morality, however great may be the difficulties in carrying out this work in the face of ideas and practices generally prevailing today. This traditional doctrine must be studied more deeply.”

There is a real danger, as leading Catholic philosopher Dr Joseph Shaw puts it, that “doctrinal amnesia … could encompass the Church’s unchangeable teaching on the indissolubility of marriage”.

We fear, however, that the bigger and deeper problem is not only ignorance or neglect of Magisterial teaching but a wide-ranging heterodoxy among those responsible for the Instrumentum Laboris and for the continuing manipulation of the Synod.



Anglophone Small Group Summaries on 2nd Part of Instrumentum Laboris

By Edward Pentin, October 14, 2015

Here below are the summaries released today from the four English language “circuli minori” (small groups) of the Ordinary Synod on the Family. The groups have been looking at the second part of the Instrumentum Laboris.

The second section is headed “Discernment of the Family Vocation” and includes subjects such as the indissolubility of marriage as a “gift and task”, the family in God’s “salvific plan”, and the “family and Church life.” 

The report of English synod group Circulus Anglicus ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’…



Catholic Faithful ask Bishops to Abandon the Failed Synod
Also see page 100

October 14, 2015

From: Steve Skojec

Subject: Catholic Faithful ask Bishops to Abandon the Failed Synod

Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2015 15:34:06 +0000

We’re calling all faithful Synod Fathers to hold the line!

It’s time to make a stand.

Dear Michael,




I’m sure that you are as concerned about the Synod on the Family as I am. As the evidence mounts that the Synod’s outcome has been pre-determined, I have joined a number of other concerned Catholics in writing an open letter. In it, we request that those Synod fathers who are faithful to Christ’s teachings, if they continue to be thwarted in their efforts, walk out of the Synod before it is over rather than allow their participation be interpreted as support.
You can 
view the letter here*. It is presented in the format of a petition, allowing Catholics to add their signatures. We would like to reach as many people as possible in the time we have left.
I know you are busy, but at this crucial time, I ask that you read the petition and consider signing it and sharing it with your social media contacts, family, and friends. We will be pushing it out through social media channels with the hashtag #SynodWalkout.
Even at this late hour, we must try to protect the faith.
Thank you for your consideration of this crucial effort.
In Christ,
Steve Skojec
Publisher & Executive Director



Esteemed Synod Fathers,

We thank you for your witness to and defense of the truth of Matrimony and Family proclaimed by the Church, in fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ. As the Ordinary Synod on the Family continues its work, confusion and scandal spread among the faithful. Catholics are concerned that some members of this body of apostolic successors, under the guidance of the Pope, are seeking to endorse homosexual relationships, effectively question the indissolubility of marriage, and permit the distribution of the Holy Eucharist to the unrepentant.

The current Instrumentum Laboris both contains and omits language in certain sections (§ 122-123; §§ 124-125; §§ 130-132 (55-56); §137) that renders these sections unacceptable from an orthodox Catholic point of view, as regards their approach to the subjects of divorce and attempted remarriage, homosexuality, and contraception. We have witnessed with profound sorrow the ongoing development of this crisis, beginning with last year’s extraordinary session in October, 2014, making it difficult to have confidence in the outcome of the Synod.  

The irregular changes to the rules governing the current synodal process practically assure that the existing Instrumentum Laboris will be largely adopted. This revised process also appears to reject openness, transparency, and collegiality, and the committee drafting the final document of the Synod seemingly rejects any substantive input from the Synod fathers. We note with regret that the highly visible and widely adopted filial appeals and open letters have not been acknowledged, and have produced no discernable amendment by the Synod organizers. Several high-ranking Cardinals have brought concerns to the Pope, only to have them summarily dismissed as unworthy of consideration – with unfair accusations against those who are legitimately concerned that their voices will not be heard.

We fear, evidenced by all of the above, that the Ordinary Synod will attempt to recommend changes in teaching and pastoral practice that are contrary to the Gospel of Christ and the constant teaching of the Church on the sacred mystery of Catholic marriage and the nature of human sexuality. This would pose a clear and present danger to souls.

The Code of Canon Law 212 §3 states that the Catholic faithful “have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful…”  

Therefore, we faithfully request that each and every faithful Catholic bishop at the Synod, having made every effort to resist these attacks on Christ’s teaching, if its direction remains unaltered and those faithful voices remain unheard, do his sacred duty and publicly retire from any further participation in the Synod before its conclusion so as to prevent greater scandal and confusion.

Those bishops who remain as participants, accepting this process and its outcome, must certainly bear responsibility for whatever confusion and sin may result among the Catholic faithful from what would be the disastrous fruits of the Synod.


UPDATE – Petition Text Updated

Canon 212 Society

15 Oct 2015 — After feedback from several theologians, we have updated the text of one section of our letter, to correct two omissions and make the language concerning the cited sections more precise.
The original text read: 
“The current Instrumentum Laboris contains language in certain sections (§ 122 (52); §§ 124-125 (53); §§ 130-132 (55-56)) that is completely unacceptable from an orthodox Catholic point of view regarding divorce and attempted remarriage, homosexuality, and contraception.”
The updated text now reads:


The current Instrumentum Laboris both contains and omits language in certain sections (§ 122-123; §§ 124-125; §§ 130-132 (55-56); §137) that renders these sections unacceptable from an orthodox Catholic point of view, as regards their approach to the subjects of divorce and attempted remarriage, homosexuality, and contraception.



A Difficult Feat (at the Roman Circus)

By Maureen Mullarkey, October 14, 2015

Hilary White — artist, journalist, and keeper of the weblog, Orwell’s Picnic emailed from Norcia to ask if I would contribute thoughts on the Synod to her new project on that topic. I really was not sure I had any thoughts. But her request left me wondering if perhaps I should.

Truth to tell, I have not been keeping track of the fluctuations of the Synod all that closely. For one thing, we are really not following the proceedings; we are following only selective comments made to the media. There is something of a dog-and-pony show about it. Francis has already short-circuited it with his motu proprio—placed grandly under the protection of the Mother of God, we are told. And there is little doubt Francis already knows what he will do.

At the end of the day, Francis is the final arbiter of whatever comes out of this Synod.
Participants and procedures have been selected to give the pope the advice he wishes to follow. Disclosure of Francis’s peremptory rejection of a cautionary letter, signed by thirteen cardinals and delivered by Cardinal Pell, has spurred dark speculation on the outcome, already seen as a done deal. (That four of the supposed signatories now deny their John Hancocks lends a bit of drollery to the “hermeneutics of conspiracy” decried by the conspirator-in-chief.)

Reactions to what is revealed in the media will be useful to Francis in crafting his response. However reassuring the conclusion—and I expect it will be—the substance of his intentions will have been given an airing for all the world to see. And to cheer. (He has made the papacy popular with secularists. What subsequent pope will be inclined to reverse that?)

The Synod is not a boxing match. Trying to follow it blow by blow gets us nowhere. This is a chess match being played with generational pawns on a board that extends beyond your lifetime or mine. Leonardo Boff’s love letter to Francis, Francis of Rome, Francis of Assisi, makes a crucial point that applies here. He says that Francis knows he will not be able to achieve all that he wants to achieve in his tenure, but he will have planted seeds.

Precisely so. The Church has time on her side. No need to rush. One Synod is no more than a first, tentative turn of the screw. Traditionalists like Pell and Burke, thorns in the papal side, will die off. Younger men will come from a generation already primed to assent to the ethos of their times. Eventually, those seeds will bear the wanted fruit. This is a waiting game.

Predictions are risky things. They are often wrong. So I should be very brief in hazarding my own thought on how this Synod will end: I do not expect any bombshells. I expect orthodoxy will prevail. But it will be tainted by the perception that it is fungible.

We will breathe our sigh of relief, bask in a sense of victory: There, you see, the Spirit was with us all along! Our prayers were answered! Meanwhile, Laudato Si* will worm its way through Catholic pulpits, agencies, and press. Take, as one example, Catherine Woo, head of Catholic Relief Services. She is on the stump to universities with her talk, “I am climate change. I am the cause. I am the solution.” The message goes out to 93 client countries and a near-100 million people. CRS is only one of scores of world-wide Church service organizations evangelizing for a green faith.

However this Synod resolves itself, the world will be the worse for this pope.

Ignorance—ideological fixity—and cunning are a dangerous combination. Francis embodies both. He is too sly to trigger schism. All will be resolved to the satisfaction of orthodoxy. And all will stink of sulphur.

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Pope asks for forgiveness for ‘scandals’ in Rome and the Vatican

By Madeleine Teehan, October 14, 2015

Francis made the surprise comments at today’s general audience in St Peter’s Square

Pope Francis has asked for forgiveness for scandals that have taken place in the Church and in the Vatican.

During his general audience in St Peter’s Square today, the Pope said: “Before beginning the catechesis, I would like to ask forgiveness in the name of the church for the scandals that have happened in this last period both in Rome and at the Vatican. I ask forgiveness.”

The Pope’s apology Wednesday came at the beginning of a catechetical reflection that was focused on caring for children.

During his reflection, the Pope warned against adults coming in between a child’s relationship with God. He said: “The tender and mysterious rapport of God with the souls of children should not ever be violated,” said Francis. “It is a real rapport, that God wants and God cares for. The child is ready from birth to feel loved by God.”




Vatican commentator, John Thavis wrote on his blog* that it was not clear which scandals Pope Francis was referring to as there were several to choose from.

*Pope denounces scandals … but which ones?

Thavis listed a number of scandals that the Pope might be referring to: “The gay official of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation who recently came out with his partner, saying the climate at his workplace was homophobic? Accusations of sexual impropriety made by a group of Catholics against priests and an official of the Carmelite religious order in Rome? The resignation of Rome’s leftist mayor, Ignazio Marino, following press reports that the pope was unhappy with the mayor’s action on a number of issues?

“The accusations of sexual abuse against a Vatican diplomat, who was found dead in his Vatican residence in late August before he could stand trial? Or this week’s leak of a “Letter of 13” cardinals to the pope, contesting the direction and methods of the current Synod of Bishops on the Family, which was followed by a series of confusing denials and clarifications?”

Thavis also said that the Pope’s subsequent references to the care of children would suggest that it was a reference to clerical abuse but added: “Beyond sexual abuse, there is growing concern at the Vatican over the multiplication of scandals and a return of the ‘Vatileaks’ syndrome – a climate of revelations, suspicion and rumors of a “gay lobby” that helped convince Pope Benedict XVI to resign in 2013. The most notorious chapter, played out in 2012, was the systematic leaking of papal documents to an Italian journalist by Benedict’s butler.”



The Letter of the Thirteen Cardinals to the Pope. Episode Two

By Sandro Magister, Rome, October 14, 2015

Text and names of signers confirmed, apart from marginal inaccuracies. Absolutely certain, above all, is what is at stake: control of the procedures, decisive for the outcome of the synod
Two days ago, the article posted on http://www.chiesa in the early morning burst like a bomb inside and outside the enclosure of the synod on the family:
Thirteen Cardinals Have Written to the Pope. Here’s the Letter
Over the next few hours, four of the thirteen cardinals indicated in the article as signatories of the letter denied that they had endorsed it. In order: cardinals Angelo Scola, André Vingt-Trois, Mauro Piacenza, and Péter Erdõ.
But in the afternoon two high-ranking cardinals, both present on the list from http://www.chiesa, said that they had in fact signed a letter to Pope Francis.
The first was Australian cardinal George Pell, prefect in the Vatican of the secretariat for the economy, indicated as the one who had personally delivered the letter to the pope. And he did so with a statement to the “National Catholic Register”:
A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell…

In the statement, Pell says that “it seems that there are errors in both the content and the list of signatories.”
But he doubles back to insist on two of the “concerns” brought to the pope’s attention in the letter published by http://www.chiesa.
The first with regard to those at the synod – a “minority” – who “want to change the Church’s teachings on the proper dispositions necessary for the reception of Communion,” when instead “there is no possibility of change on this doctrine.”
The second concerning “the composition of the drafting committee of the final ‘relatio’ and about the process by which it will be presented to the Synod fathers and voted upon.”
Again in his statements in the assembly in the late afternoon of Monday, October 5, Pell expressed these and other “concerns” that are presented in the letter, in particular on the “Instrumentum laboris” set up as the basis of discussion and on the nature of the “Relatio finalis.”
And the following morning, on Tuesday, October 6, both Francis and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the synod, spoke at the reopening of work in the assembly precisely to reply point by point – essentially in the negative – to the questions that the letter had raised.
After Pell, on the morning of Monday, October 12, the other cardinal who confirmed that he had signed a letter to the pope was the archbishop of Durban, South Africa, Wilfrid Fox Napier, one of the four presidents delegate of the synod, in an interview with John Allen, Michael O’Loughlin, and Inés San Martín for “Crux,” the Church information portal of the “Boston Globe”:
Cardinal clash on doubts about process at the Synod of Bishops
Napier said that the letter he signed was “different” from the one published, and specifically concerned the ten-member commission appointed by the pope for the elaboration of the final relation.
But in the rest of the interview he made his own, with starling frankness, the very same “concerns” of many synod fathers that are expressed in the letter posted on http://www.chiesa.
Here is how “Crux” reported the cardinal’s words, including a correction that he added afterward, shown in all caps:
Napier believes some of the complaints have merit.
Among other things, he objects to the composition of the 10-member drafting committee for the final report.




