The first-week reports of the circuli minores are now available. Of the reports we are able to read (the price of a thoroughly monoglot outlook), we note that Anglicus “D”, whose moderator is Cardinal Collins of Toronto and whose relator is Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, engaged in a through-going criticism of the Instrumentum Laboris, in both content and form, which critique came right to the heart of the matter:
Members criticized many of the paragraphs in the first section. Some thought the presentation was chaotic, without inherent logic. Sentences seemed to be tossed together without any organic connection to one another.
(Emphasis supplied.) To some extent, we want to say that the reason why the first section is such a mess is because no one really cares about the first section. Obviously, examples of heroic efforts to live family life in a manner faithful to the Gospel would make for a compelling introduction; however, it seems to us that it would be passing hard to say, on one hand, that Christian family life is possible and lived daily, and then, on the other hand, to determine that Christian family life is so hard that doctrine needs to be shelved in favor of pastoral solutions for those in irregular situations. The only way the solution greatly desired by so many comes off is if orthodox Christian family life is presented, not as something anyone can do and many people do do, but as an impossible goal in today’s society.
The report goes on to say,
Overall, members felt that Pope Francis and the people of the Church deserve a better text, one in which ideas are not lost in the confusion. Our group suggests that the text should be turned over to a single editor for clarification and refinement. The current material is obviously the work of a committee. Because of that, it lacks beauty, clarity and force.
(Emphasis supplied.) This is, of course, true. Though we wonder whether the Instrumentum Laboris would still lack beauty, clarity, and force were composed by one person.