25 October 2015
‘We are Church Ireland’ is very disappointed with the final report by Catholic Bishops meeting in Rome over the past three weeks on the issue of the family in contemporary society.
The report’s 94 paragraphs indicate that the majority of the voting Bishops do not favour change either in the teaching or discipline of the Church especially in relation to gay and lesbian people and communion for the divorced and remarried. The position of the role of women in significant roles in the Church did not appear in this final document.
Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna spoke at the presentation of the report that the issue ‘of homosexuality was too delicate a theme’ to be addressed especially after the most powerful African Churchman, Cardinal Sarah, compared’ gender ideology and ISIS as two Apocalyptic beasts ‘ and having ‘demonic origins’.
Voting sheets show that the three articles dealing with the divorced and remarried were the most contentious and barely made the 2/3 majority to make it to the final report.
However the language in these articles is ambiguous and the shadow of St. John Paul was clearly evident in this final text.
While it reiterated his 1981 teaching on marriage (‘Familiaris Consortio’) it omitted the sentence where communion for the divorced and remarried is forbidden.
Pope Francis was also disappointed judging from his final comments directed at the more conservative bishops when he stated that
‘the Synod had laid bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teaching or good intentions in order to sit on the chair of Moses and judge with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families’.
It is now down to Pope Francis to act and exercise leadership.
It seems he is intimating that he will do so as a week ago he stated:
‘The synod journey culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome called to speak authoritatively as the Pastor and Teacher of all Christians.’
‘ ‘We are Church Ireland’ hopes that Pope Francis will indeed exercise this authoritative role in favour of those who remain marginalised at the peripheries of the Catholic Church, gay and lesbian people, the divorced and remarried and the position and the recognition of the dignity of women’ stated Brendan Butler, We are Church spokesperson. Mobile 086 4054984