Tuesday 23rd July 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Synod On The Family . . . The Instrumentum Laboris Lets The Synod Down

October 18, 2015 Frontpage No Comments


It has been a dramatic week for those following the Family Synod. First we were told that the relator general, Peter Cardinal Erdo, was being silenced after his resounding defense of Church teaching. Then 13 senior cardinals (the figure was later changed to possibly nine) under the leadership of George Cardinal Pell had written to the Pope objecting to the way the synod was being run. They were particularly concerned about the composition of the drafting committee for the Final Report.
Further rumors suggested that the final report was already being written even before the working groups had done their work. At the end of last week, possibly in the face of this criticism, it was stated that the final report had been abandoned, and there would be no document drawing together the synod’s proceedings.
On Saturday, October 10, this changed again. Veteran Vatican reporter Xavier Rynne stated that some of the hype was wide of the mark. He suggested that it was always planned that, while Cardinal Erdo would open the synod with a general reflection on the whole Instrumentum Laboris, other synod presidents would take over in the next two weeks.
Even more significantly, Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri, secretary general of the synod, had apparently announced in the Assembly that the final report was still in place and would be voted upon section by section.
The synod is not an easy event to follow. Journalists can only work on what individual synod fathers tell them or what is presented at the daily press conferences. Here proceedings are funneled through the presenters in each language group.
Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, the Vatican spokesman, has admitted that there is no system of control over the spokesmen, or any recommendation that they count how often particular subjects are raised before speaking on them.
Fr. Thomas Rosica caused a continuing furor among traditionalists when, as an English language presenter at an early press briefing, he said that there was already such division on the pastoral treatment of homosexuals that it might be left to the local churches to decide.
Synod fathers objected, saying that homosexuality had hardly been mentioned and was being blown up by Fr. Rosica himself.
This has not stopped Abbot Jeremias Schroder, briefing in the German language a week later, saying something similar, rightly or wrongly.
It is no wonder that traditionalists are worried. If a moral issue such as the treatment of practicing homosexuals or the giving of Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried is left at a local level it does more than question specific moral doctrine. It tears at Church unity, undermines the Catechism, weakens teaching on the sacraments, and in general leads to confusion.
It also puts bishops and their priests on the spot. How are they to react if they disagree with the local consensus? Are they to be culpable for practicing what they preach?
Bringing together synod fathers from all over the world on the subject of family was always going to be contentious. It is well known that certain of the Church’s key teachings have been widely smudged, ignored or disobeyed at every level, including among the hierarchy, and forcing this out into the open was never going to be easy. It says much for the strength of the Church and her genuine Catholicity that it is even possible.
Much of what is happening in Rome will be nothing to do with this. Family is very broad, and there are many topics, such as the problems of war and child labor, which the synod fathers are discussing in unity.
However, grievances and lobby groups are an inevitable part of the process and catch most of the attention. Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., remarked that he has never attended a church meeting without them. In his words they are harmless enough so long as people are genuinely working for truth.
An added difficulty is having to work across different languages. The translations are not always prompt or good, for reasons of logistics. One priest I know explained: “You may think it is all a conspiracy when translations are inaccurate or delayed. Have a thought for the one who is doing the translating. It might be a young priest like me, roped in at the last moment because I happened to have a bit of German.”
There is a lot of concern across the board about agreeing to a text in one language without seeing it accurately rendered in one’s own. One observer remarked that it is time the Church bit the bullet and became really up-to-date, using English as the base for its consultative documents.
Language doesn’t rest there. There is also the question of how to present teaching in a palatable manner so as to attract those on the peripheries and dispel the notion of the Church as a rigid body. This appears to be a popular topic.
Vincent Cardinal Nichols is one enthusiast. He has suggested, for instance, that the term “indissolubility of marriage” might be more attractively rendered as the “faithfulness of husband and wife.” This might make some people prickle. We all use different terms according to the occasion and it may well be that more care could be given to what is used when. However, who can say that that faithfulness is interchangeable with indissolubility.

