Liberal bishops from Germany, France, and Switzerland met on May 25 in a so-called “secret” meeting at the Gregorian University in Rome to discuss their plans for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, a gathering that included select media representatives who will be used to sow confusion and discord among the faithful about the upcoming Synod.
According to the National Catholic Register, the closed-door meeting brought together some of Europe’s most “progressive” bishops under the leadership of the German prelate, Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Around 50 people took part in the meetings which included bishops, theologians and media representatives, all called together at the invitation of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences in Germany, Switzerland and France. Representatives from Poland are said to have declined the invitation.
“One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly ‘no one’ opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church,” reports NCR Rome correspondent, Edward Pentin. “Participants also spoke of the need to ‘develop’ the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a ‘theology of love’.”
French Biblicist and Ratzinger Prize-winner Anne-Marie Pelletier told Italy’s LaStampa that the Church needs to enter into “a dynamic of mutual listening” in which the magisterium continues to guide consciences, but only if that “echoes the words of the baptized.”
Pelletier also said the synod would be a “failure” if it continued to affirm what the Church has always taught on hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage and communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.
Even though the list of participants was not disclosed, the Register was able to obtain a list and found that it included Jesuit Father Hans Langendorfer, general secretary of the German bishops’ conference, who has been a leader in the fight to reform German Church labor laws to allow remarried divorcees and homosexuals to work in Church institutions.
Another controversial attendee was moral theologian Father Eberhard Schockenhoff, who is known to be a prominent critic of Humanae Vitae and a supporter of homosexual clergy. He believes moral theology must be “liberated from the natural law” and recently pronounced praise for the permanence and solidarity shown in some same-sex relationships.
When confronted about the secrecy of the event, which was apparently kept so quiet not even the Jesuits at the Gregorian were aware of it, Cardinal Marx became irritated and insisted that he had come to Rome on “private” business and had every right to do so.
While it’s not unusual for liberal voices in the Church to gather and plan a strategy for changing church teaching, perhaps most troubling about the meeting is how many media representatives were permitted to attend. Pentin reports that these included journalists from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German broadcasters ZDF and ARD, the Italian daily La Repubblica and French-Catholic media La Croix and I-Media were also present.
“Their presence was ‘striking’, said one observer, who predicted they will be used to promote the agenda of the subject matter under discussion in the weeks leading up to the synod,” Pentin reports.
Manipulation of the media by dissenters inside the Church has already caused a great deal of confusion among the faithful about the aims of the Synod which will take place in Rome later this year. In last year’s pre-Synod on the Family media distortion was so prevalent it became known as the “media synod vs. the real synod”.
For instance, most of the news coverage of a draft document known as the Relatio, which will be used as the basis for discussion at the upcoming Synod, focused only on one paragraph of the multi-page document – the hot-button issue of same-sex marriage – hinting that the Church might change its teaching in the future. Left uncovered was the fact that an overwhelming majority of participants rejected any attempts to equate same-sex unions with marriage. The same distorted coverage was applied to discussions about whether or not divorced and civilly remarried Catholics should be permitted to receive Communion.
As a result, the faithful are looking forward with trepidation rather than with anticipatory joy to a Synod that is of vital importance to the Church’s efforts to evangelize the increasingly decadent cultures in which we live.
Not surprisingly, Vatican representatives were conspicuously absent from the meeting, such as Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the highest ranking Vatican official after the Pope, who obviously is not going along with the liberal agenda.
In fact, Cardinal Parolin went on the record this week calling the results of the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage a “defeat for humanity.”
Parolin also criticized Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for his milquetoast response to the overwhelming vote in favor of same-sex marriage.
“The Archbishop of Dublin said that the Church must take this reality into account, but it must take it into account, in my opinion, in the sense of strengthening its commitment and effort to evangelize,” Parolin said. “And I think we are seeing not only a defeat of Christian principles but a defeat for humanity.”
The bottom line is to be aware that the mainstream media will be regularly distorting the facts about the upcoming Synod. If you want accurate information, stick with faithful Catholic news outlets such as EWTN and the Register. Avoid secular media accounts as well as news being reported by so-called “Catholic” publications such as the National Catholic Reporter who are known for their dissenting views.