We have, we admit, reached a point of maximum saturation with regard to the Synod. In the wake of lo scandalo della lettera, it seems to us that everyone is making a real effort to make things look productive and chummy, or at least to avoid the perception that the Synod is deeply divided and spinning its wheels. Whether they’re succeeding is another question. For example, Cardinal Burke, who, notwithstanding his exclusion (un-vitation?) from the Synod, has cast a long shadow over the proceedings, has suggested that his sources say that there remains serious disagreement over the Instrumentum Laboris.
In the wake of lo scandalo della lettera, a group calling itself the Canon 212 Society has propounded a petition to the orthodox Synod fathers, calling upon them to walk out of the Synod “having made every effort to resist these attacks on Christ’s teaching, if its direction remains unaltered and those faithful voices remain unheard” (emphasis in original). It is our understanding that Pat Archbold and Steve Skojec have been the driving forces behind the petition.
Today, John Allen at Crux has a lengthy report, beginning,
Despite an online petition calling on prelates “faithful to Christ’s teaching” to abandon the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family, due to perceptions of a “pre-determined outcome that is anything but orthodox,” one of the summit’s most outspoken conservatives says “there’s no ground for anyone to walk out on anything.”
Australian Cardinal George Pell, who heads the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, told Crux on Friday that by the midway point of the Oct. 4-25 synod, concerns about stacking the deck circulating in some quarters have “substantially been addressed.”
(Emphasis supplied.) Recall that Cardinal Pell, according to Timothy Cardinal Dolan, was the prime mover behind The Letter. And what concerns have been addressed? According to Allen, Pell says,
Pell was among roughly a dozen cardinals who signed a letter to Francis at the beginning of the synod raising doubts about the process, but he says reassurances have been given by Vatican officials that the final result “will faithfully present the views of the synod.”
Among other things, Pell said that Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the synod secretary, has stated from the floor of the synod hall that voting on a final document will take place “paragraph by paragraph,” providing a clear sense of where the bishops stand on individual issues.
(Emphasis added.) There have been two big procedural problems operating alongside each other. One, the commission charged with drafting the Synod’s relatio finalis looks a little, well, one sided. Two, Cardinal Baldisseri and the press supremos have gone back and forth quite a bit about whether there would be a relatio finalis at all or whether the Synod would simply sputter to a halt.
Obviously, some concerns, expressed by various sources, remain. For example, how will the voting work? In general, a section must achieve a two-thirds majority to be included in the final Relatio Synodi. But there have been reports that the objectionable paragraphs in the Instrumentum Laboris are going to make it into the Relatio Synodi unless two thirds vote to remove them. And, of course, the Instrumentum Laboris itself remains deeply troubling.