Blogs Coffee House

Crisis for Pope Francis as top-level cardinals tell him: your synod could lead to the collapse of the church

12 October 2015

12:48 PM

12 October 2015

12:48 PM


Update, 3.20pm Monday: As I write this, various cardinals have said they didn’t sign the letter, some of them waiting several hours before distancing themselves from it. Now Erdö says he didn’t sign it. It’s extremely hard to get at the truth. ‘Not signing’ can mean a number of things, ranging from an outright false claim that a cardinal supported the letter to panicky backtracking by cardinals who did assent to it but are grasping at the technicality that they didn’t personally append their signature. But the damage to the synod is done.

A group of cardinals – including some of the most powerful figures in the Catholic Church – have written to Pope Francis telling him that his Synod on the Family, now meeting in Rome, has gone badly off the rails and could cause the church to collapse.

Their leaked letter, written as the synod started, presumably explains why a few days ago the Pope suddenly warned against ‘conspiracy’ and reminded the cardinals that he, and only he, will decide the outcome of the synod.

This is the gravest crisis he has faced, worse than anything that happened to Benedict XVI, and he knows it.

And, talking of the Pope Emeritus, I suspect that, had he been free to sign the letter, he would have done so.


The cardinals warn the Pope, in diplomatic language, that (a) the synod is being hijacked by liberals obsessed with the narrow issue of giving Communion to divorced and remarried people; (b) going down the route of ‘pastoral flexibility’ could lead to the Catholic Church falling apart in the same way as liberal Protestant denominations; and (c) the synod working papers prepared by the Pope’s allies Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri and Archbishop Bruno Forte are a mess and going down badly with the Synod Fathers.

The seniority of the signatories shows how close the church is to civil war. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith – the Church’s doctrinal watchdog – is on the list. So is Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s finances, and Cardinal Robert Sarah, in charge of the Church’s worship.

Sarah is the most prominent African cardinal in the church, along with Cardinal Wilfred Napier of Durban, who has also signed. Add to that the name of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, and it becomes clear that the loss of confidence in Pope Francis extends far beyond the Vatican.

He is, however, passionately supported by liberal cardinals in Europe and Latin America, among them Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops. He can also count of the unquestioning loyalty of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

As the Catholic Herald reported this morning:

Two of the cardinals who signed the letter, published in full by [Vatican commentator] Sandro Magister, have prominent roles in the synod. Cardinal Péter Erdö is its relator general, and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier is a president delegate. [NB: On Monday afternoon, several hours after it appeared Cardinal Erdö denied signing the letter.]

Other signatories included Vatican officials Cardinal Gerhard Müller and Cardinal George Pell.

In the letter, the cardinals expressed concern that ‘a synod designed to address a vital pastoral matter – reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family – may become dominated by the theological/doctrinal issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried’.

The letter continued: ‘The collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation, warrants great caution in our own synodal discussions.’

The cardinals also asked the Pope to ‘consider a number of concerns we have heard from other synod fathers, and which we share’ and criticised the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris, or working document.

‘While the synod’s preparatory document, the Instrumentum Laboris, has admirable elements, it also has sections that would benefit from substantial reflection and reworking,’ the letter said.

‘The new procedures guiding the synod seem to guarantee it excessive influence on the synod’s deliberations and on the final synodal document. As it stands, and given the concerns we have already heard from many of the fathers about its various problematic sections, the Instrumentum cannot adequately serve as a guiding text or the foundation of a final document.’

Here is the list as originally reported by Magister:
• Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, theologian, formerly the first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family;
• Thomas C. Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada;
• Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, United States;
• Willem J. Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland;
• Péter Erdö, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, president of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and relator general of the synod underway, as also at the previous session of October 2014 [He has now denied signing the letter, though there was a noticeable delay before he did so];
• Gerhard L. Müller, former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, since 2012 prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith;
• Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014;
• George Pell, archbishop emeritus of Sydney, Australia, since 2014 prefect in the Vatican of the secretariat for the economy;
• Mauro Piacenza, Genoa, Italy, former prefect of the congregation for the clergy, since 2013 penitentiary major. [He now denies signing the letter];
• Robert Sarah, former archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, since 2014 prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline;
• Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy. [He now denies signing the letter];
• Jorge L. Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela;
• André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014. [He now denies signing the letter.]

