Die Tagespost: Ongoing ‘Shadow Synod’ Overseen by Pope Francis

From Rorate Caeli comes a revelation, translated by Maike Hickson from a report in the German newspaper Die Tagespost:

Who says what, how much the two fronts clash against each other – and nobody so far denied that these fronts exist – what happens substantially in the Synod Hall – all these things are not getting into the public. […] Only in the coming days, will it come out how many Synod Fathers wish which changes to the Church’s practice. As Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, one of the four delegate presidents of the Synod, said a few days ago in front of journalists: the three hundred bishops did not come together in order not to decide upon anything. The uncertainty about how the outcome will be of these three-week long negotiations is being heightened by the fact that in the guest house of the Vatican, Santa Marta, there takes place a kind of ‘Shadow Synod’: Pope Francis meets with participants of the Synod and with outside guests in order to speak with them individually. In the end, it is up to the pope to make a decision about the still open questions and to communicate his decision to the whole Church in a concluding text. That, however, is up to now the greatest riddle which underlies the whole Synod.

Therefore, since the formal ending of the Synod is completely open, it applies even more so to the way and the manner as to how Pope Francis will speak his concluding word concerning marriage and the family in the contemporary world on the basis of this two-year-long synodal process. He can take a long time and write a post-synodal text, as it has been the case with most of the past Synods. But, he also can already speak – in a comprehensive way, and in whatever form he chooses – the concluding word concerning marriage and the family on the last working day of the Synod, on October 24.
In any event, for this Synod, the Message of the Synod Fathers to the People of God has already been deleted; and an approved drafting committee did not even need to have been elected – which points to the fact that the attention of the world’s public and beyond shall be fully directed to the papal final document. Some rumors – according to which this final document even lies, already fully prepared, in a drawer, or that it is just now in the middle of its being written by a working group – do not lack a certain malice, because that would mean that the work of the ongoing synodal process has been a sham consultation. And it was especially Pope Francis who started his pontificate with the wish that the synodal processes shall become more important with regard to the leadership of the Church.

Rorate’s commentary:

Buried within the article published today in the Catholic German newspaper Die Tagespost is the incredible news that helps to explain both the amazing way in which rules are changed by the hour at the 2015 Synod, and the constant leaks of threats and papal opinions. Every day a kind of miniature Shadow Synod meets at the Domus Sanctae Marthae with the Pope (including some Synod Fathers and some outside guests) to decide what steps should be taken at the Synod.
Maybe not even the author realized how explosive the revelation he included nonchalantly in his piece … there is no method, rules, or roadmap in the Synod of Bishops, just a will to reach a specific end, no matter what means are used.
A year ago, this would have been shocking news. Today, it’s merely one of the few missing puzzle pieces left in the jigsaw, the outlines of which, now quite clearly defined by those pieces that surround it, have left little of the final image left to the imagination.

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