(Rome) The Roman Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica offers a review in its new edition of the Synod of Bishops on the Family. The author is the editor in chief, Father Antonio Spadaro personally. The report provides interesting conclusions on the Post-Synodal mood in the camp of Cardinal Walter Kasper. The tenor of the essay is moderate and balancing, however, it takes the side of Kasper's "opening". Since the magazine can only appear with imprimatur of the Vatican, and since Father Spadaro belongs to a small familiar circle of the Pope, it is worth a thorough analysis of the text that gives a view to the papal office. Such an analysis can be jolting at this point at best. But this should be done.
Unique Civiltà Cattolica
The Roman Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica is one of a kind, whose knowledge only explains its significance. Appearing since more than 150 years previously, the magazine has the status of a semi-official organ of the Holy See. All contributions will be submitted to the Vatican Secretariat of State prior to their publication and require a license to print. Accordingly, there is at least some indication of the official line of the Vatican can be drawn from the contributions. The connection between the journal and the Holy See has been reinforced, since in the history of the Church for the first time a Jesuit has assumed the Chair of Peter. The Civiltà Cattolica is publishes only contributions by Jesuits. The election of Pope Francis created a new synergy between Father Antonio Spadaro, editor since the edition from 1 October 2011, and the head of the church.
In September 2013, the magazine published a controversial interview with Pope Francis. The interview was conducted by Father Spadaro. It was published simultaneously by the Civiltà Cattolica , Vatican Radio , and many Jesuit magazines in different languages around the globe. Maximum attention was the goal. It is among several, the only interview so far granted by the Pope to a church-owned magazine.
"A Church on the Synodal Way"
Since then, Father Spadaro has belonged to familiar circle with the Pope and his magazine which also provides strategic planning, such as preparation for the Synod of Bishops on the family showed. On the eve of the Synod the magazine published an essay that supported the "opening" thesis of Cardinal Walter Kasper.
In the latest edition of Civiltá Cattolica (issue no. 3945 dated 1 November 2014 p 213-227) is titled "A Church on the Synodal Way. The Pastoral Challenges to the Family" a summary of the Synod of Bishops from the pen of Father Spadaro appeared, which offers insight into the post-synodal assessment at the highest ecclesiastical level. It could speak to the part of a hangover, reading in certain formulations the anger over a failed "realignment" of the Church's marriage and morality. In this regard, Father Spadaro is not squeamish, himself, as personally appointed by Pope Francis Synod took part in the Synod.
Anger at Partly Failed Synod
The paragraph 52 of the Relatio Synodi put the standing of remarried divorcees in the center of attention, for whom Cardinal Kasper had formulated "new ways" and promoted it with thinly veiled support from Pope Francis. But paragraph 52 did not receive a qualified majority under the Synod Fathers. The vote was "un certo senso in anomala, perché è come se 74 padri su 183 avessero voluto negare persino la registrazione della discussione di fatto vissuta," said Father Spadaro, that the same carries a need to assign blame. The vote was as it were was "abnormal", just as 74 of 184 synod fathers even denied the actual discussion. Harsh words, which reveal that anger which must have been triggered by the missed two-thirds majority in the immediate presence of the pope.
"Different Church models" become visible at the Synod, but also different cultural backgrounds, "even in contradictory traits" which are dependent on which country or continent of the synod fathers, said Father Spadaro. The not forget to pick up an exclamation from the Kasper-party from the first day of the Synode, of a secret code when he writes, "there was a really 'conciliar' air that filled the Synod Hall."
Between "Full Adult Maturity" and Immaturity
He does not evaluate the opposing content but formally that occurred in the debate opposing views and speaks of "serenity and openness", which would not indeed made, the discussion less hard, but "on the contrary, it made it possible to live a real dynamic that by no means, Verwirrung'ist, but 'freedom': two terms that are never to be confused, do not want to brave live full adult maturity you ". One related to a synod pretty strange-looking formulation, will not recognize it as a benevolent nod to the progressive concept of "mature Christians". In the opposite conclusion seems to be saying, Father Spadaro, that a refusal to discuss Kaspers "opening", a lack of "full adult maturity" would be.
The possibility of merit or formal inadmissibility of position, as they know each jurisdiction in a particular case such as manifestly contrary to church doctrine and order, is not considered by Father Spadaro.
The editor of the Jesuit magazine places the emphasis elsewhere, as when he insists that Pope Francis is to have "confirmed the correctness of the synodal process... From which one could not have expected a complete agreement". Father Spadaro quoted in this context, the "climate" of the so-called Apostolic Council of Jerusalem in Acts, where there had been a "great debate."
