Synod: Forces inside church working against reform

Irish Times

Paddy Agnew in Rome

Mon, Oct 26, 2015

If anyone ever had any doubt that there are forces inside both the Catholic Church and the Roman Curia working against Pope Francis and his “reform process”, they need only look at events of the last three weeks during the Vatican’s synod on the family.

To the non-Catholic world, the conclusions might look tame in that they represent no significant (doctrinal) changes, rather an amount of pastoral fine-tuning. Much ado about nothing?
Curiously, though, somebody somewhere seemed to care. Did a series of “outside the synod” events in Rome in the last three weeks not suggest that diverse, presumably minority, groups of anti-Francis dissidents are alive and active?

For example, the synod “opened” with the coming-out of Polish monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a middle management theologian at the Vatican’s Congregation For the Doctrine Of The Faith (CDF), ex-Holy Office. He and his partner appeared together in a Roman cafe the day before the synod, announced their relationship and then suggested there were plenty more like them within the Holy See. As Francis tries to keep everyone on board, that did not help.

One day into the Synod, an arguably more heavyweight protest surfaced when a small number of senior cardinals wrote to the pope expressing their concerns about a potentially “pre-cooked” synod outcome (of a progressive tendency).

Media invention

The third “event” came this week with Italian media speculation that Pope Francis has a brain tumour. There seems little doubt that this is a media invention, circulated by those who wish to undermine Francis. The current archbishop of Buenos Aires, Victor Fernandez, said it appeared to be a strategy to “discredit the person in control” .

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