Note that not all these cardinals are regarded as outright conservatives: Cardinal Dolan, for example, is gently orthodox, an amiable figure far removed from the thundering traditionalist Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has been excluded from the synod.

Moreover – and this is very dangerous for Francis – the main point of contention is not the question of whether the church should be give communion to divorce people in second marriages, or whether gay unions should be given some degree of recognition.

This is an argument about the wisdom of calling the synod in the first place, and expresses the suspicion of over 100 Synod Fathers that the organisers are manipulating proceedings by confronting them with working papers and procedures designed to push them in a liberal direction. Others are simply fed up with the amateurish nature of the proceedings and wonder why, after last year’s chaotic preparatory synod, the Pope left the same people in charge. To quote the Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge, ‘At times our work has seemed more muddled than methodical’.

I’m one of countless commentators who has warned that holding this synod could split the church. Now it’s happening, much faster than any of us anticipated.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Charles Davy

    The Catholic Church is going to go extinct. It is basically gone from places like France and would be gone in America too if it wasn’t for the influx of immigrants from latin america propping up the population.

    You can’t be against basically all divorce, contraception, and gay rights. 50% of people are getting divorced, 98% of Catholic women in America have used contraceptives, and a majority of the population supports gay rights (and that percentage is only going to increase as more LGBT people come out).

    The Church’s teachings are becoming not only archaic but outright offensive to a growing part of society. Unless the Church dials back their harmful teachings regarding things such as LGBT rights and contraceptives there is going to be no more church.

  • Dr G. Kaplan MD

    Have we forgotten Christ’s lesson of forgiveness? The present divorce rate world wide is abut 50%. Denying communion to divorced couples is de-facto excommunication if they marry again. To avoid embarrassment of not being able to take communion, parents then won’t bring their kids to mass, so the church is losing over 50% of its members by this unforgiving stand on allowing communion. Perhaps Pope Francis can have the divine inspiration that Christ wants to forgive divorced people of their “mistake” in marriage, and by so doing, actually bring the flock back to church.

  • Steven Rhodes

    Collapse of the Catholic church = Bishops decide at local level rather than everything being set at Vatican level. Hardly the same thing.

  • urnotathinkerareu?

    Oh the mental illness of religion…good old unevidenced religion….every major religion has the same problem no matter what their doctirne claims….no evidence…..anyone see any connection????

    • LegallySpeaking

      lol. your small-mindedness is showing, little dummy.

      but you’re not *smart* enough to know that.


  • adorationservants

    “Others…wonder why, after last year’s chaotic preparatory synod, the Pope left the same people in charge”??? It is obvious but people don’t want to say it. The Pope left the same people in charge because the “liberal” agenda is the Pope’s agenda. Its that simple

  • Bruce Lewis

    And Francis will have the last word, because of the “primacy of Peter” that the ultramontane “Traditionalists” were always reminding us of when their right-wing pontiffs presided:

    • Woman In White

      No Pope has the authority, where disagreements exist, to arbitrarily declare the doctrines of only one faction as being universal — to do so would be an act of schism. Popes who have attempted that in the past have either been deposed or they have seen antipopes elected by their adversaries.

      The Pope’s duty, in the face of disagreements, is to reaffirm the Deposit of Faith.

      Regarding the Pope’s comments yesterday on synodality, the sensus fidei can only be said to exist in cases of unanimity, such as for a recent example, the universal sense of outrage among the Faithful at the actual extent of the child abuse scandals, which allowed Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis to act swiftly and authoritatively to establish new Laws and procedures, and even to reorganise the Curia and the Episcopal Authority in these matters, without needing to first consult the Bishops in Synod.

      But without any unanimity, that authority of the sensus fidei is simply non-existent. It is not a manner of majority rule.

      And from Catholic Herald :

      Looking specifically at the Synod of Bishops, the Pope said the process for each synod must begin with listening to the faithful. The second stage is to have the pastors listen to each other.

      The role of bishops at a synod is to “act as authentic custodians, interpreters and witnesses of the faith of the whole church, attentively distinguishing it from the often changing fluxes of public opinion.”

      The third stage of a synod is to listen to the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, called to make pronouncements “not based on his personal convictions, but as the supreme witness of the faith of the entire Church,” he said.

