The October extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was not the scene of "a clash between factions, but of a debate among bishops," a work that will continue with the 2015 general synod "for the good of families, the church and society," Pope Francis said.
Synod on the Family
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn also said open controversy is "absolutely essential" when discussing the future of the Catholic church.
The Vatican has asked national bishops' conferences to seek input from Catholics at "all levels" for the 2015 Synod of Bishops -- and asked them to avoid basing input solely on current doctrine.
South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier at one point said the 2014 event had put Catholic prelates in "a position that is virtually irredeemable."
Q and A: "In my judgment, there never has been an infallible church teaching on a specific moral issue," Fr. Charles Curran says.
Within weeks, the Vatican said in a statement Thursday, bishops' conferences around the world will be receiving preparatory documents for the 2015 synod.
Episcopal and interest group reactions to the conclusion of the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops ranged from concern that the event's discussions would lead to doctrinal confusion, to elation that they had reopened an atmosphere of dialogue and discussion in the church.
Following is a sampling of such reactions to the conclusion of the 2014 synod.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said Oct. 23 that he was "very disturbed" by the synod's discussions of the church's pastoral practices toward divorced and remarried persons and toward gay people.
My Table is Spread: I like to imagine myself one of the faithful of the fourth-century Diocletian persecution, but I know better.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin decried comments from clerics and others who said Pope Francis caused confusion in his calls for an open discussion on how the church should reach out to those who are marginalized, hurt and wounded in their lives during the recent Synod of Bishops on the family.
Martin said he was "quite surprised at the remarks of some commentators within church circles about the recent Synod of Bishops, often making accusations of confusion where such confusion did not exist and so actually fomenting confusion."
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is confused about the recently completed family synod in Rome. He notes that "confusion is of the devil."
Chaput wants to clearly restate church teaching on homosexuals and marriage. I wonder how many times we need to restate the obvious. Is that our only function? Is it simply to keep repeating the same words over and over that everybody already knows and has heard many times?