- Synod on the Family Mid-Term Report: full text
- 2014-2015 Synods Of Bishops On The Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- Synod14 - "Relatio Synodi" of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: "The pastoral challenges on the family in the context of evangelization" (5 to 19 October 2014), 10/18/2014 [Original Italian]
- Pope Francis speech at the conclusion of the Synod 10/18/14.
- The True Story of This Synod. Director, Performers, Assistants, by Sandro Magister. 10/18/14. "New paradigms of divorce and homosexuality are now at home in the highest levels of the Church. Nothing has been decided, but Pope Francis is patient. An American historian confutes the ideas of "La Civiltà Cattolica"."
- The Vatican cancels its earthquake, by Damian Thompson. The Spectator 10/18/14.
- Synod ends by affirming tradition, leaving controversial questions open, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. "After several days of animated debate over its official midterm report, the Synod of Bishops on the family agreed on a final document more clearly grounded in traditional Catholic teaching. Yet the assembly failed to reach consensus on especially controversial questions of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the pastoral care of homosexuals."
- On Revolutions, Earthquakes and the Kingdom of Christ, by William Doino, Jr. First Things 10/20/14:
The final report—not a magisterial document, but expressive of the synod’s will—was published with the full approval of the Pope, and is by any measure “conservative” in nature. The statement even quotes from a 2003 Vatican document—signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and approved by St. John Paul II—which is quite strong in its teaching against homosexual conduct and same-sex unions. Further, Pope Francis’s concluding speech to the synod not only quotes an outstanding address by Pope Benedict on the teaching authority of the Church, but rebukes those who forsake the Cross and “bow down to a worldly spirit, instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God”; and of employing byzantine language which misleads the faithful.
The Proposals of Cardinal Walter Kasper
- Kasper Changes the Paradigm, Bergoglio Applauds, by Sandro Magister. 03/01/14. "The no-longer-secret text of the bombshell talk that opened the consistory on the family. With the indication of two paths of readmission to communion for the divorced and remarried."
- Recent Proposals for the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried: A Theological Assessment Nova et Vetera, English Edition, Vol. 12, No. 3 (2014): 601-630. [PDF]
- Merciful God, Merciful Church: An Interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper Commonweal 05/07/14. During his first Angelus address, Pope Francis recommended a work of theology that “has done me so much good” because it “says that mercy changes everything; it changes the world by making it less cold and more fair.” That book is Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life by Cardinal Walter Kasper, which was recently published in English by Paulist Press.
- Kasper, German Bishops, and the Church Tax 10/04/14 (Thanks to Amy Welborn, for doing some real homework on this issue):
Obviously, there is a lot of discussion regarding the Synod, much of that discussion being driven by Cardinal Kasper of Germany, who is just going on and on and on about compassion and mercy and such.
Plenty of people are talking about all of that. What hardly anyone is doing, however is even trying to move beyond the ideological narratives, and raising questions about the German church tax.
For that is really the most pressing issue facing the German Catholic Church. And I really wonder why any of our highly-praised religion journalists are completely ignoring this issue and don’t even seem interested in connecting the dots or even asking Cardinal Kasper directly about how the Catholic Church in Germany understands and practices issues related to Church membership and the sacraments. And taxes.
- “These Africans!”: Kasper Reverses Progressive Dogma, by Elizabeth Scalia. The Anchoress 10/15/14. "Breathtaking condescension from a Western Bishop, whose German church is dwindling and headed for financial ruin, toward the African bishops whose pews and seminaries are indisputably overflowing and joyous."
- Card. Kasper denies he gave interview. Journalist posts recording of interview Catholic World Report 10/16/14. The German prelate insists, "I never said such a thing about Africans..." But the evidence says otherwise. [See: Statement on Cardinal Kasper Interview Edward Pentin].
- A Critique of Cardinal Kasper's Latest Arguments, by Monica Migliorino Miller. Crisis 10/20/14. "This article responds to two recently articulated arguments in favor of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion. It is clear that Cardinal Walter Kasper, joined by a majority of German bishops and other European prelates, did all he could to facilitate this major pastoral change."
- Synod Report: A Bizarre Document and Process, by Robert Royal. The Catholic Thing 10/14/14. "I have been in Rome, by my rough count, 100 times during my adult life.... But I think I can say without the slightest doubt that yesterday was the strangest day I’ve ever passed in the Eternal City."
