Walking around money

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.

“Penitence Has Never Had a Good Press”

Back in May or thereabouts, Swiss theologian Thomas Michelet, OP, had a lengthy, fascinating piece at Nova et Vetera, “Synod on the Family: the path of the Ordo Paenitentium.” Sandro Magister covered it a couple of times. It was in French, though Fr. Michelet’s contribution to Magister’s column, addressing the Instrumentum Laboris, was translated into English. There is now an English translation of the piece available (we don’t know when it was published, but it has made the rounds recently), which takes on new significance in light of Germanicus’s report, emphasizing the law of gradualness and citing John Paul’s Familiaris consortio. Fr. Michelet notes, in one particularly striking paragraph:

We believe that the ordo paenitentium constitutes not only an application par excellence of the law of gradualness but is actually one of its ancient sources. It is also a touchstone, as it allows us to verify objectively that we are not in the process of establishing – even without wishing to – a system based on “gradualness of the law” which would confuse the path of conversion and rejection of evil with an itinerary of spiritual progress in the good and in the state of grace, thus making the distinction between good and evil a simple difference of degree and not of kind. Between the state of grace and the state of sin there is no continuity nor intermediary, even if in both cases there is the possibility of progression or of regression. Also, we cannot apply even by analogy the ecclesiological schema of degrees of communion of Lumen Gentium no. 8 to the situation of the sinner, precisely because the practice of ecumenical dialogue supposes that, with the passing of centuries, the separated brother has no longer any personal intention to participate in the sin of schism, which is not the case of the first generations who are still subject to the discipline of the Church. Likewise, the good cannot be presented as an optional ideal but as the end which one must endeavour to attain through acts which become ever more fully ordered towards that end – a journey of small steps which by dint of perseverance ends up in reaching its goal. It is only in this way that we can admit a progressive path achieved in stages.

(Emphasis supplied.) You ought to read the whole thing, but we can’t help ourselves from posting a little more of it. This portion is absolutely brilliant, as it summarizes all the problems, doctrinal and pastoral, with the sort of penitential path currently being debated at the Synod:

It would not make sense to enter upon such a “penitential journey” without humbly recognising one’s sin and desiring to be purified of it, to “lower oneself to the ground” (substrati) before the Lord so that he may himself come to raise us up. Likewise, it would not be just to bring this penitential journey to an end in a sacramental reconciliation if its conditions were not fulfilled, that is, as long as there exists an attachment which is opposed to it, whether that of a remarriage or of any other relationship contrary to the Gospel. Such an absolution would be deceitful and one has reason to believe it would be invalid.

(Emphasis supplied.) Ideally, the penitent will finally express his or her sorrow for sin through a valid sacramental penance, which includes, necessarily, the firm purpose of amendment—severing the “attachment opposed to” reconciliation. In the case of the divorced and remarried,

the only solution is to undertake to live as “brother and sister”. This is not simply a matter of continence, but rather of a transformation of outlook and of the acquisition of that interior purity which allows the person to be faithful to the truth of their marriage, albeit in the form of a separation which has shown itself to be legitimate.

(Emphasis supplied.) In other words, Fr. Michelet does not argue that the penitent needs to hurry up and file civil divorce proceedings, though obviously that would terminate the sinful, adulterous relationship. Instead, he argues for inner conversion, to an understanding of the truth of the marriage. (We assume that this includes an understanding of the truth of both marriages.)

However, Fr. Michelet acknowledges that those who are capable of committing to continence and chastity—coupled with a recognition of the truth about their marriage—may not be the majority of penitents. What of those who cannot achieve during their lifetimes the inner commitment necessary?

This period is above all one of liberation from interior chains, something not within man’s capacity and which God alone can grant in his own time, even if perhaps not for this world. It may at least be hoped, for those who have resolutely set out on this path, that death will be their reconciliation and their door to salvation, as the catechumen called to the Lord before his baptism and with good dispositions will receive its grace without the sign.

In other words, the process of penance may be life-long, and it may conclude only with death, at which time the penitent properly disposed may receive reconciliation, grace, and salvation.

Addressing spiritual communion, Fr. Michelet says,

What is at stake here is truly spiritual discernment in the service of souls. This truth may be difficult to hear, but that is no reason to keep quiet about it or to deny it. We must do so in charity, accepting that the other may need time to “come to the truth”, to allow it to emerge in her heart, to recognise it as it is, to accept it and to draw consequences from it. It is also matter of charity of language, which consists in finding the right words to express the truth in a way that is audible yet without bending it. For truth without charity is not truth; equally, charity without truth is not charity.