“I really would share” concerns about “the choice of the people that are writing up the final document,” Napier said, adding that he would actually NOT challenge “Pope Francis’ right to choose that.”
“If we’re going to get a fair expression of what the synod is about, [such as] what the Church in Africa really would like to see happening,” he said, then different people should be chosen.
“We wouldn’t like to see the same kind of people on that committee who were there the last time, who caused us the grief that we had,” he said, referring to a controversial interim report in 2014 synod that seemed to embrace a progressive line on some debated questions.
Napier also said he’s worried that the preparatory document for the synod, known as the “Instrumentum laboris”, will have too much influence on the final result rather than the actual content of the synod’s discussions.
“It’s almost like the ‘Instrumentum laboris’ is the base text, not what’s come out of the group’s discussions as concerns that need to be put forward as proposals for the final document to take to the pope,” he said.
Napier said an avalanche of queries from the media about the synod process reflects real concerns inside the hall.
“The uncertainty is quite generalized, otherwise you wouldn’t all have the same questions,” he said.
Napier said it’s not yet clear even to synod participants how the final document of the synod will be shaped, and what Francis plans to do with it, which he said makes concerns about the result legitimate.
“That kind of uncertainty worries me, because what are you actually working toward if you don’t know what the goal is?” he said.
On the question of whether he’s worried that the final result has already been determined, Napier would say only that “at this stage, it’s hard to tell.” So this is how matters stood on the evening of Monday, October 12.
But when it was almost midnight in Rome, a second sensational “scoop” exploded in New York, this time on the website of the prestigious magazine of the Jesuits in the Big Apple, “America,” a noble voice of progressive American Catholicism in the fields of theology, culture, and politics:
Thirteen Cardinals, Including Di Nardo and Dolan, Challenged Pope’s Decisions on Synod
The author of the article is Gerard O’Connell, the magazine’s vaticanista and Rome correspondent, a renowned journalist himself as well as the husband of Argentine journalist Elisabetta Piqué, friend and authorized biographer of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
With calm assuredness, after having “learned from informed sources,” the New York Jesuits confirm right from the title that the letter delivered to the pope on the opening day of the synod was in fact signed by thirteen cardinals, all of them synod fathers, two of them from the United States, the archbishops of New York and Houston.
And in the body of the article they provide the complete list of the thirteen cardinals, which compared to the one published two days earlier by http://www.chiesa has four new names, in place of the four who had denied that they had signed it.

The four new names are those of the American Daniel N. Di Nardo, the Kenyan John Njue, the Mexican Norberto Rivera Carrera, and the Italian Elio Sgreccia.
But the following day two of these, Rivera Carrera and Sgreccia, would also say that they had not signed the letter.
As a result, the provisory list of signers is now the following, in partial correction of the one initially given by http://www.chiesa, partly erroneous through the author’s unjustifiable inaccuracy in verifying it before publication.

In alphabetical order:
– Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, theologian, formerly the first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family;
– Thomas C. Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada;
– Daniel N. Di Nardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and vice-president of the episcopal conference of the United States;
– Timothy M.
Dolan, archbishop of New York, United States;
– Willem J. Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland;
– Gerhard L. Müller, former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, since 2012 prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith;
– Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014;
– John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya;
George Pell, archbishop emeritus of Sydney, Australia, since 2014 prefect in the Vatican of the secretariat for the economy;
– Robert Sarah, former archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, since 2014 prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments;
– Jorge L. Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela;

As for the contents of the letter, “America” presents numerous citations. And all of them correspond perfectly to the text published by www.chiesa. The text of which was confirmed as “authentic,” a few hours after the “scoop” on the website of “America,” by the Buenos Aires newspaper “La Nación,” with the byline of Elisabetta Piqué, according to what has been “learned from good sources at the Vatican”:


Una carta aumenta las intrigas en el sínodo
Which does not preclude the possibility that the letter actually delivered to the pope could contain some slight variations. Of form, not of substance.
Because the substance remains that which the statement of Cardinal Pell and even more so the interview with Cardinal Napier have confirmed: a widespread and growing unease among many synod fathers over the insistence in imposing upon them as the basis of discussion a document, the “Instrumentum laboris,” which every day shows itself more and more to be inadequate, and the fear that this with its ambiguities will contaminate the “Relatio finalis,” the writing of which is in the hands of a commission entirely appointed from on high, with an overwhelming presence of innovators.
In the place of a long “Relatio finalis,” discursive and still influenced by the “Instrumentum laboris,” insidious and complicated at the moment of going to a vote, with the risk of having to approve or reject it as a whole, many synod fathers would in fact prefer a point-by-point vote on clear and concise “propositiones” that would simply encapsulate the results of the discussion underway, as was done at many synods in the past and to a certain extent at the synod of 2014.
This unease has been smoldering under the ashes during the whole first week of the synod, kept buried by those who have control over the procedures, Pope Francis in the first place and then the general and special secretaries.
But precisely the coming to light of the letter from the thirteen cardinals – with the resulting explosion of discussion – has in fact restored to the synod fathers a more concrete possibility of governing the processes and results of this decisive summit of the worldwide Church.
At the press conference on Tuesday, October 13, Vatican press office director Federico Lombardi read a statement on the letter of the thirteen cardinals, essentially acknowledging it:
“Those who have released this letter days after [its delivery to the pope] have carried out an act of disturbance not desired by those who wrote it… That observations can be made on the methodology of the synod, which is new, is not surprising, but once established there is a duty for all to apply it in the best way possible. Some of the ‘signers’ are also moderators of the small circles and are working intensively there, and the general climate is positive… Let’s continue to work without confusing ourselves.”



A Little St. Paul, Anyone?

By Michael Voris, October 14, 2015

Now to news of the Synod, which has had to be called as a result of the crisis as a point of fact.

This is terrible news to have to ponder, but it must be pondered and digested and faced up to: Too many Catholics have been content for too long to simply look the other way in the face of such frightening realities. There are men in bishops’ and cardinals’ robes in this Synod who do not believe the Catholic faith. Take some solace in the fact that this was true even for Our Blessed Lord. Never forget Judas.

But for our own day and time, these men want to destroy the Faith and use the shell of the institutional Church — Her properties, Her money, Her willing personnel — to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with salvation of souls. In order to do this, they have trampled on and continue trampling on every aspect of dogma and theology, up to and including Scripture.

Don’t think for a minute that the question revolving around Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried is the final goal here. It isn’t. Evil always wants more. For the moment, that will do for these men, but it won’t remain so. But in this moment, it is necessary to somehow, some way get this issue accomplished so they can move on to the next goal. This is why Abp. Bruno Forte said in last week’s press conference: This Synod has to say something. Indeed, it does. But on the question of Holy Communion for those living in adultery, while the words of Our Lord are brought up on the question of divorce, we hear very little on the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians on unworthy reception of Holy Communion.

Corinth was infamous, being a port city about sins of the flesh, which is why Paul had to spell it out for them. Perhaps a quick refresher will help.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. … For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement upon himself. (1 Cor. 11:27–29)

Our Lord spoke about marriage. Saint Paul spoke about sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion, the two topics swirling around this Synod. 

Some of you will recall a week or so before our Church Militant crew came to Rome for this Synod, we produced a Vortex saying this is all rooted in a total lack of faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This is one reason we never hear very much about St. Paul’s warning and subsequent condemnation. Commit a sacrilege in improperly receiving Holy Communion and die in that state, and you are damned. What else do these men think St. Paul (actually the Holy Spirit) is saying here?

But like Our Blessed Lord revealed about Judas at Capernaum (John 6), he too did not believe in Our Lord’s words about His Eucharistic presence — and that set the stage for his betrayal and consequent damnation. (And yes, Judas was damned, regardless of what the Church of Nice, “we have a reasonable hope all men are saved,” sissified clergy want to say. The Queen of Heaven revealed that humans are damned, not to mention Her Divine Son. Enough said.) 




The wicked men at this Synod who want to turn all this on its ear will pay the price for this in everlasting torment unless they turn back now. 

We Catholics who do believe the Faith must pray earnestly for them and for Holy Mother Church. Every day of this Synod, offer your Holy Rosary for the Church, especially in this month of the Rosary.


2 out of 227 comments

1. This Synod is a stain on the beautiful bride of Christ and I am afraid it is only the beginning of a much bigger crisis on the Horizon, one that has been drawing nearer for some time. We must be faithful to Christ and Love His Bride. Many wolves are stalking the sheep and many of them are dressed as shepherds. St. Paul also spoke of this to the Church at Ephesus: Acts 20:17-36 –A priest

2. I pray our Pope will pointblank tell all prelates to go home and continue to do what our Lord has commanded all of us to do at the outset.



Is there still a sense of sin among the Synod Fathers?

By Roberto de Mattei, Rome Correspondent,
October 14, 2015

The work at the Synod is confirming the existence of a strong clash between two minorities inside the Catholic Church. On the one side we have a maniple of Synod Fathers determined to defend traditional morality and on the other we have a group of “innovators” who seem to have lost the Catholic Faith. Between the two minorities, there is, as always, a soft and wavering centre, made up of those that don’t dare defend nor attack the truth and are moved by considerations linked more to their own personal interests than doctrinal debate.

The innovating bishops had their voices heard mainly in two of the 14 minor circles during the discussion on the first part of Instrumentum laboris: the Angelicus C and the Germanicus. Let’s look for a moment at a central passage in the Circulus germanicus report, which had the new Archbishop of Berlin, Monsignor Heiner Koch as spokesman and as moderator, the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

The German Bishops firmly hope that in the final document negative language will not prevail, i.e. language which distances and condemns, of a “forensical” style (“eine negativ abgrenzende und normativ verurteilende Sprache(forensischer Stil)“), but rather, positive language of the evolution in the Christian position, which may implicitly express what is incompatible with Christian positions (“eine positive, die christliche Position entfaltende Sprache, die damit implizit zur Sprache bringt, welche Positionen christilich inkompatibel sind“). “This also involves the willingness (cf. Gaudium et Spes) to welcome the positive developments of society”.  (“Dazu gehört auch die Bereitschaft (cf. Gaudium et Spes), von der Gesellschaft positive Entwicklungen aufzugreifen“).

To understand what lies hidden behind this ambiguous language, we need to re-read the central passages of an interview which Cardinal Christoph Schönborn released to Father Antonio Spadaro of the Civiltà Cattolica last September 26th. The Archbishop of Vienna, asserts that it is necessary “to become conscious of the historical and social dimension of marriage and the family.”

