Pope Francis’ Bold Tweet and Other Synod News Notes

This week, Pope Francis tweeted the following from his @pontifex account:

“This Synod is intended to be a sign of the Church that truly listens and that doesn’t always have a ready-made answer.”

That’s a pretty bold admission from the head of the Roman Catholic Church, but not surprising to anyone who has already read Robert Mickens’ analysis in LaCroix last week, where he analyzes the structural changes Pope Francis has made in the synod to allow it to become a more democratic institution than before. It’s entitled “The Synod of Bishops: Missing the forest for the trees.”

As the synod nears its close, here’s a round-up of some other items that you might find of interest:

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the Vatican’s Dicastery on Laity, Family, and Life, told The Jesuit Post that the term “LGBT” would likely not be in the final document. He said, “In many ways it’s very difficult to put certain expressions that may mean one thing in the English-speaking world, but we’re not writing a document for the United States.”

Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s intervention at the synod stressed that “We can no longer simply stay out of the discourses of the present and have to learn a new culture of conflict in order to get involved argumentatively and in a guiding way in the social debates on central basic questions of humanity, such as sexuality, the roles of women and men and the formation of human relationships.”  You can read the entire text of his intervention, which greatly emphasized greater roles for women in the church, by clicking here.

In the U.K., a group of Catholic Members of Parliament have called on Pope Francis to use the synod on youth as an opportunity to tackle “the damage that is done to children and young people when they are caused to believe that to be LGBT would be a misfortune to them or a disappointment to their parents.”  You can read The Tablet’s news article on the letter by clicking here.

 The National Catholic Reporter posted an article by Catholic News Service’s Cindy Wooden entitled “Synod groups on sexuality: Church welcomes all, calls all to conversion” which summarizes the third round of small group reports from the synod.

Religion News Service’s David Gibson has published two analyses of the synod so far:  a) “Vatican summit enters the home stretch. But where’s the finish line?” and b) “Vatican bishops at synod struggle with what to call gay people.

“Listening” has been the synod’s buzzword.  It’s been on the lips of every speaker at the daily press briefings. In an analysis for Religion News Service, Father Thomas Reese, SJ, observes that “At the synod of bishops, three modes of listening to the young” are present.  He dissects each model.

In an interview with America magazine, Australia’s Bishop Mark Edwards, OMI, offered the examples of women and LGBT people as groups that the younger generation insist that the church must respect.

In an interview with Crux,  U.S. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo discussed how the sex abuse crisis was examined at the synod.  At the end of the interview, he mentioned the synod’s discussion of LGBT issues, noting that he believes accompaniment is important, but that so is a “conversion of heart.”  Read the whole interview by clicking here.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, October 27, 2018

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