The Synod on the Family: The Church’s Winnipeg Statement Moment

Well, folks, the final report of the Synod’s Statement on the Family was released today.  We must stress that this document has no authority in the Catholic Church until the Pope confirms it.  The likelihood, however, that the Pope will change any of the texts substantially is very unlikely, so we are left with this text as the authoritative blue print on how the Catholic Church is going to pastorally handle “irregular” (i.e. adulterous) unions.

First the good news. The Church did not accept the homosexual relations, but offered the modern pastoral line of acknowledging every person’s inherent dignity:

“The Church conforms its attitude to that of the Lord Jesus: that love without boundaries is offered to every person without exception…In respect to families living the experience of having within them people with homosexual orientation, the Church reaffirms that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, must be respected in dignity and met with respect, taking care to avoid “every sign of unjust discrimination”…We reserve a specific attention to the accompaniment of families in which people with homosexual orientation live.”

Of course, there was no condemnation of sodomy, but we cannot expect that condemnation to appear in our current ecclesiastical context.  However, Fr. Rosica and the rest of the homosexualists have been stopped from advancing their homoheresy.  Because the Church did not proclaim error and this faction was stopped — or at least stalled — we give thanks to God and declare victory for the Church and the Gospel.

That’s where the good news ends, and where the bad news starts.

In regards to the divorced and civilly “remarried”, there are a few problematic parts that need to be exposed for the great danger they pose to the Church.  In fact, we can also say that the semantical gymnastics of the same words meaning opposite things to so-called progressives and the orthodox factions have already begun, with the Progressives using the ambiguous language to ram their heretical views as pastoral options for their flock.  Let’s take a look at the more problematic parts (translation courtesy of Rorate Caeli).  My commentary is in red.

The three paragraphs which received the lowest vote totals were Paragraphs 84, 85, and 86. These paragraphs, on “Discernment and Integration,” deal with “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried.” Paragraph 84 received 187 “yes” votes and 72 “no” votes. Paragraph 85 received 178 “yes” votes and 80 “no” votes. (Since 177 votes were needed for a two-thirds majority, this also passed, but it was close; though in this particular case, 173 votes were enough for a two-thirds majority of the 258 votes that were cast, as seven Fathers abstained; this paragraph received the lowest percentage of votes given to any paragraph.) Paragraph 86 received 190 “yes” votes and 64 “no” votes. Here are the paragraphs in question, in my own English translation (the official English translation is not yet available).

 

Discernment and integration

 

84. The baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more integrated in the Christian communities in the different ways possible, avoiding any occasion of scandal.  The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral accompaniment, in order that they know not only that they belong to the Body of Christ which is the Church, but can have a joyful and fruitful experience of it. They are baptized, they are brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit pours out into them gifts and charisms for the good of all.

So, how does this work, precisely?  Does this not create two classes of citizens in the Catholic Church?  How does one explain to one’s children that the pastor has decided to encourage and effectively bless an adulterous union, with no stated purpose of amendment or repentance?

But, you may say, there cannot be an occasion of scandal.  And I will say, scandal is in the eye of the beholder. What is scandalous to Cardinal Burke is virtuous to Cardinal Marx .  It’s the subjective pit of hell that we experienced under the Winnipeg Statement and it’s back with a vengeance here.

We explain to our children that this couple is in a state of mortal sin, but although they can be “integrated into the life of the Church”, they can’t receive Communion.  What kind of second class citizenship arrangement is this? And does this not necessarily mean that we are broadcasting a “Plan B” approach to salvation?

Won’t this couple’s “integration and acceptance” not preclude genuine repentance? Will the pastor now feel he has to pull his punches on teaching the truths of the Faith, to consider their feelings and not to hurt them?  How will Jesus’ teaching on adultery be preached on Sunday morning?  Shall he skip it?

Suzzy Q and her new husband are ecstatic of their new integration, and they want to be involved in all ministries of the Church:  “eucharistic ministers”, Sunday school, Lector, etc. etc.  And it’s all good, right? What are the chances that 5 years on in this scheme, the Pastor is going to say…”don’t you think it’s time that you separate or stop having sex?”  Not bloody likely, I’d say.  And all the integration train has done is confirm them in their path to perdition.

And our kids are saying to themselves, “Hey, if my first marriage doesn’t work out, this isn’t so bad.  Plan B is a possibility.”  In fact, Communion might even be a possibility because it depends now on the Bishop’s orientation.  And why stop at adulterous unions?  Why not admit everyone else in a publicly unrepentant state of mortal sin?  Abortionists, Feminists, Homosexualists, Socialists, Masons, etc., etc. Why discriminate? Let’s integrate everyone!  Mercy on the cheap!  And not only that, but all of those dolts who have been slogging it out in a difficult marriage because they heeded the Church’s teaching now find themselves as the real chumps in the new Church order.   I can ditch my real wife, “marry another”. and encourage my pastor to “discern” the spirit better in allowing me to access everything that that poor schmuck in Plan A has.

