Esteemed Synod Fathers,
We thank you for your witness to and defense of the truth of Matrimony and Family proclaimed by the Church, in fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.
The current Instrumentum Laboris contains language in certain sections (§ 122 (52); §§ 124-125 (53); §§ 130-132 (55-56)) that is completely unacceptable from an orthodox Catholic point of view regarding divorce and attempted remarriage, homosexuality, and contraception. We have witnessed with profound sorrow the ongoing development of this crisis, beginning with last year’s extraordinary session in October, 2014, making it difficult to have confidence in the outcome of the Synod.
The irregular changes to the rules governing the current synodal process practically assure that the existing Instrumentum Laboris will be largely adopted. This revised process also appears to reject openness, transparency, and collegiality, and the committee drafting the final document of the Synod seemingly rejects any substantive input from the Synod fathers. We note with regret that the highly visible and widely adopted filial appeals and open letters have not been acknowledged, and have produced no discernable amendment by the Synod organizers. Several high-ranking Cardinals have brought concerns to the Pope, only to have them summarily dismissed as unworthy of consideration – with unfair accusations against those who are legitimately concerned that their voices will not be heard.
We fear, evidenced by all of the above, that the Ordinary Synod will attempt to recommend changes in teaching and pastoral practice that are contrary to the Gospel of Christ and the constant teaching of the Church on the sacred mystery of Catholic marriage and the nature of human sexuality. This would pose a clear and present danger to souls.
The Code of Canon Law 212 §3 states that the Catholic faithful “have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful…”
Therefore, 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.
My Comment : Our analysis argues that the instrumentum laboris, which will form the basis for discussions at the Ordinary Synod in October 2015, threatens the entire structure of Catholic teaching on marriage, the family and human sexuality.
It does this by:
– undermining the doctrine of Humanae Vitae by proposing a false understanding of the relationship between conscience and the moral law (paragraph 137)
– discussing artificial methods of reproduction without giving any judgement on the morality of such methods or making any reference to previous Catholic teaching, or to the enormous loss of human life that results from their use (paragraph 34)
– proposing the admission of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion without amendment of life (paragraphs 120-125)
– reducing the indissolubility of marriage to the level of an “ideal” (paragraph 42)
– suggesting that cohabitation and “living together” have “positive aspects” and can, to some extent, be considered legitimate forms of union (paragraphs 57, 61, 63, 99, 102)
– preparing the ground for the acceptance of same-sex unions by acknowledging the need to define “the specific character of such unions in society” (paragraph 8)
– denying the full rights of parents regarding the provision of sex education to their children (paragraph 86)
In these and other ways, the document poses a very real danger to the family, especially its most vulnerable members, and to the integrity of Catholic doctrine.