New book questions whether family synod rigged

Some controversial statements in an interim report at last year’s extraordinary family synod did not reflect synod fathers’ discussions, a new book claims.

Vatican reporter Edward Pentin has written “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation of Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”.

The Relatio post disceptationem, or interim report, released half-way through the synod discussions sparked furious debate.

Pentin wrote that at issue were “three controversial paragraphs the contents of which had been barely, or not at all, discussed by the synod fathers”.

“One of these paragraphs referred to proposals for readmission of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Holy Communion, and two other paragraphs dealt with the pastoral care of homosexuals and cohabiting couples.”

Pentin wrote that Archbishop Bruno Forte, the synod’s special secretary, was widely considered to have been the main author of the document.

“The Italian theologian, together with all the members of the drafting committee, drew on the lengthy written speeches of each synod father submitted prior to the meeting.

“Apparently, certain points from these written speeches found their way into the draft report, even if the bishops had not mentioned them during the four minutes allotted to each speaker.

“Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said he recalled only one speech out of about 265 that discussed homosexuals during the debate.

“Defenders of the report, therefore, say it is not surprising that much did not seem familiar in the interim report because the written submissions were not made public or distributed to the bishops themselves.

“The oral presentations only reflected a summary or particular point that a bishop wanted to make.

The defenders also noted that the interim report had to be produced quickly, and that there were no transcripts available of verbal interventions.

In a response to published excerpts of Pentin’s book, National Catholic Reporter columnist Michael Sean Winters took issue with many of the points made.

Winters described as “pernicious” Pentin’s suggestion that the interim report was given to the press in an effort to sway the synod towards its purportedly more “liberal” views.


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