‘Poisoned meatballs’ thrown at the Pope
‘As the Ordinary Synod on the Family continues its work, confusion and scandal spread among the faithful. Catholics are concerned that some members of this body of apostolic successors, under the guidance of the Pope, are seeking to endorse homosexual relationships, effectively question the indissolubility of marriage, and permit the distribution of the Holy Eucharist to the unrepentant.’
Those words are contained in a petition that calls on conservative cardinals and archbishops to stage a walkout from the shambolic synod, currently taking place in Rome.
According to this report, within hours of being posted, the petition gained more than 1,600 signatures.
Observers in Rome and on social media began talking of “chaos”, and headlines such as “showdown in Rome” began to appear on well-informed conservative websites.
The petition came as Italian papers are reporting that opponents of attempts to liberalise the Church are throwing “poisoned meatballs” in a bid “to weaken the charisma and strength of Francis”.
They claim that opponents are attempting to corner the Pope in a battle between liberals and conservatives. The reports also claim that much of the opposition to the Pope comes from conservatives in the United States.
The “Canon 212” petition, which now has over 1,900 signatures, concludes:
We faithfully request that each and every faithful Catholic bishop at the Synod, having made every effort to resist these attacks on Christ’s teaching, if its direction remains unaltered and those faithful voices remain unheard, do his sacred duty and publicly retire from any further participation in the Synod before its conclusion so as to prevent greater scandal and confusion.
Those bishops who remain as participants, accepting this process and its outcome, must certainly bear responsibility for whatever confusion and sin may result among the Catholic faithful from what would be the disastrous fruits of the synod.
The brouhaha stems from the argument put forward by some German bishops and others that people who have had a civil remarriage after a divorce should no longer be barred from Holy Communion and other sacraments. Many people believe this ruling is cruel and inhumane and causes unnecessary suffering among innocent victims of adultery and betrayal.
But conservatives believe the ruling must be rigidly enforced because they believe it represents faithfully what Jesus taught about the indissolubility of marriage.
The liberal tone at the Synod was criticised by senior bishops including Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, above. In his intervention, he said:
We have no power to change the central teachings of the New Testament or the essential teachings of popes and councils. We are not like Moses, and while we are the successors of the apostles, we are not their equals.
Too many have lost confidence in Jesus’s doctrines and doubt or deny that mercy is found in his hard moral teachings. The crucified Jesus was not afraid to confront society, and he was crucified for his pains, teaching his followers that life is a moral struggle that requires sacrifices, and his followers cannot always take the easy options. He did not tell the adulterous woman to continue in her good work, but to repent and sin no more.
This coming Sunday, Pope Francis will canonise Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux. American author George Weigel, Chair in Catholic Studies, said the canonisation represented “living proof that sanctity in marriage is possible in modernity” and argued that their example applied to all.
Weigel warned that the direction the synod was taking would create:
An entire, vast class of second-class Catholics: people whose leaders think them incapable of greatness and immune to the attraction of heroic sanctity; people who thereby come to think of themselves that way.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, also a conservative, wrote on his blog that those who remained faithful to Catholic teaching were a new “minority” in danger of feeling excluded.
They are looking to the Church, and to us, for support and encouragement, a warm sense of inclusion. We cannot let them down.