Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.
Head over to her blog to check out all the other Quick takes!
There have been many adverse reactions to the Synod on the Family, and many well-intentioned Catholics seemed to have just despaired over the whole messiness of the process, but fear not! My husband suggested I listen to an episode of the Catholic Underground Television (Episode #299).
The discussion on the Synod happens about half-way through this episode and I highly recommend watching it if you get the opportunity.
This episode read and reflected on the address by Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Synod.
After he starts off, he quickly reflects on the various temptations which had afflicted those who attended:
“The temptation to hostile inflexibility… to a destructive tendency to goodness that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing and treating them…to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46)…to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father…to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith]…to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing!”
I love how he then goes on to say how we must be following Our Lord who was himself tempted in the desert. It is not in the temptations per se, but in how we respond to them that matters. He also reassures that if there was a “false, quietist peace” reigning over the synod, then it would not have served its purpose as a synod.
“Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.”
He gives a beautiful vision of the Church as our mother.
“The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.”
He also reminds the Synod Fathers of the role of the Pope in guiding the Church, citing Pope Benedict XVI at length:
“[The Pope’s] duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it… that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”
He also put the brakes on those who were pushing for immediate and drastic changes to the Church’s teachings and practice regarding marriage:
“Now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.”
I hope this has given some encouragement to those who would worry about the Church going to pot after this Synod. The family is a great treasure and it is reassuring to know that the family has not been irretrievably trampled in the process. Please continue to pray, especially to the Holy Family, for the ongoing process of discernment over the coming year.
Have a great week everyone!