Synod bishops seek middle ground solutions

A Vatican analyst has identified an emerging dynamic at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, in which the bishops seem, in effect, to be "trying to meet their critics half-way".

The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen argued yesterday in his daily Synod commentary that they're willing to acknowledge, in unusually blunt fashion, certain long-taboo topics as real problems, but not necessarily to embrace the most ballyhooed solutions.

"Thus, bishops have been crystal clear about the conundrums generated by the priest shortage, by the exclusion of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics from Communion, and from the ban on Protestants receiving the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass," he said. "What they don't seem interested in doing is getting rid of clerical celibacy, or relaxing the rules on Communion."

According to Allen, the bishops believe the real solutions must be found elsewhere.

"On the priest shortage, for example, several bishops have talked about the theological and spiritual logic for mandatory celibacy in the Western church, with one defining celibacy as the church's 'most precious jewel', and others arguing that the problem underlying priest shortages is not celibacy but a broader 'crisis of faith'."

Both Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo of India and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Mexico made that argument yesterday in a Vatican news conference, marking the synod's half-way point.

On Wednesday evening, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the relator for the synod, presented the relatio post disceptationem, or the "speech after the discussion," which is intended to focus the discussion to date and provide direction for the meeting of the circoli minori, the small groups whose job it is to generate proposals for propositions to submit to the pope.

Problems acknowledged, synod bishops seek middle ground solutions (National Catholic Reporter 13/10/05)

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

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)

Sixteenth General Congregation (Vatican Information Service 13/10/05)
Meeting of language groups (Vatican Information Service 13/10/05)
Unity and commitment in transmitting Eucharistic faith (Vatican Information Service 13/10/05)
More faith formation needed for adults Dr Martin tells synod (catholicireland.net 13/10/05)
No change in communion ban for divorced Catholics (Reuters 13/10/05)
Synod considering how to celebrate the Eucharist in a secularised world (AsiaNews.it 13/10/05)
Official says synod faces challenges about access to Eucharist (Catholic News Service 12/10/05)
Washing of feet highlights Eucharist's role in mission, bishop says (Catholic News Service 12/10/05)
Bishops Synod announces closing document: how to live out the Church's Eucharistic mission (Catholic News Agency 13/10/05)
Help Catholics live pious, robust faiths, Synod observer tells bishops (Catholic News Agency 13/10/05)
Priest shortage stems from crisis of faith, ignorance of the infinite, not celibacy, say Bishops (Catholic News Agency 13/10/05)
Latin American founder: faith demands an honest anthropological and cultural perspective (Catholic News Agency 13/10/05)
Synod hears midway report; main themes set (Catholic World News 13/10/05)
Prelates tackle controversial Synod issues (Catholic World News 13/10/05)
World's Bishops Discuss Priest Shortage (The Guardian/Associated Press 13/10/05)
Synod speeches: fourteenth and fifteen sessions (Independent Catholic News 13/10/05)
Viewpoint: Is there religious freedom in Turkey? (Independent Catholic News 13/10/05)
Synod Of Bishops (Vatican Radio English Features 13/10/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Cardinal Pell: Ending Celibacy Rule Would Be a Blunder (Zenit 12/10/05)

14 Oct 2005