The Final Synod Report: Better than Hoped For?

By Published on October 24, 2015

It’s very rarely pleasant to have to issue a self-correction, but I’m quite happy to do so today, especially since the error was to underestimate the workings of the Holy Spirit – and even of a Synod of Bishops. I’ve been a bit more optimistic than most observers here in Rome over these past weeks (as you may have noticed), and readers have chided me for everything from criminal naiveté to having drunk deep of the synodal Kool-Aid. But though I have not yet personally seen a copy of the Final Synod Report, those who have, and whom I trust, are, in two words, pretty happy. So my judgment that the best we could hope for was damage control, but no more, was actually a little too pessimistic.

We have to wait and see what will make it to the final text. And I remind gentle reader that we are only — for now — considering the very narrow question of a document that will come out of this whole synodal process. A much more worrying development is that, though what you will soon see in that text will contain nothing that flatly contradicts the truths of the faith, as was once feared, this synodal process has set in motion a narrative that the Catholic Church under Pope Francis is engaged in radically rethinking fundamental questions about marriage and family. In the short run, that may be more damaging to genuine Catholicity than any particular problem that has arisen.


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