      • Bruce Lewis

        You are engaging in verbal contortions and semantics. and I think you know it; you know perfectly well that the First Vatican Council declared that the pope, when he speaks ex cathedra IS infallible and you know perfectly well that under the recent reactionary popes, such as John Paul II and Benedict XVI, there were pronouncements “from the chair,” that now are practically impossible for a successor to reverse–and which were, indeed, overreaches by those popes reacting against the “Spirit of Vatican II”–such as John Paul II’s pronouncement that no successor would ever be able to “fine” a sacerdotal role for women in the Church. Francis HAS the obligation to listen to the whole Church and he has the obligation, specifically, to listen to the Synod, but, in the end, he has the right, and, indeed, the responsibility of INTERPRETING, for the whole Catholic world, the doctrines and traditions of the Church in the SPIRIT of the Gospels, so as to find a NEW way of accomodating the clear scientific and statistical evidence that restricting access to the sacraments for those whose marriages are broken, and that outdated and unscientific “natural law” teachings relating to gender identity and formation which are ignoring the total ABSENCE of any clear guidance in Sacred Scripture regarding the phenomenon WE call “homosexuality”–which was unknown in ancient or Biblical times–that those things are actually harming good people who are eager to conform their lives to the SPIRIT of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and are contributing ACTIVELY to the persecution of said people. This pope is far more “pastoral” and less rigidly doctrinal than his last two predecessors, and when he finds a way to bring those people back into communion with their fellow Catholics, his decision will be final, it will be just as “doctrinal” as any finding by Benedict or John Paul that that something or other is not a “true ecclesia or that there is such a thing (other than “original sin”) as what is supposedly “intrinsically disordered” in human nature (in context, as much an example of “hate speech” as anything spoken by a racist politician!)

        • Woman In White

          such as John Paul II’s pronouncement that no successor would ever be able to “fine” a sacerdotal role for women in the Church

          That’s hardly an innovation decided solely by that Pope !!

          The doctrine of the ineligibility of women to receive priestly ordination was declared by Pope Saint Gelasius I, in March 494, pursuant to about 200 years of consultations and honest debate.

          You are engaging in verbal contortions and semantics

          And to be frank, you’re the one doing that, as evidenced by your capitalisations for example.

          I’m more simply pointing out the very same limitations of the Papal Authority that the Holy Father himself reminded us of yesterday, bearing in mind that the Synod itself has no doctrinal Authority of its own, as it’s simply a consultative body to the Pope.

          outdated and unscientific “natural law” teachings

          They are neither outdated nor unscientific, and if you imagine that the Pope will reverse them, well, prepare to be disappointed, as he has not the Authority to simply cancel out Dogma following some personal whim.

          And if you think the Pope thinks as you do, you’re just plain wrong — an entire section of Laudato Si is devoted to the praise of the traditional Catholic family as a precious resource to be safeguarded and protected by the Church and the Faithful.

          the phenomenon WE call “homosexuality”–which was unknown in ancient or Biblical times

          Oh don’t be so ridiculous, it’s mentioned specifically in Old Testament texts that are over 2500 years old.

          that those things are actually harming good people who are eager to conform their lives to the SPIRIT of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ

          I fail to see that active homosexuality is at all in “conformity” with the Spirit of Christ, given that He explicitly taught people to be either in union as husband and wife, or to be celibate and chaste.

          This pope is far more “pastoral” and less rigidly doctrinal than his last two predecessors

          LOL, you *really* think that Pope Francis is “more pastoral” than the so-called “superstar” Pope John Paul II, who devoted his entire pontificate to the work of evangelisation ???

          his decision will be final, it will be just as “doctrinal” as any finding by Benedict or John Paul that that something or other is not a “true ecclesia or that there is such a thing (other than “original sin”) as what is supposedly “intrinsically disordered” in human nature (in context, as much an example of “hate speech” as anything spoken by a racist politician!)

          Your hypocrisy is as stunning as your double standards, and your Modernism.

          So — when a Pope that you dislike makes a definitive statement, it can be undone ; but if a Pope were to make a definitive statement that you liked personally, it couldn’t be ?

          Have you looked at the definition of the word “definitive” in the dictionary recently ?

