Family Synod 2014

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

The Africans Will Save the Synod, the Church, and the World

I understand spin. Spin is not lying. It is capturing the narrative. If your side does not capture the narrative, the other side will. The other side most likely will have the media on their side so capturing the narrative is so much easier for them. Still, you must try. Therefore, I fully understand the [...]

A Response to the Cohabitation Epidemic

The proliferation of research and literature about the sexual and marital habits of "Millennials" is staggering. Research indicates a casual or cavalier approach to sexual intimacy and of marriage. Marriage is increasingly postponed or rejected in favor of transitional "trial marriages" or temporary live-in situations glamorized today in popular media as "the next step" in [...]

Did the Church Change Its Doctrine on Usury?

Orthodox Catholics say that discipline can change and doctrine can develop—in the sense that elements present in the early form of a doctrine can emerge more fully over time—but doctrine in its essence cannot change. In the 1950s and 1960s, Catholic advocates of contraception cited the Church’s teaching on usury as a counterexample to this [...]

What Hierarchy Really Means

What is Pope Francis doing, with his gestures, interviews, and wild synods? To understand this pope, we first need to understand the papacy. To do that, let us consider two versions of what “hierarchy” means. In the first version, hierarchy simply means authority. Hierarchy means that the Pope is the main guy in the universal [...]

Waiting: A Concept Applied to the Divorced and Remarried

The concept of waiting is central to Christianity, but only a few have devoted much thought to it, most notably the French philosopher Simone Weil. In the famous Gospel parable, the servants are judged on whether or not they have waited through the night for the arrival of their Master. It shouldn’t be so very [...]

Theological Dissent and the Final Synod Report

One of the most controversial proposals contained in the final report (Relatio Synodi) of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family is found in paragraph 52—which deals with the possibility of Eucharistic communion for divorced and remarried Catholics: The synod father[s] also considered the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance [...]

Will Pope’s Defense of Faith at Synod Ease Anxious Minds?

In my last piece I wrote “If Francis doesn’t soon make it clear that the synod can’t abandon Catholic teaching, his pontificate could spin out of control.” I didn’t, I fear, hold out much hope that he would; and nearly everyone seems to have taken it for granted that he didn’t, even those who, like [...]

What I Saw at the Synod and What it Means for 2015

I begin to write this article in a taxi on the way to the Rome airport. I cut and paste from my notes piled up during the Extraordinary Synod of the Family. Roman traffic swirls at mid-morning, no less than my own thoughts as I process and report what I saw and heard during the [...]

Did the Synod Endorse “Lifestyle Ecumenism”?

I would like to suggest to you that so-called “lifestyle ecumenism” helps us see ecumenism for what it really is. You see, in my Anglican days, I used to think I was more catholic than the Catholics. I believed that “spiritual unity,” and maybe also a loose agreement on central doctrines, sufficed. As a Catholic, [...]

A Critique of Cardinal Kasper’s Latest Arguments

The final report from the Synod is out. Those concerned about the hijacking of the faith in a heterodox direction can breathe a sigh of relief as the new report scraps language in the draft that appeared to approve of, or find “value” in, the homosexual “orientation” and also because it does not take up [...]

Francis Must Correct Synod Distortions

The presentation of the so-called “mid-term report” of the extraordinary synod of bishops on the family (the Latin headline of which, relatio post disceptationem, may seem to the unenlightened to give it an authority it doesn’t in fact possess) aroused a predictable level of interest in both the Catholic and the non-Catholic media. Their general [...]

The Synod’s Interim Report: Ambiguity and Misinterpretation

The Interim Report (IR) of the Synod of Bishops on the Family released on Monday, October 13, represents a summary of the discussion of the first week of the Synod. Here’s the problem with the IR in a nutshell. It claims to offer “a significant hermeneutic key that comes from the teaching of Vatican Council [...]

On Advising the Pope: An Exchange

The truths of the Catholic Church do not change, but the world does—and the world tends to stray from the truth. Efforts must be made, therefore, to bring the Church to a world that has lost its way—and that may involve, as in the parable, leaving the ninety-nine behind. Pope Francis is a missionary pope, [...]

Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod

The Holy Father has been very good in lecturing priests and telling us what to do. We are to go out into the world and “make a mess.” We are to “smell like the sheep.” We are to welcome all with compassion, forgiveness and mercy. We are to be good and kind pastors who administer [...]

Changing Marriage Discipline Will Change Doctrine

Recent headlines in the mainstream media suggest that the Catholic Church is close to making major doctrinal changes on divorce and remarriage.  The Huffington Post has suggested that the Church will “open the door” to changes in doctrine on divorce.  And, Time magazine predicted that the Pope has “signaled a new openness” to allowing access to the [...]

Cardinal Kasper’s Challenge Distracts from the Real Problem

As the Synod of Bishops on the Family convenes this week, the Catholic Church has a heaven-sent opportunity to atone for one of the biggest failures in modern ecclesiastical history and in so doing to take a major step in resuscitating the Christian faith in the daily lives of millions of people. The provocative challenge [...]

Upcoming Synod Must Address Family Disintegration

Judging by the media reports on the Extraordinary Synod to be held in Rome this October, the bishops present will be mainly concerned with issues such as the admission to the Eucharist of divorced and remarried persons, the speeding up of annulment processes, and the possible revision of the Church’s teaching on contraception. Implicit in [...]

On Doctrinal Questions, Francis Favors Cardinal Müller over Cardinal Kasper

A recent post from Sandro Magister introduces his report on a book-length interview with Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller by asking a question. This is how he poses it: “The prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith refutes the ideas of those who want to permit second marriages with the first spouse still [...]

Sterilization for the Life of the Mother

The newly published preparatory document for the rapidly approaching synod on “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” observes that “knowledge of conciliar and post-conciliar documents on … the family … seems to be rather wanting.” Church teachings regarding marriage, sexuality, and family “do not seem to have taken a foothold in [...]

Is There Growing Confusion over Church Teaching?

I begin with a piece, spotted by Fr Tim Finigan and reported in his indispensable blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity, which had been published in Sandro Magister’s blog—not his English one, Chiesa, but his Italian language blog for L’Espresso, Settimo Cielo. A few days ago, Magister told the story of a parish priest in the Italian diocese [...]

MENU