Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
At a Vatican press conference on the synod yesterday, language attachés for the meeting highlighted a number of subjects that appeared to take precedent in the opening debates.
To take the English language attaché, Father Thomas Rosica, as an example, he placed a special emphasis on the need to end “exclusionary language” saying a synod father, (or was it synod fathers?) said the Church should “embrace reality as it is and not be afraid of new and complex situations.”
Father Rosica was particularly focused on “homosexuals or gay persons,” saying “we don’t pity gay persons, but we recognize them for who they are — they are our sons and daughters and brothers and neighbors and colleagues.”
He later returned to the subject of homosexual relationships, saying the subject “came up several times” and that a synod father asked, “How do we speak about them and offer a hand of welcome to them?”
It wasn’t clear who said what under the synod rules, but neither was it clear how many synod fathers addressed the issues Father Rosica, or the other language attaches, had mentioned.
In effect, this meant the public were left with a skewed interpretation of what was said at the opening debate, as happened throughout the last synod.
Thankfully, reliable sources have shared with me a few of the subjects covered by other synod fathers, helping to provide a more rounded picture of what was discussed:
* A number of synod fathers spoke in support of Cardinal Peter Erdo’s introductory speech, including one who underlined the importance of keeping fidelity to truth about marriage, the family and the Eucharist.
* A synod father asked “What are we doing here?” and stressed the synod is about the family, not other relationships such as homosexual ones. He also stressed that if the synod accepts the divorced-remarried issue, the Church effectively “supports divorce”.
* Another said the emphasis should be the sacrament of marriage, so the spiritual beauty of marriage is brought to the fore. Often the Church is not united around the “positive vision” of marriage and family. He said instability around marriage is “against its nature”.
* A synod father referenced St. Augustine, saying some of the baptized living in “irregular situations” don’t want to approach the Sacrament of Penance; he said the crisis of the family is a crisis of faith. He quoted 2 Timothy 4:2-5
* Another intervention noted the flock are too few, and that one should show respect for families which battle and try to remain faithful, those who in particular remain faithful to their marital vows given before God, although there are controversies and difficulties.
* A further intervention stressed that the Church has to defend that which God revealed about marriage and family and that the work of prelates is to support healthy families. A danger for families are “certain cultural currents,” as well as a sociological approach. In order to serve the family one has to take as the point of departure the word of God.
These were just some of the interventions the press didn’t hear about from Father Rosica among the 72 delivered to the synod on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
The other language attaches also largely left such interventions out, although as we reported yesterday, the French and German ones did at least mention that some synod fathers had used their interventions to stress the importance of scripture, tradition and truth in this debate.