Monday, October 20, 2014

Thoughts on the Extraordinary Synod

During the synod in Rome, Catholic social media was in an uproar.  There were those who declared the sky was falling and others that scolded not to become overwrought.  It was difficult to sift through what the secular media was writing and read between the lines. While it was distressing to see outright dissent among the shepherds, in the end, I believe good and right thinking won out.

Rebecca wrote thought provoking post. I agree with her premise--In order to believe something, we must first ask questions and seek answers.   Unfortunately, I cannot necessarily join her in thanking Cardinal Kasper for asking the questions.  The problem with priests, bishops, and cardinals like Kasper is not that they are asking the questions, but they have already come to their own conclusions and their conclusions are in defiance of Catholic doctrine and they know it.  Their questions lack sincerity and are merely pretense.  Their questions are meant to be divisive.  

Katrina also wrote a powerful and moving post with her thoughts.  With all the talk of divorced/remarrieds and gays there was no mention of potential pastoral needs of single parents.  As she so aptly put, don't single parent households also have gifts to contribute to the Church?  

For a synod on the family, there was surprisingly very little said about children.  It really makes one begin to think there was a bit of an agenda at play. 

In the end, the synod will be misunderstood and misrepresented by statements such as this: "Unfortunately, today, doctrine won out over pastoral need. " (DignityUSA)

Of course doctrine won out.  It always will.  It is unchangeable.  Pastoral care is only as good as the doctrine it springs from.  A change in doctrine could not possibly result in proper pastoral care.  As our priest pointed out, God's law and his mercy are not opposed to each other.  True pastoral care helps the sinner to see his sinfulness, to repent, and sin no more.  True pastoral care does not accept sin under the guise of mercy.

There were good things that came out of the synod.  NFP and an openness to life were reaffirmed.  Families who welcome children with special needs were lauded for their sacrificial love and faithfulness. Finally, the voices of the theologically sound were heard above the din of discord and were victorious in defending Church teaching.

So, now what? The questions are out there--how does the Church reach out to divorced/remarried couples, homosexual couples, cohabiting couples without compromising Church teaching? These questions are not going away and our society is increasingly accepting of relationships that run counter to Christian values.  I believe now our bishops finally see how deeply counter cultural the Christian way of life has become.  I am praying they will now assemble a united front and teach with faithfulness, clarity, conviction, and charity on these questions.

“Let us pray for those pastors who leave the Lord’s sheep to the wolves of decadent and secularized society, far from God and nature. Sexuality is not a cultural fact, but a natural fact,”  Robert Cardinal Sarah of Guinea

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