We think this says it all. Go read the piece.

Return to the little circles

The Vatican today released the reports of the circuli minores after their discussions on the second part of the Instrumentum Laboris. Once again, being, well, not hugely fluent, putting it decorously, in some of the languages represented, we have to take the media’s word for the contents of some of the reports. (To our discomfort.)

Anglicus “A,” with Cardinal Pell as moderator and Archbishop Kurtz as relator, made an interesting point, which ought to be discussed more, both clerics and laity alike:

While the sense of the word “vocation” is clear when applied to the priesthood, more clarity is needed when we talk about the phrase “vocation to the married life.” We must recognize that the family itself also has a vocation.

It is easy to discuss the vocation of the priesthood or religious life. (Though discerning and living that vocation is another story, sometimes.) It is harder, however, to talk about a vocation to married life in coherent terms. Obviously, there is a trend to promote everything to vocation, and the “vocation to the married life” is part of that. We have heard intelligent, reasonable arguments in support of the position that there is no vocation, strictly speaking, to married life. (Certainly, Paul’s attitude toward marriage figures in this analysis.) Anglicus “A” has identified a thorny issue. It is too bad that the Synod is well past the point where it is going to consider it.

Anglicus “D,” with Cardinal Collins as moderator and Archbishop Chaput as relator, launches another withering critique of the Instrumentum Laboris, noting,

The Instrumentum Laboris nowhere defines marriage. This is a serious defect. It causes ambiguity throughout the text. Most bishops agreed that the document should add the definition of marriage from Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes 48, as a correction.

It is a mark of the quality of the Instrumentum Laboris when Gaudium et Spes is being suggested as a source for clarification and precision. But Anglicus “D” went to the heart of the Kasperite position when it noted,

Some said the text needs to frame the notion of “indissolubility” more positively, rather than treating it as a burden. Others saw a danger in referring to Catholic teaching as simply an “ideal” to be pursued and honored but not practical for the living of daily life. They described this as an approach that implies that only the “pure” can live the Gospel, but not ordinary people. Some stressed that we should always speak of virtues, not just values. They are not the same thing.

(Emphasis supplied.) The Kasperite position requires that fidelity to the Gospel and the timeless teaching of the Church be treated both as a burden and as an unattainable ideal. Too many people, the Kasperites hold, are simply too weak to shoulder their crosses and follow Christ. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, by presenting the chaste and faithful Catholic as a new minority that needs the Church’s encouragement and support, has, we think, opened a new line for moderates at the Synod. So has Anglicus “D” with this reasoning. Certainly, there are difficulties involved with being a follower of Christ. Just ask the saints and martyrs. But the difficulties are not insuperable and the reward far outweighs even the worst of these difficulties.

Anglicus “D” also takes issue with the scriptural basis for the discussions of marriage as reflected in the Instrumentum Laboris:

In the material on family and God’s salvific plan, the text lacks grounding in the Book of Tobit and the Song of Songs, which is vital to the Scriptural presentation of marriage. Bishops voiced concern that the document seems to present Mosaic divorce as one of the stages of God’s plan, yet we know that divorce is never part of God’s will for humanity, but was a consequence of original sin.

Obviously, the willingness to disregard Christ’s own words in the Gospel is a big problem at this Synod. But there are apparently other scriptural weaknesses in the Instrumentum Laboris.

Andrea Gagliarducci has a report about how the “Shadow Council,” headed up by such prelates as Reinhard Cardinal Marx and Walter Cardinal Kasper, has set the tone for the Germanicus group’s report. Recall that Christoph Cardinal Schönborn is the moderator but Archbishop Heiner Koch, a participant in the pre-Synod meetings, is the relator. And it apparently shows. Based on our Google Translate scan of Germanicus’s report, it appears that they are forging ahead, notwithstanding the presence of Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller (who have no trouble believing is hugely marginalized in the group, notwithstanding his seniority in the Church), with the Kasperite agenda. But they’ve gotten smarter, citing John Paul’s Familiaris consortio, a favored document of the traditionalists, in favor of new proposals regarding pre-marital cohabitation:

Deutlich wurde uns auch, dass wir in vielen Diskussionen und Wahrnehmungen zu statisch und zu wenig biographisch-geschichtlich denken. Die kirchliche Ehelehre hat sich geschichtlich entwickelt und vertieft. Zunächst ging es um die Humanisierung der Ehe, die sich in der Überzeugung der Monogamie verdichtet hat. Im Licht des christlichen Glaubens wurde die personale Würde der Ehepartner tiefer erkannt und die Gottebenbildlichkeit des Menschen in der Beziehung von Mann und Frau wahrgenommen. In einem weiteren Schritt wurde die Kirchlichkeit der Ehe vertieft und sie als Hauskirche verstanden. Schließlich wurde der Kirche die Sakramentalität der Ehe ausdrücklich bewusst. Dieser geschichtliche Weg der Vertiefung zeichnet sich heute auch in der Biographie vieler Menschen ab. Sie sind zunächst berührt von der humanen Dimension der Ehe, sie lassen sich von der christlichen Sicht der Ehe im Lebensraum der Kirche überzeugen und finden von daher den Weg zur Feier der sakramentalen Ehe. Wie die geschichtliche Entwicklung der kirchlichen Lehre Zeit beansprucht hat, so muss die kirchliche Pastoral auch den Menschen heute auf ihrem Weg hin zur sakramentalen Ehe Zeit der Reifung gewähren und nicht nach dem Prinzip „Alles oder Nichts“ handeln. Hier ist der Gedanke eines „Prozesses von Stufe zu Stufe“ (FC 9) auf die Gegenwart hin weiter zu entfalten, den Johannes Paul II. bereits in Familiaris consortio grundgelegt hat: „Das pastorale Bemühen der Kirche beschränkt sich nicht nur auf die christlichen Familien in der Nähe, sondern kümmert sich, indem es den eigenen Horizont nach dem Maßstab des Herzens Jesu ausweitet, noch intensiver um alle Familien in ihrer Gesamtheit und vor allem um jene, die sich in einer schwierigen oder irregulären Lage befinden.“ (FC 65) Die Kirche steht dabei unausweichlich in dem Spannungsfeld zwischen einer notwendigen Klarheit der Lehre von Ehe und Familie einerseits und der konkreten pastoralen Aufgabe andererseits, auch diejenigen Menschen zu begleiten und zu überzeugen, die in ihrer Lebensführung nur teilweise mit den Grundsätzen der Kirche übereinstimmen. Mit ihnen gilt es Schritte auf dem Weg zur Fülle eines Lebens in Ehe und Familie zu gehen, wie es das Evangelium von der Familie verheißt.

(Emphasis supplied.) Our German, as we say, is not so good. But it sure sounds like the Germans are arguing for gradualism in relationships—a little premarital cohabitation here, a little rejection of the bonum prolis there—using Familiaris consortio. Everyone knows what the Germans are about, but it is interesting to see them using orthodox teaching to get their arguments over the hump.

No question about it

Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, when addressing questions about whether he signed The Letter, also had this to say:

He took umbrage at “those who sustain that in the Roman Curia there is opposition to the Pope. Those who say and write that there are wolves, that Francis is surrounded by wolves. This is an offensive expression, and criminal. I am not a wolf against the Pope.”

I know who is the Pope and what is meant by his primacy a thousand times better than those who say these things. As prefect of the Congregation, I am the first collaborator of the Holy Father; not only myself but all those who are part of it. I will let no one put in doubt my obedience and my service to the Pope and the Church.”

(Emphasis supplied.) We acknowledge, sadly, that we missed these remarks in the initial round of reporting on Cardinal Müller’s response to lo scandalo della lettera.

It occurs to us that—oh, what—not that long ago, there was talk of another pope, considerably less beloved in bien pensant circles in northern Europe, surrounded by wolves, being wrapped up in embarrassing leaks. It would be interesting to know what the cloistered monk of Mater Ecclesiae makes of all this, though it is supremely unlikely that he’ll say.

At any rate, as some commentators have suggested, it is clear that Cardinal Müller wants to disassociate himself from potential interpretations of The Letter, even if he does not want to deny signing it. Of course, Cardinal Müller is always in a tricky situation. On one hand, it is far from clear that the Holy Father takes the Holy Office into account before issuing his decrees. There were reports from Edward Pentin, usually a reliable source, that the Congregation was dealt out of the preparation of Mitis iudex. (We admit that we are not sure what to make of those, since Archbishop Luis Ladaria, secretary of the Congregation, was on the Mitis iudex drafting commission.) Pentin went on to say,

The Register has learned via other sources that this decision and others are effectively isolating the CDF and that the Pope is steadily making their work superfluous.

(Emphasis added.) On the other hand, it was rumored that Laudato si’ got a big rewrite after Cardinal Müller (or his people) raised theological objections to the draft.

At the same time, we are prepared to believe that the Congregation has been marginalized under the Holy Father. In addition to the Mitis iudex working group, a story has broken that there are informal meetings at Casa Santa Marta regarding the Synod. (This, in addition to the Jesuit-backed meetings under Father Spadaro at Villa Malta before the Synod.)