He explains: “Too often we theologians, bishops, priests and custodians of doctrine forget that human life occurs in conditions imposed by society i.e. psychological, social, economic and political conditions, in a historical context.  Until now this has been missing in the Synod. […] We should look at the many situations of cohabitation, not only from the angle of what is missing, but also from the angle of what is already promised – what is already present. […] Those who have the grace and joy to be able to live sacramental marriage in faith, humility, reciprocal forgiveness, with trust in God Who acts daily in our lives, know how to discern in a couple, in a civil union, in a cohabitating couple, elements of true heroism, charity and reciprocal giving. Even if we have to say: “It is still not the full reality of the sacrament”. Yet who are we to judge and say that there are no elements of truth and sanctification in them?” […]

In this regard, I cannot hide being shocked at how the purely formalistic manner of discussion uses the hatchet of the intrinsece malum […]. The obsession of the intrinsece malum has so impoverished the debate that we are deprived of a large range of argumentation in favor of uniqueness, indissolubility, openness to life, and the human foundation of the Church’s doctrine. We have lost the taste for discussion on these human realities. One of the pivotal elements of the Synod is the reality of the Christian family, not from an exclusive point of view but an inclusive one. […] There are also situations in which the priest, the one who knows the people in the internal forum, may arrive at saying: “Your situation is such, that in conscience, in yours and mine as your pastor, I see your place in the sacramental life of the Church”. […] I realize I’m scandalizing some by saying this… But one can always learn something from people who are objectively living in irregular situations.  Pope Francis wants to educate us in this”. (Marriage and pastoral conversion.  Interview of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, by Antonio Spadaro S.I., in Civiltà Cattolica, Quaderno n° 3966 del 26/09/2015, pp. 449-552).

This interview should be read in parallel, with the one from another Synod Father, of Germanic cultural formation, the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Bruno Forte, special-secretary to the ordinary general assembly of the Synod. In his declarations to Avvenire on September 19th, 2015, Monsignor Forte said that Instrumentum laboris, manifests: “sympathy for everything that is positive, even when, as in the case of cohabitation, we are faced with an incomplete positivity. The criteria of sympathy towards a cohabitating couple is dictated by the presence in their union of a desire for fidelity, stability and openness to life. [And] when one grasps that this desire can be crowned by the sacrament of matrimony.


On the contrary, when the cohabitation is episodic, everything appears more difficult and it then becomes important to find the path that encourages new steps towards a more significant maturation. […] When there is an irreversible cohabitation, above all if there are children born from the new union, to go back would mean failing in the commitments undertaken. [And] these commitments require moral duties that should comply in a spirit of obedience to God’s will, which asks for fidelity to this new union. When these conditions are present, then an increasingly deeper integration into the life of the Christian community can be considered. Until what point? We have already said it. It’s up to the Synod to propose it and the Pope to decide.”    

As is evident from the interviews cited, the approach to the problems of the family is of a purely sociological nature, with no reference at all to principles that transcend history. Matrimony and the family for Cardinal Schönborn and Monsignor Forte are not natural institutions that have been part of the life of mankind since the beginning of civilization: institutions which have certainly come into being and dwell in history, but as they are rooted in the very nature of mankind, they are destined to survive, in every place and time, as the fundamental cell of human cohabitation. They retain that the family is subjected to the dialectic evolution of history, assuming new forms, according to the historical period and the “positive developments in society”.

The “positive language” which the Circulus germanicus cites, means that there must be no condemnation expressed by the Church, because we need to grasp the positivity in evil and sin. Properly speaking, for them, sin doesn’t exist, since every evil is an imperfect and incomplete good. These aberrations are based on deliberate confusion between the metaphysical and moral concepts of good and evil.  It is clear in fact, that from the philosophical point of view, God Who is the Supreme Good, did not create anything that is evil and imperfect in the universe.  Yet, in created things we also have human freedom, which renders possible in a rational being, moral estrangement from God. This aversio a Deo in the rational being is an evil that is properly defined as sin. Nevertheless the notion of sin is absent in the Cardinal’s view, just as it is in the special secretary’s.

By denying the existence of the intrinsece malum, Cardinal Schönborn is denying moral truths like those according to which “there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliatio et paenitentia, n. 17) and rejects in toto the encyclical Veritatis Splendor, promulgated precisely to reaffirm the existence of absolute morals, against the resurgence of “situation ethics”.  In this perspective, not only is the notion of Divine and natural law as the root and foundation of moral order dissolved, but also the [very] notion of human freedom. Freedom is in fact the primary subjective root of morality, just as the natural and Divine law constitutes its objective form.  Without the Divine and natural law, good and evil cease to exist, since the natural law is what allows the intelligence to know the truth and the will to love the good.  Freedom and law are two inseparable entities in the moral order.

Sin exists because absolute morals exist. Sin is an absolute evil because it opposes the absolute Good, and is the only evil, because it opposes God Who is the sole Good. The origins of every situation of adversity and unhappiness in man are not of a political, economical and social nature, but go back to sin – both original and actual – committed by men. Man “sins mortally […] when he consciously and freely, for whatever reason, chooses something which is seriously disordered (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana, November 7th 1975, n. 10 par. 6). Among the sins that exist, according to Holy Scripture,  are those that cry out to Heaven for vengeance, like the sin of sodomy (Gen. 18, 20; 19, 13), but there is also the violation of the sixth commandment, which prohibits any sexual union outside of marriage.  No “positive language” is admitted to bless these unions.  Pius XII said that “perhaps the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin” (Radio Message October 26th 1946).

Yet, what happens when it is churchmen themselves who lose the sense of sin, and with this, the Faith itself?



Cardinal Sarah urges Synod to reject liberal agenda pushed by organizers in blistering speech, interview

By Andrew Guernsey, October 14, 2015

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today.” So spoke Cardinal Robert Sarah in a blistering opening speech at the synod last week, now made public, in which the Guinean Cardinal identifies the greatest modern enemies of the family as the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

In a recent interview with Aleteia, Sarah also expressed grave concerns about the manipulation of the Synod towards a liberalizing “agenda they are trying to impose,” while in his speech in the Synod hall he expressed misgivings at the way the Synod has been conducted. The African Cardinal said that “in the previous Synod, on various issues one sensed the temptation to yield to the mentality of the secularized world and individualistic West.” In particular, he criticized some of the procedures which organizers put in place, which he said seemed “to promote a way of seeing typical of certain fringe groups of the wealthiest churches.” “This is contrary to a poor Church,” Sarah argued, and contradicts “a joyously evangelical and prophetic sign of contradiction to worldliness.”

Sarah specifically decried the fact that “some statements that are not shared by the qualified majority of the last Synod still ended up in the Relatio and then in the Lineamenta and the Instrumentum laboris when other pressing and very current issues (such as gender ideology) are instead ignored.” It was Pope Francis himself who overruled the vote at least year’s Synod, and decided to include controversial paragraphs on homosexuality and communion for divorce and remarried Catholics that did not meet the required 2/3 majority in the final relatio, which became the basis for the Instrumentum laboris for this year’s Synod.



“The first hope is therefore that, in our work, there be more freedom, transparency and objectivity,” Sarah told the Synod Fathers. “For this, it would be beneficial to publish the summaries of the interventions, to facilitate discussion and avoid any prejudice or discrimination in accepting the pronouncements of the Synod Fathers.”

In his speech the Cardinal specifically deplored gender ideology and ISIS as opposing “demonic” forces, because they both “demand a universal and totalitarian rule, are violently intolerant, destroyers of families, society and the Church, and are openly Christianophobic.”

Sarah argued that “the idolatry of Western freedom” epitomized by “gender ideology,” and groups like FEMEN and the LGBT lobby, leads to the “subjectivist disintegration in the secularized West through quick and easy divorce, abortion, homosexual unions, euthanasia.” Radical Islam, especially groups likes Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, likewise destroy the family, because the “pseudo-family of ideologized Islam,” “legitimizes polygamy, female subservience, sexual slavery, child marriage etc.”

While many progressive Synod Fathers have urged the Church to abandon “negative” or “judgmental” language, Sarah instead made generous use of emboldened, biblical language of spiritual warfare in his intervention, quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “We are not contending against creatures of flesh and blood.”

Sarah warned the Synod fathers of the dangers of making any concession to the “demonic” ideologies of the modern world within the Church, saying, “We need to be inclusive and welcoming to all that is human; but what comes from the Enemy [the Devil] cannot and must not be assimilated. You cannot join Christ and Belial [the Devil]!” This crisis today, Sarah argued, is not primarily a sociological one, but the “the marriage crisis is essentially a crisis of God… a crisis of faith.” 

In his address, Sarah criticized progressive prelates at the Synod by turning their favorite rhetorical language and theological metaphors on their heads. Sarah inverted the progressive theologians’ insistence on more pastoral “diversity” in the Church, arguing to the contrary that marriage itself is “as an intimate communion in diversity, (man and woman) that is generous in the gift of life.” Liberals have used the phrase “unity in diversity” to argue for the decentralization of Church discipline on the sacraments to local dioceses.

Cardinal Sarah did not shy away from criticizing phrases used by the Pope himself. In Pope Francis’ opening address he spoke of the “deposit of faith” in dialogue with and illuminating the “deposit of life” of lived experience of the modern Catholic. Sarah argued that “recognizing the so-called ‘realities of life’ as a locus theologicus means giving up hope in the transforming power of faith and the Gospel. The Gospel that once transformed cultures is now in danger of being transformed by them.”

On Monday, Cardinal Sarah, the head of the powerful Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican, was listed as one of numerous high ranking signatories of a leaked letter to Pope Francis that objected that the Synod “seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions” and has the potential for “abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation.” Sarah has not denied reports that he signed the letter. While the Pope made a subsequent intervention warning of a “hermeneutic of conspiracy,” Cardinal Sarah nonetheless took aim at the Synod proceedings in his opening remarks, calling for “more transparency” and “respect.”

Concerns remain that the Synod leadership of ten clerics chosen by Pope Francis to write up the final report for this year’s Synod may manipulate the process in such a way that it may require a countervailing 2/3 majority for the bishops to remove heterodox paragraphs from the final document that only passed on a simple majority previously. Cardinal Sarah, has repeatedly denounced proposals to liberalize Church discipline on marriage, homosexuality and Holy Communion as “a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology”  “that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice – which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions.”

See also

Cardinal: We’re beset by ‘gender ideology and ISIS’

Cardinal Sarah
says the Christian family counters both Islamic, Western extremism…



Archbishop Peta: we can perceive the ‘infernal smoke’ in Synod interventions

October 14, 2015

Editor’s note: Voice of the Family
has received the gracious permission of His Excellency Archbishop Tomash Peta, Archbishop of Astana, to publish the text of the intervention he made at the Ordinary Synod on the Family on 10th October 2015.

Blessed Paul VI said in 1972: “From some crack the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”

I am convinced that these were prophetical words of the holy pope, the author of “Humanae vitae”. During the Synod last year, “the smoke of Satan” was trying to enter the aula of Paul VI.


1) The proposal to admit to Holy Communion those who are divorced and living in new civil unions;
2) The affirmation that cohabitation is a union which may have in itself some values;
3) The pleading for homosexuality as something which is allegedly normal.




Some synod fathers have not understood correctly the appeal of Pope Francis for an open discussion and started to bring forward ideas which contradict the bi-millennial Tradition of the Church, rooted in the Eternal Word of God.

Unfortunately, one can still perceive the smell of this “infernal smoke” in some items of the “Instrumentum Laboris” and also in the interventions of some synod fathers this year.

To my mind, the main task of a Synod consists in indicating again to the Gospel of the marriage and of the family and that means to the teaching of Our Savior. It is not allowed to destroy the fundament – to destroy the rock.

May the Holy Spirit, who always wins in the Church, illuminate all of us in searching the true good for the families and for the world.

Mary – Mother of the Church, pray for us!

+ Tomash Peta

Archbishop of Astana (Kazakhstan)



English archbishop opposes plan to allow Communion for Anglican spouses of Catholics

Catholic World News, October 14, 2015

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England, has argued strongly against a proposal to allow the Anglican spouses of Catholics to receive Communion.

Archbishop Longley—who exercises considerable influence on ecumenical questions, as the co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), said that the Synod of Bishops should reject the proposal because it violates canon law. He observed:

Such a proposal would tend to establish a category of Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church yet distinguished from other Christians by a ‘right’ to receive Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass on any occasion.

Earlier this week Archbishop Longley was quoted in an Anglican publication as suggesting that the Catholic Church might consider broadening the existing norms, which allow for Anglican spouses of Catholics to receive Communion under certain extraordinary circumstances. His new statement indicates that the archbishop would not support a dramatic change.



New Jersey bishop tells Catholics who reject Church teaching not to receive Communion

By Lisa Bourne, Newark, New Jersey, October 14, 2015

The Catholic archbishop of Newark, NJ has issued guidelines instructing those who reject Church teaching to refrain from receiving Communion, as well as cautioning Catholics to stay away from events that conflict with Church teaching and Canon Law.

In a memo issued last Friday to his priests, Archbishop John Myers focused on marriage in particular as an area where Church teaching must be preserved.