          Not to mention the fact that the notion of subjecting the declarations of the Popes of past and present to the hypothetical decisions of future Popes (or even hypothetical future decisions of the present Pope) has been formally denounced as heresy.

          Furthermore, nothing that is properly part of human nature is disordered, except our Original Sin, but the homosexual urge is not a part of human nature proper, but it is a feature of individual character.

  • John

    Belgian catholic Church always cover sexy scandals. Few(3 or 4)years ago,one chinese sister was raped by a affrican brother who was belonged congragetion of brother of charity in so-called cannon triest institute of belgium. The verbiest foundation which fr. Jeroom Heyndrickx gang up with br. Stockman Rene and this cardinal Deneels disgraced has kept strictly confidential for years never mentioned. They are flaunting the banner of helping chinese church,defraud money,status and reputation

  • Rob

    Pope Francis is the best pope the catholic church has ever had. He believes in justice, mercy and fairness and his actions reflect that. I’m sure the real Jesus Christ would have approved. It doesn’t surprise me that George Pell is a signatory. This is the same George Pell that tried to deny real justice to victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the catholic church in Australia. Pell has no credibility as far as I’m concerned. By the way, whatever happened to the so-called “infallibility of the pope”?

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “I’m sure the real Jesus Christ would have approved.”
      Now that’s something you can’t possibily know.

  • cthej

    A “collapse” of Catholicism and a “civil war” in the Catholic Church? Please. That letter looks like more a polite reminder than it does the Port Huron Statement. Last I checked, the dome of St. Peters was not falling down. These “Vaticanisti” are such drama queens. And the idea of a Jesuit warning against “conspiracies,” well…

  • Mary King

    Here is something to pay attention , a great opportunity for work for those who want to use their free time to make money using their computers… I have been doing this since last two years and I am making 40 to 70 dollars per hour … In the last week I have made 12,245 for almost 18 hours sitting ….

    ?There are no special skills required just basic typing and an internet connection ….

    ?There are no time constraints … You may do this any time when you are free ….

    ?Here is what I’ve been doing….

    < ->>w­w­w­.­y­o­u­c­a­n­a­l­s­o­c­h­a­n­g­e­y­o­u­r­f­a­t­e­l­i­k­e­o­t­h­e­r­s­a­r­e­.­b­l­o­g­s­p­o­t­.­c­o­m >


  • Ken5745

    According to St Malachy, the last Pope is “Peter Romanus.” Pope Francis was born in Rome but migrated to Argentina with his family. Is he the last Pope?

    • Woman In White

      Good old defrauded conspiracy theories from the Planet Tharg via Zeta Ray, eh ?

  • Woman In White

    Have to say though — the most insane thing I heard today is the Spanish-language guy at today’s Press conference who suggested, seriously, that the children of divorced-remarried parents, both living in adulterous sin, should, when their child receives First Communion, be given the Eucharist from the hand of that child.

    It’s a good thing, in a way, that such horrid notions are now out in the open — but good only because they tell us exactly what we must fight against.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    If this synod destroys Catholicism, then Catholicism never was founded on Christ, in the first place.

    • Woman In White

      Bad thinking — if this Synod results in an attempt to destroy Catholicism, then one would need to conclude that it wasn’t Catholic.

      No such events have for the time being come to pass …

      • Joseph D’Hippolito

        Woman In White, we’re talking about two different things. You’re talking about an attempt to destroy Catholicism. I’m talking about this synod actually destroying Catholicism.

        For better or worse, Catholicism defines itself by its ecclesiastical structure, which it maintains reflects Christ’s will. Even heretical bishops are part of that structure. If Catholic authorities cannot (or will not) discipline wayward bishops, they basically destroy their own (and their church’s) credibility.

        As far as I’m concerned, Pope Benedict already did this. How? By failing to rebuke publicly the president of the German bishops’ conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, who said on German television in 2009 that Jesus Christ “did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat” but rather in “solidarity” with humanity. Zollitsch rejected one of the fundamental doctrines defining Christianity and Benedict — that noted “theological conservative” — did nothing.

