Pope: the Church of the third millennium, "synodal", listening, collegial and with a "conversion of the papacy" [AN]

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, Francis outlines his vision of the Church. “Synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church, gives us the most appropriate interpretive framework for understanding the same hierarchical ministry”. Find, even in ecumenical perspective, “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation.”


Oh boy. So Germany’s bishops conference can decide to have communion for those who abandoned their wives for someone else, as well as communion for actively practicing homosexuals, and blessing of gay unions; while other bishops can decide that all of that is wrong.

And this is somehow supposed to bring unity?

It sounds to me like he’s trying to weaken the papacy as much as possible without breaking it in order to appeal go the eastern orthodox; but this will unleash a firestorm of heresy from the liberal modernist bishops.

Honestly you aren’t doing your faith any good by holding such an attitude towards the Pope. Perhaps you are relying too heavily on hostile commentators from the radical blogs and publications to form your views?

Pope Francis in wanting to make the Church more ‘synodal’ is just putting into practice a way forward called for by Vatican II. It’s not technically his reform but a dusting off of V2 reforms that have become shelved. He wants to hear all the voices in the Church and give the rightful place to the *sensus fidei *.

But at the end of the day it is the Pope who through holy discernment, the help of the Holy Spirit and confident in Christs promise of his special role…will express the direction of Gods will for us.

I would urge you not to fuel your paranoia by reading the radical propaganda of some of the press monkeys.

You’re assuming that I’m getting my information from paranoid radical sources (nice pejoratives there, btw). I’m not. I’m simply an orthodox catholic.

I’m simply combining this story with the one above it, right here on the CAF Forums. We have this thread where the pope is calling for a strengthening of bishops conferences, combined with the other article right here on CAF Foruns, where the head of the German bishops conference is calling for communion for those divorced and remarried.

So Germany can decide to have communion for men who leave their wives for someone else, as well as recognition of gay unions; while other bishops conferences can say that’s all wrong.

The pope is only infallible when making proclamations ex cathedra. The popes of the past have done many wrong things. There’s no reason pope francis can’t do something wrong too.

Huh? Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict were PART of that Council. They understood what it meant better than any of us.

I have no doubts what so ever that the reforms that were called for by Vatican II in relation to the Papacy were (and are) fully implemented.

Pontiff makes major address on 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops

Pope Francis has outlined his vision for a Church that is “synodal” at every level, with everyone listening to each other, learning from each other and taking responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, the Pope said: “The journey of synodality is the journey that God wants from his Church in the third millennium. A synodal church is a listening church, aware that listening is more than hearing. It is a reciprocal listening in which each one has something to learn.”

Pope Francis, members of the Synod of Bishops on the family, theologians and other guests dedicated a morning to marking the anniversary of Blessed Paul VI’s institution in 1965 of the synod as a forum for sharing the faith and concerns of the world’s Catholics, reflecting together and offering counsel to the Pope.

Referring to the Greek roots of the word “synod,” Pope Francis said, “walking together – laity, pastors, the Bishop of Rome – is an easy concept to express in words, but is not so easy to put into practice.”


I am not sure I agree that is the intention, but I think that is where we will end up. But in all fairness, how do you maintain unity with such opposing “truths” that we have in the Church today? Rhetorical question. Maybe it will shake down in time to a wider “orthodox” Church and a “modernist” Church, across denominations. That could if you think about it be a step in the right direction, not the wrong one.

What, if anything, from the article, made you bring that up, regarding the Germans?

A restoration of true local Synods with real authority over disciplinary matters would indeed be more in line with the early Church and the practice of our Eastern brothers (including Eastern CATHOLICS - the Eastern Catholic Churches are governed by local Synods with real authority and it works well). Local Synods should not have doctrinal authority, except to proclaim the faith once handed down without alteration…
I applaud greater Synodality both to restore the ancient model of the Church and to improve relations with our brothers and sisters in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox communions. That some local episcopal conferences have certain troubling tendencies (the Germans, by and large, have some “interesting” ideas to say the least), isn’t a valid theological argument against the ideal the Holy Father is presenting. Ideally, Rome would still be able to intervene if and when a local Synod went off the deep end.

Perhaps instead of splitting from the Protestants, we should have allowed the northern European bishops conferences to believe in faith alone and imputed righteousness, have the southern European bishops to deny faith alone, and the American bishops to believe in the prosperity gospel?

Of course this is absurd. But this is the kind of split that’s occurring between orthodox catholics and modernist liberal catholics.

The scriptures explicitly command doctrinal unity within the church. That means some groups will be wrong. Luther was wrong in the 16th century, and the modernists are wrong today.

