Letter Number Eight

From Web Exclusives

As has been noted in this space before, it’s virtually impossible to have a serious discussion when the basic materials allowed into the conversation are three-minute sound-bites. 

Letter Number Seven

From Web Exclusives

Two addresses, given on the morning of October 5, set down important markers for Synod-2015 on its first formal day of work. Pope Francis began by urging the Synod to “always keep before our eyes the good of the Church, of families, and the supreme law, the salus animarum [the good of souls].” The Holy Father then defined the unique character of a Synod: Continue Reading »

Letter Number Six

From Web Exclusives

The Synod on the Family 2015 formally opened on Sunday morning, October 4, with the celebration of Holy Mass at the Altar of the Confession in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter’s, with the Holy Father presiding and the Synod fathers concelebrating.

Letter Number Five

From Web Exclusives

We continue today the series of “model Synod interventions”—model speeches to the Synod’s plenary assemblies, addressing the “issues beneath the issues” at Synod 2015—prepared at the request of LETTERS TO THE SYNOD by various Catholic thinkers. The themes in these “model interventions” could also be usefully brought into the discussions of the Synod’s language-based discussion group: the circuli minores, in Synod-speak. In any event, the hope here is that these brief disquisitions will shed light on the deeper issues of Synod 2015 for all concerned with its deliberations. Continue Reading »

Letter Number Four

From Web Exclusives

As has been noted previously in this space, there are “issues beneath the issues” at Synod 2015. Many of those underlying issues touch on central themes of Christian faith: sin and grace; creation and redemption; the nature of divine Revelation and its role in the ongoing life of the Church; the relationship between objective moral norms (or their very existence) and the exercise of conscience; the unique character of the Church and the way authority is (and is not) exercised within the Church. 
Continue Reading »

Letter Number Three

From Web Exclusives

Robert Royal’s daily reports from Synod 2014, posted on The Catholic Thing (of which he is editor-in-chief), were required reading for anyone trying to understand the dynamics of that Synod amidst the reportorial and analytic fog: which fog, it now seems abundantly clear, was not always generated by the media. Continue Reading »

Letter Number Two

From Web Exclusives

As a general rule, LETTERS FROM THE SYNOD will not burden readers with lengthy texts. When a major text of exceptional thoughtfulness and importance comes our way, however, we’ll bring it, in full, to our readers’ attention. Continue Reading »

Letter Number One

From Web Exclusives

In summoning last October’s special meeting of the Synod of Bishops and the regular session of the Synod that will begin its work on October 5, Pope Francis called the entire Church to an open, wide-ranging, and honest discussion of the crisis of marriage and the family in the 21st century, and to a Gospel-centered exploration of what the Catholic Church might do to respond to this crisis with greater pastoral impact, thus renewing the vocation of marriage and restoring its luster. Continue Reading »