"Without Ever Calling the Truth of the Marriage Sacrament into Question" and Yet ...
This "direct confrontation face to face," said the Civiltà Cattolica, was what the Pope had desired of the synod, for he knew that all would be guided by the "good of the Church, the family and the suprema lex of the salus animarum." This made a discussion possible without ever providing the basic truth of the marriage sacrament in question: the indissolubility, the unity, the fidelity and reproduction, that is, the openness to life.
After Father Spadaro complained that part of the Synod Fathers, in his opinion, even wanted to "deny", that there had been a discussion about the remarried divorcees, he expresses his satisfaction at the fact that the subject in the concluding message is still present, which was matched as a whole and was adopted with 158 votes against 174. It says: "That's why we considered the pastoral care and access to the sacraments by remarried divorcees in the first part of our synodal path." This quote is the only set in italics throughout the paper and singled out, which also emphasizes at the same time, the attitude which occupies Father Spadaro Civiltà Cattolica.
Praise for the Relatio Post Disceptationem with "Fresher and More Contemporary Language"
Father Spadaro praises the controversial Relatio post disceptationem with exactly that diction which Cardinals Kasper, Schönborn and Marx used both inside and outside of the Synod. "In general we can say that the Relatio has included the recognition of the positive elements in the non-perfect family forms and the problematic situations." It will say that it "recognizes the positive in the imperfect situations." Father Spadaro used key words in this context like "real life", "real life", "real story". That is to say that the "Relatio was meant to reveal a Church with its energies more aimed to sow as much grain as possible rather than uproot weeds."
Then the Jesuit goes into raptures: "Although it is temporary, the text was still deepening and correcting, it was cause for some the joy of a fresher 'and more contemporary language'". The merit of the disputed document was, according to Father Spadaro, that it "has introduced the concrete existence of the people, rather than abstract talk about the family, as it should be." This positive aspects of the "concrete existence of the people" is not limited merely to "affirmation of couples in civil marriages, the situation the remarried divorcees and their eventual access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, mixed marriages, the cases of nullity, the situation of homosexual people, the challenge of the declining birth rate and education."
Rejection of the "Gradualism" -- Rejection of Preconciliar Concepts?
For Cardinal Schönborn, and then also other represented new "gradualism", writes Father Spadaro, the positions of the working groups have the "courage to knock on forbidden doors" (Circulus Anglicus A) for the service of "total rejection of the principle of that 'gradualism' inspired by the Second Vatican Council" (Circulus Gallicus B). Given a largely intra-Church enforced taboo of any criticism of the Council, which is considered a priori "positive", the editor wants to signal the impression with his reference to the Second Vatican Council that the critics of the gradualism thesis are wrong, whether they are anti or Preconcilar, who probably equate any "gradualism" as equally bad. In passing it should be mentioned that the Circulus Anglicus A at the named position actually says something quite different and only "a member", as was expressly stated, which is "imposed" by the statement above.
The conclusion is also interesting that the Relatio post disceptationem, according to its portrayal by Civilità Cattolica "Cardinal Peter Erdo assisted with in the editing by Special Secretary Msgr. Bruno Forte, as the Ordo Synodi" was prepared. The Relatio was developed on the basis of speakers who approached the General Secretariat of the Synod before the beginning.
No less interesting, that the Commission's final message already met, as the working groups only began their work and thus their work could not be taken into account. The Commission originally consisted solely of members were sympathetic to the Kasper-thesis. Just when Kasper's "African accident" during the Synod, it meant that Pope Francis had to calm the troubled waters, of which Spadaro knew nothing to report, two members were reordered.
From Non-Transparent Transparency and Other Misappropriations
In the publication of voting results of the individual paragraphs "Francis made the whole process transparent, by the reading and assessing the facts, open to the faithful, even those that were difficult to interpret."Father Spadaro mentioned, however, not a word of the displeasure of not a few Synod Fathers who justly criticized a lack of transparency, and accused the Synod management's selective transparency which is supposed to have favored Kasper's party. Thus, the interventions of the Synod were not disclosed contrary to the earlier synods and thus practiced the opposite of transparency. The publication of the results of individual votes and not only the final result was made because Kaspers position had a slight, though not a sufficient majority. Had this not been the case, this "transparency" would not have been offered.
"This whole process has made necessary the publication of materials ( Relatio and Relationes the working groups) for a larger external participation outside the Synod" said Father Spadaro, who does not mention that the publication of Relationes only reluctantly took place after a rebellion was carried out in the synod. Instead, it says in the article: "It should not be concealed that the publication of all discussion documents was considered by some as risky, because it provided a picture of the Church in its variety of different positions." No word on the publication or non-publication was not only a matter of expediency, but reflected a substantive conflict, because the defender of the Church's marriage and morality in the non-publication now recognized the gravity their position, with the counter-position of Cardinal Kasper a monopoly should have been secured, as had already been lead by example with Pope Francis at the Cardinal Consistory in February.
