(America) James Martin–Five Things the Synod Just Did

Essentially, the “relatio” (or report) published today, at the close of the Synod, will serve as a starting point for future discussion. It was also presented with great transparency, including even sections that did not win the necessary votes for complete approval.

Before we look at five things the synod did, it’s important to understand the unique “form” of this unusual final document. Pope Francis asked to have all of the paragraphs presented in the “final” report, even those that failed to win the majority needed for full passage (a two-thirds majority). Two of those three dealt with LGBT Catholics, and one addressed divorced and remarried Catholics. What’s more, the Pope asked that the voting results be shown alongside all the paragraphs, which were voted on separately. Gerard O’Connell called this a break with 49 years of tradition.

In other words, if the final document was published with only the fully approved texts, those three paragraphs would not appear.

Why might the Pope have chosen to do this?

Read it all.


Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

4 comments on “(America) James Martin–Five Things the Synod Just Did

  1. William P. Sulik says:

    Fr. Martin concludes:

    [blockquote]But in the end one person makes the decisions, and in this case it’s the Pope. At one point during his concluding speech to the bishops he said, playfully, “I am here and I’m the pope!”

    Or as we say in the Jesuits, when it comes to the superior it’s: “You discern, we discern, but I decide.” [/blockquote]

    On the other hand, consider this [url=http://dailycaller.com/2014/10/20/no-marriage-no-papacy-if-the-pope-endorses-polygamy-that-spells-the-end-of-catholic-claims/2/] dissenting view[/url] from conservative Catholic writer John Zmirak:

    [blockquote]If the pope permits divorced couples who now live in extramarital relationships to receive Holy Communion without repenting and promising celibacy, he will be sanctioning one of two things: adultery or polygamy. Marriage is, by Christ’s command, indissoluble. That was taught infallibly by the Council of Trent. If the pope denies that doctrine, if he re-shapes one of the seven sacraments so radically, he will be proving something that the Orthodox have been saying since 1870: That he is not infallible on matters of faith and morals. [/blockquote]

    Of course, it is not just the Orthodox who have maintained that position – this is a large part of the reason I left the Church of Rome many, many years ago. The Pope is not infallible.

  2. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse says:

    The Petrine office IS infallible, regardless of the fallible soul that inhabits it. And infallibility only when teaching in concert with established doctrine. The pope does not have the power to nullify Catholic teaching, regardless of how liberals may hope he might.

  3. the roman says:

    #1..[i]Of course, it is not just the Orthodox who have maintained that position – this is a large part of the reason I left the Church of Rome many, many years ago. The Pope is not infallible. [/i]

    It was my understanding the Orthodox already permit divorce and remarriage (something about better to be married than to burn?) So the irony is if the Pope agrees with Orthodox position on divorce and remarriage he automatically adopts the Orthodox position on Papal infallibility? What does that say about the Orthodox?

    St. Jimbob is correct and “Catholic writer John Zimrak” shows a misunderstanding of Papal infallibility. The man holding that position is not now nor will ever be impeccable. He can have his own opinions and beliefs. Infallibility refers to the Pope teaching ex cathedra at which time the Holy Spirit protects him from teaching error. Therefore he cannot change Catholic teaching.

  4. David Keller says:

    The Holy Spirit seems to act in unusual ways. The infallibility thing is one of three RC dogmas that kept me from swimming the Tiber after 2006. I do know that Pope Paul was going to OK artificial birth control as he could personally find no Biblical impediment to it. But the Cardinal in charge of doctrine (he has a mega title that I can’t remember right now) told him some previous Pope had said the opposite. Paul wasn’t teaching ex cathedra and I doubt the Cardinal in question was the embodiment of the HS. My point is if some previous Pope made a bad decision it ought to be fixable. Actually, it was the Cardinal who didn’t want it changed, so he backed Paul into a corner. By the time the letter was written and disseminated to the inner circle, it was too late to alter it gracefully; which sounds more political than Holy Spirit. But here’s the rub. I believe I didn’t swim the Tiber because the Holy Spirit was keeping God’s time and leading me to the Anglican Church, a church which wasn’t founded in my city until 2011. Funny guy, that Holy Spirit. Huh?