Well now that the synod is over until they meet again next year it is time for a little wrap up.
Thankfully Tom McDonald saved me from writing an inferior post so I will just point to The “Thank You God the Synod Is Over” Post. I totally agree with his synopsis concerning the synod and that while there were certainly areas to be concerned it was not the gates of hell some anticipated.
There was a soap opera aspect “As the Synod Turns” and once again highlighted how bad the Church can be a communication. The initial publishing of the relatio post disceptationem, the translation problems, the pushback by Cardinals regarding it, and the final release of the document as voted on by the synod. This was a total mess. Jimmy Akin described the document It’s written in turgid ecclesiastical bafflegab.
Now if this was a soap opera I would certainly vote for the character of Cardinal Kasper to be the one to develop amnesia.
- Gives an interview with Edward Pentin where he effectively says they are not listening to the African bishops.
- Denies he gave the interview and that he would never make such a comment.
- The audio of the interview gets released.
- He then issues the infamous non-apology apology used by politicians. “If one of my remarks about Africans was perceived as demeaning or insulting, then I am honestly sorry.” Since really it is our fault for perceiving this a demeaning or insulting.
Still all this reminds me is that we are not the Church of the document. Documents can be useful and to clarify matters. Yet they hardly ever settle anything. Remember how the issuing of Humanae Vitae settled the issue of contraception or how Ordinatio Sacerdotalis stopped people supporting women’s ordination? Me neither. The majority of Catholic are likely never to read documents issued by the Vatican or even bishop conferences. Mostly what they hear is mediated through the news media which means most of what they hear is just plain wrong. Fr. Longenecker recently describe how twice in one week people came to him who were in irregular marriages thinking they could now receive Communion.
The continuing problem, which will likely always be so, is how to provide ongoing formation when the main vehicle is a ten minute homily on Sundays. Sure there is such a wealth of resources now for committed Catholic to seek this out. This is just not much of a priority seemingly for most Catholics. Too often it is the Culture not the Catechism that is providing formation. So regardless what shape the final Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation takes, this problem will of course remain.
It was not the synod of bishops, the curia, or bishop’s conferences that Jesus gave the great commission to. It was to each and everyone of us. It is an easy habit to want to outsource this responsibility to them and then complain about how they are handling our individual responsibility.