Synod on Family: Like Watching Sausage Getting Made


As an editor, I’m always interested when the fine art of copy editing gets political! I decided to run a “compare docs” program on the first and second versions of the report from the Synod on the Family currently going on at the Vatican. (See above. Scroll down to Part III in document for the “juicy” stuff.)

In case you are just catching up, on Monday, 13 Oct, the Vatican released an update from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. Basically, at the half-way point, they wanted to let folks know what was going on.

Pope Francis is trying a “sunshine strategy” at the notoriously closed-door Vatican. Parts of the synod were even “live-streamed”! He seems to believe that many of the worlds 1.1 billion Catholics — and certainly most of its priests can handle the truth of how things are done, that they can handle spirited discussion, that they can handle more than one idea at a time. (This seems generally to be true, except for one or two really piqued U.S. cardinals.)

Pope Francis trusts that people are complex and intrinsically beautiful and that so is truth. In this, he is totally in sync with his predecessors.

After the first update on Monday, 13 October, the document went to small groups (based on language groups) for review. The agreed upon changes were then entered into a new document, which was released on Thursday, 16 October. (The final document will probably be released next week.)

You’ll recognize it by edits that now identify some families as “broken” (not “wounded”) and calling churches to “provide for” homosexuals (not “welcome”). These changes were ONLY made in the English language version, not the official Italian version.

Theology, like politics, can be messy to watch being made. However Pope Francis may be recalling the words of he predecessor a few years ago when Pope Benedict XVI said at Christmas in 2012 :

“I would say that the Christian can afford to be supremely confident, yes, fundamentally certain that he can venture freely into the open sea of the truth, without having to fear for his Christian identity. To be sure, we do not possess the truth, the truth possesses us: Christ, who is the truth, has taken us by the hand, and we know that his hand is holding us securely on the path of our quest for knowledge. Being inwardly held by the hand of Christ makes us free and keeps us safe: free – because if we are held by him, we can enter openly and fearlessly into any dialogue; safe – because he does not let go of us, unless we cut ourselves off from him. At one with him, we stand in the light of truth.”

Here’s the link to the original English version as of 13 Oct 2014, prior to the small group review. (Scroll down about halfway through the post.)

Here are the links to the 3 English-speaking small group (Circuli Minori) reviews: English Group (Circulus Anglicus) “A” – Moderator: Card. Raymond Burke English Group (Circulus Anglicus) “B” – Moderator: Card. Wilfrid Napier, OFM English Group (Circulus Anglicus) “C” – Moderator: Mons. Joseph Kurtz

Here’s the link to the English version current as of 17 October 2014.

Serve up some buns and sauerkraut with that sausage!–Rose Marie Berger

Pope Francis Takes Next Steps for Transparency of Vatican Bank

transparent_pig_250Pope Francis has vowed to take on the “third rails” of Vatican power: the Roman Curia and the Vatican Bank.

From news this week, he’s moving forward on cleaning house in the Vatican Bank! All of this is in line with the document released by the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council a few years ago on reforming global finance, a document that was sort of buried until Pope Francis started acting out of it. Here’s an excerpt from the Vatican Information Service release:

“The Holy See Press Office issued a press release on May 8 with the information that the Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State (“Autorita di Informazione Finanziaria”, AIF), signed a Memorandum of Understanding that day, 7 May, in Washington, D.C., USA. The memorandum’s cosignatory was the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), its United States counterpart at the US Department of Treasury. The purpose of the collaboration is to strengthen efforts to fight money laundering and the global financing of terrorism.

The Memorandum, signed by Rene Brulhart, director of AIF, and Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of FinCEN, will foster bi-lateral cooperation in the exchange of financial information. “This is a clear indication that the Holy See and the Vatican City State take international responsibilities to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism very seriously, and that we are cooperating at the highest levels”, said Brulhart. “The Vatican has shown that it is a credible partner internationally and has made a clear commitment in the exchange of information in this fight.”

Read more.
Read more on the the Justice and Peace document for reforming global finance.

Support Strong For American Catholic Sisters

Sr. Dolorosa Bundy
Sr. Dolorosa Bundy

I was very happy to see that both the Sacramento and Portland-OR Catholic newspapers printed the letter below in support of American Catholic sisters and asking the Vatican to discontinue its investigation.

I was doubly happy that this letter was written by my own parents! In addition to themselves as signatories, 30 others also signed in support.

Any Thought Given to a Year for Women Religious?
To the Catholic Sentinel (Portland, OR):

When Pope Benedict proclaimed the year for priests, the Vatican began an investigation of American Catholic Sisters. The investigation lacks collegiality, subsidiarity and transparency, core values of the Vatican II Council. The investigation is an insult to the Sisters and to American Catholic lay people.

American Religious women, in struggling with the needed reforms from Vatican II, offered vision in examining our Catholic Christian roots. They instilled their charisms of faith, vision and courage and empowered us all to be advocates for peace and justice. They became our witnesses of discipleship and faithfulness. They, too, truly deserve our gratitude and support.
The emphasis from Rome, “Praise the Priests, Investigate the Sisters” illustrates the disparity in our church.

We have much to be thankful for the good and faithful priests who bring us the Eucharist. They deserve our fullest appreciation.

They are reeling from the sordid actions of a few, about 4.5 percent over the past 50 years, including bishops, who perpetrated and covered up the scandals. Financial settlements have cost dioceses, American Catholics, and their insurance companies $1 billion.

The Sisters and we lay people deserve better. We pray the Pope will cancel the investigation of the American Religious women and proclaim a Year of the Sisters.

John and Barbara Berger
Sacramento, Calif.