Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pending "Time Bombs" in Synod '15 Final Report

Rorate-Caeli published an exclusive long-form interview with Bishop Athanasius Scheider from the Diocese of Astana, Kazhakstan which critiqued controversial paragraphs contained in the Synod of the Family's Final Report as being "time bombs". 

The concern which many faithful who believe in the Gospel admonition that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a women which can not be loosened by divorce,. Thus,  subsequent unions without an ecclesiastical declaration of nullity (i.e. Annulments which parties did not enter into a covenant of marriage) puts Catholics into a mortal sin of adultery. 

Much like the documents from Vatican II tried to paper over serious divergences of opinion to claim a consensus document, the Synod of the Family's Final Report did not enumerate a change in doctrine toward neo Mosaic understandings of divorce.  But the ambiguity in paragraph 85 is worrisome.  The Synod '15 Final Report quoted Pope Saint John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981), but left out an important portion:

 “The way to the Eucharist can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.".

WIthout that decisive language, it inspires "merciful" bishops to implement some means of gradualism, in creating a pathway to the Eucharist for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. 

It is unclear how Pope Francis will act upon the Synod of the Family's Final Report. But the Holy See needed to knock down a recent rumor that during the upcoming year of mercy, all divorced Catholics who asked would be admitted to the Sacraments. A more likely scenario is that under a Pope Francis notion of Synodality, prelates who are inclined (or pecuniarily motivated) could implement gradualism on this issue for their own flock. 

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