Synod say what?
The document admittedly is far from perfect -- and at times appears contradictory. Perhaps it should be rewritten (as some Cardinals are suggesting), or perhaps it should never have been released.
The truth is the document contains no definitive teaching. It is merely a working summary of discussions that will continue for another week -- and then again next year.
A few things to consider:
- The Church doesn’t decide what it teaches based on emotions, trends, or whims of the people. Instead, it proclaims those truths found in Scripture (revelation), sacred tradition, and that which we can know by right reason (natural law). Knowing the truth however is not enough. The Church must use prudence to discern how best to lead others to it, especially the truth about human dignity and sexual love. This is what the Synod is really about.
- The document presupposes that everyone needs God’s mercy. Nobody is perfect. Christ came to save the broken. But this “mercy” or what the media calls a “softening of tone” is only possible in the truth. Real mercy cannot be based on a lie about the nature and dignity of the human person.
- Is there room for the Church to grow and adapt in the pastoral challenges that surround the difficult situations of our modern world? Absolutely. Is there room for innovation or new ideas on how to best carry the truths of the Church to those in ‘irregular’ situations, or those who mistakenly believe that Catholics hate homosexuals? Yes, indeed. But always in the truth.
- Pope Francis has called the Church a hospital for sinners. The evidence is clear that marriage and the family around the world are in need of conversion and transformation. How to address these challenges is not easy, and the conversations surrounding it are messy. Efforts to reduce the document or the Synod to a few hot button issues for mass media consumption does a disservice to the conversation occurring in Rome.
So what can you do?
Don’t lose patience or despair. The Holy Spirit isn’t asleep at the wheel. He is working with imperfect people.
And of course, don’t believe everything you read from big media outlets. They lie a lot and have their own agendas.
Pray. Pray extra hard for the Church and for those in Rome during this Synod.
Finally, check out the articles below. Especially the commentary by Fr. Robert Barron.
Helpful Links and Articles:
Relatio post Disceptationem
Having Patience for the Sausage-Making Synod (Fr. Robert Barron)
Catholicism, Sex and Marriage (R.R. Reno)
The Great Catholic Cave-In that Wasn’t (George Weigel)
The Earthquake, the Vacuum, and the Still, Small Voice (Thomas Peters)