**Archbishop Kurtz on the Synod: ‘Mercy Without Truth Is Not Mercy’ **
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops discusses key aspects of the just-concluded Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
by EDWARD PENTIN 10/21/2014
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was one of the 191 synod fathers that took part in the third Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, which concluded Oct. 19.
In this Oct. 16 interview with the Register, as the synod was drawing to a close, Archbishop Kurtz reflected on how the synod had proceeded. Among the topics he discusses are the controversial interim report (which was superseded by the final report Oct. 18), the importance of pastoral language, and the debate over doctrine and pastoral practice…
But doesn’t loving also mean telling them the truth, for example telling someone they might be living in mortal sin and explaining the law of gradualism which, as I understand it, means making a break with sin, and then gradually working towards holiness?
It does, and you’re absolutely right. I guess the best place that I saw, where we took it up, was to make sure we don’t have any false divide between mercy and truth. They are one.
In other words, mercy is the best path to truth and mercy without truth is not mercy. There has been great discussion and even some amendments that have talked about that importance.
A lot has been said about doctrine and that it won’t be changed, but that it is possible to change pastoral practice. Cardinal Raymond Burke says it’s a false dichotomy, you cannot have one without the other, and practice must serve doctrine. What’s your view on this?
I mention this [in my blog], and most people recall it, which is: How we pray and what we believe are integrally connected, and also true is what we believe and how we provide pastoral practice is fully connected.
If there is not integrity in how we pray, how we worship, what we believe and how we provide pastoral practice, it will break down. What I have called for, in any amendments that I was able to provide, was to make sure that any creative pastoral practice being considered would be firmly grounded in good solid theology.