Synod Father: Majority Supports ‘Less Condemnatory’ Language on Homosexuality, Adultery

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by Ryan Fitzgerald  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 8, 2015   

Archbishop Mark Coleridge speculates on the views of the Synod Fathers

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[Editor's note: Please keep in mind: this is archbishop's commentary is pure speculation with a possible agenda behind it. Read Michael Voris' article on this possibility here.]

VATICAN CITY, October 8, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - One bishop at the ongoing Synod on the Family is speculating on how Synod Fathers would vote on controversial proposals.

Yesterday, Abp. Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, told Crux a nearly two-thirds majority of the bishops would probably vote against Cdl. Walter Kasper's proposal for the Church to let civilly divorced and "remarried" adulterers receive Communion.

Asked, according to his "sense of where the Synod stands right now," how he would expect a vote on the Kasper proposal to turn out, he said, "I think it's about 65–35 against, and it's been clarified over the last year. I think there would certainly be a majority of bishops — this is a guess, but an informed guess — who would not favor the Kasper proposal."

Hence, he says he can't see the civilly divorced and "remarried" being universally allowed to receive Communion at the end of the Synod.

Archbishop Coleridge believes it's much more likely that local bishops or bishops' conferences will be given the authority to decide the matter on their own. And on this idea, he says the Synod Fathers are probably split 50/50.

"I think that would stir significantly more interest and support," he admits. "My sense is that there would be significantly greater interest in a proposal of that kind."

The Australian prelate makes clear he's not to be counted as a supporter of the idea himself, at least not on the universal level.

"Personally, I don't think I could find my way clear to support the Kasper proposal," he adds, "even though in some ways I'm quite sympathetic to it and I think it's been much travestied in some of the critiques."

What sort of travesties is he referring to about Cdl. Kasper? Apparently, he means any implication that the heterodox proposal isn't in line with Christ's teaching.

I'll quote one bishop, and this scandalized me, who said, "This synod basically has to choose between the way of Jesus and the way of Walter Kasper." It wasn't in the public session, but it was said. I don't scandalize easily, but that did it.

There has been a lot of that going on ... all of this stuff that the Synod office is trying to hide things, that the Instrumentum Laboris is part of the plot, that the selection of the group of 10 the Pope has established is part of it. In my view, this is absurd, it's paranoid [and] it's seriously unhelpful. Yet, inevitably, there are bishops within the Synod who more or less think there's something to it.

I don't believe there is any kind of conspiracy, and I find it deeply [un]helpful and even un-Christian for all kinds of reasons.

In rejecting suggestions that there's any manipulation going on, he echoes Pope Francis himself. However, he also defies the notion that there's no division among the Synod's participants. Asked about the Vatican's alleged unity and consensus, Abp. Coleridge calls it "Vatican-speak." In other words, he says, "[T]here's a tendency to downplay controversy [as if] everything is fine, calm. In fact, the issues brought up go to the heart of things and stir deep passions."

He continues, "I don't think there's open warfare, but it was certainly clear in the year between the two synods that despite the papal plea for unity at the end of the first synod, there were rival camps established."

There are indeed "two camps" in the Synod, says Abp. Coleridge.

He proceeds to discuss the hot topic of sodomy. On watering down the Church's language regarding homosexuality, he reveals there's a lot of support for it and even guesses 70 percent of the Synod Fathers would vote for it.

"There's very strong support for a less condemnatory approach," as he puts it, "and language is at the heart of that." Hence, he calls for "a new way of speaking about the situation of those who are same-sex attracted or in a same-sex partnership of some kind, or those who are divorced and civilly remarried."

I personally think it's just not in touch with reality to say there is no good in those relationships. I understand that there's no continuum between good and evil, but that's all theory. The reality is, and any pastor knows this, that when you meet people in these relationships, it's not black and white.

Keeping Church teaching intact can still open up a vast field of pastoral creativity. It's a challenge to the pastoral imagination. More and more, this Synod seems to me to be a summons to that kind of thing. Our danger, and not just the bishops but others in the Church, is to think that we're condemned to dance in chains unless we can change the Church's teaching.

There is a Catholic pathology sometimes of all or nothing. If it doesn't conform to our ideal of what a marriage is, then somehow it's nothing. It's a Catholic absolutism.

Archbishop Coleridge isn't advocating any sort of blessing for homosexual unions, however. He's opposed to "any kind of comparability between marriage and same-sex unions" and doubts "there would be a bishop in the Hall who would support that."

"What I have in mind, for instance, is simply being ready to sit down and talk to people who are gay or in same-sex unions," he explains. "In other words, not treating them as some kind of diabolical plot, but recognizing their human face and the cry of need."

 

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