And it has been a mess.
Does anyone really need to tell a Catholic bishop that giving Holy Communion to the divorced and re-married who refuse to live as brother and sister is to condone - officially and sacramentally - the sin of adultery?
But apparently Cardinal Walter Kaspar of Germany needs to be told this very elementary and basic truth!
Clearly the mid-Synod document was a stitch-up. It did not represent the views of the Fathers of the Synod but was obviously written in advance by agent-provocateurs. For a start, it came out in numerous languages on the very same day.
This, however, was the Synod when the Third World made itself strongly felt and demonstrated to the world that the Western, liberal bishops are now in small minority, however much they still have far more power than they should.
Here's what Damian Thompson had to say about this factor:
Damian Thompson on Cardinal Kaspar in the Spectator blog
It seems that Cardinal Kaspar thinks "you can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible" and then goes on to say that the African bishops "should not tell us too much what we have to do".
Sounds a bit racist to me, your Eminence...
Is it the Africans who don't understand, or just you, your Eminence?
I say thank God for the African and Asian bishops!
And thank God for the courageous Western bishops like Cardinals George Pell and Raymond Burke whose speeches to the Synod were exemplary.
Here is what Cardinal Pell had to say to the media:
Thank you, your Eminence, and God bless you!
Here is what Raymond, Cardinal Burke had to say on the hot topic at the Synod:
Thank you, your Eminence!
And here is what Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia had to say:
"Well, first of all, I wasn’t there. That’s very significant, because to claim you know what really happened when you weren’t there is foolish. To get your information from the press is a mistake because they don’t know well enough how to understand it so they can tell people what happened. I don’t think the press deliberately distorts, they just don’t have any background to be able to evaluate things. In some cases they’re certainly the enemy and they want to distort the Church. Now, having said all that, I was very disturbed by what happened. I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was of confusion. Now, I don’t think that was the real thing there. I’m anxious to hear from Bishop Kurtz. Bishop Kurtz and the Byzantine bishop of Pittsburgh were the two Americans who were our delegates there. Cardinal Dolan was there and Cardinal Wuerl because they’re part of the organization body of the Synod. But every country’s president of the bishop’s conference attended, and then they have representatives from the Eastern Church. That’s why Bishop Skurla was there from Pittsburgh. I want to hear from them. Then you can ask me the question and I can give you a better answer. Now, I read about it in the same blogs you do. There’s no doubt that the Church has a clear position: on what marriage means and that you don’t receive communion unless you’re in communion with the teachings of Christ, that gay marriage is not a possibility in God’s plan and therefore can’t be a reality in our lives. There’s no doubt about any of that. I think when it’s all said we have to be charitable toward people who disagree with us and we certainly welcome into the Church sinners. I’m one, and they usually welcome me when I come to the parishes. I think we have to be better at reaching out to divorced Catholics so they don’t think that they’re immediately excluded from the Church because they’ve been divorced and remarried. Some people think that even when they get a divorce they’re not welcome in the Church. So I think we need to work on that. We have deep respect for people with same-sex attraction, but we can’t pretend that they’re welcome on their own terms. None of us are welcome on our own terms in the Church; we’re welcome on Jesus’ terms. That’s what it means to be a Christian—you submit yourself to Jesus and his teaching, you don’t recreate your own body of spirituality. I’m not fundamentally worried because I believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church. The last report at the end was certainly much better than the interim listing of the topics that were talked about."
Well said, your Grace!