Be Delivered From Evil

Confusion at the Family Synod

Pope Francis brought together Church leaders from around the world for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family that ends on October 19.
He wrote that there are “three main areas under discussion in the Church: how the Gospel of the Family can be preached in the present-day; how the Church’s pastoral care program for the family might better respond to the new challenges today; and how to assist parents in developing a mentality of openness to life and in upbringing their children.” (Instrumentum Laboris)

On October 13, the Synod issued their “midterm report.” The report focused on a so-called “pastoral care program” but hardly mentioned the other two main areas for discussion.

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, said,  

The document lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium. In a matter on which the Church has a very rich and clear teaching, it gives the impression of inventing a totally new, what one Synod Father called “revolutionary”, “teaching on marriage and the family.” It invokes repeatedly and in confused manner principles which are not defined, for example, the law of graduality.

One priest who has experienced at the pastoral level this supposed invention of “a totally new teaching on marriage and the family” wrote an Open Letter to Pope Francis. Father Dwight Longenecker wrote,

I know the Synod on the Family is an attempt to make the Church more compassionate and caring, but with respect, this is not best done at the Vatican or diocesan level but on the parish level. . . . At the Vatican level the discussion is theoretical and theological as it should be. If you try to tinker with these matters at the global level it doesn’t help. It makes life more confusing and frustrating for us at the local level.

Here is an example: twice in the last week I have had to deal with Catholics in irregular marriages. One woman married outside the Church and told me that she thought it was now okay for her to come to communion because, “The pope has changed all those old rules.” Another man has divorced his wife and is living with another woman. He also assured me very confidently that it was now fine for him to come to communion because, “Pope Francis has changed the rules.” I know you mean well Holy Father, and I admire and like you, but this process on which you have led us is not helping.  

The “midterm report” expresses a pastoral concern for sinners without true compassion for them because it does not confront them with the reality of their sin, God’s love for them and his hope for their repentance and conversion. It seems that the report’s call for pastoral care trumps doctrine on faith and morals.

I think that God is lifting the veil from the face of the Church so that we can clearly see a schism of mind and heart that has not yet reached the point of schism in fact and law.

I think that we are getting what we deserve from our leaders because we have failed to pray for them from the beginning of an apostasy that is now in our midst. We lost the cultural battles, but we mustn’t lose the Church battles.
I think it’s time to respond to Our Lady’s call for penance, which she began at Lourdes, by increasing our prayer and fasting for our leaders and the whole Church toward the fulfillment of God’s plan for the family and for all mankind. God’s plan is for indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, husband and wife, who are united in love with an openness to new life and the procreation and education of their children, in imitation of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
That is the true family and its beauty in God’s plan.  
Let us pray the prayer of Pope Francis.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer!