Synod will disappoint liberal and conservative Catholics

Liberal and conservative Catholics who anticipate significant shifts in Catholic teaching and practice from the upcoming session of the Synod of Bishops are likely to be let down.

The comments come from the Vatican’s new doctrinal chief, Cardinal Victor Fernández.

However, he is not ruling out the possibility of future change.

Fernández says that those who fear unorthodox doctrinal shifts or hope for sweeping changes will be disappointed.

According to Fernández, this year’s Synod on Synodality is not designed to bring about immediate changes.

Speaking of possible changes, Fernández comments: “Not this year, at least.

“Afterwards, we will see what emerges and next year we will see what happens but, for this synod, this year, we cannot expect too much.”

The newly elevated cardinal did however indicate that the Synod could lead to a greater self-understanding within the Church.

Commenting on what the Church can expect, Fernández suggests there will be a “deepening of our self-awareness, of what we are as Church, what the Lord is asking of us and what the world of today expects as well, and how we can better reach people with the same message we have always had”.

If we can gain a guiding light for our future role in serving both the faithful and the broader world, that in itself would be a significant achievement, even if it doesn’t make headlines” he noted.

“If we manage to attain a light that guides us, that orients us, for the future of what we have to be before the people of God and before the world, I think that would already be immense but it will not attract anyone’s attention. You can’t make a headline out of it,” he commented.

Fernández is the former archbishop of La Plata, Argentina.

Since mid-September, he heads the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith whose responsibility is to promulgate and defend Catholic doctrine.


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