Now that the third, and most controversial, part of the Instrumentum Laboris, dealing with how to approach challenging family situations, is being discussed, the intensity of messages heard from the Synod rises too.
For example, the Kazakhstani Archbishop Tomasz Peta didn’t mince his words, when he said, in his intervention during one of the General Congregations:
“Blessed Paul VI said in 1972: “From some crack the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”Another Synod Father who is certainly not using a new language is the Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah who characterizes the present situation saying that “we find ourselves between gender ideology and ISIS” and elaborates it thus:
I am convinced that these were prophetical words of the holy pope, the author of “Humanae vitae”. During the Synod last year, “the smoke of Satan” was trying to enter the aula of Paul VI.
1) The proposal to admit to Holy Communion those who are divorced and living in new civil unions;
2) The affirmation that cohabitation is a union which may have in itself some values;
3) The pleading for homosexuality as something which is allegedly normal.
Some synod fathers have not understood correctly the appeal of Pope Francis for an open discussion and started to bring forward ideas which contradict the bi-millennial Tradition of the Church, rooted in the Eternal Word of God.
Unfortunately, one can still perceive the smell of this “infernal smoke” in some items of the “Instrumentum Laboris” and also in the interventions of some synod fathers this year.”
“Several clues enable us to intuit the same demonic origin of these two movements. Unlike the Spirit of Truth that promotes communion in the distinction (perichoresis), these encourage confusion (homo-gamy) or subordination (poly-gamy). Furthermore, they demand a universal and totalitarian rule, are violently intolerant, destroyers of families, society and the Church, and are openly Christianophobic.There are very different takes on what is happening at the Synod too. For example, the papally-appointed Synod special secretary, Archbishop Bruno Forte described the working of the Synod as follows:
“We are not contending against creatures of flesh and blood ....” We need to be inclusive and welcoming to all that is human; but what comes from the Enemy cannot and must not be assimilated. You can not join Christ and Belial! What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion Ideologies and Islamic Fanaticism are today.”
“Pope Francis has asked us to speak with complete freedom about everything. He pointed out at the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod: “There is nothing that we cannot speak about.” And this is taking place and I think it’s very constructive, because it shows a living Church, co-responsible and involved. To translate this participation and involvement into a spirit of conspiracy or divisions is, I think, a stretch, coming from those who see things only from the outside, without experiencing them from within. Do not forget that we are all men of faith, who feel responsibility towards God and towards our brothers. And that brings us together much more strongly than any possible and hypothetical partisan conflicts that could apply.”Speaking about challenges, the Colombian Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez said:
“In Colombia, for example, only one in three couples is married, while the others live in free or temporary unions, and this creates a fairly big problem in the social life of the nation. Then, it is necessary that the Church, especially the Church in Colombia, is able to proclaim with courage, but also with clarity and with force, the Gospel of the family. This means that one rediscovers the value and the beauty of family life, the beauty of marriage, the beauty of conjugal love, the beauty of the relationship between parents and children, the beauty of the relationships within the family. We must rediscover all this, because the fundamental meaning of these values got a bit lost. And for us, in society, I think this announcement will be welcomed with true joy, because one feels the need to rediscover all that is essential for the life of the family and if it is fundamental to family life it is so also to the life of society.”Finally, let’s again conclude with Pope Francis’ homily from this morning’s mass, where he started by speaking about the gratuitousness of salvation:
“One of the hardest things to understand, for all Christians, is the gratuitousness of salvation in Jesus Christ. We are used to hearing that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to love, to save us and who died for us. But we have heard it so many times that we have become used to it. When we enter into the mystery of God, into this love without limits, we become astonished and perhaps prefer not to understand it.
Jesus also seems a bit hard on these lawyers because he says strong things to them. Says strong and very hard things. ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter, because you have taken away the key’, that is the key to the gratuity of salvation, the key to that knowledge. And these doctors of the law thought that one could be saved by only respecting all the commandments, and who did not do it was condemned. So they shortened the horizons of God and they made the love of God small, small, to the measurement of each of us. This the battle that both Jesus and Paul fought to defend the doctrine. [...]
Jesus says: ‘The greatest love is this: to love God with all your life, with all your heart, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself’. Because it is the only commandment that is the height of the gratuity of God’s salvation. And then Jesus adds: ‘In this commandment are all others, because it calls - and makes all good - all the others’. But the source is love; the horizon is love. If you have closed the door, and you have taken away the key of love, you will not be up to the height of the gratuity of salvation you received. This struggle for control of salvation - that only these will be saved, those who do these things - hasn’t finished with Jesus and Paul. [...]
This fight does not end, and it is also struggle that we carry inside. And it will do us well to ask today: Do I believe that the Lord saved me gratuitously? Do I believe that I do not deserve salvation? And if I merit something it is through Jesus Christ and what He has done for me? Let us ask ourselves these questions today, only like that will we be faithful to this love that is so merciful: the love of a father and of a mother, because God says He is like a mother to us; love, great horizons, no limits, no restrictions. And let us not be fooled by the doctors who limit this love.”