Written by: David Prosen, LMHC, LPC
What a whirlwind it has been with the reports of the Synod at the Vatican over the past week!
And now that the first part of the Synod has come to a close… I can’t help but notice all the confusion that has set in! The media is now bombarding us with article titles such as “Bishops Scrap Welcome to Gays” and “Catholic Synod: Pope Francis setback on gay policy”.
The following paragraph is what caused much of the debate, strong emotions and confusion.
50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing […] them […] a place of fellowship in our communities? Oftentimes, they want to encounter a Church which offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
According to many articles I’ve seen posted on Facebook including one by Huffington Post, the bishops could not agree on a revision of the paragraph.
The media is portraying the response of bishops to the Synod report as a block to Pope Francis changing the Church. In addition to this, during the blow up of everything going on, Cardinal Burke announced that he was “ousted” from his position in Rome. And, according to some articles, spoke of Pope Francis as not being in line with Church teaching on morality.
As I look at Facebook posts this morning it’s as if I am sifting through the rubble after a disaster looking for what was left undamaged. I am finding division among friends. I am finding good Catholics blaming the Pope and now distrusting him to shepherd the flock in truth.
Why did Cardinal Burke make this announcement in the middle of the chaos? Could it be that this frustration to what was going on with the Synod, triggered his own emotions about being “ousted”? The consequences of the decision to share this information at that particular moment seemed to further add distraction and confusion.
Many of my Facebook friends have been assuming that he was “ousted” because of Cardinal’s strong stance on issues of morality including homosexuality.
Is there evidence of this? If we don’t have evidence of this then we need to be very careful here. Obviously, Our Holy Father has reasons for removing Cardinal Burke from that position. We don’t know the reasons and nor are we owed an explanation. For example, the father of a family makes decisions for his immediate family and does not owe explanations for his decision to other family members such as siblings.
Maybe it was an organizational decision and maybe it was something else. Cardinal Raymond Burke has done much good work for the Church re: pro-life and other topics of morality. And we are very thankful. But we don’t know the whole story of Pope Francis’ decision to remove Cardinal Burke from the position.
Our Holy Father is the shepherd of God’s children. He was appointed to this position by the Holy Spirit. We need to continue to trust the Holy Spirit and be careful of our judgments.
So now, as I sift through this rubble after the wake of this disaster of chaos, I see doubt, confusion, mistrust, anger, hurt and sadness. Is the Holy Father a Pope of truth in love? Is Cardinal Raymond Burke being removed from the position, because of his stance on morality or are there other reasons? What is the truth regarding the Synod? Who is to blame? There are many questions and many assumptions being made in the wake of what seems like sheer chaos.
Could this possibly be what Satan and his demons were wanting all along? We need to try as hard as we can to be careful not to judge. We can continue to look at fruits and judge the fruits. But we must be careful not to judge the hearts of others- and that includes leaders in the Church. Instead we must consistently pray that the Holy Spirit lead us and continue to work through our Church and through the leaders of the Church.
The rubble and dust does not have to steal our hope and trust. Maybe God allowed this to happen for other reasons. As we move on with the light of the Holy Spirit, maybe those in leadership positions in this country will see the messes that have been made in our own dioceses, over the years by dissenting groups such as “Dignity”, “Call to Action” and “Future Church”. Let’s continue to clean up the debris with the power and light of the Holy Spirit and depend on Him fully to lead us to the hope that we can only find in Him.
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