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Prominent prelates differ sharply on Synod’s final report

October 27, 2015

In separate interviews following the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Bruno Forte and Cardinal George Pell offered contradictory interpretations of the synod’s final report, which was approved on October 24.

Because the Synod of Bishops is a consultative body, Pope Francis is free to adopt or disregard portions of the final report as he sees fit in any post-synodal documents or decisions.

Cardinal Pell, the prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, told The National Catholic Register that “there is no mention anywhere of Communion for the divorced and remarried. It’s not one of the possibilities that was floated. The document is cleverly written to get consensus. Some people would say it’s insufficient. It’s not ambiguous.”

He added:

It was emphatically rejected that there was any comparison between homosexual marriage and same-sex unions. There was explicit rejection of the theory of graduality of the law. There’s a reaffirmation of the teaching of Humanae Vitae, there’s an adequate presentation of the teaching on conscience. All these things are significant reinforcements of the present doctrine of the Church.

In contrast, Archbishop Bruno Forte, the synod’s special secretary, told the Italian Episcopal Conference’s radio station that the final report permits the reception of Holy Communion by “some” persons who have remarried outside the Church, following an examination of conscience and a discernment process with their pastors.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster lent support to the latter interpretation, telling journalists that “no one will set out on this pathway [of discernment] with the single aim of receiving Holy Communion. And nobody will be accompanied on this pathway with the single principle that they can’t.”

The synod, he added, quite deliberately set aside the question of admission to the Eucharist, because that had become a yes-no issue. And the very nature of this is that it’s not as simple as yes-no.”

“It’s a pathway,” he said. “And it is not for me or for the priest who is doing the accompaniment to pre-empt or foreclose that pathway.”


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  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Oct. 28, 2015 12:32 PM ET USA

    In no other field of human endeavor would this result be called success.

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Oct. 28, 2015 11:19 AM ET USA

    May God defend us from prelates like Bruno Forte and Vincent Nichols.

  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Oct. 27, 2015 12:43 PM ET USA

    I have an uneasy feeling when two very different views of what the Synod supports are broadcast. Are we headed for another 'spirit of...' disaster? It seems to me that God's mercy is the only thing that will allow many of us to enter Heaven so we need to be open to asking Him for mercy and be open to amending our actions in this life in order to not frustrate God's mercy. The Church should teach God's mercy and our necessary responsibility in order to receive His mercy.