Aussie expert says Pope will fix Synod theology gaps

Biblical scholar Fr Frank Moloney, one of the appointed "experts" at this month's Synod, has predicted that Pope Benedict's document will be "profoundly Biblical and patristic", as well as "sensitive to the urgent pastoral questions" raised during the theologically disappointing discussions.

CLICK HEREFr Moloney, Provincial designate of the Australian Salesians, told the National Catholic Reporter's John Allen that he believed there has been a "fairly mediocre level of discussion among the bishops about ultimate theological and pastoral issues, which is not what [he] thinks the Holy Father actually wanted."

Allen said while most observers credit the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist with producing a comparatively frank discussion on important issues, some - including Fr Moloney - had expressed disappointment that the conversation was "highly focused on rites, rules, and practical pastoral challenges, with relatively little attention to underlying theological principles".

"Bishops in the contemporary church inevitably are caught up in huge administrative issues, to say nothing of the fallout from sex scandals and all the rest," Moloney explained. "Their pants are on fire, and it's understandable that their interventions are concerned with practical pastoral problems."

Moloney said, the pope's own deep theological reflection should reassure anyone worried about the eventual apostolic exhortation Benedict is expected produce on the basis of the synod's input.

"I've known him for 18 years," Moloney said. "Don't worry, he'll handle it. What he comes up with will easily outclass anything said in that hall."

Moloney predicted that the document Benedict will eventually produce will be "profoundly Biblical and patristic," as well as "sensitive to the urgent pastoral questions" raised during the three weeks of discussions.

Meanwhile Catholic News Service reports that the Synod made only minor changes to its final list of propositions, maintaining a strong defence of priestly celibacy and recommending no relaxation of church rules on divorced and remarried Catholics.

The 50 propositions, which the synod was to vote on Saturday, contained no major differences from the list presented earlier in the week.

The synod was expected to overwhelmingly approve the propositions, following the pattern of previous assemblies. The recommendations were then to be handed over to Pope Benedict XVI for his use, possibly in the post-synodal document mentioned by Fr Monoley.

John L Allen: Some worry the synod lacked theological heft (National Catholic Reporter 21/10/05)
Synod's final propositions defend celibacy, status quo on remarriage (Catholic News Service 21/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Synod of Bishops
Synodus Episcoporum Bulletin

Synod final message rebuffs Latin Mass, priest shortage (CathNews 21/10/05)
Synod worried Catholics misunderstand Real Presence (CathNews 20/10/05)
Synod opts for major vocations push, not easing of celibacy (CathNews 19/10/05)
Synod takes time off to work on combining propositions (CathNews 18/10/05)
Synod told of Eucharist as 'pulsating heart' of Timor mission (CathNews 17/10/05)
Synod bishops seek middle ground solutions (CathNews 14/10/05)
Synod frank talk producing few breakthroughs (CathNews 13/10/05)
Pell call to preserve celibacy rule (CathNews 12/10/05)
Irish archbishop says Liturgy of Word can heal (CathNews 11/10/05)
Hobart Archbishop insists on credit for hardworking priests (CathNews 10/10/05)
Opus Dei head argues against giant masses (CathNews 7/10/05)
Oceania bishops plead case for married clergy (CathNews 7/10/05)
Kiwi bishop challenges Synod to review communion ban for divorced (CathNews 6/10/05)
Pope talks to Synod about collegiality (CathNews 5/10/05)
Pope opens Synod with Eucharist link to peaceful, just society (CathNews 4/10/05)
Aussie Synod expert stresses Eucharist values before rules (CathNews 29/9/05)
Two Australians on auditors list for October Synod (CathNews 27/9/05)
Synod tipped to stress Sunday Mass obligation (CathNews 28/9/05)
Pope names four mainland Chinese bishops to October synod (CathNews 9/9/05)
Synod threat to youth masses (CathNews 25/7/05)

Twentieth General Congregation (Vatican Information Service 21/10/05)
John L Allen: Christ in the Eucharist (National Catholic Reporter 21/10/05)
John L Allen: The final set of propositions (National Catholic Reporter 21/10/05)
John L Allen: The case of viri probati (National Catholic Reporter 21/10/05)
Vatican synod ends reconfirming status quo (Reuters 22/10/05)
Pope reaffirms priestly celibacy, makes new saints (Reuters 23/10/05)
Synod on the Eucharist: the final Message (AsiaNews.it 22/10/05)
The Patriotic Association "opens" to the Synod, but media in China silent on the event (AsiaNews.it 22/10/05)
Synod writes to Chinese bishops (AsiaNews.it 22/10/05)
Now what? As synod ends, will pope be 'all write' with propositions? (Catholic News Service 21/10/05)
Final Message of the Synod : "The Eucharist, living Bread for the Peace of the World." (Catholic News Agency 21/10/05)
Message of Bishops' Synod: "The Eucharist: Living Bread for the Peace of the World" (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 23/10/05)
Synod Reaffirms Faith In Eucharistic Traditions and Values, Elects Cardinal Toppo To Post Synodal Council (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 23/10/05)
Synod approves final message (Catholic World News 22/10/05)
Final Synod message is hopeful, sober (Catholic World News 22/10/05)
Synod will air "unofficial" results (Catholic World News 22/10/05)
Chinese bishops get Synod greetings (Catholic World News 22/10/05)
Synod speaks on celibacy, divorce, intercommunion, etc. (Catholic World News 22/10/05)
Bishops Reaffirm Celibacy for Priests (The Guardian/Associated Press 23/10/05)
Bishops Reaffirm Church Celibacy Stance (Leading the Charge 22/10/05)
Pope reaffirms priestly celibacy and makes new saints (Leading the Charge 23/10/05)
Catholics in passage of rite (The Australian 24/10/05 - payment required)
Married priests not the answer: bishops (Sydney Morning Herald 24/10/05)
Vatican synod rules out married priests (Sydney Morning Herald 23/10/05)
Pope reaffirms priestly celibacy (The Australian/Reuters 23/10/05)
Synod looks set to turn its back on reforms (The Tablet 22/10/05)
Nourished by the presence of Christ (The Tablet 22/10/05)
Parallel Worlds Inside The Vatican (Vatican Radio English Features 23/10/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Synod's Propositions Might Be Made Public (Zenit 22/10/05)
Synod to Publish Final Message (Zenit 21/10/05)
Bishops to Vote on Final Propositions (Zenit 21/10/05)
Manual of Synods of Bishops Compiled (Zenit 21/10/05)
East Beats West in Sense of Sacred, Says Cardinal Ouellet (Zenit 21/10/05)
Message of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist (Zenit 22/10/05)

24 Oct 2005