Who says what, how much the two fronts clash against each other – and nobody so far denied that these fronts exist – what happens substantially in the Synod Hall – all these things are not getting into the public. […] Only in the coming days, will it come out how many Synod Fathers wish which changes to the Church’s practice. As Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, one of the four delegate presidents of the Synod, said a few days ago in front of journalists: the three hundred bishops did not come together in order not to decide upon anything. The uncertainty about how the outcome will be of these three-week long negotiations is being heightened by the fact that in the guest house of the Vatican, Santa Marta, there takes place a kind of ‘Shadow Synod’: Pope Francis meets with participants of the Synod and with outside guests in order to speak with them individually. In the end, it is up to the pope to make a decision about the still open questions and to communicate his decision to the whole Church in a concluding text. That, however, is up to now the greatest riddle which underlies the whole Synod.

(Emphasis in source.) In other words, we can see that it would be very simple, given the parallel structures emerging, outside the ordinary dicasterial structures of the Curia, to marginalize the “hardliners” at CDF—if one wanted to do so. And if one were in the process of doing so, we could see that Cardinal Müller would have to be very precise about where he stood, lest he join other prelates in limbo.

Of course, Malta can only have one patron at a time. Right?

Ban, baby, ban

Taking a break from the Synod and lo scandalo della lettera, we note that Gabriel Sanchez has a piece at Ethika Politika arguing in favor of, at least, suppressing spiritually harmful works. We found this bit especially interesting:

None of this is to say that there is no room for reasonable disagreement among faithful Catholics concerning not only socio-economic matters, but headier theological affairs as well. For over half-a-century Thomists and thinkers associated with the nouvelle théologie have engaged in a vigorous (albeit at times unedifying) debate over the doctrine of natura pura (“pure nature”) in Aquinas and his Scholastic interpreters. And with respect to the Church’s social magisterium, there is ample room for discussion on how its principles ought to be operationalized.

When it comes to Catholics—or faithful Christians in general—engaging works produced by secular thinkers, greater caution is required. Only an individual who, following the first part of Mills’s aforementioned advice, is truly steeped in the Catholic tradition and the Church’s magisterium should venture into foreign lands in pursuit of alien wisdom, and then only sparingly. The ultimate goal of any critical engagement with non-Catholic thought should be to uncover a common grammar which can be used to explain, defend, and promote the Catholic Faith. And if that non-Catholic thought is aimed directly at undermining faith and morals, then every reasonable effort should be made to limit its exposure.

We are reminded of Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World—a book that ought to be exhibit one in Hugh Benson’s cause for canonization, so far-sighted and so essentially right was he—and the minor, minor character who never read a book without an imprimatur. Perhaps we needn’t go that far. However, we have a hard time disagreeing with Sanchez. One really ought to familiarize oneself with the Church’s doctrine before wading into topics where conflicting voices may be heard. And our bishops and priests really ought to be more vigilant about warning their flocks about noxious influences.

We doubt whether the First Amendment may be pleaded before the ultimate tribunal.

Sudden impact

We previously suggested that Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s blog post might well prove to be significant. Cardinal Dolan’s argument—that Catholics trying to live chaste, faithful lives are a minority deserving the Church’s attention, too—stands the Kasperite proposal on its head. Cardinal Dolan’s argument is so powerful because it uses the Kasperites’ language, but as a reason to reaffirm doctrine and practice. In essence, Cardinal Dolan’s argument gives moderates a position to argue from in favor of current doctrine and practice, without running the risk of being lumped in with, say, Robert Cardinal Sarah or George Cardinal Pell (or even the cardinal who has cast a long, long shadow over the Synod despite not being invited). We’re not being rigid or inflexible: we’re just giving some love to the faithful minority in the Church.

John Allen at Crux has a long report, which sets out the lines shaping up:

As the synod rolls into its second week, yet another way of understanding the fundamental divide is coming into focus: The gap between those who believe the demands of classic Catholic teaching on sex, marriage, and the family may be unrealistic or inappropriate for some share of the contemporary population, and those convinced that it’s widely attainable in the here-and-now.


Many in this camp suspect that advocates of a more “pastoral” approach on matters such as homosexuality and divorce have quietly thrown in the towel on the idea that it’s reasonable to expect lifelong faithful marriage to be the norm, or that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics shouldn’t be sexually intimate, and so on.

The “Yes We Can!” faction wouldn’t deny that many people don’t actually live those teachings, but they insist that it can be done, and fear that by not encouraging people to do so, the Church clearly risks selling them short.