“Catholics must be in a marriage recognized as valid by the Church to receive Holy Communion or the other Sacraments,” the archbishop stated. “Non-Catholics and any Catholic who publicly reject Church teaching or discipline, either by public statements or by joining or supporting organizations which do so, are not to receive the Sacraments.”

Archdiocesan spokesman James Goodness told LifeSiteNews that the memo has been misinterpreted by some media, as though Archbishop Myers was being exceptionally hardline on Church teaching, or even that he was trying impact the ongoing Synod on the Family in Rome.
Goodness discounted this, explaining that the memo had been drafted and presented to the archdiocese’s Presbyteral Council last month, and only just last week distributed because of workflow being affected by the recent papal visit.

“I think it’s clear that the archbishop was just following along as principal teacher of the faith,” said Goodness. “And trying to support his priests and help people where they are.”

The timing had everything to do though, he said, with the challenges encountered by priests in the face of an ever advancing secular culture.

Dated September 22, the memo, titled, Principles to Aid in Preserving and Protecting the Catholic Faith in the Midst of an Increasingly Secular Culture, is directed toward priests in their ministry with the laity and all that both are facing in the world.

“We wanted to be make sure we are applying Catholic theological principles in what we do,” Goodness told LifeSiteNews. “The document is to help parishes and priests deal with people where they are.”

Goodness pointed out that Archbishop Myers’ memo starts out explaining that the Church continues to welcome and value everyone.

“The Church will continue to cherish and welcome her members and invite them to participate in her life to the degree that their personal situation permits them honestly to do so,” it stated, continuing on to say, “They are asked to be honest to themselves and to the Church community.”




The message is that the Church welcomes, but welcoming souls does not come at the expense of Church teaching, Goodness said, and Archbishop Myers was simply doing his job in issuing the memo.

“The only thing that should be read into this is the archbishop trying to help reinforce Church teaching to help people deal with their circumstances,” said Goodness, and everyone is welcome. “Don’t do anything that is going to mix the Church’s message, however.”

While some media reports have also held that the archbishop’s memo is out of step with Pope Francis’ pastoral approach, nothing could be further from the truth, Goodness said, as the pope has also consistently upheld Church doctrine while employing his welcoming approach. Actually, Goodness said, it is in sharing the truth of the Church that one is being most welcoming.

Archbishop Myers’ memo also instructs parishes and institutions not to allow organizations that disagree with Church teaching to use its facilities, and also that Catholics should not take part in events endorsing rejection of Church principles.

Nothing about the memo is intended to conflict with the Church’s welcome of sinners and offer of salvation with repentance, he told LifeSiteNews.

“The door is open, that’s the fact,” Goodness said. “Let’s see how we can get in there together.”

“I’m going to walk with you, we can do this together,” he said. “If you’re ready to take this on.”
In 2012 Myers issued another, similar letter urging Catholics to not receive Holy Communions if they do not accept the Church’s teaching on marriage, with special reference then to “gay marriage.”



Cardinal Dolan confirms he signed leaked letter to Pope Francis: provides more details

By Lisa Bourne, October 14/15, 2015

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has confirmed he was among the group of 13 cardinals to sign a letter to Pope Francis expressing concern over the direction of the Ordinary Synod on the Family.

In an interview with Mary Shovlain, host of ‘The Vatican Report,’ on Sirius XM, Dolan explained that the letter was actually drafted before the Synod began, and not in response to anything that has occurred during the current meeting.

The cardinal also said he didn’t think of the letter as controversial until it surfaced earlier this week. “I’d forgotten about it, and I didn’t think it was controversial at all,” he said.

The confidential letter, reportedly delivered to the pope October 5, was leaked by veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister and subsequently the subject of controversy. Four cardinals on the list of signatories released by Magister denied signing the letter, and a revised list of signers was later published by various media outlets, although that list is also in dispute.

Cardinal Dolan said he agreed to sign on to the letter at the suggestion of Australian Cardinal George Pell amid conversations among various Synod fathers over their concerns.

The New York prelate recounted Cardinal Pell’s words about approaching the pope.

“George said, ‘Why don’t we get together, we love the Holy Father, we trust him,'” Cardinal Dolan said. “He’s urged us to be as honest with him as possible. Why don’t we write him that we’re worried?”

Cardinal Dolan explained in the interview exactly what was troubling the cardinals that led them to sign the letter.

“We’re worried first of all, if the Instrumentum Laboris, which has a lot of good things, but we’re kind of worried if that’s the only document that we’re going to be talking about at the Synod,” he said.

“Number two, we’re a little worried about the process,” Cardinal Dolan continued. “There seems to be some confusion. And thirdly, we’re a little worried about if we could have a say in the people who are going to be on the final drafting committee.”

Dolan said that after discussing the situation Cardinal Pell then asked the other cardinals if this summed up their concerns, to which Cardinal Dolan said he responded, “Sounds good to me, if you have got a letter to the pope, count me in, and sure enough, I signed it.”

The letter wasn’t in English as had been reported, but rather Italian.

The pope addressed the concerns presented in the letter at the Synod the day after the letter had been presented, according to Cardinal Dolan.

“He didn’t refer to the letter,” the cardinal said, “but he said, ‘Hey everybody, I’ve heard from some of you that you’ve got some concerns.’ And then he listed the exact concerns I just mentioned to you.”

“And then he said, let me try to respond to that,” Cardinal Dolan continued. “And I said, ‘Way to go Pope Francis; you told us to be honest, we were, you answered right to the heart. I’m grateful that you paid attention. Let’s get on with the work.'”

This year’s Synod continues through October 25.


Disco Dogma

By Michael Voris, October 15, 2015

Now, they call Rome the Eternal City, meaning not only is it very old, but also that things here are ageless. However, judging from this Synod, that’s not exactly true.



It seems, at least at the Vatican, as if Rome is stuck in the 1970s, although the gunk from 40 years ago spewed out from crazy Churchmen and theologians is suddenly all fashionable again. In some ways, the heretics, heterodox and dissenters have the moment here and have blown the doors of discussions about how the Catholic family can survive and thrive in the Faith in a twisted and perverse generation, and turned into their own little Vatican III. There’s practically nothing here that hasn’t been presented for discussion, and they all have their roots back in the 1970s. Talk about Disco Dogma.

Here are some of the crazy ideas, to name just the ones we’ve heard about: We need to “discuss” women deacons — that gem from Canadian archbishop Paul André Durocher — and by women deacons, he and his crowd really mean women priests. Durocher is the archbishop, you’ll recall, who is denying he got a priest’s credentials yanked from the press pool after the priest challenged a flippant comment Durocher made during a press conference.

New Zealand cardinal John Dew has arrived in Rome all prepared to do what he can to get Holy Communion to be distributed to people living in adultery. But he hasn’t come alone. He’s got in tow with him a woman who — get this — will be advocating for the overthrow of Humanae Vitae, the 1968 encyclical by Blessed Pope Paul VI restating and reaffirming the Church’s dogmatic, irreversible teaching on the intrinsic evil of birth control.

Then there is the non-stop talk about having to change the language the Church uses when talking about sin and sinful situations. One cardinal has publicly said we shouldn’t talk about homosexuality as being intrinsically disordered because people feel “branded” by that vocabulary. For the record, that language is directly from the Catechism, so what they are really saying is they want to change the Catechism.

Then the constant talk about each bishops’ conference or each region deciding the dogma for themselves. This has gone from bad to worse and it’s only the beginning of the second week. There are many other things, but you get the idea. We don’t want anyone listening to become depressed.

This is a long list of all the crazy talk going on in the 1970s when many of these bishops were in seminary being taught by nut-job professors or still baby priests facing the sexual revolution without adequate preparation. Many of them have drunk the Kool-Aid and that’s now evident in spades. We think it’s time for a “We told you so” moment here, not to gloat or brag, but to help you understand what we’ve been saying for nearly six year: that there are scoundrels and wicked men, lazy men, career-minded men among the bishops. Not all of them of course, but enough of them to bring the Church to Her knees. All the craziness going on in the Church of Nice is owing to these men.

We told you so. The bloggers for the Church of Nice, the establishment Catholic media, those Church establishment figures who have said we’re mean and divisive and so forth — this message is aimed straight at you. You have issued press releases, banned us from Church property and every other imaginable subterfuge you could use against us for years, all because we talked about all this stuff in public.

Well, now here we are, the Church has come to this point, on a world stage with the international media broadcasting this heresy all over the world as though it could possibly be accepted. You accused of us talking too much about liberals and heretics and homosexuals in the Church. So, in the end, who was wrong and who was right?

You had debates with us over the question of how deep the crisis really is. We said it was this deep, and you laughed it off. But all that is water under the bridge. What needs to happens is Catholics who still believe the Faith — not many, I know — but whoever you are, need to open up your eyes and get a grip on what is actually happening here. Words are being said over dinners and lunches and coffees, words like “heresy,” “schism,” “violations of canon law,” “changing doctrine.”

This isn’t child’s play. This is the real deal. It’s for all the marbles, right here right now. Regardless of what you think of me, my style, our website, whatever, you are duty-bound to tell everyone you can by any means you can of the pit the Church has been pushed into by these wicked prelates. This Synod has just passed its halfway point and the most radical of things hasn’t even happened yet.

Pray the Rosary every day for this Synod. Pray the Rosary.

Church teachings includes a soft approach on sin and using less “judgmental” language when speaking of sexual sin.   


Selected comments

1. The one good thing about this synod is that we will finally find out who the heretics are.

2. Michael says what we all know but have been hesitant to say. Many of our bishops are not only gutless, but they attack the faith and are enemies of the faith themselves. At least the plans by Pope Francis have had their wheels come off and the attempt to rig the Synod have been exposed.

3. Salt & Light (Fr. Thomas Rosica) is infiltrated and not trustworthy at all.



“At the End of the Synod, Francis may impose his will, Diktak-style — but Bergoglism is foundering everywhere” [The Argentinian War Machine with the German Engine is Stuck in the Mud]

By Antonio Socci,
October 11/15, 2015

“Is the audacious war-machine beginning to wane?” a Swiss Vatican reporter asks. Actually, the Argentinian war-machine with the German engine has gotten stuck in the mud at the Synod. Lately we have heard that German “engines” are being put on the scrap-heap plus the Argentinean bodywork is an old wreck of Peronism and rusty Liberation Theology.




Well, the Synod opened with Cardinal Erdö‘s report reaffirming Catholic Doctrine, demolishing Kasper’s heresies (and irritating Bergoglio). In addition, after the first week, one of the spokesmen from the committees, the Australian Mark Coleridge, summed up the situation like this: “If the Synod finished today, 65% of the Fathers would vote against the idea of admitting the divorced and remarried to Communion.”

For the Bergoglio and Kasper party the defeat will be even more stinging on the subject of homosexuality, given that from the reports of the various groups, there emerges an appeal to oppose vigorously the gender theory, considered the latest dangerous ideology substituting Marxism, with devastating effects on the mentality and formation of the young.

In effect, the Catholic part of the Synod, (the one following perennial teaching along the lines of John Paul II and Benedict XVI) in the majority numerically, has made energetic protests against the Bergoglian minority in power, which is imposing its procedures, its methods and its men in key posts. But nothing is heard of these protests outside [the Synod Hall] or they are misrepresented by the propaganda machine in caricature form (the bad conservatives against the illuminated progressives).

Although the Synod is discussing the family, those millions of families who are on the outside – according to Bergoglio – needn’t know anything (unlike other Synods) or they need to have the information filtered or “packaged” for them.

The members of the Bergoglian party are like a football team which is losing 5 -0 on the soccer field but can deliver kicks with impunity, try to score hand-goals (another Argentinean way) or display arrogance because they know that the referee is their leader and in the end will award them the match by even going against all the rules (indeed, Bergoglio reserves the right to change the rules during the match itself – based on his team’s convenience – take for example, the final report).



Great comfort from the Catholic part is represented by the meek and wise Benedict XVI, whose magisterium and presence like a light- house in a stormy night, indicates the way. Last week the American Vatican reporter Edward Pentin revealed the response that Pope Benedict gave (at the last Synod) to a German prelate who asked him what should be done faced with the storm raging in the Church: “Halten Sie sich unbedingt an die Lehre!” (Remain absolutely firm on doctrine!)