Unfamiliar With
John Paul’s Teaching

Where the synod has really been let down is in the quality of its core working document, the Instrumentum Laboris. Many of the synod fathers have complained of it. They say that the document should have started with a clear exposition of the Church’s teaching, and go out from there to its pastoral implementation. Instead, it follows a See-Judge-Act methodology, beginning from the state of the family in contemporary society, with a heavy bias towards its weaknesses.
We have sociology in the place of theology, as Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki put it, and a dreary, pessimistic picture of family life at that, as Archbishop Chaput added. There is general complaint that the picture drawn is heavily tilted toward life in the developed West and gives too little attention to the differing problems encountered elsewhere, especially in Africa.
The method has meant that a lot of time appears to have been wasted in the first week suggesting how a bad document, rather than the Church’s mission, could be improved.
Voice of the Family quotes Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser lamenting that many of the synod fathers appear unfamiliar with the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II on marriage and the family.
There are few references in the Instrumentum Laboris to fundamental documents such as Familiaris Consortio and the Letter to Families. “You cannot fruitfully and effectively direct the Synod on the Family without knowledge of even these two texts,” said Archbishop Hoser. He further notices lack of reference to Humanae Vitae, with the consequent strange avoidance of contraception, abortion, and disrespect for life.
He complains that as a result nothing of moment is being said of their consequences, spiritual, psychological and also biological, which affect the person and consequently the whole of humanity.
The liberals have been clever. They have chosen to focus on the divorced and remarried, where good people can be tied into a situation and so pull at the heartstrings. However, anybody can be asked to stop contracepting. To do so on any scale is going to require a huge shift in culture and it is difficult to see how this can be brought about without the united commitment of the Church.
This is what many family campaigners having been hoping for. The language of love and mercy is not the only language which people are seeking. Where the two are intertwined without due regard for truth — and I think here of St. Faustina’s text on the Divine Mercy which makes it clear that our Lord’s love is a demanding love, requiring obedience and, yes, chastity — they become soupy, like the worst of today’s rewritten hymns.
They do not challenge the young, or support those who are trying, often in difficult circumstances, to promote the Church’s teaching against popular culture. These doughty fighters need the strong words of the Church to uphold them.
This is the true Gospel of the Family, which rings with the resonance of clarity and unity, binding the past with the present, and the peoples of the world with each other.
May we continue to pray with great hope that the Holy Spirit guide the Church to its joyful proclamation.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

The deposit of faith has not been guarded, instead it has been fragmented & corrupted especially in the areas of marriage, family & sexuality. I pray that bishops & all Catholics will return anew to this font of revealed truth & pray for cleansing & renewal in God’s life & grace.

Load More...

Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday…Continue Reading

Teacher sues Catholic school for firing her over pro-abortion posts on social media

BERKELEY COUNTY, South Carolina, July 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A former teacher filed a wrongful termination suit against a South Carolina Catholic school that fired her for championing legal abortion on social media in violation of long-settled, well-known Catholic doctrine.…Continue Reading

Bombshell Claim: Scientists Find “Man-made Climate Change Doesn’t Exist In Practice”

A new scientific study could bust wide open deeply flawed fundamental assumptions underlying controversial climate legislation and initiatives such as the Green New Deal, namely, the degree to which ‘climate change’ is driven by natural phenomena vs. man-made issues measured as…Continue Reading

Cineplex explains decision to screen Abby Johnson’s ‘Unplanned’ in Canada

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-life film Unplanned, which tells the true story of pro-life activist Abby Johnson’s conversion from the abortion industry, will be shown in Canada after all thanks to a decision by film distributor Cineplex. Unplanned tells the…Continue Reading

Viganò criticizes Pope Francis’ handling of abuse allegations

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2019 / 02:47 pm (CNA).- Recently published remarks from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano take aim at two situations described by the former nuncio as “allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure.” In fact, in…Continue Reading

U.S. Bishops Approve the Pope’s Capital Punishment Ban

Sæva indignatio. Few writers in the history of English letters could express “savage indignation” at human folly as did Jonathan Swift who wrote those words for his own epitaph. Our times give ample opportunity to empathize with him, and that is…Continue Reading

Due to backlash, Pell to live in ‘secure compound’ if appeal succeeds

Sydney, Australia, Jun 25, 2019 / 12:03 am (CNA).- While Cardinal George Pell of Australia is appealing his sexual abuse conviction in court, he and his supporters are making arrangements for a “safe hideaway” for the cleric, should his conviction…Continue Reading

Forced abortion decision overturned on appeal, according to reports

London, England, Jun 24, 2019 / 11:03 am (CNA).- A controversial UK court decision to force a disabled woman to have an abortion has been overturned on appeal. In a decision reportedly reached June 24, the English Court of Appeal, consisting…Continue Reading

Rosary Rally in Reparation for Homosexual and Transgender Grooming of Kids in “Drag Queen Story Hour” at Public Library in Md

A small group ranging from ten to 15 LGBTQ-obedient bots danced and played loud gay anthems like “YMCA” and “We are Family”, and holding a sign which read “Toleration is Godly”, sequestered behind yellow tape on one side of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Rosary Rally Sunday to Protest Maryland Drag Queen Story Time for Kids

Personhood Maryland is asking pro-life Christians to gather at the Lexington Park Library for a peaceful prayer vigil on Sunday, June 23rd from 3:30-5:30 pm Eastern to stand against the Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) and Drag 101 event scheduled…Continue Reading

Supreme Court rules WW1 Peace Cross memorial is here to stay

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 this morning in favor of a nearly 100-year-old World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, known as the “Peace Cross,” allowing it to remain standing.…Continue Reading

Vatican’s doctrinal office expected to release document on gender theory

Vatican City, Jun 14, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- The Vatican’s doctrinal office is preparing a document which will address Church teaching and the anthropology of the human person in the context of so-called gender theory, according to a Vatican…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Google censored video on Ten Commandments, conservative producer tells Congress

July 19, 2019 (Daily Signal) — Google denies viewers access to educational content on its YouTube subsidiary without explanation, radio host and commentator Dennis Prager testified Tuesday at a Senate hearing. “Google, which owns YouTube, has restricted access to 56 of our 320 five-minute videos and other videos we produce,” Prager, co-founder of Prager University, told the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. In prepared testimony, Pr

