From the synod: Mercy is not an abandonment of Church teaching [CNA] City, Oct 10, 2015 / 12:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Mercy has emerged as a major theme in the synod of bishops, as discussion has moved forward with many participants emphasizing that while mercy is greatly needed, it must always be linked to truth.

“The question is not whether we’re here to change doctrine, but to make sure pastoral care takes account of real, actual, concrete situations of what each person is doing,” Fr. Thomas Rosica told journalists Oct. 10, quoting one of the synod participants.

“The proclamation of the Gospel and the embrace of God’s mercy are two equally valid and intrinsically related aspects of life.”

Fr. Rosica, the English-language assistant to the Holy See press office, read aloud snippets of the brief interventions given by unnamed synod participants in both last night’s and this morning’s general congregations during an Oct. 10 press briefing.

According to another synod father, “mercy toward sinners is not a form of weakness nor an abandonment of Church teaching.”

“Unless we acknowledge openly people’s situations, we will not be able to address those situations clearly,” they said, adding that “we have to learn to speak the truth in love in many situations, because in many situations people are completely powerless over what has befallen them.”

Yet another participant stressed that in order to view the Church’s doctrine on marriage in the light of mercy requires both “attention to the pastoral dimension and the application of the Church’s teaching.”

Others made such comments as: “mercy cannot be encountered unless it is measured against an eternal law,” and “one must seek truth in order to encounter mercy, and the Church must seek truth when confronting the theme of marriage.”

For another participant, “mercy means giving people a challenge; it is not covering reality with gift wrap.”

The overwhelming emphasis on the link between mercy and doctrine came as the synod fathers shifted into the second phase of their discussion.

Pope Francis officially opened the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 4, with the event closing on Oct. 25.

Divided into three parts, each week dedicated to one of the three sections of the instrumentum laboris, or working document. Participants spent the first week of the meeting discussing the document’s section titled “Listening to the challenges of the family.”

The subsequent sections are “Discernment of the family vocation” and “The mission of the family today.”

In the briefing, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said that mercy was a theme “very spoken about” by the 75 synod fathers who made interventions in the previous two sessions.

Specifically mentioned was mercy as “closeness and tenderness” toward families and couples in difficulty, he said, but noted that “the truth of mercy and justice – don’t oppose mercy with the truth,” was also addressed.

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of of the Syro-Malankar Archeparchy of Trivandrum, was also present at the briefing.

In response to a question from a French journalist on whether an in-depth examination of doctrine would take place during the synod, the cardinal said that the synod “in fact is destined to be a pastoral one.”

And not just this, he said, “but all synods, because it gives some guidelines to the pastors and the people around that pastoral community.”

He said that showing the mercy of God, given through Christ, is part of the family’s mission; but stressed that in his personal opinion, this mercy always demands conversion on the part of the other.

“When we speak about God’s mercy, it is also demanding a certain personal acceptance of being converted to that reception of mercy…it demands a point of conversion from the individual recipient.”

Cardinal Thottunkal explained that while it is important to understand and support each person in the reality they are living, it’s also necessary to help them receive God’s mercy “in a more conducive atmosphere of conversion to the Lord.”

The Gospel “demands this as a condition” when it says that “the Kingdom of God is at hand, be converted,” he said.

Christ gave the same message when he told sinners: “I forgive you, but don’t sin anymore,” the cardinal said, adding that the Gospel asks for everyone to have this disposition.

Other topics brought up by the synod participants were the indissolubility of marriage, the role of parents in educating their children, the importance of prayer and a missionary spirit within families, the importance of children, and a longer marriage preparation process.

Full article…

Yeah. Based on the experience of our Protestant cousins what you do is first make adjustments to your practices so people ignore the teaching. Then you can safely abandon it.


Some people are entrenched in sin due to long term physical abuse, sexual abuse, being raised and interacted with by people who were on drugs or alcoholic, domestic violence modeled as a norm ,being raised by people with mental illness, psychological abuse etc. the effects and behaviors of all of this can last for generations…

The degree to which dysfunction and sin are entrenched in the minds, and emotional states of a significant percentage of the population has to be taken into account. It is a long process of healing for many and broken relationships, profound confusion, deep seated feelings of shame and guilt, repressed anger and pain, are all a part of what some so callously view as “sinful behavior” on the part of “them’”

For these people, a large segment of the “sinful” population, a deep need for acceptance, love, and guidance, over a long period of time is what is needed to undo the damage done and learn a new way. Years are needed, and the deepest pain and wounding and associated sin often comes up late in the process. Many do not seem to be finding the spiritual direction and community needed for this at the local parish and are leaving and going to places where they can. I think that is very sad, and a great failure on the part of religion.

