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Extracting the Success of the Synod from the Jaws of Defeat: A Response To Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ.

Updated on October 22, 2015

A Response To Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ.

I was, would I say, fortunate enough to be at the Cyber Café when Fr. James Martin, SJ., a Jesuit priest, author and editor at large at America, the national Catholic magazine shared the link to Thomas Reese’s article published in the National Catholic Reporter <> under the topic above.

I came to attention few minutes later when Fr. Martin shared another link “What would Frank Sullivan Say?

I do not own a computer; neither do I have any personal link to the internet. I simply cannot afford it.

I simply cannot. But thanks to God one can always hook up to the net at the Cyber Café. So, I spent the whole of last night in a Cyber Café understudying and trying to find an answer for Fr. Tom with regards to his conclusion that:

The bishops are currently trapped in the old theology they learned in the seminary. They are afraid of new ideas and are not consulting with theological experts who could show them other options. As a result, it is unlikely that new pastoral approaches will be coming forth from this synod.

Some progressives still hope that Pope Francis can somehow magically pull victory from the jaws of defeat. I don’t think so. Pope Francis is conflicted. His pastoral instincts are leading him in one direction, but his respect for collegiality is stopping him from getting too far out in front of the bishops.

And, after a long and deep seated prayerful meditation that ended with a Eucharistic celebration, I decided to exploit and exercise “the right of reply”.

The open mindedness of some of the prelates at work in the Roman Curia and who are also part and parcel of the Synod on the Family does not stop baffling me both as an ordinary Christian, a priest and a theologian. It is on this basis that I present those concerned – both those in the camp of these open minded fellows and those in my own camp - with the crux of the concern which many have about this Synod. It is a presentation done in humility but with a tone which the matters under discussion evoke. Nevertheless, it speaks frankness <…/SODOMY-SYNOD-ONE-OF-THE-POP… > to the powers that be.

In the first reading of today (Wednesday, October 21, 2015) taken from Romans 6:12-18, the Apostle to the Gentiles and one of the earliest missionaries who sojourned in Rome speaks, not only to those who agree that mercy, truth, and justice were not in conflict because they coexist in God, but also to all those who wish to understand the proper application of this lofty ideal to our Christian practice and experience.

The other way out is fraught with many difficulties and risks degenerating into schism and apostasy.

Some of the participants at the Synod do not only disagree totally with the German group, but they also have the impression that Germany and the U.S.A. are already on the fast lane to anathema. And that the significance of this prodigality is not lost to the Church on a mission of liberation.

The situation is not palatable, and does not appeal to some of the Episcopal Conferences.

Beyond issues of mercy, truth and justice, the German group may also be battling with the fact of depletion of Church funds or tax. And this, unconsciously, may be where the real concern of the group lies.

Does the Church have the capacity to catch-up with Germany and U.S. and impress on them the need to make a u-turn? This, some people observe, is what the Synod has achieved in part.

Yet the suspicion is further deepened by the stalemate about the outcome of the Synod. Skeptics muse on the possibility of human elements – exactly the type that are holding the Synod hostage now - turning the drafting exercise of the final synodal resolutions into a ruse, then to a compromise, and then finally to an alliance leading to the formation of a super ecclesiastical movement (I prefer this term to “conspiracy” or “mafia”), when some crispy dollar bills exchange ownership via the tithe box, thereby re-designing the focus of the new movement and moving it away from real Christ-work.

In this way, the road to anathema can also be decorated with signposts that can only describe the way to heaven but cannot urge anyone to risk a step-forward, and cogent reasons proposed on why the original debate about a necessary u-turn from anathema can no longer be sustained.

The German group at the Synod is right to observe that church doctrine has developed over time. Notably, against this background, a Cardinal who also happens to be a theologian once remarked that the Church speaks fluently a divine language but with a grave human accent. The confusion lies in the fact that, in contrast to this novel underpinning, some so-called theologians who have found themselves within the Church’s corridors of power are speaking a humanist/liberal language with a grave divine accent.

It is unfortunate that some vocabularies whose pronunciations and meanings in the dictionary of the Catholic faith are very clear and unambiguous have become objects of rash reviews and manipulations by depraved and demon-infested mindsets. And very scandalous, it is, if some of the theologians have caught this bug by being over sympathetic and more compassionate than Christ himself. Bishops who allow themselves to be hoodwinked by such scholars are doing themselves a great harm and doing Christ and his Church a great disservice.

Despite this, the Church needs to and must reach out to people, listen to them and speak to them in the language they understand. The convoking of the Synod in the first place, and the debates so far need not put fear into anybody but must be seen as a manifest divine action in the Church through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I thank God for this Synod on the Family. It has been long overdue.

The Synod must put agitated minds to rest – bringing about some satisfaction and hope to all those who have subscribed to God’s Mercy in humility and in honesty. Perhaps, a special ministry for those living in difficult situations with strong moral burdens can be opened as an arm of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the public forum and made open to those who admit publicly to the fact of having a “special difficulty” in assenting to the true faith. Could this be what Cardinal Walter Kasper implies by a pastoral solution that would allow a penitential process?

But can Pope Francis somehow ignore the manifest anxiety that claws violently on some faces and minds at work concerning the direction and outcome of the Synod and go ahead to, somehow, magically pull victory from the jaws of defeat? Fr. Tom is right in dismissing such a possibility.

Some demons are very stubborn that they cannot be cast out except by prayer and fasting. This is all the more true because it will leave a bizarre and scandalous impression for the Church to convoke a Synod for the purpose of defining and adopting sodomy as a practice that has its roots in the doctrine/dogma of the Catholic faith. This latter is the more violent face of – in fact, the real face of the Vatileaks.

In anticipation of this development, the MarysRose Organization has worked out a formula for this kind of adoption/re-definition of the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The formula is known as the SACRED DEED.

I recommend the SACRED DEED to the Synod Fathers/Mothers.The Holy See, Ecumenical and Interfaith Models have been developed. And I will gladly honor the invitation to explain and work out the full details and implications of each and every of these MODELS if the occasion calls for it.

Jesuit Father Thomas Reese (left) and columnist Michael Gerson take part in a forum on economic justice
Jesuit Father Thomas Reese (left) and columnist Michael Gerson take part in a forum on economic justice
 Father Thomas Reese gives the 2015 Aquinas Lecture, titled, “Pope Francis and the Reform of the Church" at the St. Catherine of Siena / Newman Center, Sunday, January 25, 2015.
Father Thomas Reese gives the 2015 Aquinas Lecture, titled, “Pope Francis and the Reform of the Church" at the St. Catherine of Siena / Newman Center, Sunday, January 25, 2015. | Source
Fr. Kenneth Evurulobi
Fr. Kenneth Evurulobi

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