Pope adds six top clerics to team drafting final Synod report

The Vatican just announced that Pope Francis has named six additional prelates to help write the final relatio for the Synod of Bishops. At the risk of oversimplifying, they all seem to be on the pope’s wavelength when it comes to promoting pastoral mercy.

Wonder what the implications could be. Adolfo Nicolás, superior general of the jesuits, is among the six.


Thanks for the link.

Well, the implications are obvious, aren’t they? Francis will get his desired outcome after all, even if the vast majority of the Synod fathers oppose it (and they must have, having elected the likes of Burke, Bagnasco, and Sarah to the preparatory committee).

Thank you canis73 for starting this interesting thread. This forum requires a link to a news article, not a blog, in the original post.

Here is the required news link:

The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis has decided to add six highly qualified synod fathers to assist them in that onerous and all important task. They are: Cardinals Gianfranco Ravasi (Italy, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture) and Donald William Wuerl (Archbishop of Washington DC), Archbishops Victor Manuel Fernàndez (Rector of the Catholic University of Buenos Aires and the Pope’s main theological advisor at Aparecida in 2007), Carlos Aguiar Retes (President of CELAM), Peter Kang U-IL (President of the Korean Bishops’ Conference), and Father Adolfo Nicolas Pachon (Father General of the Society of Jesus).


He’s the Pope. He can do what he likes.

Thank you Robert :thumbsup:

Do you know what his desired outcome would be? All I have read so far are conjectures.
He might be trying to balance things out for all I know.

Not sure he would agree :wink:

The Holy Spirit as always, will protect the Pope with his final say. Why are we all so panicked by this process?

I disagree–the Holy Spirit will protect the Lord’s Church.

I thought the Pope was infallible? Why is it that we never dare question anything that came from the Vatican when it was JP2 or Benedict, but now it is in vogue to say that this Pope is pushing his personal agenda?

That is right. The Holy Spirit will always protect the Pope from teaching error in matters of faith and morals.

I couldn´t agree more, even though both JPII and Benedict were “questioned” as well. Guess it´s in our nature.

The Pope is not infallible when it comes to picking individuals for committee or other duties. Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict were questioned all the time regarding their appointments.

You don’t need to patronize; I know who is the Pope.

The point isn’t “the Pope can’t do what he likes.” The point is that the Synod was a farce from the get-go: it was convened to give collegial cover fire to an agenda he wants to advance regardless of whether or not the bishops support it, one opposed by his predecessors for very good reasons.

An agenda which, I never hesitate to point it out, is emphatically not in the service of the poor or the Third World, but is in practice in service to wealthy, powerful, disproportionately white Westerners, and just as disproportionately to the detriment of the Church in Africa. But who cares about poor black people and their contemptible desire for doctrinal security, right?

You are legitimately of the opinion that the Pope is protected not only from doctrinal error in his formal dogmatic pronouncements but even from prudential error in his personnel and tactical decisions?

You get that this sort of neo-Ultramontanism was effectively condemned by Vatican I’s *actual *formulation of the doctrine of Papal infallibility, right? Or did the Holy Spirit protect, e.g., Pope John XXII’s non-dogmatic utterances in support of the erroneous doctrine that the elect do not enjoy the Beatific Vision until the Resurrection right up until the moment he supported Pope Benedict XII’s dogmatic definition to the contrary?

First of all, who’s panicking?

And second, if I am upset it is because the hierarchy has lost its nerve – and because now all the efforts of faithful Catholics to oppose the world-historical evil represented by the gay lobby will be opposed, not just by the members of that lobby, but by Catholics like you, too, acting on the basis of a malformed ecclesiology that sees the laity not as the loyal sons and daughters of the Church but as its slaves, quick to defer to every passing theological fad that emanates from Rome as if it were sent down from Heaven on stone tablets.

You are entitled to your opinion, but this seems way off the mark. Francis may end up being functional to those wealthy, powerful, disproportionately white Westerners (dellusional statement imo) but certainly not as part of any agenda.

Regardless of what the Pope’s intentions are, the optics stink. Consider that just recently, if the reports are accurate, the Holy Father allegedly said in a newspaper interview that he distances himself from “very conservative bishops”. When prelates like Burke and Bagnasco, who would likely fit that description, are elected by their fellow bishops and the Pope suddenly intervenes and adds more members to the committee in a way his predecessors didn’t do, what is one supposed to think?

Throw into the mix the fact that this synod has not been very transparent. The bishops’ interventions haven’t been published like in the past and everything is filtered through the Holy See Press Office. That’s Fr. Lombardi, who, given past experience, isn’t the most competent. For the English section he’s being helped by Fr. Rosica; a good number of Canadian Catholics are aware that Fr. Tom is a very liberal priest. So it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there’s some manipulation going on, even if there isn’t.

That’s not quite right. Papal Infallibility is more narrowly defined than this.

The Pope is infallible only when he is speaking “Ex Cathedra”. The Vatican Council, (Sess. IV, Const. de Ecclesiâ Christi, c. iv) defined infallibility:

“We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when [1] in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, [2] he defines a doctrine [3] regarding faith or morals [4] to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.”

I added the bold and numbers to show that there are four elements to be met for infallibility to come into play.

  1. It must be in the discharge of the Papal Office
  2. He must be DEFINING a doctrine. This is important because the Pope cannot be “defining” a dogma if he is contradicting some dogma previously held by the Church. A Pope cannot change dogma, he can only define it.
  3. Regarding faith and morals.
  4. To be held by the Church. I think that it is implied that this infallible doctrine is to be held FOR ALL TIME. God does not change.

John XXII taught errors in matters of the faith: in some of his sermons as Pope, he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. Of course he did not speak Ex Cathedra, and fortunately John XXII retracted his opinion on the eve of his death.

We must be very careful to bear in mind this limitation on infallibility. Remember that St Paul confronted St Peter to his face:

(Gal 2: 11-14) " But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. [12] For before that some came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision. [13] And to his dissimulation the rest of the Jews consented, so that Barnabas also was led by them into that dissimulation. [14] But when I saw that they walked not uprightly unto the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all: If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as the Jews do, how dost thou compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

[11] I withstood: The fault that is here noted in the conduct of St. Peter, was only a certain imprudence, in withdrawing himself from the table of the Gentiles, for fear of giving offence to the Jewish converts; but this, in such circumstances, when his so doing might be of ill consequence to the Gentiles, who might be induced thereby to think themselves obliged to conform to the Jewish way of living, to the prejudice of their Christian liberty. Neither was St. Paul’s reprehending him any argument against his supremacy; for in such cases an inferior may, and sometimes ought, with respect, to admonish his superior." (Italicized for emphasis)

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