Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that working document for the Synod of Bishops “engenders a subtle hopelessness” in his address to the assembly.
The instrumentalum laboris, prepared as a guide to the bishops’ discussion, has been criticized by many of the prelates speaking during the first two days of the Synod meeting. Archbishop Chaput joined the critics, saying that the document fails to inspire a sense of Christian hope. Theinstrumentum does not convey confidence that Catholics, with the help of grace, can resist the pressures that are undermining marriage and family life. The archbishop continued:
This leads to a spirit of compromise with certain sinful patterns of life and the reduction of Christian truths about marriage and sexuality to a set of beautiful ideals— which then leads to surrendering the redemptive mission of the Church. The work of this synod needs to show much more confidence in the Word of God, the transformative power of grace, and the ability of people to actually live what the Church believes. And it should honor the heroism of abandoned spouses who remain faithful to their vows and the teaching of the Church.
Responding to a question about the demand for a Synod message that will make all people feel welcome in the Church, Archbishop Chaput said that the need for attractive language must be balanced against the demand for truth. “We have to be careful with our language so that people don’t get hurt, but also we must be faithful to Church doctrine,” he said.
At an October 7 briefing for reporters covering the Synod, Archbishop Chaput downplayed concerns about disputes among the participants. “I have never been at a church meeting where there aren’t groups that get together and lobby for a particular direction,” he said; “and that’s going on, I assure you.” The archbishop said that such lobbying is natural and harmless, as long as bishops continue to work for the welfare of the universal Church. “We are not here to win anything,” he said. “We are here to arrive at the truth of the Lord that He has set out for his Church.” (Source)
Archbishop Chaput is known as a straight shooter who uses blunt, clear language. In this Church age of language porn (that is, playing fast and loose with meanings, telegraphing messages, and vocally humping our way into oblivion), such talk is so refreshing that it is like cold watermelon on a blistering hot day.