Cupich, Chaput joust over working document for Synod of Bishops


September 29, 2018

By Christopher White

Ahead of next week’s start to the much-anticipated month-long gathering of bishops in Rome, two American delegates have already preempted the debate by publishing an exchange on the guiding document for the meetings.

Correspondence between Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Charles Chaput was published in First Things, a conservative journal on religion, in response to a September 21 column by Chaput that included a 1,300 word critique of the Instrumentem Laboris, the synod’s working document, sent to Chaput by a “respected North American theologian” and published anonymously in his article.

In the original commentary, the theologian faulted the document for its “pervasive focus on socio-cultural elements, to the exclusion of deeper religious and moral issues,” and four areas in which the author enumerated criticisms: “An inadequate grasp of the Church’s spiritual authority;” “A partial theological anthropology;” “A relativistic conception of vocation;” and “An impoverished understanding of Christian joy.”

In addition, the theologian claimed “there are other serious theological concerns, including: a false understanding of the conscience and its role in the moral life; a false dichotomy proposed between truth and freedom; false equivalence between dialogue with LGBT youth and ecumenical dialogue; and an insufficient treatment of the abuse scandal.”

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