Or what about that fool who listened to Christ’s commandment and has lived alone because the Church has not granted his annulment all these years?  How do you suppose he’s going to “feel”?  Or do his “feelings” count?  If I were that fool, I’d be going “postal” on these heretical bishops, frankly. 

Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services: it is therefore necessary to discern which of the various forms of exclusion currently practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional realms can be overcome.

 

So, here is the text that the heretics will use to grant Communion. On what pretext?  Simply this:  there’s no scandal in Germany or in Quebec or in this or that diocese in South America, etc. with adulterous unions. Capiche? They’re all good with it.  Discernment, Decentralization, Local pastoral solutions is what is required.  “The Africans and the Polish are so medieval in their attitudes towards sex, after all. Ship them a box of condoms with our condolences.”  This is all about the regularization of sin, my friends. It’s about changing good old fashioned “adultery” to “irregular unions” and then integrating these unions into parish life and thereby making them….regular in all but name.  Is that not what the very nature of “integration” is?  Think about it.  And….tada. Nice trick, no?

 

They not only should not feel themselves excommunicated, but can live and mature as living members of the Church, feeling her to be a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and who encourages them in the path of life and of the Gospel. This integration is also needed for the care and Christian education of their children, who must be considered the most important. For the Christian community, taking care of these people is not a weakening of their faith and testimony about the indissolubility of marriage: rather, the Church expresses in this very care her charity.

 

Does this pastoral solution also apply to kids of homosexual couples in Catholic schools. If not, why not? On what OBJECTIVE basis?   Many of you might be wondering now, then what is the solution?  Well, quite frankly, there isn’t one…not unless you put your own souls and that of your own family at risk by being lulled into this fraud.  The correct solution is what it has always been:  keep scandal quiet and work with the person or couple to break their adulterous union or encourage them to live as brother and sister. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said for us to evangelize the world not for the world to evangelize us….which is what is going on with this Synod document. This document is not a document of the Church. It is a document of the world to the Church.

 

85. St. John Paul II offered a comprehensive criterion, which remains the basis for the evaluation of these situations: “Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to discern situations carefully. There is indeed a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have contracted a second marriage for the sake of the children, and are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous marriage, irreparably broken, had never been valid” (FC, 84).

 

FINISH THE CITATION FROM Familiaris Consortio, 84

“…However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

So what sort of message do you think this document is sending when it intentionally omits the passage concerning admission to the Eucharist and includes words like, “discernment and integration”?  It doesn’t take a master theologian to figure out which politicians dressed in Roman garb are going to ram this pastoral fraud through in their dioceses, does it?  We’ll see if the last sentence cited above from FC,84 come true.

It is therefore the duty of priests to accompany the people concerned on the way of discernment according to the teaching of the Church and the guidelines of the Bishop. In this process, it will be useful to make an examination of conscience, by means of moments of reflection and penance. The divorced and remarried should ask themselves how they have behaved towards their children when the conjugal union has entered into crisis; if there have been attempts at reconciliation; what is the situation of the partner who has been abandoned; what effect has the new relationship on the rest of the family and on the community of the faithful; what example it offers to young people who are preparing for marriage. A sincere reflection can strengthen trust in the mercy of God that is not denied to anyone. Moreover, one can not deny that in some circumstances “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or nullified” (CCC, 1735) due to various conditions. Accordingly, the judgment of an objective situation should not lead to a judgment on the “subjective culpability” (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration of June 24, 2000, 2a). Under certain circumstances people find it very difficult to act otherwise than they do. Therefore, while maintaining a general rule, it must be recognized that the responsibility with respect to certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, while taking account of a properly formed conscience of the people, must take these situations into consideration. The consequences of acts taken are not necessarily the same in all cases.

And so marriage is now reduced from an objective reality to an arbitrary exercise in “subjective discernment” on whether we should tolerate adulterous unions or not.  Is that not what the above text effectively says?  And the binding mechanism is reduced from the Catholicity of the indissolubility on marriage to the guidelines of the bishop, which will, with absolute certainty, vary wildly from diocese to diocese and country to country.  It’s a scam, folks.  

86. The process of accompaniment and discernment orients these faithful to an examination of conscience regarding their situation before God. The interview with the priest, in the internal forum (“foro interno“), contributes to the formation of a correct judgment on what hinders the possibility of a fuller participation in the life of the Church and on the steps that can foster it and make it grow. Given that in the law itself there is no graduality (cf. FC 34), this discernment will never be able to prescind from the needs of the truth and the charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church. In order for this to happen, the necessary conditions of humility, confidence, and love for the Church and its teaching, must be guaranteed, in the sincere search for God’s will and the desire to achieve a more perfect answer to it. 