        • Woman In White

          I’m talking about this synod actually destroying Catholicism

          The Gates of Hell shall not prevail

          • Joseph D’Hippolito

            Ultimately, they don’t, if you read the Book of Revelation. But that doesn’t mean apostasy won’t permeate Christianity or take over some parts of it. The authors of the epistles prophesied this. They also constantly warned about Christians being taken to and fro on the “winds of doctrine.” One even wrote that the “spirit of Antichrist” was present in his own age! If that was true then, how much more true is it now?

            • Woman In White

              Then nobody can destroy the Church, not Satan himself.

        • Bruce Lewis

          John Duns Scotus said the same thing, and he wasn’t read out of the Catholic Church by Aquinas or anybody else. Your version of “Catholicism” isn’t traditional Catholicism at all; instead, it is the mutated form of orthodox Christianity that was formulated at Trent in reaction to Protestantism. It is actually a kind of mirror-image of Fundamentalist Protestantism, and true, Catholic orthodoxy is finally coming out of its shell and embracing the actual spirit and practice of the early Church.

          • Joseph D’Hippolito

            Can you please be more specific?

            • Bruce Lewis

              John Duns Scotus, a younger contemporary of Aquinas, said that the Incarnation of God in human form was fore-ordained at the moment of Creation, that God, for love of humanity, was ALWAYS coming to meet man at some point in history, and that the form of the “AT-ONEing” (i.e. “atonement”) only took the form of a bloody death of God’s Incarnation because of the viciousness and cruelty of the human race at the time. Duns Scotus was never called a “heretic” because of this, and it proves the tolerance and the “catholicity” of the Apostolic Church of the time that not even Aquinas attacked him for saying something that is clearly opposed to your “substitutionary” theology and to Rene Girard’s–which is also the doctrine of the Protestant Fundamentalists. God is Love, and He doesn’t murder his son to “fulfill” some human notion of “justice,” but, rather, sends His son, which is Himself, as an offering of solidarity with man and man’s sufferings. There is no future on this planet for the “substitutionary” theology of Calvin, right-wing Catholic bishops or the Rene Girard’s of theological faculties; just look around you: it’s not consonant with the teachings of the more beneficent of the world’s major religions, and it is scorned by the more scientific, the more creative, and the more educated of the world’s youth. It only finds any kind of echo in the teachings of the Muslim Salafists and the more bigoted and racist Zionists. The great gurus and philosophers of the East and the West laugh in their sleeves at it—but it’s not the Apostolic Christianity of the Early Church; instead it’s hyperbolic exaggeration of St. Paul, who was condemned for the belief by the man who may have been Jesus’s brother, in his “Letter of Saint James.”

  • John T Smith

    Look everyone, we need a split. Think about it.

    • Woman In White

      The Protestant pseudo-catholics are indeed unlikely to be able to remain in Communion with the Church of the Christ for very much longer, I sadly agree …

      • John T Smith

        The problem is that they don’t leave. They stay. And why should they leave? They should be forced out but no one has the gumption to do it.

    • Bruce Lewis

      Benedict XVI actually said, in very many ways, the same thing. Pope Francis is providing the Protestantized Fundamentalists of Catholicism what they’ve long asked for. To paraphrase the “Copperhead Democrats” of the American Civil War, “Let our erring brothers depart in peace.”

      • Woman In White

        the Protestantized Fundamentalists of Catholicism

        you mean the Kasper brigade, gay ex-CDF apostates living in homosexual sin in Barcelona with their gay sex partners, Recusants against the Magisterium and Deposit of the Faith, destroyers of Grace and Chastity, and smug self-centred promoters of their own egotism ?

        You really expect such men and women to possess that manner of honesty ?

  • John T Smith

    Dolan singed this: BRAVO!

  • Velo

    Damian Thompson: – the iron fist in the velvet glove strikes again..! Thank you, Damo.

  • abystander

    Where can I find this alleged letter?

    erm, where?

  • Joseph

    The real scandal of the Synod is the mediocre level of debate — What’s emerging is something quite deflationary: bishops have not been thinking seriously about the issues at all (discouraged by the 2 previous popes) — Recall how the American bishops were punitively badgered over their documents on women and gays, as part of a general campaign to emasculate episopal conferences.

    They are now just bureaucrats — and they have nothing to say. Their final report will just be the same sawdust as last year.

    Nor will the pope be able to make up for that by an inspired document of his own, for he has no special insight or enlightenment on women, marriage, etc.