(Emphasis supplied and text omitted.) Read the whole thing at Crux.


Damian Thompson said that The Letter was worse than anything that ever befell Benedict. Now it looks like Cardinal Müller agrees: The Letter is “a new Vatileaks.” Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and a purported signatory of The Letter, refused to confirm whether or not he signed, which, of course, points in one direction. However, according to the Catholic Herald, he told the Corriere della Sera:

“The scandal is that it makes public a private letter of the Pope. This is a new Vatileaks: the Pope’s private documents are private property of the Pope and no one else. No one can publish it, I do not know how that could happen.”

(Emphasis supplied.) We also noted that leaking The Letter to Sandro Magister was a particularly provocative act, since Magister has been persona non grata in the Press Office since he leaked an advance copy (mostly accurate) of Laudato si’.

Of course, we are not quite sure that this is a new Vatileaks. As everyone knows, there was a lot going on with Vatileaks: on one hand, it seems to us that the Sodano-Bertone rivalry (the old-line Secretariat of State crowd, which had gotten its own way under John Paul’s pontificate, against the “outsider” Bertone and his circle) was—at least in its essence—separate from the clique opposed to Benedict from the beginning. We are not sure that there is as much going on here. Really, there is one issue, which has created other issues. So, perhaps Vatileaks II isn’t the right name for lo scandalo della lettera.

Synodleaks, maybe?

Circular firing squads

Elliot Milco at The Paraphasic has a very thoughtful post called “Freaking Out about the Church.” His argument begins,

But I’d like to suggest that accusations of people “flipping out” or “coming unhinged” are sometimes used not as diagnoses of real defects in authors or their works, but as ways of marginalizing certain ideas.  What are the standards for deciding that someone is “unhinged”?  How do we know that someone’s writing is “nuts”?  When is shrill polemic justified?

(Emphasis supplied.) He goes on to argue:

In a community which is on the margins by default, in which members are constantly confronting the mainstream, trying to explain themselves to it, and trying to reduce their separation from it, there is a silent question: Am I an extremist? Am I crazy? Have I gone beyond the pale?  Different people deal with these questions in their own way, depending on their temperaments and intellectual habits.  Some are truly indifferent to the matter.  A few bask in their marginality, always trying to flaunt the expectations of the mainstream.  But most set up little barriers in their mind.  They pick out someone a bit further out than them and say, “Oh no, I am not extreme, that group is extreme.  I am not irrational, that person is irrational.”  In this way the marginalized person often has more hostility for the slightly-more-marginal group, than for the mainstream which is much more distant from his own stance.

(Emphasis supplied.) You should read the rest at The Paraphasic. The conclusions are startling, and need to be taken seriously.

For our part, we think that, were times different, it would be perfectly acceptable to engage in intense debates, which occasionally involve flamboyant rhetoric. So-and-so’s gone off the deep end. So-and-so’s a crypto-Modernist. And so forth. Under these circumstances, however, it may be more reasonable—it may be more appropriate—to circle the wagons. Tradition is already as marginalized as it has been in a long time. Tradition-minded Catholics marginalizing other tradition-minded Catholics seems extraordinarily counterproductive.

Ain’t got time to take a fast train

We have a few takeaways from lo scandalo della lettera, day one:

  • It was the Pope’s own men, for the most part, who objected to the Synod’s procedure (as of October 5). Three heads of dicasteries—CDF, CDW, Economy—and four other papal appointees signed the letter, apparently.
  • Cardinal Dolan‘s signature on the letter, coupled with his interesting comment on his website, shows that the position contra Kasper has some nuance. No one would have lumped Cardinal Dolan in with the conservatives.
  • Africa is not backing down.
  • The Vatican really struggles with media. Banning Sandro Magister from the Press Office (over the Laudato si’ leak) has plainly not limited his influence. More than that, Fr. Rosica and Fr. Spadaro notwithstanding, the Vatican really seems to struggle with new media especially. A few coy statements to favored outlets will not slow down a story as explosive as The Letter.
  • Once again, the Synod is about process. The goal of consensus was going to be hard to achieve after last October. Now, with all the issues with process, it’s unlikely that consensus will be meaningful, even if achieved. No matter who “loses,” and it is passing strange to talk about winners and losers in this context, they’ll be able to blame the process. (The fix was in versus The right-wingers derailed our dialogue.)

To our mind, there is one interesting question. What does Francis do now? When he got The Letter, he intervened personally in the Synod to make it clear that he supported the process as it stood on October 5. But hardly anyone knew about it then. Things have changed.