The Catholic Church is changing, so what’s next on Pope Francis’ agenda

The Catholic Church is changing—and the gates of reaction shall not prevail against it

“Indeed, says the US Catholic paleo-conservative (Pat Buchanan), the Pope may be ‘speaking heresy,’ which would imply that Francis is ‘not a valid pope.’

“Yet how does this high-octane indignation square with widespread reports at the end of last week (Oct. 17) that a liberal Pope had been defeated by doctrinaire traditionalists in his attempts to make the Church more welcoming to gays and divorcees? The fortnight-long Extraordinary Synod on the Family ended with headlines like: ‘Pope snubbed’ and ‘Liberal Hopes Dashed.’

“The answer is that, as the dust settles, what has become clear is that, for all the hoo-ha made by conservative cardinals, the overall outcome has been a remarkable advance for those who want the Catholic Church to be more compassionate and inclusive. The vociferous minority who tried to box the Pope into a corner, on gays and divorcees who remarry, may have won one small battle. But they are losing the wider war.”

By Paul Vallely, The Independent — Click here to read the rest of this story.

Next on Pope Francis’ agenda: curia reform, personnel moves, a revamped synod

“Pope Francis told bishops attending the recent Synod of Bishops on the family to speak their minds freely and boldly during the two-week-long assembly. And so they did, at least a good many of them. (There were also some who held back, hedging their bets, perhaps as they wait in joyful hope for the coming of the next pontificate.)

“This freedom of theological speech has been, until now, a faded memory in ecclesiastical Rome, and it opened quite a lively debate on issues that had long been closed off to candid discussion throughout the church. Now the debate has begun. And it will continue.”

By Robert Mickens, Editor-in-Chief, Global Pulse, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Voice of the Faithful® sees Synod of Bishops on Family as signal of hope for reform

The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family closed this past Sunday, Oct. 19, and pundits inside and outside the Church are now considering the synod’s ramifications. The most significant occurrence for the Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful® was the synod’s process of listening, openness to all points of view and transparency.

We see hope for the future input of lay voices, which are essential if the Church is to speak meaningfully on family life and other matters in the 21st century.

The synod certainly took the Church “out of its comfort zone,” as a German family counselor there is reported to have said. The bishops heard “about real life for families around the world.” They discussed each issue openly and freely to a degree not seen publicly in the Church for quite some time.

We do not know who said what during individual sessions, but the Pope made the unexpectedly transparent move of publishing the vote counts in the document that closed the synod. Controversial issues did not receive two-thirds majorities required for acceptance, but they received significant majorities.

Bishops are expected to continue discussions with clergy and laity in their home dioceses as they prepare for the second synod on the family in October 2015. Pope Francis warned the bishops that, during this year-long process, they must avoid camping at either end of the spectrum, showing neither “hostile inflexibility” nor “deceptive mercy.” We hope all lay faithful will now raise their own voices to provide the bishops with ideas and realities consistent with the lives of modern families in today’s world.

The bishops listened to each other. Let us hope they heed Pope Francis’ call to hear the voices of all the faithful before next October.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church. Click here for more information.

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Nienstedt testimony contradicts 6-year-old letters / Associated Press

Archbishop John Nienstedt made a false statement when he testified earlier this year about his knowledge of an abusive priest’s past, according to a report Thursday by Minnesota Public Radio News.

“The station reported that during his April 2 sworn deposition, Nienstedt said he had learned about the prior conviction of the Rev. Gilbert Gustafson ‘during the last six months.’

“But letters obtained by MPR show that a parishioner wrote to Nienstedt about Gustafson in 2008. The parishioner said Gustafson had a criminal conviction and was working as a consultant for Twin Cities parishes.”

By Associated Press on Crunow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Francis plays long game to reform Catholic Church / Reuters

After winning praise around the world for his fresh and open style, the honeymoon period seems to be over for Pope Francis.

“A tumultuous two-week Vatican synod exposed polarization in the Catholic Church over his push to reform its traditional approach to sexual morality by becoming more welcoming to gays and easing restrictions on divorced and remarried Catholics.”

By Tom Heneghan, Reuters — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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Seven lessons from the Vatican’s wild and crazy Synod on the Family / Religion News Service

Pope Francis and senior Catholic leaders wrapped up their two-week Vatican summit on the challenges of modern family life on Sunday (Oct. 19) without reaching a consensus on a number of hot-button topics. So where does that leave Francis’ papacy? And the church?

Here are seven takeaways …”

By David Gibson, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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Bishops wrap-up extraordinary synod

Divided bishops water down welcome to gays and divorced Catholics

A dramatic Vatican summit of bishops ended Saturday night by significantly watering down an opening to both gays and divorced and remarried Catholics contained in an interim report released Monday.

“Paragraphs on those two points were the only items that failed to receive a two-thirds majority of the Synod of Bishops in voting on its final document. While there’s no magic to the two-thirds threshold in this sort of Vatican ballot, the results clearly reflect a divided hierarchy on both issues.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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The Vatican’s synod on the bishops, and why you’ve missed the point / Huffington Post

If you are extraordinarily upset or excited about the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family that has taken place for the last two weeks here in Rome, then you likely don’t really understand what it actually is. The prior statement is neither a cynical nor is it a flip or reductive statement. It is also not meant to be merely provocative, and it is certainly not meant to be insulting. It is, however, a dose of reality. In the months leading up to this synod we have heard the narrative of a gradual simultaneous crescendo of the two seemingly discordant melodies of “justice” and “mercy” rising up within the Vatican.”

By Rev. Mr. Michael Rogers, S.J., Huffington Post — Click here to read the rest of this column.

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