A Roman Observer: For his first column, Robert Mickens, a longtime Vatican observer, tells us what to expect when the synod on the family opens this weekend.
I normally do not reply to attacks in the media, but Sandro Magister is a respected Italian conservative with very good sources in the Vatican, so I want to correct a reference he made to me.
In his column "The Betting is Open on the Next Synod," he wrote:
The fact that the "reactionaries" Caffarra, Scola, and Aguilar have been invited to take part in the synod by Francis himself has significantly chilled the enthusiasm for the current pope.
Faith and Justice: The first synod I covered as a journalist was the 1980 Synod of Bishops on the family, which proved to be a month of fun and frustration.
NCR Today: The appointment of 25 curial officials to the synod is a sign that Pope Francis still doesn't understand what real reform of the Curia requires.
Among the nonvoting members of 38 observers and 16 experts appointed by the pope, the majority are laymen and laywomen, including 14 married couples.
Faith and Justice: There is little beautiful or inspiring in the new instrumentum laboris. If married life is as boring and joyless as this document, I am glad I am celibate.
The document says the faithful's struggles in following Catholic teachings stem mainly from ineffective education and the pervasive effect of the culture.
Simply Spirit: This survey provided an opportunity for Catholics from anywhere in the U.S. to give feedback, not only those in the 72 U.S. dioceses that offered online surveys.
NCR Today: This week's USCCB meeting could be a turning point for the U.S. bishops, but will they sail with the Francis wind or will they buck the waves of change?
A handful of U.S. bishops have released some results of public responses to a survey for the Vatican.