Prelates attack synod half way document

Some of the Church’s senior prelates have been sharply critical of the document released half way through the synod on the family.

The text – known as the relatio –sought to summarise the discussions at the gathering so far.

It has been described as a “pastoral earthquake” and suggests the Church should recognise the good in unions outside marriage.

But Australian Cardinal George Pell said the document was an “incomplete resumé” of what the synod fathers had said, and it needed to be “enhanced and corrected”.

“In seeking to be merciful, some want to open up Catholic teaching on marriage, divorce, civil unions, homosexuality in a radically liberalising direction, whose fruits we see in other Christian traditions,” he told The Tablet.

American Cardinal Raymond Burke called for the relatio to be set aside completely, with a new document produced that presents the Church’s true teaching and pastoral practice together.

He said that the document “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium”.

Polish Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki told Vatican Radio that the document departs from the teaching of St John Paul II and that traces of anti-marriage ideology can be seen in it.

“It focuses on exceptions, but what is needed is the proclamation of truth,” he said.

South African Archbishop Wilfred Napier complained that the document will be seen by many as Church teaching and as reflecting the views of the whole synod, when it doesn’t.

But he said much of it did correspond to what has been said, and it “has a lot of very good, very good things”.

Following the reading of the relatio to the synod assembly on Monday, 41 prelates made speeches about the text and suggested additions or changes.

Other criticisms included a lack of treatment of sin, little sign of support for those trying to live up to the ideal of Christian marriage, and the risk of conforming to the mentality of the world.

The relatio is being discussed and revised by the synod fathers and will be presented to the Pope on Saturday.


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