I can understand the other responses which say the bishops conferences can decide on pastoral matters, but not doctrinal matters. The problem is that the Kasper proposal has the doctrine contradicting the practice.

Pope Francis sees it differently. From the summary of his speech yesterday…

Pope Francis began by recalling that ever since he became Bishop of Rome, “I wanted to give value to the Synod, which constitutes one of the most precious inheritances of the last council gathering.”

Paul VI had established the synod he said, so that "it should re-propose the image of the ecumenical council and reflect its spirit and method,” but he foresaw then that with the passage of time “it could be greatly perfected.” John Paul II too recognized that the synod “could be improved” by giving it fuller collegial responsibility, and Benedict XVI made revisions to it in the light of new Canon Law.

Francis told the synod participants that “we must continue on this road” because today’s world demands “the strengthening of synergies in all areas of her (the Church’s) mission.”

“The way of synodality is the way that God wants for the Church of the third millennium,” Francis declared. He explained that what Jesus is asking of the church today “is all contained in the word ‘synod,’” which means “walking together—laity, pastors, the Bishop of Rome.” This is an easy concept, but it’s on that’s difficult to put it into practice, he admitted.

He recalled that the Second Vatican Council had reaffirmed that “the People of God is constituted by all the baptized” and that “the entire people cannot err in believing.” Then, in a statement that has far-reaching implications, Francis declared that “the sense of faith impedes the rigid separation between the Teaching Church and the Learning Church, because the flock possesses its own ‘sense’ to discern the new roads that the Lord reveals to the church…” He revealed that it was this conviction that led him to hold the consultations in churches worldwide before the 2014 and 2015 synods, because it’s not possible to speak about the family without talking to families.

The conviction that moving an idea forward in its development, automatically implies that past eras of the Church got it wrong… is an unfortunate affliction of unnatural and unholy inflexibility.

Praying about this one day lately, this thought came to my simple mind.

If you were a shepherd, walking into a field of sheep, and some of these sheep were actually wolves dressed perfectly as sheep, how would you discover the wolves from the sheep?

Dress perfectly as a wolf. The sheep will scatter. The wolves will not feel threatened.

I think the synod has been helpful for at least the laity, as we’ve seen some of the more controversial statements made by bishops who we’ve never heard of before. Now we know them by name. If Pope Francis hadn’t stressed openness months ago when the preparation for the Synod started, we would have never known.

It helps in prayer. To pray for those who are trying to uphold the beauty and truth of the church, to pray for those who are trying to destroy it.

But most of all, to pray for the Holy Father, that he remains united to the Holy Spirit, and is docile to the promptings of God’s will, in all things.

What did Jesus have to say about the abandoned spouse in a marital break-up?

I don’t think anyone has suggested assigning the same culpability to the philanderer as to the abandoned spouse.

He said to them “take up your cross daily and follow me.”

We do it all the time, and no one pushes for recognizing homosexual relationships or ordination of women. We have the Holy Spirit. What’s your problem?

What do you mean by 'We do it all the time"?

Because you don’t have that problem in you church. In the past regional synods had too much unregulated authority in which they could legislate heresy and faulty discipline. Prime example is the eastern synods affirming monothelitism or St.Cyprian’s synod in Carthage that said all heretics need to be rebaptised.

This is because the east ignored one of the most ancient canons of the church that no decisions may be made contrary to the opinion of the Roman Bishop and that all synodal acts must be confirms by Rome for them to have any force

St. Irenaeus of Lyon :

For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority [propter potentiorem principalitatem] – that is, the faithful everywhere – inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has been preserved continuously by those who are everywhere.”

Greek Church Historian Socrates Scholasticus :

Church history 2:8

"Maximus, however, bishop of Jerusalem; who had succeeded Macarius, did not attend, recollecting that he had been deceived and induced to subscribe the deposition of Athanasius. Neither was Julius, bishop of the great Rome, there, nor had he sent a substitute, although an ecclesiastical canon commands that the churches shall not make any ordinances against the opinion of the bishop of Rome.

Church history 2:17 :

“On the receipt of these contradictory communications, Julius first replied to the bishops who had written to him from Antioch, complaining of the acrimonious feeling they had evinced in their letter, and charging them with a violation of the canons, because they had not requested his attendance at the council, seeing that the ecclesiastical law required that the churches should pass no decisions contrary to the views of the bishop of Rome

The sheep will scatter”… There is the rub.

Archbishop Coleridge has posted an unofficial translation of the Popes speech here…


The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke certainly do not.

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