Ratzinger today is heeded more and more, since defenseless Truth is the only treasure of the Church, Christ Himself, and if the Church sells out on the truth of Catholic Doctrine, She would be like Judas and would take away from humanity the true mercy and salvation of God.

Illuminated by Benedict’s light, the Catholic part arrived at this Synod stronger and better-prepared with respect to the last one and to the Consistory of February 2014, when it was taken in surprise by Kasper’s unspeakable theses that Bergoglio allowed him to proclaim.

Furthermore, it is significant that among the most determined to oppose the subversion of Catholic Doctrine, we have the young African Church, which was especially taken care of for 40 years by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Besides having great cardinals like Sarah, a light for all of Christendom, the African Church is by far the most dynamic one, the most missionary one and the one with most growth, having now exceeded the 200 million faithful, with a striking 238% more in respect to 1980.

Whilst the South American Church of Bergoglio, the German one of Kasper and the Belgian one of Danneels are about to collapse.


FAILED MODERNISM [Under the Bergoglio Effect, Italy is fast becoming a non-Catholic country]

Yet this is today’s paradox: in the leadership of the Church we have those whose ‘recipes’ have been shown to be disastrous in their countries. And yet they still want to apply the same disastrous recipes to the entire Church, resulting in devastating effects on a planetary scale.

True, many indicate the Pope’s popularity as a sign of rebirth. However this is a bluff and is now understood as such inside the Church. It is the drugged popularity from the circus of the secular mass-media, where there is not even one conversion, but on the contrary, delight, about the Pope’s conversion to the agenda of Obama and the United Nations.

The data in Italy about Catholic practice, which under John Paul II and Benedict XVI had grown, continues to weaken under Bergoglio. “La Repubblica” itself, last Saturday, referring to the studies of the “Foundation for Liberal Criticism” (“Fondazione Critica liberale”) and of the CGIL (a leftist union) had to acknowledge that for the Church “there is no Francis effect”, actually, “Italy continues to distance itself from the Church”, so indeed, there is the Bergoglio effect – the other way around though – he drives the faithful away.



Catholics have the sensation that with Bergoglio everything is collapsing. For instance, Monsignor Charamsa‘s embarrassing ‘coming out’ (along with his companion), who expects the Church to change the law on homosexuality based on the word of God, would not have been possible without the hundreds of disconcerting apertures and who-am-I-to-judges from Bergoglio, whom Charamsa defines as “fantastic”. Whoever sows the wind, reaps the whirlwind, the Bible says.

And how do we avoid the confusion and disorientation from Bergoglio’s Motu Proprio on marriage annulments*, which was even demolished by Professor Danilo Castellano, a Catholic lawyer? It is impossible not to see that it introduces de facto divorce, subverts the Gospel and the two thousand year teaching of the Church. So then – instead of sustaining the family under attack by modern ideologies – this Motu Proprio* gives it the death-blow.





Then, there is the long list of Bergoglian errors. The one on immigration is enormous. Like the one concerning the persecuted Christians, who certainly didn’t benefit from his position of surrender to Islam and the Communist regimes.

Then, we have the Christians massacred by ISIS whom he has effectively abandoned by delegitimizing every concrete intervention in their defense: in fact today the bishops of the Middle East (and their communities) see in Putin’s intervention, the hope of liberation from terror.

Then, there are Bergoglio’s no-global meetings against “an economy that kills” (the capitalist one).

According to data from FAO diffused recently, the percentage of the under-nourished in under-developed countries has passed from 23.3% in the year 2000 to 12.9% today. In 50 years the global ratio of extreme poverty has passed from 80% to 10%, while world population has doubled (the opposite from what the Malthusian theories predicted). Even the figures on the environment, the air and health have very much improved over the past 50 years, disproving Bergoglio’s eco-catastrophic-Marxist encyclical.

Even what is celebrated as Bergoglio’s International success – the end of the embargo in Cuba – on closer inspection – results in being the rescue of an old, detestable and bloody dictatorship which the Pope went to pay homage to, ignoring its victims and dissidents.

Bergoglio is leaving behind a panorama of destruction along with incredible slips like the extraordinarily comical quarrel with Ignazio Marino* something unimaginable for giants like Ratzinger and Wojtyla (notwithstanding Scalfari who praises Bergoglio because he took the Church out of politics). Marino needs to leave and deserves all the criticism in the world, but Bergoglio deserved the quip from comrade, Ferilli: “That the Pope felt the need to make an announcement “to tell him where to go” is – may I say it? – absolutely unheard of.”

[*Ignazio Marino, the former Mayor of Rome flew to the USA in September to join the Pope’s entourage uninvited, and Pope Francis made this clear when he made a statement to TV journalists “I did not invite him, is that clear?”(Io non ho invitato il sindaco Marino- chiaro?“) Marino was afterwards forced to resign from office under charges of financial corruption.]



Synod participants call for Bible-based presentation of God’s plan for family

By Cindy Wooden,
October 15, 2015

Most of the synod’s 13 working groups have asked for a greater use of Scripture in the synod’s text

As members of the Synod of Bishops concluded work on the second of three chapters in their working document, they continued to call for a tone and for language that is clear, simple and encourages people to see it is possible to live the vocation of marriage and family life. At the same time, most of the synod’s 13 working groups — formed according to language — asked for a greater use of Scripture in the synod’s text, including examples of holy couples and Jesus’s interactions with a variety of family members such as parents who asked him to heal their children.

Two groups said the working document, which they are amending and planning to give to Pope Francis, does not contain a concise definition of marriage. “This is a serious defect,” said English Group D, led by Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto.

The focus of small group work on October 10-13 was the section of the working document entitled, The Discernment of the Family Vocation, which included a summary of the biblical vision of the family, ways families strengthen their faith and the role the family plays within the church.

At least two groups said the Church needed an in-depth treatise on the Christian understanding of marriage and family life. French Group A, led by Canadian Cardinal Gerald LaCroix of Quebec, said such a document would be impossible for the synod to draft in three weeks, so the synod’s task should be to offer reflections on “the most salient and urgent aspects” of Catholic teaching.

Spanish Group A, led by Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, said sometimes it appears that the Catholic Church has a theology of marriage, but not of the family and “it also seems that we limit ourselves to repeating obvious things, but lack key, driving ideas.”

English Group A, led by Australian Cardinal George Pell, said the Church benefited from past synods through the apostolic exhortations the Pope would write afterward; synod officials have said it is not known whether Pope Francis will write one based on this synod. Whatever comes out of the synod, the group said, should use “streamlined, attractive language” while having as its primary concern “the clarity of well-grounded explanations of church teaching.”

French Group A asked the 10-member committee appointed to draft the synod’s final document to take care not to continually “interrupt” the text with references to the indissolubility of marriage “as if that were our only concern.”

On the theme of indissolubility, most of the groups insisted the text must present the lifelong marriage bond as the blessing that it is and not as a burden.

The chapter, said French Group C, led by Bishop Maurice Piat of Port Louis, Mauritius, should help people listen to what the Church teaches about the family in the light of Scripture. “We believe that this word meets the deepest longings of the human heart thirsting for love and mercy,” and it can bring healing.


English Group B, chaired by British Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, suggested that in presenting the “divine pedagogy” or the revelation of God’s plan for the family, the document “begin with Genesis, which already provides a definition of marriage as a unique union between a man and a woman, so total and intimate that because of it a man must leave his father and mother in order to be united with his wife. This account of the creation of marriage presents also the three basic characteristics of marriage as it was in the beginning — monogamy, permanence and equality of the sexes.”

The group said that the Church can understand its ministry “as mirroring God’s patience and mercy” only by understanding God’s original plan for marriage and family life and how he continually attempted to bring people back to it.

Spanish Group A said it is important to acknowledge the gradual way “God communicates the grace of the covenant” to each person and community through “correcting, accompanying and forgiving.”

Speaking to reporters later, Cardinal Nichols said the relationship between mercy and justice is a theme attracting special attention.

Using Pope Francis’ document declaring the year of mercy, he said, helps avoid “the temptation which has been around all this year … that somehow there is a conflict between justice and mercy and that somehow mercy always as it were replaces justice.”

It is “a profound misunderstanding” of mercy to tell people, “It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s fine,” the cardinal said.

The relationship of mercy and justice also was the first topic dealt with in the German Group’s report to the synod assembly. “Mercy and truth, grace and justice are not in opposition because God is love and his is the mercy with which we are made just,” the group’s report said.

The German group includes Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian known for his work on mercy and for his suggestion that the synod find a way to allow some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion even without an annulment of their sacramental marriage.

“It’s important to remember who is in that group,” Cardinal Nichols told reporters, “and I think it’s important for you to know that every resolution of that group and this report were accepted unanimously in that group. There was no tension or division of opinion in that German-speaking group.”

Several groups urged a stronger mention of marriage as a vocation like priesthood and consecrated life and an acknowledgment that strong families are the “seedbed” of strong vocations to all three.

Spanish Group B, led by Mexican Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, said its members “felt that there are significant absences or few references in this part (of the document) on issues like chastity and virginity, holiness and spirituality of the family.”



Cardinal tells synod: no one can change ‘essential Church teachings’

October 15, 2015

Cardinal Pell says synod fathers have no power to ‘relativise the objective truths of the Catholic faith’

Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See, has told the synod on the family that it has no power to change “essential Church teachings”.

The full text of his intervention was published in the Herald’s
Letters from the Synod. A shorter version was delivered in the synod hall.

In the full text the cardinal said: “Our first episcopal task as teaching bishops is not to be theologians, but to teach, explain, and defend the apostolic tradition of faith and morals.”

He said that, while the synod fathers could “contribute to the genuine development of doctrine”, they had no power to “change or diminish the Word of God, much less to refashion it according to prevailing insights, or relativise the objective truths of Catholic faith and morals as passing expressions in some Hegelian flux”.

Jesus was “not afraid to confront society”, the cardinal said, adding: “He did not tell the adulterous woman to continue in her good work, but to repent and sin no more.”

The cardinal said: “Not even a council with and under a pope can change essential Catholic moral teachings sanctioned by Scripture and the Magisterium. It is for reasons such as these that the Holy Father has said that ‘doctrine cannot be touched’.”



Cardinal Burke proclaims controversial Synod proposals ‘simply contrary’ to Catholicism

October 15, 2015

On Thursday morning, LifeSiteNews had an opportunity to sit down with Cardinal Raymond Burke in Rome, after a press conference he attended hosted by Voice of the Family. LifeSiteNews spoke with the Cardinal about the ongoing Synod on the Family, and in particular a controversial proposal, promoted by a participant in a recent Vatican press conference, to allow local bishops make decisions on how to deal with issues like homosexuality and divorce.  

Cardinal Burke also critiqued the so-called “Kasper Proposal,” saying that it is based upon the false idea “that somehow doctrine and pastoral practice are in conflict with one another.” 

The following is a transcript of this interview:



LSN: What do you make of the idea of “regional diversity” in the Church? Should local bishops have the authority on a pastoral level to deal with questions pertaining to the “social acceptance of homosexuality” and with “divorced and remarried persons?”

Burke: This is simply contrary to Catholic Faith and life. The Church follows the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ as it has first of all been taught to us by God in the creation — what we call the natural law, what every human heart understands because it has been created by God — but it’s also then been explained and illuminated by the teaching of Christ and in the tradition of the Church. 

And this Church is one all over the world. There is no change in these truths, from one place to another or from one time to another. Certainly the teaching of these truths takes into account the particular needs in each area. But it doesn’t change the teaching. The teaching sometimes has to be even stronger in places where it is more compromised. 

So, this is unacceptable. I don’t know where this idea comes from. What it actually means is that the Church is no longer Catholic [universal]. It means that it’s no longer one in its teaching throughout the whole world. We have one faith. We have one [collection of] sacraments. We have one governance throughout the whole world. That’s what it means to be ‘Catholic.’ 

I’d also like to comment on this idea of what is “pastoral.”

In much of the discussion which has taken place, beginning with the infamous presentation of Cardinal Walter Kasper in the Extraordinary Consistory on February 20 and 21 of 2014, centered on this idea that somehow doctrine and pastoral practice are in conflict with one another. 

