A Vatican contact writes:
Nota bene: Watch how the Synod is being orchestrated. First, there is a huge emphasis on unity and consensus. This was a theme hit upon over and over during the Pope’s address and during the interventions of Forte, Baldisseri and others.
The message to the Fathers is clear: Don’t be divisive. Of course, as we all know, divisive only works one way….
Second, they are genuinely worried. They are afraid the Fathers might actually produce a strong, Catholic statement. That’s why they are keeping everything in the hands of the administration, and any statement of the Synod qua Synod will be strictly controlled.
The other thing they are doing is setting it up so that everything depends on the Pope. This is another theme that is being reinforced in most of the statements.
“The Pope is the guarantor of orthodoxy and union.” They are setting up the most papalist Synod in centuries… But it is not ultramontane papalism, but pure papal positivism, the fruits of the JP2 emphasis on the personality of the Pope. Back in the day, John Paul set the Pope over against the Synod, an external ‘check’ in case they went too far.
Now, Pope Francis is making himself the Synod…
I heard today from another friend who is on the outside, one of the Catholic activists who have come here to try to defend the Faith from the bishops. He confirmed that the “atmosphere” at the press conferences and other meetings is very different from last year. They know they screwed up badly and they know that we know what they’re up to.
He said it was especially amusing watching them behave scrupulously normally toward Edward Pentin, (the man who is rapidly becoming the heartthrob of many middle aged lady-journalists on our side.) We know everything they did. And they know that we know.
The thing is, though, this is probably not going to help anything. Knowing how badly they screwed up last year, they’re playing it even safer now, having clamped down the entire process, and placed all power into their own hands long before a single bishop got on a plane or booked a hotel room. My opinion remains the same: that the entire affair is a matter of publicity and the matter at hand is already decided. It simply, flatly does. not. matter what any bishop or cardinal says at the Synod.
That was the point I was trying to make in this interminable piece at the Remnant:
The Synod on the Family: Can the “Good Bishops” Save Us? (Don’t Hold Your Breath)
In secular politics, when a governing party that holds all the executive and legislative power (as often happens in the British Parliamentary two-party system) wants to put through a piece of legislation, they will hold a “public consultation”. This means the MP selected to front the bill will be sent round the country to a series of public meetings, and professional lobbyists will be invited to “give evidence” to the bill’s committee.
But it’s smoke. As with the case of Britain’s “gay marriage” bill, Cameron didn’t even wait until the end of the scheduled meetings before he just forced it through parliament. This is always, ALWAYS how politics are done. The ruling body decides to do something, everything is smoothly coordinated and the relevant documents drafted well in advance. A public show of “consultation” is made, and then the thing is done by fiat.
If you say, “This is the Church, it’s not like secular politics.” I simply respond, yes, it’s the Church, so ask yourself why everything that has happened in the last two and a half years has so closely mirrored the contemporary secular political obsessions? Why would a pope produce an encyclical on “climate change”? Why?
Well, I believe our good friend Ann has answered that question adequately.