Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
I am man enough to admit when I am wrong.
For a year, since it was first announced, and with increased zeal after Cardinal Kasper's speech in February, I have been warning about the dangers to the faith possible in the Synod on the Family. I thought that while re-stating the faith in the documents produced by it, the synod might undermine the faith by introducing changes to praxis not consonant with the faith it purports to support.
And so, I am here today to admit I was wrong. It was way worse than even I thought it would be! Sorry about that. You know me, never pessimistic enough!
They couldn't even bring themselves to re-state the faith without introducing novelties and language completely contrary to the immutable and timeless teaching of the Church.
Don't take my word for it. The only communication out of the Synod up until yesterday, publicly released and promulgated, even with a press conference was the interim relatio. I don't have the time or energy to quote or link every Bishop who has criticized it. Suffice it to say that many successors of the Apostles have called it "unacceptable", "Irredeemable", “tendentious and incomplete" and the list goes on. Cardinal Burke has even gone so far as to call for the Pope to speak out against the confusion caused by the document and further says his current silence on the matter has “done a lot of harm.”
So yeah. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. The open warfare among the successors of the Apostles debating what is beyond debate is extremely damaging to the faith and the faithful.
Speaking of icebergs, like in the moments just after the Titanic hit the iceberg, there is no shortage of the professionally calm to tell us everything is alright. "The document is not binding", "It is just the process", "Its not final", "No doctrine has been changed!" and so on. All of it ignoring that the damage is already done.
I had a colleague at work yesterday message me to gloat and ask me how I felt now that the Church had finally accepted gays just as he already had when he abandoned the faith, proving that he is ahead of the Church on moral issues. I could only bury my face in my hands. Trust me, the damage is done.
Once and for all, please understand, it is not necessary to change doctrine to do enormous damage to the faith. These past 2 weeks have proven that beyond a doubt.
I would like to take solace in the fact that the Synod is over, but it is not and won't be for a long time. We are still awaiting the final relatio of this session, we have the work of the annulment committee still going on behind the scenes, and we have the final session of the General Synod on these topics next October.
Look at the damage these past two weeks have done and I shudder to think of the damage that can be done over the next 12 months given that a sizable number of bishops are still committed to the course that led to this disaster. I shudder at the thought that next year I will have to apologize that once again I was not pessimistic enough.