Pope Francis Boosts Authority of the Synod of Bishops




I don’t really see how he has boosted the authority of the Synod. Canon law already provides for it to have a deliberative, rather than consultative, power and this Constitution just reiterates that.

1983 Code of Canon Law

Can. 343 It is for the synod of bishops to discuss the questions for consideration and express its wishes but not to resolve them or issue decrees about them unless in certain cases the Roman Pontiff has endowed it with deliberative power, in which case he ratifies the decisions of the synod.

In general, partial (rather than ecumenical) synods with real authority are nothing new in the Church. Likewise, Pope’s almost always issue a magisterial document in their own name after each of these synods anyway, so whether he just confirms and promulgates the final synod report doesn’t seem to make a practical difference.

Honestly, if consensus was sought and the last synods were treated as deliberative, I don’t think we would have gotten the more controversial parts of the Pope’s exhortations.


Am I the only one who thinks this is the WORST time to give more authority to bishops?


I recognize this public ‘boost’ as Pope Francis way of telling the flock that he is in conjunction with the bishops…at the expense of ignoring Archbishop Vigano and the flock and a sprinkling of other faithful clergy.
Head games


so sad to see these games


To be fair, it is Christ who gives them authority and it is part of the Pope’s job, as chief bishop, to assert, support, and defend this authority (of course, disciplining those that deserve it is part of defending the authority of bishops, since bad bishops undermine the good use of authority). But this Apostolic Constitution isn’t even really about that, but merely addresses the partial (rather than ecumenical) synods of bishops that convene periodically to consult with the Pope or, as the case may, make decisions with him. And despite the headline, I don’t see where these synods have been granted any more authority than what they already have.

The full text is here:



I think gracepoole might have meant that given the current circumstances, this was not a good time to publicly bolster one part of the body while the other deserves calm and attention to the real problem at hand…The Vigano Letter.


Yeah, I can see that, especially in the light of the apparently misleading headlines (am I missing something?), but the document doesn’t really do that --if anything, it provides for more (non-voting) participation by non-bishops. Plus, at least some of the bishops going to the next synod, which is supposed to focus on youth issues, want to specifically focus it on rooting out the abuse of youth (including seminarians), which would actually make these issues less avoidable by the Pope. We’ll see.


These synods seem to just be a way to advance an agenda, one that is not always in concert with the teachings of the Church. The youth synod document reeks of apologizing for the Church’s tough moral teachings. I have almost no hopes that this synod will accomplish anything worthwhile, and possibly will only do further damage to doctrinal clarity.


Thus far, Pope Francis has revised the death penalty and divorce/remarriage Communion guidelines.

We all know that the last big objective is to neutralize the wording of the Catechism Part 3, Section 2, Article 6, 2357 and 2358.

The wording of those two sections is the source of agitation for a certain set of people that we now know includes most of the USCCB and perhaps many other Catholic bishops and cardinals elsewhere around the globe.

There is an escalation of very readable events that point to this possible revision despite the PA report, Cardinal Scandal and Vigano Letter.

Militant bees are swarming but the smoke thickens.

The smoke thickens in preparation to neutralize the Church stance on homosexuality. I think the USCCB and Vatican will be satisfied with neutralizing. That will be very easy for them to do. With the Vigano Letter put on hold for 5 months or more the agenda will succeed to lead many astray.


another way to look at this…

Suppose you are a teenager left in charge of your younger siblings. The two closest to you in age are watchful of your every move. You want to smoke a joint but know you will be held culpable by those closest to you in age (in powerful numbers). So you let Sissy have her way with one thing (divorce/remarriage Holy Communion) and you let Junior have his way with another (revision of death penalty). The many other siblings (weak numbers) are too young to know better or have a say, so you go and smoke your joint (live gay life) and everyone is happy.
… until Papa returns.

You must understand the politics of family life to come up with a story like this.


Before you despair, figure out who is doing the gaming. Start by examining the one who wrote the blog or news article. Sometimes bloggers and journalists stir the pot, fabricate controversies, and insinuate conflicts where in fact there are none.

I am not saying this particular blogger, Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register, is doing that. Nor did I read the article. I’m just saying that’s how I would begin to approach this story, if I had the time.


The bishops already possess the authority to make decisions made in union with the pope so this general public statement would be considered superfluous in most situations.

While this title of the NCRegister article is a bit inflammatory, the fact is that Pope Francis made a public point reminding the faithful of his relationship with the Bishops in advance of any statement addressing the unplanned revelation of Archbishop Vigano. Pope Francis’ timed statement in conjunction with the October synod is a sequence of events that produces more skepticism than assurance.

Also, the idea is that “in recent years, synods have been criticized for serving to introduce, sometimes using coercive methods, world ways of thinking at odds with the Church’s perennial teaching, especially in the area of morality”.



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