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Was the Synod a win or a loss for Pope Francis?

Many news outlets have portrayed the outcome as a 'setback'

Francis X Rocca for Catholic News Service

Francis X Rocca for Catholic News Service

Published: November 03, 2014 04:44 AM GMT

Updated: November 02, 2014 04:45 PM GMT

Was the Synod a win or a loss for Pope Francis?

Pope Francis attends the morning session on the final day of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican last month (Photo by Paul Haring/CNS)

Since the end of the October 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, news outlets have portrayed the outcome as a "setback" or "loss" for Pope Francis — even a "rebuke" to him.

Journalists have pointed to the absence, in the synod's final report, of an earlier version's strikingly conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, including those in same-sex unions and other non-marital relationships.

Commentators have also noted the relatively low support, as measured by bishops' votes on the final document's relevant sections, for continued discussion of whether to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

In these respects, it is said, the synod rejected moves consistent with Pope Francis' well-known teachings on mercy. 

The pope never expressed his views at the synod; he kept silent throughout the two weeks of discussions. Yet there are good reasons to think he and the assembly were not of the same mind on these questions.

Pope Francis had invited the author of the Communion proposal, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, and no one else, to address a gathering of the world's cardinals on the family in February. And the synod's controversial midterm report was the work of the pope's handpicked team, who presumably would never have departed from the usual tone of official Vatican documents on moral teaching unless they had understood that to be what the pope wanted. So if they were right, the synod's reaction must have disappointed him.

But at the same time, the pope got just what he asked for: a more assertive synod.

 

Full Story: Did Pope Francis get what he wanted from the synod?

Source:Catholic News Service

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