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Don’t Fear the Synod on the Family

I’ve traversed the murky waters of the reportage going on concerning the Extraordinary Synod on the Family for the past week or so. There have not been many breaths of fresh air in the smog of blogdom, as far as I can see. On the other hand, the vitriol is plentiful.

What finally threw me over the edge was a horrid hit piece put forth by Three Percent Nation, entitled “Catholic Church Embracing Homosexuality, Believing The Bible To Be Outdated”.

It was painful, if not surprising, to see that a Protestant friend had shared it on her Facebook wall. Her friends’ comments ranged from “This does not surprise me” to “I was so surprised to hear this!” and “OMG WHAT NEXT”.

Here are some excerpts of their brief but caustic blather:

“The Catholic Church, which previously condemned homosexuality as ‘intrinsically disordered,’ is considering embracing homosexual believers, as well as partially accepting same-sex, and other religiously unsanctioned partnerships.”

“The Synod, which has been attended by Pope Francis, has also recognized the validity of gay relationships, though it stopped far short of equating them to marriage.”

“The Catholic church is running headlong down the path to hell as fast as it can go, as evident from this latest development ….”

As I took in both the (*ahem*) report and reactions to it, I found myself spurred to post on the topic. This wasn’t something about which I had planned to write, but I couldn’t find it in my heart to ignore the calumny being spewed forth for all the world to see.

My response to my friend appears below:

This “information” is not even partially true. If we want to know what the Catholic Church is doing or not doing, we must take our questions to knowledgeable, practicing Catholics — not a secular news source. Remember, misleading headlines and lies make up much of our “news” today (think of politics, for example) — and these types of outlandish statements capture the imagination.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family going on now is simply a meeting — a place for Catholic bishops to come together with the pope and present all that is broken, in relation to family, in the world today. Before this, there was a survey of the Catholic people, asking for input on the problems they see or face. After they present the problems affecting the family and give some suggestions, even outlandish ones, they will go back home and work on ideas for a solution for a FULL YEAR.

Then, the Ordinary Synod on the Family will take place. After this meeting, the pope will gather all of the recommendations and concerns and draft a resulting statement. This will also take quite some time — no one has ever accused the Catholic Church of acting quickly.

This statement will not be able to change the doctrine of the Church — no human can do that. What it will do is suggest ways to address the concerns that have brought our world here to begin with: how to lovingly deal with people who suffer from same sex attraction, broken families, those living together outside marriage, etc. — not by changing the rules for them, but by inviting them lovingly into accepting the teachings of Christ, by giving them a loving place to go.

Hostility has no place in Christianity; yet we sometimes forget that we mustn’t hate the sinner, only the sinful acts carried out. There’s a lot of hate out there right now, wouldn’t you agree?

All in all, not one doctrine has changed in the 2,000 years the Church has been in existence. The homosexual lifestyle and living together outside a valid marriage simply can’t ever be validated by the Church.

That being said, there will always be those (inside and outside the Church) who want these changes, try to force these changes, and give false teachings. Just like any other family, the Catholic Church has her share of VERY disobedient children.

In closing, I share this rather good piece written by Fr. Dwight Longenecker entitled, “Worried About the Synod? Here Are Ten Things to Remember”. His clear-headed enumeration of reasons not to panic, quelled the fear in my soul.

Above all, let’s resolve to let cooler heads prevail, and let us trust in the words of Jesus: “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

Amen and Alleluia!