    Does this mean that the Spirit has deserted the hierarchy? Or perhaps it is Providence that allows the hierarchs to give a public demonstration of their mediocrity and ineptitude, so that they and everyone will come to realize that you cannot have any real progress on such issues if you exclude (a) theologians (b) lay experts (c) real-life couples and parents (those invited as observers seem to come from weird cult-like formations like the New Catechumenate).

    • Bella

      a) Male AND FEMALE theologians
      b) More female lay experts
      “for he has no special insight or enlightenment on women, marriage”. So right.
      Now’s the time to get some – and fast!

  • Callipygian

    Meanwhile, outside the Catholic bubble: what is going on in the world? What is life like for the more than billion Chinese? What is life like for the North Koreans? For Cubans and Venezuelans, now that they have themselves a brand new tyranny? What is life like in Somalia, and in all the sand-filled depressions of the ancient world?

    Never mind the vestments, the lovely choirs, the wood-beamed churches. I’ve loved them, too, or at least found them curious.

    But surely a Christian looks beyond these pleasures.

    • Jude

      A Christian sees both. We can be concerned with what is going on in the world and at the same time offer fitting worship to God. It’s all in the Catholic bubble.

      • Callipygian

        Fair enough.

    • Velo

      Yes we do, Cally. Catholic means universal.

  • whatever name

    If the substance of the wine turns into the substance of Jesus then how comes you still get drunk off it?

    Please explain.

  • Steve

    Why doesn’t he just quit?

    • whatever name

      The popes have all been heretics and antipopes since Vatican II. Calling for a pope to quit now is like cursing a doctor as you die.

      It is the same with immigration into the UK. The British are now only 65% of babies born In the UK. They had decades to work out that they were losing their country and now they start to complain. When we are a minority of babies in under 15 years from now: “What a rotten show!” Too little too late.

      The British get the government that they deserve and so do Roman Catholics.

      • Woman In White

        The popes have all been heretics and antipopes since Vatican II

        That is complete nonsense.

      • rationality

        We didnt know because we didnt know what cultural Marxism is. We do now and we know it is anti European and anti Christian and its being driven by ZOG Western governments. If we dont overthrow our evil leaders we will turn into South Africa and we must be brave to stop our demise.

        • Woman In White

          Are they under the control of brain-wave transmissions from the planet Tharg ?

          (not that there aren’t secret conspiracies — viz. the Rockefeller Institute for starters — but one does well to at least *try* and remain grounded in reality)

          • rationality

            I suggest you watch the Stefan Molyneaux presentation on South Africa and see what happened there. Remember how we were conditioned to hear their accent as ‘racist’. How did that happen? It wasnt by accident. It was the testing ground.

            When you open your eyes its horrifying but everything is clear and the genius behind it all is stunning. Its a bit like Breaking Bad and you think how did they think of that, but instead its our genocide.

          • rationality

            This is our genocide. I think you’re being rather flippant in the circumstances.

  • fundamentals

    This is what you get when churches do not submit to the authority and the “Theopneustos” origin of Holy Scripture……which is, of course, the root of all the Roman Church’s problems.

  • AvgJoe

    Satan entered the Church prior to Vatican II. Our Lady of La Salette, “Rome will become the seat of the anti-Christ.”
    Our Lady of La Salette, please pray for us!

    • whatever name

      Yes, Bergo is a heretic and an antipope!

      • Bruce Lewis

        So go away and join the Society of Saint Pius X, or whatever other “Traditionalist” sect you wish to join. The orthodox Catholicism of the Apostolic Church has always been, in the spirit of Jesus Christ, too “liberal” for you Scriptural literalists and Fundamentalists. You have obviously never imbibed the dialectic described by John Henry Newman in The Development of Doctrine, but HIS definition of ecclesiology (which Benedict XVI Ratzinger was always so reluctant to embrace) was the guiding spirit of the Second Vatican Council, which is now, finally, being implemented by Pope Francis.

        • Woman In White

          cripes, it’s the tiresome “spirit of the council” ancient hippy brigade …

  • tbrec63387

    You can get a copy of the exact letter from Church Militant … so there is no “presumably” about it

  • Beniamimus Barnettus

    I think the church is bigger than one synod. its survived 2000 years. I don’t think a few upset cardinals or a pope who expounds mercy could ever ’cause the church to collapse’.. this is bad journalism at best or unashamedly trying to sow fear at worst.