“The interview with the priest, in the internal forum (“foro interno”), contributes to the formation of a correct judgment on what hinders the possibility of a fuller participation in the life of the Church and on the steps that can foster it and make it grow.”  — Huh?  What’s there to talk about?  In order to obtain the fuller participation, one has to stop being a public scandal to the Faithful.  The correct judgement has already been pronounced by the Church.  It is not subject to “discernment”.  And what steps would there be to “foster and make it grow”.  Well…er…leave your concubinage.  That’s a start.  After you’re done accompanying such an individual, how do you delicately tell this person to leave the relationship?  Ah yes, here’s one approach.

So where do we stand?  Well, the Church has not officially declared error, so no one can accuse the Church of defecting.  Legally, everything’s OK.  But in reality, this pastoral fraud has been planted and now it will bear its poisonous fruit that will kill many….even though no error has been or will be declared.  That’s quite a move by the devil, isn’t it? Master Chess player, you have to give the devil his due.  Jesus never promised us pastoral protection…and that truth is sadly more evident than ever.

So what now?  What shall we do?

Fight.

Fight at the parish level because that is where this whole scene will take place.  If you find this kind of integration happening, leave and find a parish and a priest who will hold fast to the Faith.  And if they ask you, by what authority do you do these things tell them that you’re going through a process of decentralization….just like they are.

10 thoughts on “The Synod on the Family: The Church’s Winnipeg Statement Moment

  1. The document is disturbing.

    The worst part is #85. By truncating St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio and replacing the redacted portion with some wishy washy stuff, they’ve essentially invalidated the former pontiff’s teaching and replaced it with their own.

    Nevertheless, considering that Kasper didn’t get the blanket endorsement he sought, there’s still some positive here.

  2. The problem here is that Pope Francis appears to be contradicting previous Popes and the unchangeable teaching of Jesus on marriage. If that is what Francis is doing, then it is impossible for him to be the Pope, and we cannot respect him as such. Popes cannot do that. Jesus cannot contradict Himself. Only the devil can contradict Jesus. Lord please keep Francis from doing such a thing!

    • “Pope Francis appears to be contradicting previous Popes”

      I think you are bang on – He appears to be breaking the law and it is unnerving a lot of people.

  3. I don’t doubt the technical incisiveness of this analysis – I agree with the critique of the Synod’s outcome. What troubles me to no end is the fallout of focusing on the rightness of this analysis. The author especially in his conclusion is sounding very much like the older brother in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. Yes, the brother was right and faithful from top to bottom. Did Jesus miss telling us about the the Father’s scrutiny about the son’s return? Maybe the Father got assurance from his prodigal son that he would right his life from top to bottom before he embraced him? Maybe after this scrutiny he then gave his returning son everything he had? This is not the message I hear Dronebuster. But that older brother was certainly mad and he certainly did “walk”. I’m not ready to do that.

    • The problem here is that the new regime in the Church has completely done away with the story of the Prodigal son or the older brother. When there is no sin at all, what’s there to be angry about? It strips out the significance of everything. Believe me, I am not “angry” that my younger brother has come back to the Father. I am angry that he thinks he can continue to slum with the pigs and pretend to be back in the family. That’s the problem and nothing else.

  4. “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
    Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:10f

    Peter, out of fervour and devotion, defended the Truth with his sword at the moment when Christ was to enter his passion. While Christ understood Peter’s heart – deceived as it was – Peter did not at that time understand -or possibly want to understand- what the God of history was about to do. If the disciple could not ‘fight!’ he was compelled to flee – the horror would be too great for him. But Mary and John remained with Jesus through the dark hours of satan’s seeming victory. They might not have understood the blasphemous mystery as the Body of Christ was pillaged and gutted before them, but they knew He was God and they remained in his gaze. To the Catholic Legate: If the Body of Christ is entering its Passion, let’s be docile to the God who is in utter command of armies of angels – who is never overcome by a single enemy. The Church will triumph whether or not you fight with the sword or run for safety to a parish that suits your vision. The triumph of the Church won’t come as a result of your sword wielding but because God. You are aware that God is not merciful because he desires popularity – and yet you conflate Pope Francis’ display of mercy with misguided intentions. Though it suits your purposes to suggest this – he neither believes nor has said that adultery is not sin.

    • If he has not said it, he has promoted the message through the Cardinals and theologians that do. That much cannot be denied.

      Be wary of putting too much stock in the Pope or overemphasizing his teaching authority which is NOT absolute. That is why we have a definition of his papal power. What he is doing now is both dangerous and sadly very possible. The Pope is a guardian of the Faith, and he can fail in that as past Popes have admittedly done. If past Popes have failed, then any Pope can fail except under certain circumstances.

  5. my ‘lambechop’ email got left everywhere b/c I wasn’t filling the name in – can that be taken out so that it’s not free for public use!

      • Awesome – and I very much appreciate your thoughtful responses to my comments. I also admittedly appreciate having your perspectives distilled in this blog – it helped me to understand the nuances and finer points of what is happening in Rome. I don’t have time to do all of that research personally.

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