This is absurd. The pastoral practice exists to help us to live the truths of the faith, to live the doctrine of the faith in our daily lives. You can’t have a conflict [between these]. You can’t have the Church teaching, for instance, that marriage is indissoluble and then someone claiming at the same time for ‘pastoral’ reasons that a person who is living in an irregular union is able to receive the sacraments, which would mean that marriage isn’t indissoluble. These are just false distinctions — false contrasts — that we really need to clear up because it’s causing an immense confusion among the faithful and, of course, ultimately can lead people into serious error with great harm to their spiritual life and their eternal salvation. 

LSN: What are the faithful to think and to do when they see Synod Fathers suggesting heterodox positions regarding homosexuality and divorce?  

Burke: We follow our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Master. And we are all held to be obedient to him and to his word, beginning with the Holy Father and with the Bishops. If a bishop, or a priest, or anyone, should announce something or declare something that is contrary to the truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as it’s communicated to us in the teaching of the Church, we follow Christ. 

I say to people who are very anxious, because it seems in this time that there is simply a lot of confusion and statements that are really quite stunning about the faith, that we should remain serene. Because, in the Catholic Church, we have teaching authority, which is expressed, for instance, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and we simply need to study those things more deeply, adhere to them more ardently, and not be led astray by false teaching, from whatever source it comes. 

LSN: Some suggest that there is very little disagreement in the Synod and that the media is guilty of manufacturing conflict where none exists. Your thoughts? 

Burke: First of all, I have to qualify my observation by saying I’m not part of the Synod. I have no involvement at all within the Synod. I’ve been reading, not only what has been said in the media, but also official reports from the Vatican. And, I’ve had conversations with one or another Synod Father. To the contrary, I understand that there are very strong disagreements within the Synod. Given the discussion which has proceeded the Synod — and also, given the Instrumentum Laboris [Synod working document] with the very serious difficulties with that document — I would find it difficult to believe that there wouldn’t be strong disagreement. Otherwise, we’re not going to get to the truth of matters. We’re not going to safeguard and promote the Catholic faith as we need to. 

Just my impression is that indeed there is disagreement.



Doctrinal “devolution” to the bishops’ conferences? Francis already endorsed it in 2013

October 15, 2015 (All emphases theirs excepting the red in the last paragraph – which is mine –Michael)

Amidst all the talk from some Synod delegates and spokesmen about the “devolution” or “delegation” of important moral questions to the bishops’ conferences, and the criticisms of a very few Synod fathers and Catholic commentators against this idea, there is the proverbial “elephant in the room” that no one wants to mention. We are referring to the fact that Pope Francis already endorsed the idea of “devolution” or “delegation” of doctrinal authority in nos. 32-33 of his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the true blueprint for his entire pontificate (our emphases):


32. Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization. Pope John Paul II asked for help in finding “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation”. We have made little progress in this regard. The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion.




The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”. Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach. 

33. Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way”. I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory. I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment.


When Evangelii Gaudium was published in November 2013, we at Rorate immediately grasped the central importance of this passage, which is why we chose to highlight it. The reality is that for all the talk of “conspiracies” and “muddling through” in this pontificate, Francis and his closest advisers (Cardinals Maradiaga and Abp. Tucho Fernandez in particular) have been nothing if not clear about their intentions for “deep, total and irreversible” change in the Church. This passage in EG could not be any clearer about the direction where Francis wants the Church to go. 

If ever a measure of doctrinal authority were to be devolved to the bishops’ conferences, then Rome would be faced with a never-ending battle to regulate, limit or claim back that authority. The damage to the papacy’s authority and the chaos that would spread throughout the universal Church are too terrible to contemplate. If we were talking here of local Churches deeply rooted in Tradition and jealous in guarding their ancient theological, liturgical and canonical heritage then there would be much less disquiet (even though the idea of doctrinal “devolution” would still be thoroughly unacceptable from a traditional Catholic point of view). Unfortunately, a genuine sense of Tradition has largely disappeared in our Church, and any “devolution” of “doctrinal authority” will most certainly result in numerous hierarchies hastening all the more to be guided by the spirit of the world. 

It is the height of irony for Catholic apologists and commentators to continue to be silent in the face of this obvious attack on the authority of the Apostolic See and the unity of the universal Church, due precisely to their misguided sense of “loyalty” to the papacy and the desire to foster “unity” (often understood to mean that criticism should be stifled and that everyone should pretend that everything’s just fine). 



The Ridiculous Synod: The Sacrilege that made the Synod Hall Weep

October 15, 2015

We do not know if any of this is true. We do not know if the original story is true – the unidentified Synod participant who may have told it may well have made it up. We do not know if it truly caused “commotion” in the assembly (other than perhaps the horror for the sacrilege of how Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is treated in the narrator’s diocese). If it is true that the “commotion” was “general”, or if only the Spanish-language spokesman of the Holy See Press Office (Chicago priest Fr. Manuel Dorantes, the Spanish-language counterpart of Fr. Rosica) was “moved”, and decided to share his own “emotion”. What is true is that Fr. Dorantes told this story in the official press conference today.

Regardless, it is all an unseemly mixture: untruths, sacrileges, cheap emotionalism, Our Lord treated either as a hostage to emotions or at best as a glorified cracker, the complete lack of objectivity of both those who should provide the news (the Holy See Press Office, all tied up in their own “sentimentalism” and manipulated personal “commotion”) and the same attitude of the mainstream media that is not doing their job properly and is not ashamed to report the “emotional opinions” of these spokesmen as if they were actual news, all tied up in the most surreal religious meeting in the history of mankind. It makes Vatican II seem angelic in comparison — this pathetic synod makes even the most ludicrous piece of literature or B-movie sublime. They have truly lost all sense of shame as long as they get what they want: the complete change in the meaning of the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Marriage as the Church has always understood them.


From Yves Daoudal:


During the daily briefing of the Vatican Pravda on the Synod, the Spanish language spokesman gave an account of a “deeply touching” moment of the interventions before the plenary assembly, according to La Repubblica, whose journalist Antonello Guerrera says on Twitter that, it’s “the story that made the Synod cry.” [Sic] (This is also on Vatican Insider that speaks of “emotionally strong words.”)

As everyone knows, since yesterday afternoon, the Synod speaks of nothing else, once again, than of “remarried divorcees”… Well, then, a bishop (whose name is not said) spoke of a first communion mass in which a little boy, receiving the host in his hand, broke it in two in order to give half to his father, because the latter is divorced and remarried, and cannot therefore receive communion from the hands of the priest…

When do we reach the bottom so that we can begin to climb back up? [Source]




Cardinal Burke goes on the offensive against revolutionary Synod

October 15, 2015

LifeSiteNews has released a video interview of Cardinal Burke, which looks like it was done in conjunction with Voice of the Family and recorded in Rome. He speaks out in particular against the concept floated in particular by the German speaking group at the Synod, that decisions affecting doctrine as practiced could be devolved down to the national episcopal conferences – bodies which, canonically speaking, have very little authority to speak on doctrinal matters (and what authority they do have, would flow “up” from unanimous votes of the bishops constituting the various conferences).

Cardinal Burke, as is his wont, speaks clearly and truthfully. He describes this idea of doctrinal nationalism as a grave affront to the Church’s unity and something that is “simply contrary” to the Doctrine of the Faith:

So, Cardinal Burke is obviously incensed. He is pulling no punches. A few quotes (my emphasis and comments):

I’d also like to comment on this idea of what is “pastoral.”

In much of the discussion which has taken place, beginning with the infamous presentation [thank you!] of Cardinal Walter Kasper in the Extraordinary Consistory on February 20 and 21 of 2014, centered on this idea that somehow doctrine and pastoral practice are in conflict with one another.

This is absurd. The pastoral practice exists to help us to live the truths of the faith, to live the doctrine of the faith in our daily lives. You can’t have a conflict [between these]. You can’t have the Church teaching, for instance, that marriage is indissoluble and then someone claiming at the same time for ‘pastoral’ reasons that a person who is living in an irregular union is able to receive the sacraments, which would mean that marriage isn’t indissoluble. These are just false distinctions — false contrasts — that we really need to clear up because it’s causing an immense confusion among the faithful and, of course, ultimately can lead people into serious error with great harm to their spiritual life and their eternal salvation. [This is a throwing down of the gauntlet.]

Cardinal Burke may not be perfect, he may not be a hero on a par with a Bellarmine or Borromeo, but he is obviously a man who grasps the essential truths of the Faith and who has a basically orthodox sensus fidei. He is no modernist. And he seems to be growing in orthodoxy and comprehension of the importance of Tradition as the years go by.


I say to people who are very anxious, because it seems in this time that there is simply a lot of confusion and statements that are really quite stunning about the faith, that we should remain serene. Because, in the Catholic Church, we have teaching authority, which is expressed, for instance, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and we simply need to study those things more deeply, adhere to them more ardently, and not be led astray by false teaching, from whatever source it comes.

……….. I understand that there are very strong disagreements within the Synod. Given the discussion which has proceeded the Synod — and also, given the Instrumentum Laboris [Synod working document] with the very serious difficulties with that document — I would find it difficult to believe that there wouldn’t be strong disagreement……

Ouch. Cardinal Burke is all but naming the source of all this confusion and chaos. The Instrumentum was declared – by Pope Francis himself – to be the ONLY basis for discussion at the Synod. In fact, after Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary, on the Synod’s first day, gave a speech far more orthodox in orientation outlining discussion points, it was Pope Francis who the next day personally intervened and made clear that only the Instrumentum Laboris could be used for discussion. And yet, it is riddled with problematic, even openly erroneous notions.  So Cardinal Burke’s comments here have to be taken as a direct criticism of Pope Francis.  It was, after all, Pope Francis who ordered, oversaw the production of, and approved the Instrumentum – even though in contained many elements rejected by the Synod’s bishops in the Extraordinary session last  year!

We also know that it is Pope Francis who has driven the rise of Cardinal Kasper since his first week in office!  It was at his very first Angelus address that Pope Francis declared Cardinal Kasper’s heretical work “serene” and “theology done on the knees.”  He has promoted it from his first days in office, and constantly since.

Furthermore…….and most importantly…….it is Pope Francis who has most relentlessly pushed the toxic notion that it is possible to separate “doctrine” from practice, or “pastoral application.”  As Cardinal Burke notes above, “these are false distinctions, false contrasts.”  To take an example from criminal law, what Pope Francis is basically proposing is that, even though laws may stipulate a minimum 20 years for a first degree murder conviction, “in practice” they simply be let off scot free, while leaving the law on the books.  Such would obviously be seen as essentially declaring murder to be legal.

What we have with regard to this revolution against the Faith is even worse, for it involves soul-murder, and heaping sacrilege upon sacrilege.

We must pray for these lost men.  Yes, there is hardly anyone less likely to convert than an aged ideologue who has pursued a heterodox agenda for decades, but we must try, nonetheless. It is our sacred duty, and miracles do happen. May God have mercy on their souls.



Imminent Danger from the Family Synod – Communion for Divorced Persons Who Have Civilly Remarried

By Steve Wood, October 15, 2015



Stephen Wood <> Date: Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 8:14 PM

There is a zero probability that the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage will be changed at the 2015 Family Synod. The radical bishops and cardinals seeking to undermine marriage and sexual morality are much smarter than to attempt a frontal attack upon indissolubility. Instead, using an indirect attack like that advocated in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, they will attempt a flanking movement to change the Church’s practice that will produce the desired effect.

By changing the Church’s 2000 year old practice of not giving communion to those divorced from a valid marriage and civilly remarried, a time bomb will be planted under the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage. Given a bit of time the doctrine will crumble. As St. John Paul II solemnly warned, “If these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

Don’t be lulled to sleep by those who say that the doctrine of indissolubility of marriage will not be changed at the Family Synod. Such lullabies overlook the stark fact that the Church’s entire sexual morality is under an insidious and formidable attack.

Those living in unlawful second marriages are living in a state of adultery (Mk 10:7-12, Lk 16:18, Rom 7:2-3, CCC 1650, 2384). To give communion to those living in adultery will pave the way for communion for practicing homosexuals – the ultimate goal of the cabal of corrupt leaders participating in the Family Synod.



Rejecting mercy

By Michael Voris, October 16, 2015

Now, a lot of talk, seemingly endless talk, is swirling around the Synod about mercy. But that talk is oftentimes misapplied by bishops and cardinals. In fact, even the understanding of the Church seems to be lost on a surprising number of bishops here. 

