Pope Francis has ensured that the world will be fully aware of results of this synod on the family and has warned the world’s top Church officials against various temptations, including being too rigid, as well as too soft.
Speaking to the nearly 200 prelates gathered at the Synod of Bishops on the family’s final session Saturday afternoon, the Holy Father cautioned Synod Fathers against “a temptation to hostile inflexibility”. He also cautioned them to not fall into “destructive tendency” of being do-gooders, saying “that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them.”
The Pope’s final discourse, at the conclusion of these two weeks full of debate, not only wrapped up this synod, but seemed to lay the groundwork for the second phase of the synod on the family, set to take place a year from now.
During the briefing at the Holy See Press Office Saturday night, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Fr. Thomas Rosica, and Fr. Manuel Dorantes spoke on this Synod’s final outcomes.
Looking at the text of the report, it was evident that the Relatio Post Disceptionem’s seemingly “more open” language, has been dialed back a step, retaining a more middle ground.
Father Lombardi had noted that there had been some 470 proposed changes to that original released Monday.
In addition to the text itself, the Vatican has included the figures on exactly how many voted in favor and against each paragraph.
It was stressed by the Holy See Press Office director and the other spokesmen that “this is not a final document, but a reflection for the next phase of the synod,” one which can help the world’s Episcopal conferences prepare for the second phase.
“The Pope wanted the text be published in full, even paragraphs that didn’t have the necessary 2/3 majority,” Fr. Dorantes said.
Speaking on the afternoon’s events and noting 183 Synod Fathers were present in the final session, Fr. Lombardi explained each prelate had “the text in their hands and voted on each number by number.”
On all but three points, there was the needed two thirds majority vote; those three points regarded access to Eucharist for the divorced and remarried and homosexuality.
Fr. Lombardi said, “The text is something ‘of a walk.’ There is so much terminology. To say it is ‘approved/not approved’ is not adequate.”
Fr. Rosica noted that it took an hour for the voting of the 62 paragraphs.
Echoing Fr. Lombardi’s invitation to read the Pope’s discourse, Fr. Rosica said following this vote, the Pope gave “what I would consider to be an awesome talk”, followed by an almost four-minute standing ovation in the Hall.
Summarizing and outlining some key elements of the Pope’s discourse, Fr. Rosica said the Pope spoke about the temptations that are part of “any one of our journeys.”
“Especially when human beings and men are gathered, there are moments of desolation, moments of temptation,” he continued.
Giving examples of the temptations Pope Francis stressed, the Canadian priest said, “there’s the temptation to a hostile rigidity, which forces us to lock ourselves to the letter of the law and not allow for God to surprise us.” That temptation, he added, is present among the ‘zealous,’ ‘scrupulous,’ and ‘those who are too careful in the so-called traditionalists of today, even among those who claim to be intellectuals.’
Another temptation is somebody who ‘tries to see everything rosey,’ if you will, somebody who tries to see everything very sweet and not see the dark side of things, somebody who tries not to give into emotions, and thus has a ‘false sense of mercy, which tries to bind up war wounds without really caring for them.”
This type doesn’t go to the roots or the causes of the sickness or illness, he added, and “is the temptation of the do-gooders, of the fearful, and also of the so-called progressives and liberals.”
Another temptation is that “to transform the stone into bread. It breaks that long fast which is part of our human condition.”
Also there is the temptation to “transform bread into stones,” which then can be thrown at sinners, at “the weak,” at “the sick,” and “to put upon them ‘unbearable burdens,’ which Luke talks about in his Gospel.”
In addition, the Holy Father spoke on the temptations ‘to want to come down from the Cross, just to please people, rather than try to fulfill the will of God,” as well as that “to disregard the deposit of the faith,” “to disregard reality.”
“It was an incredible talk the Pope gave, responding, in a way, to all of the issues we have been dealing with.”
In the final point of the talk, the Pope’s sense of humor really showed.
“You know the Synod takes place with Peter and under Peter. The presence of the Pope is the guarantee of that unity. Then, he said, “I am the Pope and I am here.”
“So I think the point got across very well. Habemus Papem,” Fr. Rosica said.
More than just speaking on the temptations, the Holy Father spoke on the need to practice mercy and charity.
“It’s worth pausing at every single word” of the Pope’s discourse, he concluded.
Fr. Rosica on the Report
Speaking on the report, Fr. Rosica stated, “In the name of full transparency, the whole document is being released to you. You see the voting that took place there, 470 out of the cases that were submitted and tried to be incorporated into it and this will now be available to the Episcopal conferences as a study working document in view of the second part of this synod, which takes place a year from now.”
Responding to a question, Fr. Rosica said, “A colleague pointed out that three of the paragraphs didn’t receive the 2/3 majority vote.”
“Just keep in mind this is not a magisterial, disciplinary document,” he said, “the Pope asked that this be made available to people to show the degree of the journey which has taken place and that which still needs to take place as a discussion document in the next year.”
“In the name of full transparency, we wanted you to see everything and to show that we still have a way to go but that we’re still on a journey together.”
“All of the topics were raised in a very fraternal and open way,” he said.
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