Saturday, 25 October 2014

Synod on the Family Fail II

What a few Bishops at the Synod for the Family may have missed:


"Church leaders should carry out their tasks as a whole not hierarchically but competently, not bureaucratically but creatively, not with regard to their office but with regard to men; they should summon up the courage to involve themselves more with people than with the institution; they should provide for more democracy, autonomy, humanity among all ranks in the Church and strive for better collaboration between clergy and laity.

        Bishops especially should not be appointed for their conformity by secret procedures in the style of Roman absolutism (with the “papal secret” secured by oaths,) but should be elected for a limited time in the light of the needs of the diocese concerned by representatives bodies of the clergy and laity.

        The Pope too, if he claims to be more than Bishop of Rome and Primate of Italy, should be elected by a body consisting of bishops and laypeople which-unlike the college of cardinals, nominated solely by the Pope-which would be representative of the whole Church, not only the different nations, but especially the different mentalities and generations.
“Priests” (leaders of congregations and also of dioceses), in the light of the freedom that the Gospel assures them on this point, should decide – each according to his personal vocation – whether they want to marry or not.

        “Laypeople” (parishes and dioceses) should have the right, not merely to offer advice, but also share with their leaders in a well-balanced system with spheres of authority clearly marked out (checks and balances); they should exercise the right to object whenever Jesus himself would raise an objection.

        Women should have at least that dignity, freedom and responsibility in the Church which they are guaranteed in modern society; equal rights in canon law, in the Church’s decision making bodies, and also practical opportunities of studying theology and being ordained.

        In questions of morality and a new slavery set up (in the Church); in particular there should be understanding in the light of the Gospel for a new attitude to sexuality, remembering that the younger generation can find more ways than one of maintaining purity of heart.

        The question of birth control, even by artificial methods, should be left to the married parties to decide conscientiously in the light of medical, psychological and social criteria; the leaders in the Catholic Church should revise the present teaching (the encyclical Humanae Vitae on this point.

        And so on.  The fulfilment of these and similar desiderata must be vigorously demanded and fought for until it is achieved; for the sake of the people who suffer from the present unhappy state of affairs in the Church.

        We must not be silent.  The requirements of the Gospel and the need and hopes of our time are in many outstanding questions so unambiguous that silence out of opportunism, lack of courage or superficiality can involve guilt just as much as the silence of many responsible people at the time of Reformation."

Decision for the Church, Hans Kűng, On being a Christian, (1978)

Finally, it should be noted that had the three controversial topics been dealt with on a more democratic vs theocratic basis (requiring a 2/3rd. majority),  all items would have comfortable passed. Note results as follows:

Topic                                     Voting results 

Remarried (some)                  104 in favour  74 voted against
Divorced/remarried                112 in favour and 54 were against.
Gays/same-sex marriage        118 in favour and 62 against

For details on these topics see my previous blog here.

Earlier (Sep. 10/14) Fr. Thomas Reese SJ. warned readers of the National Catholic Reporter that the make-up of Synod of Bishops on the family would be a disappointment to those hoping for reform of the Curia and for those who hoped that the laity would be heard.  The details  can be read here.  

Later, when it seemed that the Synod would fail to reach a consensus the bishops in attendance introduced the unusual word 'graduality' as a means of resolving the matter of sexual and medical ethics . According to the bishops  giving emphasis to the concept of 'graduality' was a way of thinking about morality that allows for human imperfection without compromising ideals.  What the word 'graduality' actually means left even some of the clerical experts confounded.  Most ended up suggesting it meant 'we will get it better next time'!  

Update Oct. 31/2014

Its hard to change the Church a further reflection on the synod.    

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