UK cardinal tells priests not to treat synod as a battle

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has told priests not to regard this year’s synod on the family as a “battle”.

Speaking at a Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral during Holy Week, Cardinal Nichols warned such hostilities can cause “collateral damage”.

His comments came a week after he rebuked the 461 priests in England and Wales for going to the press about a letter they signed calling on the synod to resist changes to the Church’s moral teaching.

According to The Tablet, the cardinal said in his homily: “It is wrong, in my view, to think or speak of this synod as a battle, a battle between contesting sides.”

“Battles have winners and losers,” he continued.

“And often ‘collateral damage’ is the most tragic consequence of hostilities.”

Last month, at the launch of a book about Pope Francis, German Cardinal Walter Kasper called for prayer ahead of the synod “because a battle is going on”.

Debate on issues such as allowing Communion for those divorced and remarried to be raised at October’s Synod on the Family has exposed tensions in the Church, another article in The Tablet stated.

Bishop Peter Doyle, of Northampton, who with Cardinal Nichols will represent England and Wales at the synod, said there is a “puzzle” facing the synod.

“It’s about upholding the constant teaching of the Church while at the same time trying to find ways of meeting painful situations with the compassion of the Lord,” Bishop Doyle said.

Meanwhile, another English prelate, Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster, has drawn controversy for refusing to meet local members of the reformist group A Call to Action (ACTA).

An ACTA spokesman said Pope Francis wants the synod to get the Church to catch up with the modern face of the family, whose issues included gay marriage as well as divorce and remarriage.

Bishop Campbell said the group had no recognition or approval by the Catholic Church in his diocese.

The bishop also strongly rejected any insinuation that he is in disagreement with Pope Francis.


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