  • rationalobservations?

    The politico-corporate religion of Rome has been collapsing for quite some time and mirrors the accelerating decline in active membership of all remaining rump religions in the free, democratic, educated and predominantly secular western world.

    I’m sure that the obscene wealth of the Vatican Bank is safe from the decline in superstition and the trend away from superstition will do nothing to hurt the extremely profitable activities of the wealthiest non-governmental institution that merely hoards its vast wealth in this world filled with starvation, disease, ignorance and preventable deaths.

    All that remains is for a more fiscally competent corporate executive to be appointed Pope like the CofE has already appointed as arch-bish and head of their now highly profitable banking business?

    • irrationalobservations

      The politico-marxisto-masonico-homo-oppressivo-religio-evil blight of all that I personally dislike must be stamped out forever, so that my superior opinions can be disseminated in their absolute truthfulness to all children in a clean State-controlled environment where all dissenting opinion shall be ruthlessly expunged from the public arena — that is the nature of freedom, a world where everyone shall have been taught to think as I do.

      All that remains is for my own more fiscally, morally, intellectually competent superior self to be designated as Pope by myself in order to bring this glowing utopia into wondrous existence.

      • rationalobservations?

        Very funny and thanks for the endorsement.

        Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery – even if that imitation is nothing like the original.

        Thanks once again for proving to be my No.2 fan (after my number 1 fan and head stalker; poor delusional Ed*en)

        Meanwhile – back to the real world of rational logic and evidence based facts….

  • Simpsy

    Communion for divorcés is only an aspect of the whole problem. It seems unjust to focus only on this without looking into the major problem that is responsible for most separations. Why do married couple loose interest in and love for each other so easily? Why is the marriage institution under the influence of the so called fast food mentality?
    What about people who are married but due to one problem or the other cannot procreate? If it’s proven that the problem was developed after marriage and if the party that is incapacitated authorizes his or her partner to find another person with whom he or she can get children, would the church permit this?

    • Woman In White

      Sterility is not a just cause for annulment, except if it’s for reasons of impotence.

      • Bruce Lewis

        But if the sterility was in place BEFORE the marriage, and was never properly admitted by one or both of the partners, it is grounds for annulment, isn’t it?

        • Woman In White

          Can’t really judge that one, as I’m not a Bishop nor a Canonist.

          I could understand someone seeking an annulment on those grounds, though I couldn’t predict if it’d be pronounced or not. The existence of deception would of course be a contributing factor.

          I just said that sterility alone is not in and of itself grounds for annulment.

  • Simpsy

    It’s irresponsible and disrespectful to put all the clergy in the same basket. The fact that some of them show these “tendencies” doesn’t mean all of them do it. There are still priests who are making honest effort to live the chaste life. Why can’t we see them and encourage them? Negative journalism would do the world no good!

  • michael vocino

    Catholic here…VERY happy here…and always have been gay…thank you, Gesu! 🙂

  • Juanita Morgali

    To allow either is sacrilegious The state of grace is prerequisite to receive the sacraments. The words of our Lord Jesus condemn divorce and remarriage as adultery… And his actions toward Sodom and
    amohra leave no doubt as tp the punishment that awaits those who practice these unnatural vices. These are not issues whose grave sinfulness cannot be altered by a group of men even if they occupy the high places in the church….They have not the authority.

  • Grace Ironwood

    What would happen if Francis moved the Church into the post-Christian values that Western media and other progressives obsess, insist upon and eagerly anticipate ?

    If Francis was the Prime Minister whose whole cabinet resigned?

    I’m sure the Church would have their PR about fusty traditionalists who want to stay as God’s
    “nasty party”. But Francis would lose prestige and authority within the Church, which would be in Global uproar. Wouldn’t that look odd, even to all those secular champions newly enamoured of Popes?

    But would it cause a schism, more significant than that in Anglicanism.

  • Phil

    What lens are you looking through?
    Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington and a member of the synod’s governing council, responded to the leaking of the letter sent to the Pope which claimed the synod processes were designed to “facilitate predetermined outcomes.”

