I have deeply mixed feelings about signing what I have just signed.
But I have signed and here is why:
This Synod has been convened ostensibly on 'the Family' but this has been shown to be a smokescreen. In truth, it has been evidently shown to be about nothing but power, the exercise of power and its misuse. It is not at the service of Christ, nor of His Church. It is not in service to the mission of the Church and it has not been and is not in service to the Family, unless, of course, you want to redefine 'the Family'.
Pope Francis and those who he has appointed to work closely with him during this time of intense attack on the Church established by our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ are launching an astonishing and brazen attack on both Faith and Morals. This attack would seem to be a dynamic duo, but I am sure readers can think of more...
1. Calls for acceptance of the possibility of altering the Church's language on sexual morality.
Language Conveys Meaning. If you change the Church's language on sexual morality, you change not only the 'reaction' of your hearers to your message, which you hope will become more palatable, but the very meaning of the Church's teachings - the message itself. If you can really find a way of saying that homosexual acts are wrong without saying they are wrong, by a new and more palatable set of language, you are probably, almost certainly no longer saying that they are wrong, but are, rather, approving them. On the issue of sexual morality, as well as everything else of which He spoke, Jesus Christ Himself was 100% clear, and His words were less 'polite' than the Catechism.
In truth, Bishops can already use whatever language they choose to describe the Church's teachings on human sexuality and already they rarely dare to say that which the Church says. What this means for the future of the family, for the future of marriage, the future of the formation of Catholics in the Catholic Faith is unspeakably evil. It would entail a total failure and abnegation of every Catholic's duty to communicate clearly right and wrong on morality, generating anew, generations of Catholics who did not know the Faith, nor how to live it, let alone love it. It goes without saying that in such a new vision of Catholic linguistics, any Bishop or Priest would be isolated and could quickly find himself censured for speaking clearly as Christ and His Apostles did according to the Word of God.
2. Devolution of Pastoral Practise on the issue of Holy Communion to the civilly divorced and remarried.
Aside from the heinous promotion of Eucharistic sacrilege and further endangering the souls within the Church's care, this is nothing other than a direct assault on the Catholicity of the Church Herself. The Church cannot be One, Holy and Catholic if from country to country Bishops' Conferences, because of the Pope's acceptance of it, abrogate to themselves, in complete defiance of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, a manufactured 'right' to break - and publicly so - the bonds of Universal communion with their brethren, the Successors of the Apostles, around the World, or, even, in a neighbouring Diocese.
How could the Church preserve Unity, for which Jesus Christ prayed to His Eternal Father, if they are not of one mind and one heart on such an important matter. Unity is found in fidelity to Jesus Christ, Our Lord Who taught openly of the adulterous nature of such unions. It goes without saying that acrimony and isolation await those Bishops who, should such a move be accepted, refused to be carried away with the wind of the false mercy cherished and supported by their brethren, a false mercy which is tacitly approved, in word and action, by Pope Francis.
But back to power and back to service...
What an opportunity this Synod on the Family was for the Catholic Church and what an insult to Jesus Christ it has become, but for those faithful Bishops and Cardinals who are standing up in order to defend Him and His Teachings as well as His Bride. Yet from the outset, the opportunity for the Pope and the Bishops to proclaim anew the beauty of the Catholic Church's teachings on marriage and the family has been crushed and discarded, always being re-diverted back to issues that it is not within the Church's power to solve.
For 2,000 years, of persecution and of temporal ascendancy, the Catholic Church has taught that man's primary need, his deepest desire, even, yes, his duty, is to know, love and serve Almighty God. The happiness that we seek as creatures does not revolve around the fulfillment of temporal pleasures. The Church has taught always that God, alone, can satisfy the human heart. Our deepest yearning is communion and Union with God. That the Catholic Church should seek to promote or encourage, even a little bit, the notion that our relationship with Almighty God is of lesser importance than questions on earthly satisfaction that can never satisfy us is scandalous in the extreme. 'What would it profit a man," said Our Blessed Lord, "if he gained the whole world, but suffered the loss of his immortal soul?"