Mercy is being misconstrued and consequently misapplied, leading to all sorts of confusion. Mercy is not just ignoring someone’s sins. Likewise, it is not downplaying the sin. The very act of reaching out to someone in a life of committed sin is merciful. It’s what God did for us. It is the first movement. 

Mercy doesn’t ignore the sin. Nor does it overlook the consequences of the sin, which are deadly. Mercy is the reaching out to the person, in spite of the sin, to save them from the sin, as St. Paul says to the Romans quite succinctly: “for while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Mercy is the extension of grace to someone who does not warrant it, is not worthy of it. This is why it is the first movement. But it is not the only movement, nor is it an end in itself. A second movement is now required on the part of the recipient. Mercy is made available freely, but it is not free to obtain. Think of it like a great sale on some spectacular piece of merchandise — let’s say, the most expensive car in the world, normally selling for $2 million. There’s simply no way on the planet that you or I could afford it — out of our reach. But then the owner, taking pity on us, says he will sell it to us for $100.

That is the merciful act — the making it available to us in the first place, something we could never have obtained on our own in a million lifetimes. Now comes the part where we have to respond. Now the object of the mercy is within our grasp and that means we have to respond. We have to make our sacrifice to obtain mercy. We have to reach into our pockets and fork over the $100.

Too many Churchmen here in Rome have their theology all twisted. They think mercy is the guy just gives you the car. No!

Mercy is the guy making the car available to you whereas it would never be available any other way. Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve. Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve. God calling us out of sin, instead of letting us rot and die in it, which is what justice demands — this is mercy. 

For again, grace is giving us what we do not deserve. Mercy is not giving us what we do deserve. And justice is giving us what we do deserve. This is why all the saints were rightfully terrified of the justice of God. God always extends His mercy, at least to a point. But if the person does not cooperate with it, pay his $100 for the otherwise unattainable benefit, then the mercy isn’t denied as much as it is rejected, and the consequences of the loss of grace and mercy now engulf the person.

But seldom in public are we hearing any kind of correct discussion of mercy along these lines. Various cardinals and bishops just parade into the press room and give interviews to reporters talking in incredibly distorted vocabulary about mercy. If you are breathing and have a twinge of conscience about your sin, that is God’s mercy reaching down to you, to call you to repentance, to the sacraments. The King of the universe is making you the deal of a lifetime — a spiritual lifetime, an eternity. And it is coming to you through His Holy Catholic Church.

Do not reject His Mercy. If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

Pray for the bishops and the Synod, Catholics — your Rosary, every day. It is appalling hearing some of these successors to the Apostles distort the truth of Our Blessed Lord.



Archbishop Cupich lays out pathway for gay couples to receive Communion at Vatican press scrum

By John-Henry Westen and Pete Baklinski, Rome, October 16, 2015



Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago  — who is participating in the Synod of the Family at Pope Francis’ personal invitation —  said at a press scrum in the Vatican press office this afternoon that the conscience is “inviolable” and that he believes divorced and remarried couples could be permitted to receive the sacraments, if they have “come to a decision” to do so “in good conscience” – theological reasoning that he indicated in response to a follow-up question would also apply to gay couples.

During the lengthy press briefing, the archbishop also spoke approvingly of the so-called “Kasper Proposal,” which would permit divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some cases. Cupich explained that he had distributed Cardinal Walter Kasper’s book, The Gospel of the Family, in which the cardinal had laid out this proposal, to all of the priests in his diocese.

“In Chicago I visit regularly with people who feel marginalized: the elderly, the divorced and remarried, gay and lesbian individuals and also couples. I think that we really need to get to know what their life is like if we’re going to accompany them,” he said.

When asked to give a concrete example of how he would accompany the divorced and remarried in their desire to receive the sacraments, Cupich replied: “If people come to a decision in good conscience then our job is to help them move forward and to respect that. The conscience is inviolable and we have to respect that when they make decisions, and I’ve always done that.”

When asked by LifeSiteNews if the notion of accompanying people to “the Sacrament” who had a clear indication of conscience to do so also applied to gay couples in the Church, Cupich indicated an affirmative answer.

“I think that gay people are human beings too and they have a conscience. And my role as a pastor is to help them to discern what the will of God is by looking at the objective moral teaching of the Church and yet, at the same time, helping them through a period of discernment to understand what God is calling them to at that point,” he said. “It’s for everybody. I think that we have to make sure that we don’t pigeonhole one group as though they are not part of the human family, as though there’s a different set of rules for them. That would be a big mistake.”

The Catholic Church teaches that while a person “must always obey the certain judgement of his conscience” the conscience, at the same time, must be formed by the “Word of God” and the “Church’s authority and her teaching” to make judgments that are “in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.”

“Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgements. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states.

On Cardinal Kasper’s proposal specifically, Cupich said, “I really do find his treatment of what he calls the Gospel of the family – it’s published in a book, and I gave it, by the way, to all of my priests, I wanted them to read that because I thought it was very rich theologically.” 

“I think he has reasoned this proposal well…I am open to looking at all of it,” he said. “I do think that we can’t ignore the fact that there are lots of people out there who feel stuck, and we have to look for a way in which we’re going to reach out to them.” 

Cupich said “we should look at a way in which people are not just accompanied but integrated and reconciled.”

Kasper’s proposal has been criticized by faithful leaders in the Church such as Cardinal Burke as a “serious error” since it makes doctrine and pastoral practice appear to be in conflict with one another. 

“The pastoral practice exists to help us to live the truths of the faith, to live the doctrine of the faith in our daily lives. You can’t have a conflict [between these],” said Burke in an interview with LifeSiteNews yesterday. 

Others, such as Cardinal Marc Ouellet, have criticized Kasper’s proposal as resulting from a mistaken notion of God’s mercy. 

It is “not a matter” of the Church “being more or less ‘merciful’ with regard to persons in irregular situations, but of taking seriously the truth of the sacraments (the gifts of the Bridegroom) and their missionary dimension,” Ouellet wrote inrecently published book on marriage and the family. 

Archbishop Cupichad previously responded
to a question, in December 2014, about giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, saying he would “not use the Eucharist or as they call it the communion rail as the place to have those discussions or weigh in which people would be either excluded from the life of the church.” 

Since his appointment as bishop of Spokane in 2010, Cupich has developed a reputation as one of the most “progressive” bishops in the U.S. episcopate. Last year, Pope Francis tapped Cupich to lead the Chicago archdiocese, one of the country’s most prominent dioceses, previously led by the conservative Cardinal Francis George.

In 2011 Cupich, then bishop of Spokane, forbade
priests in his diocese from taking part in the semi-annual 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer vigil. His response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage focused primarily on decrying discrimination against homosexuals rather than criticizing the imposition of same-sex “marriage.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and that “under no circumstances can they be approved” since they are contrary to God’s plan for sexuality.

“They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life,” states the Catechism.

The Catholic Church teaches that those who present themselves to receive Holy Communion, which Catholics believe to be the real body and blood of Jesus Christ, must be in the state of grace and be free from mortal sin, which cuts off the life of God’s grace from the soul.

“Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive Communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance,” the Catechism states. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians states that whoever receives Communion “in an unworthy manner” is “guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” thereby bringing “judgement upon himself.”




Cardinal Burke, when asked yesterday by LifeSiteNews in an
exclusive interview
what the faithful should do when they see Synod Fathers suggesting heterodox positions regarding homosexuality and divorce, replied that the faithful must stay close to Jesus.  

“We follow our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Master. And we are all held to be obedient to him and to his word, beginning with the Holy Father and with the Bishops. If a bishop, or a priest, or anyone, should announce something or declare something that is contrary to the truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as it’s communicated to us in the teaching of the Church, we follow Christ.”

“I say to people who are very anxious, because it seems in this time that there is simply a lot of confusion and statements that are really quite stunning about the faith, that we should remain serene. Because, in the Catholic Church, we have teaching authority, which is expressed, for instance, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and we simply need to study those things more deeply, adhere to them more ardently, and not be led astray by false teaching, from whatever source it comes,” he said.



Parents’ rights must be upheld, say Cardinal Burke, pro-family experts at Synod half-way mark

Rome, October 16, 2015

Cardinal Raymond Burke and pro-family experts have said that parents’ rights as the primary educators of their children must be upheld, as the Synod on the Family passes its half-way mark.

Cardinal Burke and the experts made the call at a press conference yesterday morning near St. Peter’s Square, held by Voice of the Family, an international coalition of 26 pro-life and pro-family organisations on five continents.

“May God inspire and strengthen the work of the Synod of Bishops, so that, in accord with the nature and purpose of the Synod, it may assist the Holy Father in safeguarding and promoting the constant teaching and practice of the Church regarding marriage and the family,” said the cardinal.

He explained that the Second Vatican Council “made clear that that the primary responsibility for the education of children belongs to parents”. He also warned that: “Today, parents must be especially vigilant, for sadly, in some places, schools have become tools of a secular agenda inimical to the Christian life. One thinks, for example, of the compulsory so-called “gender education” in some schools, which is a direct attack on marriage at its foundation and, therefore, on the family.”

Cardinal Burke commended Voice of the Family for “its critical work of assisting” the Synod on the Family.

John-Henry Westen, co-founder of Voice of the Family and editor-in-chief of, the world’s largest pro-life news-agency, introduced himself as a father of eight children, saying:

I am here to defend my children and to challenge fathers everywhere to do the same. I’m speaking about the current worldwide attempt to impose on all children a sex education that is more properly called sexual abuse than education. Sadly, it is an abusive education that in much of the Western world is aided and abetted by many bishops of the Catholic Church and those in charge of Catholic school education.

Maria Madise, manager of Voice of the Family, delivered a statement by Voice of the Family, which stated that paragraph 86 of the Synod’s working document (Instrumentum Laboris) contains a direct attack on the rights of parents. The paragraph states that “the family, while maintaining its privileged spot in education, cannot be the only place for teaching sexuality.” This statement is directly contrary to Catholic teaching which affirms the right and duty of parents to be the first and foremost providers of education to their children in sexual matters. She added: “There is a serious failure to identify and condemn the structures of sin being established throughout the world which tend towards the corruption of children,” and asked: “How is it possible that the Synod authorities can be so blind to the spiritual dangers and to the danger to the lives and welfare of parents and children, both inside and outside of the Church?”
Dr. Thomas Ward, a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and past-president of the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF), told the assembled journalists that:

In revealing language Section 86 of the Instrumentum Laboris states that courses are to be provided ‘in a proper language of sexuality’. There is no mention of the language of Jesus Christ of chaste love. Indeed the word purity is not mentioned. There is no mention that the courses must be authentically Catholic, nor that Catholic parents must control them and birth-control, abortion and homosexualist agencies must be excluded. There is also no mention that in Catholic schools it will be for parents, without pressure, to decide what if any access to these courses they will make. And there is no mention that parents must be told the content with due warning and then if they wish to opt in not out.

The Synod Fathers must reject section 86 and other “noxious” sections of the Instrumentum Laboris “for the sake of the survival of Catholic families and therefore the Church,” said Dr. Ward.



Cdl. Burke: ‘Schools Have Become Tools of a Secular Agenda’

By Ryan Fitzgerald, (, Rome, October 16, 2015

Amid heightening anxiety over the Synod on the Family, Cardinal Raymond Burke has reaffirmed Catholic doctrine on marriage and family while stressing parents’ right and duty to educate their children.




At a Voice of the Family press conference yesterday, praying that the ongoing Synod will uphold Church teaching on marriage and family, the former head of the Vatican’s highest court emphasized that parents have the primary duty toward their children’s education.

“Today, parents must be especially vigilant, for sadly, in some places, schools have become tools of a secular agenda inimical to the Christian life,” he explained. “One thinks, for example, of the compulsory so-called ‘gender education’ in some schools, which is a direct attack on marriage at its foundation and, therefore, on the family.”

In a separate interview with LifeSiteNews yesterday, Cdl. Burke also weighed in on some controversial Synod topics.

Asked about the proposal to give local bishops or bishops’ conferences authority to settle controversies surrounding “social acceptance of homosexuality” and admitting divorced adulterers to Communion, Cdl. Burke stated, “This is simply contrary to Catholic faith and life.”

The Church, he said, follows the truths taught by Christ. 

“And this Church is one all over the world. There is no change in these truths, from one place to another or from one time to another,” noted the cardinal. “Certainly the teaching of these truths takes into account the particular needs in each area. But it doesn’t change the teaching.”

