The Synod and the Pope-A-Dope

Our friend Pete has coined the term Pope-a-Dope regarding the media’s spin on Pope Francis. “The Pope married people who were living in sin! The Pope is challenging taboos!” Over the decades (yes, I’m that old), I have attended Catholic weddings of couples who had lived together and were now getting married;. married in a civil ceremony, had children, and then married by the Church; and on and on, so the so-called “taboos” headlines were particularly amusing.

Following the news on the Synod on the Family, I would now like to expand the term Pope-a-Dope to include the spin on the Catholic Church in general. Not that we didn’t see it coming:

Sure enough:

the real danger of what is coming out of the Synod not what the words say but how they’re spun.

The media’s goal, as Pete so aptly puts it, is

to have the church decide to not only consider such states of Mortal Sin acceptable for individuals but to actually redefine sin itself.

Princeton professor Robert P. George (one of Ted Cruz’s former professors), expands on the subject:
Has the Catholic Church Changed Its Teaching on Sex and Marriage?
Amid reports of “earthquakes” and “seismic” shifts, we ought to remember the Catholic Church’s moral teachings in their wholeness, which have not shifted.

Now, if you’ve been reading the papers or watching television or visiting blogs and online news sites, you may be thinking:

“Hang on there, professor. Haven’t you heard? On Monday the Catholic Church changed its teachings on marriage and sexuality. There has been an ‘earthquake,’ a ‘seismic shift.’ Things will never be the same. The Church now welcomes remarried people to communion, has dropped its objections to homosexual conduct, and denies that homosexual desires are ‘intrinsically disordered.’ Or it’s about to do all of that. Francis is a new kind of Pope, and it’s a new day. He has brought Catholicism into line with the teachings of the Episcopal Church USA, the Unitarian Universalists, and the New York Times editorial board.”

Prof. George points out that the (emphasis added)

document released on Monday as an interim report on discussions occurring at a Vatican synod of bishops (called an “extraordinary” synod because it is preparatory to a larger synod—an “ordinary” synod—that will occur next year) on contemporary challenges to the family.

The relatio, then, is raw material for this week’s discussion, which will prepare for next year’s discussion, which may provide fodder for a document by the Pope.

So it’s conducive to something preparatory to something (possibly) advisory.

It has no teaching authority whatsoever.

What’s more, it proposed no changes—none—in the doctrine or moral teaching of the Church.

Read Prof. George’s article.

The bottom line is, while the media tries to actually redefine sin itself, the Church asserts that sin is sin and must be rejected.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.