- How an incorrect translation of the synod report created chaos, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Catholic News Agency. 10/15/14.
- Controversy prompts Vatican to clarify synod midterm , by Andrea Gagliarducci. Catholic News Agency 10/14/14. After a media frenzy and lively internal debate were both raised by the publication of the midterm relatio of the Synod of Bishops, its secretariat issued a statement clarifying its merely provisional nature.
- John Thavis: A pastoral earthquake at the synod:
In pastoral terms, the document published today by the Synod of Bishops represents an earthquake, the “big one” that hit after months of smaller tremors.
The relatio post disceptationem read aloud in the synod hall, while defending fundamental doctrine, calls for the church to build on positive values in unions that the church has always considered “irregular,” including cohabitating couples, second marriages undertaken without annulments and even homosexual unions.
- Cardinal Burke: Synod's mid-term report "lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium" Catholic World Report 10/14/14:
While the document in question (Relatio post disceptationem) purports to report only the discussion which took place among the Synod Fathers, it, in fact, advances positions which many Synod Fathers do not accept and, I would say, as faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept. Clearly, the response to the document in the discussion which immediately followed its presentation manifested that a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable.
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 ...
- At the Vatican, a Shift in Tone Toward Gays and Divorce, by Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein. 10/13/14.
- Evidence Emerges of an Engineered Synod, by Edward Pentin. 10/15/14. "More and more there is talk in Rome that this synod is being engineered by groups intent on steering the Church in a heterodox direction, and increasingly evidence is coming to light that points to it."
- Pondering “Gradualism” and the “Midterm” Report, by Msgr. Charles Pope, Diocese of Washington. 10/13/14.
"A governing principle that seems to permeate the report’s reflections is one that some refer to as “gradualism.” As a pastoral strategy, gradualism can be an effective, even necessary approach in order to lead people more deeply into the moral and spiritual life of the Church. However, as with any pastoral strategy, there are serious concerns and pitfalls to avoid. ...Read the whole thing. I think it's important to recognize that he does not dismiss "gradualism" outright -- indeed, it can be an effective pastoral strategy. But in terms of of embracing "gradualism" as the general tone of the Church, or one might say of this Pontificate -- for those who have had misgivings one might have about the proceedings of the Synod to date, Msgr. Pope has aptly presented their concerns.
Our modern culture is not usually going to understand these “outreaches” as an invitation to come to Christ, but rather as a capitulation by the Church to the status quo. The subtle approach of gradualism does not translate well to a culture that takes a mile when the Church offers an inch.
The better approach is that reputed of St. John Vianney: the Church should be clear in the pulpit and work quietly and in stages with people who struggle to meet the norms (and that is all of us, really). Let the norms and teachings of the Church be clear. Let local pastors and clergy work carefully within guidelines to clear obstacles, apply canonical remedies, and draw people (gradually) through preaching and teaching to a deeper adherence to the true and clear teaching of Christ and His Church.
Gradualism has its place: as a local and very personalized strategy under the direction of Church norms. I do not think it is viable as a worldwide pastoral strategy, one which will surely be misunderstood and likely misapplied.
- Family Synod: Gradualism and Truth DarwinCatholic 10/13/14:
Gradualism must be a gradualism towards something, towards abandoning sin. It cannot be allowed to mean simply accepting sin. Depending on the person and the situation, that abandoning of sin may take a long time. People may take the risk of waiting until their attachment to it attenuates for other reasons. There's a scene in Zola's Nana where the title character, a high class courtesan, sees one of the famous courtesans of the era before, who managed to save enough money to retire in luxury to a country house where she is now a respected landowner and support of the local church. Nana yearns for this kind of respectability in retirement (though she lacks the self discipline to save for it), and in the spiritual sense we see that in the prayer for "Lord, make me good, but not yet." And yet, there is a serious moral danger to getting too comfortable even with that kind of delay, though it at least recognizes the current evil even if it fails to reject it yet. While God will accept our conversion, no matter how late, in the interim that person is essentially saying, "I am more attached to the benefits I believe I get from sin than I am to God." That is, however conditional, a rejection of God. And rejection of God leads us to hell.
Nostalgic? - Address of his holiness Benedict XVI to the participants in the ecclesial diocesan convention of Rome Basilica of St John Lateran. Monday, 6 June 2005.