He seems to be saying “calm down.”
These past three weeks in Rome have been strange and hopeful at the same time. Strange, because the synod reported in the media and the synod actually taking place at the Vatican are rarely the same creatures.
The issues of modern family life are complex. They have great importance for the future of the Church and the world. So the work of this synod matters. True to his style, Pope Francis has encouraged an open and frank spirit from the start. Differences among the synod fathers – including serious differences on serious matters – are part of the natural flow of discussion. Bishops at the synod need to deal with such matters candidly. Otherwise, nothing good can result. But “warring camps” simply don’t exist. The mood among the synod fathers has been far friendlier than any commentators seem to imagine. There are no “revolutionaries” or “reactionaries” in the synod hall – only bishops sincerely trying to face sensitive issues and chart the right course for the Church in the light of the Gospel.
Which brings me to why this synod experience has also been hopeful. It’s one thing to hear about the “catholic” nature of the Catholic faith. It’s another, deeply reassuring thing to see it alive in the intelligence and dedication of bishops from around the world gathered as brothers in one place. The synod’s lay auditors, including married couples, have offered invaluable counsel in our small group discussions. So have the fraternal (i.e., ecumenical) delegates.
The point is: Whatever develops in the short term from this synod, God remains with his Church. We should cultivate that peace in our hearts. We need to trust in God’s Word, and we need to pray for and trust the Holy Father. Otherwise we defeat our own discipleship. Confusion – as I was famously misquoted, out of context, a year ago – is of the devil. We shouldn’t be part of it.
Good to hear.
Keep praying for all involved in the Synod.