What would it profit any Pope, any Bishop, any Priest, and what would it profit the Catholic Church to gain the acceptance of the whole world, but by bending to its ear to its demands for the toleration or acceptance of sin, losing not only its very soul, but the souls of those it comforted with mercy that was anything but, teachings on the family and marriage, that were anything but, language that was emptied of Catholic truth?
Yes, the Catholic Church serves mankind, but it serves God first. It cannot take the place of God, and woe to those who would place themselves in between man and his Creator and Redeemer. In 2001, I became a Catholic. In 2003, I discovered I was homosexual. In 2014, I married a wonderful woman and in 2015, I am happier than I have ever been in my whole life. Through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, Jesus Christ took a man who was completely and utterly lost in life, quite broken by that life and damaged by this world and its abundance of evils. If you want to look for a great sinner, look at me and see one, but I have discovered the riches and glory of the Church established by the Son of God and look forward, with hope, to the Eternal Life that He has promised to His followers. I have cohabited. I have committed homosexual acts. I have had homosexual relationships. I have fornicated. I have, looking back, quite likely received Jesus Christ unworthily in a state of mortal sin. But that is not the end of the story because I believe in Jesus Christ!
But will anyone in the new, shining vision of 'Church' envisaged by the reformers manipulating the Synod find his way to the Truth if the Church does everything it can to deprive him of the truth? Will a man be able to find Jesus Christ's teachings without the Church offering them to him in language that is clear and challenging, that calls him to repentance? Will a man be able to find the Truth anywhere? Why would a man wish to put God first if the Church encourages him not to bother? Why would a man reform his life with God's grace, if the Church says his life is fine as it is? How will a man or woman dedicate themselves daily to overcome sin if the Church tells them not to bother, its all fine really?
That power which has been given to the Church in the name of Her Lord belongs to Him. The power that the Church has to offer is the power of love, the power of grace.
The power that the Church has to offer is truth, to reveal to mankind He Who is full of grace and truth and to reveal to mankind who he is. It is not for man to tell God what He is, or for man to tell God what he himself is. It does not have the power to redesign reality. It does not have the power to transmit falsehood and to deceive. It does not have the power to alter Jesus Christ's Teachings by, in principle, simply agreeing to the World's terms, by adopting the World's own language - a language which is itself duplicitous and deceptive. Such powers as this are simply the fantasies of sinful men in positions of power who forget God. Men can abuse their positions of authority to do these things, but such things can never come from God. To manipulate, to deceive, to intimidate and to abuse authority, these are not virtues.
Faithful Bishops and faithful Cardinals who refuse to adopt, into their ministry and into their Dioceses the terrible errors beings promoted and encouraged (even by the Pope) within the walls of Synod Hall will say everything they possibly can - in the now feint hope of being heard, to persuade the orchestrators of this Synod that the Church must remain in total fidelity to Jesus Christ, but if they are not listened to, before the Synod ends, it does no harm to the fabric of the Church to walk out of the Synod Hall in refusal to be present at an event that encourages, defends or even, at times, glamourises sin. Why? Because, in truth, if they are not listened to, if they are derided, if they are ignored, if they are defamed, if they are bullied, if they are muzzled, if they walk out of that Hall, the Church walks with them. If then they are listened to, if then they are taken seriously, then it is the Church which welcomes them back in.
If Bishops are all equal and the Pope first among equals, then those who reiterate that which has always been believed should get a fair hearing, but if, in preaching the Gospel, you are not received and not listened to, but find yourselves rejected or ignored, Our Lord gave His Apostles some advice...
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. (St Matthew 10:14)
It wouldn't be a schismatic act. It would be an act that said,
'Most Holy Father, we will follow you and be obedient to you in everything, everything but offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.'
In saying that, they would do be doing a service to Almighty God and to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.