New Zealand particpants will be sending posts from the Synod on Marriage and the Family in Rome this month.
Here is a post from Bishop Charles Drennan.
I said I would comment on the (in) famous letter to Francis signed by 14, or was it, Cardinals.
This sideshow certainly took many people’s eye off the main act. Sandro Magister, an Italian vaticanista not widely associated with love or respect for Francis, leaked the letter. Clearly he wanted the sideshow to move centre stage and tip over the ring master. A far from edifying scramble for disassociation from the letter immediately occurred among some of the (alleged?) signees. Whatever, the rumpus lasted just a day.
What message did the letter convey? Five things:
I felt depressed for 24 hours because, as so many commented, the letter seemed to undermine the communal spirit present among us. Of course at times the going was tough – as one Archbishop in my group said, this Synod is not just mentally draining it is emotionally draining too. Any discussion on family life with all its variations draws not just on the head but the heart too.
This was never going to be a Synod of “answers”. If it had been, it would have been an utter failure. Clarity however there is: encouragement, guidelines, reaffirmed teaching, understanding, recognition of complexities, recognition of weaknesses in us all, determination, enthusiasm, appreciation double-folded of the beauty of marriage and family life in the midst not of an abstract ideal but ordinary daily struggles and achievements.
But back to the letter. One thing is for sure. This Pope, though he favours the title Bishop of Rome, is far from shy in exercising his petrine ministry. We Bishops are cum Petro and sub Petro. With and under Peter.
Francis had the last word not just on the letter but the entire Synod itself. See next blog.
Bishop Charles Drennan is Bishop of Palmerston North.
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