Mercy, true mercy, is what separates true Christians from snake handlers and the sanctimonious.

I’ve posted this other places too… But I recommend people watch Bishop Barron’s keynote from the World Meeting of Families

He did a great job of driving home the point of having mercy without abandoning the law

Safely abandon, then go into schism. Yes, it is a bit spooky, and surely unintentional how Anglican some of these comments coming out of the Synod are sounding:

Disunity in the Church is perilous, Archbishop Chaput cautions at synod

“Brothers, we need to be very cautious in devolving important disciplinary and doctrinal issues to national and regional episcopal conferences – especially when pressure in that direction is accompanied by an implicit spirit of self-assertion and resistance.”


There has to be repentance. You can’t have mercy without repentance. That includes change. There has been a lot of talk of mercy, but none of repentance and conversion of heart. It becomes empty without these.

Diversity is good, but not when it is forced, or it abandons truth. The differences between east and west are thousands of years old and they grow from seperation. They are natural. But now the west is trying to create diversity by ignoring its history and development of doctrine. It is going to lead to heresy and schism. A man who forgets his roots is bound for problems; it is the same with a culture and a church.

I agree with that. I guess I should have said that, but I feel it almost goes without saying. You can’t very well show mercy while your under an active attack, or the thief is climbing up the staircase.

There is a thief in the heart of the church, and he is trying to rob us of our faith. At the heart of that faith is repentance.

Of course all sinners ought to be welcomed in the parish. And that, of course, includes all of us. Sinners should attend weekly Mass, even daily Mass, pray in the adoration chapel, be welcomed just as they are and encouraged in their spiritual journey. The only thing they should not be encouraged to do is to receive communion until they are fully reconciled. I know of divorced and remarried Catholics who attend Mass regularly; they do not receive communion, but they are members of the parish just the same as everyone else. There is no contradiction between doctrine and pastoral practice. It’s a matter of being loving and welcoming, not encouraging communion.

It sounds like several forum members do not trust that the 300 or so carefully-chose bishops or Pope Francis know what they are doing, which is too bad…because the Pope especially–and several bishops–seem to be *very *keyed into what changes are needed at this moment in time.


No offense but I am not sure what an agnostic/atheist would know about what the church needs. if the church ceased to exist tomorrow it wouldn’t make a difference to someone outside the Church. You think the church needs to change because you aren’t a part of it.

I trust the bishops about as much as I trust congress and the president to uphold the constitution.

Is not the Christian faith is based on God has given mercy to all through his son Jesus before we even have a mind and soul to repent. I.E. the grace of mercy and forgiveness comes from God even before we have the to need to or can repent?

I think there are many thieves popping up here and there. The thief comes to kill and steal.
Watch out and be alert. Those who insist everything is fine are the active helpers of the thief. They know ignorance brings destruction and that is why they want Catholics to be ignorant of the current situation.

So if they allow communion for the divorced, are confessions still valid for all Catholics if divorced people wont repent and wont have their situation changed.

It has already been ‘floated’ in this year’s Synod, the idea of going to ‘General Confessions’. General Confessions as I remember them were a general absolution without confessing directly to a Confessor. There would be a prayer service and an examination of conscience and then a general absolution given. In my Diocese the Cardinal put the kibosh on them many years back and said…‘No More!’ He insisted on regular Confession across the Diocese. I cannot remember who in the Synod is talking this up, but the reason for it was that some people who had not been to Confession in a long time and/or were ‘too intimidated’ by the process could at least confess this way at first. This in my opinion would be opening up a VERY dangerous practice that could slide back to where things were a decade or so ago. There were parishes in my neighborhood that DIDN’T EVEN SCHEDULE regular Confessions, they only had the ‘General Confessions’ twice yearly. You could make an appointment if you wanted to go to confession one on one, but …good luck trying to pin a priest down for that!!! I thank God for the Cardinal who put the hammer down on this practice. BUT NOW, some of them are wanting to bring this BACK!!! Lord have Mercy!!!

Confession wouldn’t matter anymore, really.

If you can go to communion while carrying one mortal sin, why not the rest?

The problem is that mercy is no more available to the unrepentant than is the forgiveness of sins. If they repent - which requires the intention of not repeating the sin - they can be forgiven and receive communion. If they do not repent then mercy is not appropriate. * In no passage of the Gospel message does forgiveness, or mercy as its source, mean indulgence towards evil… (JPII)

[FONT=&quot]CCC 1847[/FONT]**[FONT=&quot]“God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.” To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults.

So would it effect my confession? Would my confession be valid?

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