Hence, according to Cdl. Burke, such a path is “unacceptable.”

“I don’t know where this idea comes from,” he said. “What it actually means is that the Church is no longer catholic [i.e., universal]. It means that it’s no longer one in its teaching throughout the whole world.”

What then does being truly catholic entail? “We have one faith. We have one [collection of] sacraments. We have one governance throughout the whole world. That’s what it means to be ‘catholic,'” explained Cdl. Burke.

Cardinal Burke then proceeded to rip into the infamous proposal, pitched by Cdl. Walter Kasper and several others, to officially permit the civilly divorced and “remarried” to receive Communion.


In much of the discussion which has taken place, beginning with the infamous presentation of Cdl. Walter Kasper in the Extraordinary Consistory on February 20 and 21 of 2014, centered on this idea that somehow doctrine and pastoral practice are in conflict with one another. 

This is absurd. The pastoral practice exists to help us to live the truths of the Faith, to live the doctrine of the Faith in our daily lives. You can’t have a conflict [between these]. You can’t have the Church teaching, for instance, that marriage is indissoluble and then someone claiming at the same time for ‘pastoral’ reasons that a person who is living in an irregular union is able to receive the sacraments, which would mean that marriage isn’t indissoluble. These are just false distinctions — false contrasts — that we really need to clear up because it’s causing an immense confusion among the faithful and, of course, ultimately can lead people into serious error with great harm to their spiritual life and their eternal salvation.


Further, as some media and Synod Fathers vigilantly reassure the public that everything’s fine at the Synod, Cdl. Burke is telling a different story based on what fellow prelates on the inside have recounted to him.

“I understand that there are very strong disagreements within the Synod,” he asserted.

“Given the discussion which has preceded the Synod — and also, given the Instrumentum Laboris with the very serious difficulties with that document — I would find it difficult to believe that there wouldn’t be strong disagreement,” said Cdl. Burke. “Otherwise, we’re not going to get to the truth of matters. We’re not going to safeguard and promote the Catholic faith as we need to.”



Cardinal Pell Responds to #SynodWalkout
Petition SEE PAGE 79

By Steve Skojec, October 16, 2015

From John Allen at Crux:

Despite an online petition calling on prelates “faithful to Christ’s teaching” to abandon the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family, due to perceptions of a “pre-determined outcome that is anything but orthodox,” one of the summit’s most outspoken conservatives says “there’s no ground for anyone to walk out on anything.”

Australian Cardinal George Pell, who heads the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, told Crux on Friday that by the midway point of the Oct. 4-25 synod, concerns about stacking the deck circulating in some quarters have “substantially been addressed.”

The online petition calling for a walkout, which can be found at, has garnered roughly 2,300 signatures in two days.

It asks any bishop alarmed by the prospect of progressive changes to Church doctrine to “do his sacred duty and publicly retire from any further participation in the synod before its conclusion,” and suggests that Pope Francis is responsible for promoting “confusion and scandal.”

Pell was among roughly a dozen cardinals who signed a letter to Francis at the beginning of the synod raising doubts about the process, but he says reassurances have been given by Vatican officials that the final result “will faithfully present the views of the synod.”

Among other things, Pell said that Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the synod secretary, has stated from the floor of the synod hall that voting on a final document will take place “paragraph by paragraph,” providing a clear sense of where the bishops stand on individual issues.




He also said that members of a drafting committee for the final document have vowed to be true to the content of the synod’s discussions, rather than using the text to promote their own views.

“That’s all we want, for whatever the synod says, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, to be represented,” Pell said.

“That’s in the long-term interest of everyone, because no matter how it might turn out, people want to feel that the bishops got to that situation fairly,” he said.

Asked if he feels the synod now has a level playing field, Pell said it’s “level enough.”

Go here to read the rest.


A couple quick thoughts:

It’s fantastic to have acknowledgement that this is being considered by the cardinals at the Synod so soon after launch and with only 2300 signatures. The Filial Appeal to Pope Francis went on for most of a year and gathered the better part of a million signatures, and went unacknowledged. While it has always been a fairly low probability that we would actually see what we want — bishops walking out of a rigged Synod in protest — it is of vital importance that they are made aware how concerned the faithful are, and the extent to which we are watching, hoping, praying, and desirous of courageous action.

In other words: if any of the Synod fathers are having a conversation about the existence of our letter, it’s a win. We support those who are there to uphold Church teaching, and we want them to know it.

The fact that Cardinal Pell says that “there’s no ground for anyone to walk out on anything” is perhaps a hopeful sign that things within the Synod are going better than we had hoped, but it’s not sufficient reason to end our campaign. It has always been our intention that the Synod fathers fight for this as long as they still see hope; some of us think the very fact that fundamental doctrines are being discussed as though they are subject to change is sufficient reason not to participate, while others want a drop-down, drag-out brawl until the very last day.

At some point, though, if there is sufficient cause to believe that they are facing a fait accompli, the faithful bishops should leave in protest – and head straight to the media with their side of the story.

I’d like to say it’s nice to hear assurances that things are looking good for Team Jesus, but I must admit that I find myself deeply skeptical. The bishops who represent the greatest danger to Church teaching on marriage and family are those personally invited by Pope Francis, and Pope Francis has the final say on the Synod outcome. And we’re already seeing some of these men emboldened in their reckless desire to offer the Eucharist to those who would receive it sacrilegiously, thus eating and drinking condemnation unto themselves. (1 Cor. 11:27-30)

Are we to believe that the Synod has discouraged them in such pursuits?

So rest assured, the petition goes on. If you haven’t signed it, please consider doing so today.



Not just consorting with but soliciting moral tips from the Enemy:

Contributions to the Synod from the representatives of other Christian denominations

Vatican City, 16 October 2015 (VIS)

This morning, during the twelfth general congregation of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod Fathers heard interventions by the fraternal delegates representing other Christian denominations.

Rev. Dr. Walter Altmann, of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, said that the WCC has been speaking since its 2013 Assembly in Korea of a “‘pilgrimage of justice and peace’, underlining that we are together on a faith journey and are deeply committed to justice and peace as signs of God’s reign to come. This commitment to express the values of God’s reign as justice and peace is very significant for all those who live together in different types of family life. That is the first and innermost circle of our life together as we seek to bring fairness and reconciliation. From my own continent of Latin America, and from my experience as Moderator of the WCC, I know how many women and men, and not the least children, need that the church be a fellowship of inclusion and healing, recognising our differences in the bond of love. The openness required for change, and for new commitment to God’s call today, should be a mark of our pilgrimage as a common journey of the churches”.


The Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette of the Coptic Orthodox Church spoke about the pastoral mission of his Church towards persons with homosexual tendencies: that is, to “explain in a tender, tolerant and convincing way that homosexuality is a great sin forbidden by God according to the Holy Scriptures. … Consequently, the Church’s main pastoral mission is to encourage such people to repentance guiding them to lead a pure life. … If a married party is homosexual – forcing the other party into intercourses against the natural use – the church should not force the innocent party to continue in a sexual marital relation with him/her, because this damages the innocent party physically, physiologically and socially”.

Our Church allows divorce in cases of adultery and in cases of what we call ‘legal adultery’; which is anything that is counted as adultery like: homosexuality, intercourse against natural use, urging or compelling an innocent party into forbidden relations for materialistic gain or sexual exchange”.


Metropolitan Iosif of the Patriarchate of All Romania described the family as “the primary cell of the Church. … All family characteristics derive from its Eucharistic structure, based essentially on forgiveness nurtured by humility, which favours the growth of mutual love and transforms both the person and Christian life in the short and the long term. The divine greatness of marriage resides in the fact that in marriage we find a living representation of the union of the Word with human nature”.





The Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley of the Baptist World Alliance remarked that “There is no perfect family and no perfect marriage. In our broken world, families are not only a source of great blessing, they can also be a source of great harm. … This is the pastoral reality: families have their blessings and their dysfunctions. Amidst such experiences people yearn for mercy”. Therefore, he affirmed, in Baptist hymnology the theme of Jesus as friend is important. “Hymns … express for us the presence of God in the midst of our imperfections and struggles. They remind us of the one who in his vocation of suffering servant enters our woundedness. This is the one who invites sinners to sit at his table; the one who is ‘gentle and humble in heart, in whom we find rest for our souls’; the one to whom we pray in all confidence, ‘Lord, have mercy'”.


Archbishop Yostinos Boulos Safar of Zahle and Bekaa commented on the principle, in the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, of economy. “This principle finds in the sacrament of the Eucharist a medicine for wounded souls, as well as a help for those who wish to recover their relationship with the Lord”. He noted that this sacrament, “which is salvific in effect”, should not be withheld as “part of the norms of punishment, other than in certain exceptional cases. The Eucharist is not a prize or compensation, but the means by which the Lord Jesus cures our weaknesses and attracts us towards Him”.


Metropolitan Stephanos of Tallin and all Estonia, observed that “today marriage and family have changed direction. In a number of countries, new legislation is being enacted regarding this issue. These mutations in the family are a challenge to us. … The law confirms, without doubt, a new social situation but for the Church, the sacrament of marriage, it is hoped, is not revealed as a mere institution but first and foremost, it is hoped, as a mystery of life. Marriage makes sense only in relation to faith in Christ, in the Gospel, in the certainty that the actions of Christ continue in the Gospel, that is, in the Sacraments. Our first task is therefore to evangelise”. Perhaps, he added, it would be useful to help the “young and not so young, often uncertain, sometimes psychologically unwell, to adopt a different outlook, to free themselves from too symbiotic a relationship, to become truly responsible for each other, in the hope, at times, of already being able to experience the resurrection in the glory of the body”.


The fraternal delegate Tim Macquiban, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office of Rome, remarked that “Sometimes in this Synod we seem to have concentrated on one form of family, of parents and children, as defined through sacramental marriage and its vocation. For some this fails to take account on the different ways many people experience different forms of family in our various contexts and cultures. … Those who are single, with or without children, or in civil partnerships or co-habiting relationships, and even those within marriages conducted in church and childless can easily feel excluded. The Church is challenged to accept that it can … add to these difficulties with such a stress on ‘the Gospel of the Family'”.


Bishop emeritus Ndanganeni Petrus Phaswana of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa comments that “Frequently, politics, religion and culture are instrumentalised and used to divide people and nations. This has led to growing alienation and disunity. In the midst of this isolation, it is our task as Churches to proclaim and witness that God does not call us to isolation, but, rather, to life in communion with Christ and with one another”. He also spoke about the great commitment on the part of both Catholics and Lutherans in promoting Christian unity through theological dialogue, noting that “we should therefore remain sensitive to how our theological discussions support individual Christians in the challenges and sorrows facing them in their everyday lives”.


The Right Rev. Timothy Thornton of the Anglican Communion commented that the first part of the Instrumentum Laboris “is too focused on the negative aspects of family life”, adding that “there is much joy in families and family life and much to celebrate”. He emphasised that “All families change. … Change is a key part of Christian faith. Every day we are called to be converted to Christ, to turn away from sin and turn to God. Every day we open ourselves to the possibility of transformation. That is why all Christians are full of joy and hope every day”.


The fraternal delegate of the Disciples of Christ, Dr. Robert K. Welsh, focused on three brief reflections. “First, how do we understand marriage and family life today? What can we do to respond to the growing number of divorces and the impact on the children in those families? These are urgent issues before all Christians, and all societies, that represent major theological, practical, and pastoral challenges”. Secondly, with regard to “mixed marriages”, he observed that in the Instrumentum Laboris, “mixed marriages are only named in the context of presenting problems; for example, at the pastoral level of religious education of children and in the relation to liturgical life. My hope is that this Synod might also identify ‘mixed marriages’ in a more positive and hopeful context as ‘great opportunities’ for witnessing to God’s gift of oneness in Christ and God’s love for all persons, especially for those marriages between persons baptised as Christians”. Finally, he focused on the challenge of facing the difficulties that interreligious or interdenominational families experience every day. “My regret continues to be that, when I attend Mass with my grandson, I am not allowed to partake of the Eucharist. It is personal, and it is painful”.

It’s bad enough that we have progressive dissenters at the top echelons of the Catholic hierarchy, we need to solicit the opinions of leaders of Protestant denominations who have no common moral stand on any issue and no two of whom agree with each other (which is why they are parked outside the Church).

It will be interesting to see if there will be Catholic responses to the above interventions.



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