Synod Manipulation?

by Miles Swigart  •  •  October 8, 2015   

The faithful are questioning the accuracy of Synod briefings and English translations of the bishops' interventions

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VATICAN CITY, October 8, 2015 ( - Confusion and questionable statements and practices are surrounding the controversy-ridden Synod on the Family.

Still in the first week of the Synod on the Family, the daily press briefings are seeming to provide an incomplete picture of the bishops' interventions. Vatican journalist Edward Pentin gave bullet points yesterday of what happened during the October 6 press briefing. According to him, language attachés for the meeting highlighted particular subjects that appeared to take precedence in the debates, e.g., homosexuality — even though that topic was hardly raised in the actual bishops' discussions.

Notably, Fr. Thomas Rosica, papal spokesman and head of Canada's Salt + Light TV, was focused on "homosexuals or gay persons," saying "we don't pity gay persons, but we recognize them for who they are — they are our sons and daughters and brothers and neighbors and colleagues."

He alluded to an anonymous Synod Father, saying the subject "came up several times" and this Synod Father asked, "How do we speak about them and offer a hand of welcome to them?"

The attachés were unclear on who said what, leaving outsiders with a skewed understanding of what was said and discussed during the opening debate, just like the Synod last year.

Pentin was able to get insider information, however, and these sources told him that a number of Synod Fathers support Hungarian cardinal Peter Erdo's introductory speech Monday, which set an orthodox tone and underlined the importance of keeping fidelity to truth about marriage, the family and the Eucharist.

During the bishops' private discussions, one prelate reportedly asked, "What are we doing here?" and stressed the Synod is about family, not homosexual or other irregular relationships. He stressed that if the Synod relents and gives Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried, the Church effectively "supports divorce."

Another Synod Father made a reference to St. Augustine, saying some of the baptized living in "irregular situations" do not desire to go to confession, and ultimately the crisis in marriage is the fruit of a crisis in faith.

In's daily recap of the news briefings, Michael Voris brought attention Wednesday to the concern over translation accuracy. All of the documents the Synod Fathers are working on are in Italian, and though there are translations for different languages, they are not official, and the Synod Fathers are running into problems of accuracy.

According to Michael Voris, "[T]he Vatican needs to get out of the Stone Age, using Italian as the official language and disregarding English."

The concern is that the bishops are unsure whether what they're reading or voting on is a precise translation of the subject. "[If] you're a bishop inside the Synod and you're reading something, you don't know exactly if what you're reading goes along with the translation. So when it comes time to vote on something, we may not be exactly sure what it is we're voting on. So that's a big problem."

Another concern is that the Instrumentum Laboris seems skewed in favor of the Western vantage point and neglects the experience of the Faith in non-Western continents like Africa and Asia.

"[It] says Catholic marriages are declining all over the world. Well, that's not true. It's not the case in Africa, for example, as African bishops will tell you. Catholic marriages there are exploding."


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