US bishops say despite media hype, synod showed consensus
By Matt Hadro, Baltimore, Md., Nov 10, 2014 / 05:56 pm (EWTN News/CNA)
The U.S. bishops who attended the recent Synod on the Family have emphasized that while the media painted a picture of conflict, the synod fathers were actually united in support of Church teaching.
“This synod, brothers, was one of consensus. Rather remarkable consensus, faithful to the authentic understanding of matrimony revealed by God,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York.
Cardinal Dolan addressed the U.S. bishops at their annual fall conference in Baltimore on Nov 10.
He spoke about the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, a two-week meeting of bishops from around the world that took place last month, focusing on pastoral care around issues involving the family. This year’s synod was the beginning of a bigger process, which will continue with a longer synod next year.
The bishops who attended the synod in Rome reported that despite confusing media portrayals, the event was actually marked by unity. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said the synod’s final document was a “clear affirmation that the teaching of the Church is unchanging.”
“I think we can say abstractly at least, the teachings of the Church remain timeless,” he re-affirmed later during the afternoon press conference.
Cardinal Dolan similarly defended the unity of the gathering, skewering what he saw as the media’s false interpretation of what occurred.
From following media reports, he observed, the synod appeared “divisive, confrontational, partisan, it dwelt only on same-sex attraction, cohabitation, divorced and remarried Catholics.”
But in reality, he said, it was “hardly as spicy, juicy, interesting.”
Pope Francis’ leadership of the synod was characterized by “a radiant charism for attentive listening,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The Pope did not guide the direction of the discussion, preferring instead to remain largely silent, apart from leading the Angelus, the cardinal said, adding that the pontiff “clearly trusts that the Holy Spirit works in a kind of fraternity, trust, and give-and-take.”
Cardinal Dolan acknowledged that the synod “was exhausting, as listening usually is,” and “admittedly at times frustrating since yes, there was some impatience with procedural snags, a few miscues in communications, and an untimely release of a draft, unapproved document.” However, he reiterated that the gathering ultimately was one of “consensus.”
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