It is quite apparent to me that the 2014 Vatican Synod on the Family has been hijacked by the mainstream media and press. (Maybe we should call it the Secular Media Synod). Reports of Synod actions are flying out from the keyboards about all sorts of things, and none of these keyboards are privy to what any of the final Synod results will say. For example, I opened the Tampa Tribune this morning and on the NATION & World page the headline blared,
VATICAN CITY----Gay rights groups hailed a "seismic shift" by the Catholic Church toward gays on Monday after bishops said homosexuals had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, although morally problematic, provided same-sex couples with "precious" support.
A spokesman for the LGBT "Catholics" in the United States and around the world called the Synod's actions "a light in the darkness, a dramatic new tone from a church hierarchy that has long denied the very existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships."
Tell me please, what does the average "news reader" get from that? In a world where iPads and Androids and laptops and Twitter and Facebook fill cyber world with all sorts of information, just those two short news clips leading a story are enough to give a person all the news they think they might "need" to determine what is going on. But this is NOT what the Synod has done. Once again, the media, in its quest to make "points", evades the truth.
We all had better step back and take a breath. The secular media is defining the synod on its own terms. There is NO "seismic shift" taking place inside the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has NEVER DENIED the "existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships". The Church has always taught that sex outside of marriage is sinful. That applies to heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. The gay community seems to ignore this fact. So do many heterosexual couples. If unwed couples wish to live together, they are supposed to be celibate. That s nothing NEW.
The fact is, the Catholic Church's end game with marriage is a sacramental union between a man and woman. As Cardinal Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod said as the Synod convened, "----to seek the truth which is not an abstract concept or the result of philosophical or theological speculation", but the person of Christ, the God-man, man born-in-time, and Son of the Father: 'I am the way, the Truth and the Life' (John 14:6). He is the point of departure."
The Catholic Church was founded by Christ 2000 years ago. The Church is His "bride". We are all part of the Catholic family. (The word catholic means 'universal' so it is for everyone--if they so choose). This Synod is about family, the Catholic family. That is the primary purpose. Secondly, family starts with a marriage. Not a marriage as defined by the secular world,but marriage as defined by the Church. The fact is, within the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacramental union. It is called Holy Matrimony. Christ Himself instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony.
That is the starting point for the members of the synod. This is critical to remember. These synod participants are ordained priests and bishops. They know that their primary purpose is to defend and protect the faith they love and have vowed to serve. Herein is where the confusion begins. They are all different, yet all part of the same family. As with any family, discussion among family members about critical family issues (finances, health care, living arrangements, education etc) can be diverse, opinionated, and sometimes even intransigent. Emotions might get elevated, as different personal beliefs clash.
This is what the family hierarchy does. They discuss, opine and hopefully arrive at a decision that reaches out to all family members. Sometimes, they have to reach out slowly and "gradually". Most importantly, they stay within the family's value system and, no matter who likes it or not, do not stray from that primary goal. Yes, the primary goal is the health and welfare and well-being of the entire family. That is defined in its family doctrines and dogma. In the case of the Catholic Church, that family and its belief system can be traced back 2000 years and more.
Jesus Christ created the Church hierarchy when He founded His church. He appointed His apostle, Peter, the head of the Church. Peter, thus, was the first Pope and his lineage can be traced, unbroken, down to Pope Francis, who is the 266th Pope. There is one all important factor in all of this that everyone should remember, especially the secular world. The Catholic Church, when it conclaves as it is doing within the Synod, is not political and it is not ideological. There may be arguments and disagreements, but that is the way within a family. However, when the day is done, the one who has the final say is Jesus Christ, and He does it through the Holy Spirit, who guides this Church. Certain rules have been in place for centuries and some can never change. This is our faith. This is what we believe. This is why I am waiting until spring of 2016 for the final results of the Synod's work. I refuse to get my information from the main stream secular media.
Finally, according to Catholic World News on October 14, the synod fathers, in summing up synod's post-discussion report, suggested some of the following:
.the synod should encourage and thank faithful Catholic families
.clarify what is meant by gradualism
.the Holy Family should be presented as a model of family life
.the word "sin" is almost absent from the document
.recalling "the prophetic tone of the word of Jesus," the synod should NOT conform to the world's mentality.
.in offering pastoral care to homosexuals, the Church should not "create an impression of a positive evaluation of this orientation"
I am not worried about this at all. The Holy Spirit has the back of the "Bride" of Christ. No problem.