So it goes without saying that Father Spadaro raised an accusation of "manipulation" even so little as the mention of how Carinal Burke's expressed criticism, still during the Synod, that Pope Francis had "done a lot of harm" by his attitude in the overall question. Nor is criticism of Cardinal Kasper primarily by the African Synod, addressed. Instead, he praises that Pope Francis ordered the publication also of those parts that did not receive a majority.
"Bold Pastoral Decisions"
Father Spadaro emphasized innovations like the "positive elements" in civil marriage and unmarried cohabitation, cohabiting couples would be recognized in the assumed part of the final report and the situation had been a "courageous pastoral decisions." This also means that Father Spadaro unmistakably represents an "opening" of the Church toward homosexuals. He didn't even begin a word of criticism of sinful homosexual behavior, but explicitly states that the "welcome attitude" a usage which comes close to meaning "whoever is also able to legally oppose unjust and violent discrimination". Homosexuals are named only to be defended from criticism.
Father Spadaro reported that three paragraphs to the remarried divorcees and homosexuals were indeed rejected, not without mentioning that they have still got "a clear majority". He assumed those who spoke in defense of the Church's moral teaching and on marriage opposed to the truth, "to be less inclined to pastoral acceptance of these people."
The Field Hospital, Which Besieges Itself
Finally, the Jesuit editor makes Pope Francis' repeatedly presented image of the Church as a "field hospital" his own: "Many people are injured, the ask of us who are near, ask of us, what they asked Jesus: close, intimately close." It asks the question whether this is really all that the people of Jesus asked for and even more, if that is all that Jesus went to the people to do. Above all he excluded that the "many injuries" and those who are assumed to hurt by them, including the question of whether the portrayal of the people is justified only from the vantage point of "casualties" of human nature and the vaunted "real life". Probably not.
Nevertheless, it can not under Father Spadaro, hand out a sideswipe. He does not say to whom, but the addresses are well known. Because the image of the Church as a "field hospital" was "the opposite of a besieged fortress". After the election of Pope Francis the finger was pointed at Benedict XVI.. This is not "just a beautiful poetic metaphor: an understanding of the mission of the Church coming from her and also showing the importance of the sacraments of salvation," it says in the article. The simple fact that no one can lay siege to himself, but can only be besieged by third parties and thereby the hostile intent is a prerequisite, which shows the instability of the comparison.
The Capacity for Wrong Questions
The battlefield today has some challenges that affect the family. Spadaro describes among other things, "couples without a marriage certificate, which raises the question of the social institutionalization of its relations"; even more so "homosexual people wonder why they can not lead a life of stable affective relationship as practicing believers". The writer offers no answer, but will indicate the need for significant action. Therefore, Spadaro addressed that he neither wanted to oppose a non-institutional with an institution, nor the wrong and thus misleading question of the fictional homosexual.
"In reality, however, the really deadly wound of humanity which is the real problem today is that people are finding it more and more difficult to go out from themselves and complete loyalty pacts with another person, even a loved one. It is this individualistic humanity, which is part of the Church. And the first concern of the Church must be, not to close the doors, but open them to provide the light that dwells within, go to a people go to meet, those who, even though they think they need no salvation, often find themselves scared and hurt by life. If the Church is truly the mother, she must handle her children with "merciful love". "
"Synodical Way" is only "Just the Beginning"
No later than the last sentence you wonder in amazement, in which Church Father Spadaro actually grew up in and became a priest: "Some Synod fathers question whether there can be a sacramental economy, which envisages impossible situations, to permanently exclude from access to the sacrament of reconciliation? "
The "synodal way" has been trodden. This had been only "just the beginning", continues the editor of the Jesuit magazine. The course of the Synod of Bishops gave the Kasper camp an unexpected damper. This can be read out in Father Spadaro. According to a positivist view of reason, which is usually inherent to believers in progress, it seems that the partial failure of the Synod of Bishops is considered as a workplace accident and started to factor tim in the "synodal way."
Sorrow, repentance, and penance seem forgotten foreign words from a vocabulary of the dark past. Father Spadaro's review of the Synod of Bishops possessing a language in the restraint on emphasized text that he wants to give the impression of a moderate, balanced position, which he doesn't really possess.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Wikicommons / Civiltà Cattolica / Gesuitinewsa
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image: Wikicommons / Civiltà Cattolica / Gesuitinewsa
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