Letter Number Twenty-Two

In the morning, the Synod fathers will hear a revised draft of the Synod’s final report, constructed in light of yesterday’s general assembly debate and the written amendments submitted by the fathers. The fathers will then vote on the revised document, paragraph by paragraph, in the afternoon. It is not yet clear whether the document that results from that voting process will be publicly released, or when.

Special Edition V

The Relatio Finalis [final report] of Synod-2015, adopted this evening by the Synod Fathers, is a massive and encouraging improvement over the Instrumentum Laboris [working document] that was the baseline for the Synod’s work. The tremendous difference between the two documents illustrates just how fruitful a path the Synod walked over three sometimes-challenging weeks.

Letter Number Twenty-One

The general assembly of the Synod of Bishops heard the draft of a final report on Synod-2015 on the afternoon of October 22. The general assembly will hear interventions on the draft final report this morning, and the Synod members will submit modi—proposes for alterations—in writing. The drafting commission will revise the draft final report on Friday afternoon, presumably taking account of the modi and the oral interventions in response to the draft.

Mirror of Magistrates

For Christians, 1 and 2 Samuel are “history.” For Jews, they are among the writings of the “Former Prophets.” But the books can also be read as wisdom literature, especially when we recognize that biblical wisdom is royal wisdom. What follows is a sampling of the many lessons about good and . . . . Continue Reading »

A Tale of Two Cities—And of Two Churches

You will recall the lapidary opening of Dickens’s famous novel of London and Paris in the period of the French Revolution. Headed ‘Book I—Recalled to Life: Chapter I: The Period” it begins: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . . .” For reasons that will quickly become . . . . Continue Reading »

Toasting the Conscience

In Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, Blessed John Henry Newman suggests gamely that religion should never be the subject matter for after-dinner social toasts. But, he says “if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts, I shall drink—to the Pope, if you please—still, to Conscience . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter Number Twenty

Today is the liturgical memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, aptly described by Pope Francis during the canonization homily last year as “the Pope of the Family.” Several aspects of John Paul’s experience of the family, teaching about the family, and defense of the family seem worth a reflection on this special day of gratitude for his life and witness, as Synod-2015 begins its last seventy-two hours work.

How to Strengthen Catholic Community

As the Synod on the Family continues, a number of Catholic writers are questioning whether it’s really nice to exclude the divorced and remarried from Communion. The people on the margins of the church, the people oppressed by sin and circumstance are the ones who can least weather being pushed . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter Number Nineteen

The schedule for the remainder of Synod-2015 has been changed by the Synod general secretariat. On Tuesday evening, October 20, the reporters from the various language-based discussion groups met to review the modi, the proposed amendments/deletions/alterations, to Part III of the Synod’s working document, a task to be completed by noon on Wednesday.