David Gibson on the synod:
Amid all the lobbying and armchair analysis, it’s important to step back and realize that in the three decades before Francis was elected pope, bishops, priests and theologians could have been investigated, censured, silenced or fired for many of the ideas that were being openly discussed at the synod.
That is perhaps the real earthquake, and it’s one that Francis himself wanted.
I think this is right.
In one sense, the hard-liners have already lost. They cannot control the speech. They cannot silence those who interrupt their aristocratic serenity. And best of all, people outside the Church know we are not a monolith of rigor. They might have to look a bit past the surface, but many Christians are here to welcome them.
I think Pope Francis has allowed this to play out crazy clever. The onus is on the bishops now to provide something for those of the household–all the clattering for more support for those who struggle in faithfulness to Christ.
One big step might be to put on hiatus the causes for bishops, priests, and religious founders. Married couples, and not just a few, need to be set out there as role models. As it is, the rigorists, knowingly or not, have ceded most of the exemplars in the Church to those of society, namely celebrities.
And on the local level, I think a lot of Catholics feel unburdened. Hopefully, we are prepared to offer the hand of welcome that a minority of bishops felt they could not extend. As for the bishops, fine. It’s not like they prepare couples for marriage, or write up documents for the declaration of nullity, or really get into the trenches much. In some cases, I’d prefer they take time for reflection and devote energy to their own formation and catechesis.
No, I think the synod turned out just fine. I know a number of people who will feel more free to talk. And truthfully: you can’t stop the talk.