    The cardinal said: “I’m not seeing this manipulation they are talking about. I’ve been at synods since 1990 and this is the most open synod I’ve ever been at.”
    He went on: “I don’t know how you manipulate 13 language groups and 13 moderators and 13 relators and 250 people talking. How do you manipulate that so it comes out with what you
    want it to say? I just cant make sense of that. But if you begin with that lens, and you see everything through that lens then you can see manipulation, intrigue, conspiracy anywhere. I just don’t see it.”

  • Dominic Stockford

    “reminded the cardinals that he, and only he, will decide the outcome of the synod.”

    He is insisting on his absolute monarchy.
    But absolute power leads, as we know, to corruption.

  • JonJenn

    It is clear by now that when Pope Paul VI warned of “the smoke of Satan” in the Church, and Pope Benedict XVI warned of “the wolves” and “the filth” in the Church, these holy popes were referring to sodomites.



  • LaDolceVipera

    Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. (Marcus Aurelius).

  • Bella

    Let’s hear it for the “Kasperite folks”. I’m omitting part of that description written by the person whose comment here has been posted to the author’s Facebook page “for a wider audience”.
    Pope Francis is one of the Kasperite folk. Catholic women – the ones that are still hanging on in there – are Kasperite folk (he actually listens to them).

    • Joseph

      Kasper is a very good man and I think the best choice Francis could have made for the unofficial status of “the pope’s theologian”.

  • Joseph

    Report has it that the majority of the bishops are very happy with the synodal process, which gives them the freedom to share their view and encounter their fellow-bishops in a richer way than at previous assemblies of the synod. Note that the synod is merely an advisory body to the pope. If they have anything to say, let them say it, and if they are fatally divided, let the pope used his authority.

  • Paul Carolan

    If the Catholic church had not imposed celibacy on its priests it would not have succeeded in building such a huge property portfolio, (as well as other assets) over 1,500 years of acquisition and investment without heirs to inherit anything other than the institution itself. A side effect has been the attraction of the priesthood to homosexual misfits, (despite all the anti gay propaganda). Equally damaging to the quality of the priesthood must be the absence of men who have married and fathered children they parented.

    • Bella

      Equally damaging is the effect priestly celibacy has had on women and sexuality as something to be risen above.

    • Bruce Lewis

      Priestly celibacy was a boon to the Church at one point in its history, and now it’s a burden. The Catholic and Apostolic Church has license from Christ to shed it.

      • Woman In White

        Why do you continue to pretend to be a Catholic ?

  • James

    The thirteen cardinals are to be enthusiastically applauded for their attempt to bring the corrective to the proceedings at the Synod. That systems and procedures are repeatedly subject to revision bespeaks an institution clearly run amuck. The responsibility for this resides with the pope who unfailingly reveals himself as entirely unsuitable for the responsibility that is his. To see our Church host to a charade unworthy of a third-rate low grade Islamic theocracy is mortifying. Given the obvious inability of this pontificate to administer this undertaking with responsibility, one is left bereft of hope that it is able to reflect upon the deep mystery of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. I’m afraid that my perspective cannot be dismissed as a product of the “hermeneutic of conspiracy.” It stems from witnessing the mendacity of the heterodox riding roughshod through Roman Catholicism for over fifty years, deconstructing all that is base, rude and ugly. It has only gone viral exponentially since March 2013 and it need be arrested loudly, boldly and without apology.

    • Joseph

      Most bishops declare themselves very happy with the synodal experience. Don’t forget that the Synod exists solely to advise the pope, and he has done a lot to facilitate their full and honest communication. He may write an equivalent of Evangelii nuntiandi afterwards — it is the document of Paul VI that he most admires.

      • James

        Is not that exactly the larger problem?
        The acrobatics
        of the likes of Kasper, Marx, Danneels, Maradiaga – the endless list – and Bergoglio. The subterfuge, the craft of their complicit clergy and theologians. Individuals entrusted with the shepherding of souls have for far too long reduced the rich tapestry of our faith into a combative collegiate seminar working out the soft sciences of sociology and psychology. They are supposed to be engaged in theological reflection. That practice, however, requires participation in the life of faith, loving adherence to the Gospel as illuminated by Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium. Their inability, their unwillingness to do exactly that has constructed this moment. The attachment faithful orthodox ecclesiastics have to deportment, discretion and charity has ill served us.