Nancy Pelosi claims churches helping her encourage illegal aliens to break the law

July 17, 2019 (American Thinker) — Presumably, a nation’s top lawmaker would care a bit about rule of law. Not House speaker Nancy Pelosi. She’s out advising people whose very first act in America was to break the law — how to avoid any consequences for that act, not at the entry point, not during the lengthy court process, but well after the courts have processed every claim and appeal, and still found them deportable

Vatican’s former doctrine head criticizes Amazon synod working doc for ‘false teaching’

July 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The cardinal who was tasked by Pope Benedict with defending the doctrine of the Catholic Church has criticized the Pan-Amazon Synod’s working document (Instrumentum Laboris) for its “radical u-turn in the hermeneutics of Catholic theology” and for its “false teaching.” Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), said the “main problem” with the working document is that “key terms are not being clarified.” His statement…Continue Reading

2 priests, 2 pro-life activists arrested trying to save babies inside New Jersey abortion center

MORRISTOWN, New Jersey, July 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Catholic priests and two lay pro-life activists were arrested this morning for entering and refusing to leave an abortion facility, offering red roses to the women inside and encouraging them to choose life. At least one woman turned away and didn’t go through with an abortion, Red Rose Rescue spokeswoman Lisa Hart told LifeSiteNews. The woman’s mother was forcing her to have the abortion.

Vincent Lambert, France’s Terri Schiavo, dies after 9 days without food and water

July 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Vincent Lambert, the disabled man a court ordered to be starved to death in a French hospital, died this morning. After nine days without food and fluids, showing a remarkable will to live despite the cruel death of thirst that doctors had prepared for him, France’s Terri Schiavo departed from this earthly life at 8:24 a.m. on Thursday, July 11. He died of heart failure induced by the malfunction of his kidneys…Continue Reading


Trump Fuels A Tribal War In Nancy’s House

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN President Donald Trump’s playground taunt July 14 that “the Squad” of four new radical liberal House Democrats, all women of color, should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came,” dominated headlines the morning of July 15. Yet those headlines smothered the deeper story.…Continue Reading

The Pope Vs. Pop Culture

By DONALD DeMARCO The late Antonin Scalia, speaking at a prayer breakfast in 1998, made reference to America’s consistent belief in God, but one that is not a national belief in a particular religion. His address has been reprinted in First Things (April 9, 2019) on the occasion of its inclusion in On Faith: Letters…Continue Reading

One Federal Department Now Spending $100 Billion Per Month

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate, www.creators.com, distributes his column.) + + + For the first time in our nation’s history, there is now a federal department spending an average of more than $100 billion per month. No, it is not the Department of Defense,…Continue Reading

In Troubled Times… Be Open To The Divine Assistance Of Heaven

By REY FLORES As I was developing ideas for this week’s column, it occurred to me that there are countless current events to write about, be it the political chaos, the recent Jeffrey Epstein child sex-trafficking case, yet another local Catholic parish shutting down in Chicago — all dismal. I figure that we have enough…Continue Reading

Sage Advice… On Winning The Continuing Struggle For Souls

  By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON Every day the media bring new stories of the depravity that is permeating our nation. There are two dozen announced candidates for the Democratic nomination to run for president. Each one, including those who claim to be Catholic, supports federal funding for abortions to the moment of birth. An increasing…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Celebrating Life On The Moon: But Here?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Media through news and commentary are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first landing of a man on the moon this month, a great achievement indeed. Neil Armstrong’s great feat proved that we could travel into the solar system and see new places beyond planet Earth. The possibility of human life on the moon and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I am a senior citizen who has a collection of old prayer books, holy cards, leaflets, and pamphlets, as well as large-size holy pictures that are nicely framed. I will be moving soon and our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store is no longer there. Can you help me to find some person or organization who would be…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen Warns Pope Francis . . . Vatican Directives For Church In China May Lead To “Death Of True Faith”

By BREE A. DAIL HONG KONG (LifeSiteNews) — The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong has spoken out forcefully against the Vatican’s newest “pastoral document” for the Chinese Church which gives reasons for why priests should register with the Communist government. Joseph Cardinal Zen presented nine criticisms to Pope Francis and Pietro Cardinal Parolin on a recent trip to Rome, July 1,…Continue Reading

Serve Others With Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Gen. 18:1-10a Col. 1:24-28 Luke 10:38-42 In the Gospel reading today, we hear about Martha welcoming Jesus and serving Him. Martha became burdened with the task of serving and asked the Lord if He did not care that Mary, her sister who was sitting at the feet of…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Sexual Immorality Begins With Teaching Failures

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. “But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Sts. Louis And Azelie-Marie Guerin Martin

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Lord sends the Church the men and women who are needed to keep her holy in times of trouble. Among these are: St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Faustina, and the first married couple ever to be canonized together: Louis and Azelie-Marie (Zelie) Martin. Their feast day is…Continue Reading