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Fr. Rosica’s Bias: Are We Getting The Whole Synod Story?

Pope Francis and Fr. Thomas Rosica, described by Zenit as “the Vatican’s English speaking language spokesperson.” – Image Credit: Vatican Photographic Service

What’s really going on inside the Synod? That’s the question many are trying to answer, including those journalists tasked with covering the proceedings. Despite revised procedures that were designed to give the appearance of transparency, the inner workings of the Synod are being obscured by a filter of “language attachés,” whose job it is to tell the media from various countries their version of what’s happening inside.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica is the official point-man in relating what’s transpiring behind closed doors to English-speaking audiences. Considering the significance of his role, it is relevant to relate what we know about Fr. Rosica — a figure not without controversy in recent months — in order that we may attempt to understand any possible agenda that could affect his duties. His report earlier this week — complete with references to accomodating polygamy! — left many Catholics feeling uneasy. On CNN last month, his response to Anderson Cooper’s question about streamlining the annulment process also raised eyebrows:

ROSICA: Yes, stream line and also offer it as a possibility and experience of mercy and you can start over. Something is broken, love is failed, your life is not condemned, your life is not finished. Let’s get on with this. Let’s correct the situation so that people have another chance. All of it has to be understood. He’s [Pope Francis] got this theme of mercy in him. It’s his DNA, his model. (emphasis added)

Remember, this is the same Fr. Rosica who threatened to sue a Canadian blogger for criticizing comments made by Rosica on the very issues being discussed at the Synod. According to Austin Ruse:

At issue are a number of posts criticizing Rosica for his role in the unusually contentious Extraordinary Synod on the Family at the Vatican last October, which drew global attention to the debate within the Catholic hierarchy over communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the Church’s approach to homosexual unions. Some feared, and others hoped, that the Church was set to change traditional doctrine. The blog Vox Cantoris claimed that Father Rosica, who was one of the official spokesmen of the Synod, was central to efforts to change at least Church practice, if not Church teaching.

Fr. Rosica eventually backed down from his litigation threats in the face of significant backlash, but as we previously reported, a shot was fired, and was heard loud and clear by Catholic bloggers around the world.

More recently, it was Fr. Rosica who, during the papal visit to the United States, went on Fox News Sunday and said,

The backdrop [of the papal visit] is a world steeped in violence and bloodshed and rancor and hatred, and here we have coming — to your city, to your diocese — a real prince of peace. If there’s any princely title that should be associated with Francis, it’s “The Prince of Peace.”

(You can see it for yourself here, beginning at 5:08 on the video timeline.)

It is an uncomfortable thing to have a priest acting in an official capacity as a Vatican spokesman using Our Lord’s prophetic title from Isaiah 9:6 to describe his boss. But this was not an isolated incident. After Pope Francis’s speech in Philadelphia, Rosica said, “I have often wondered how Jesus taught on a Galilean hillside. Tonight in Philadelphia I saw how Jesus taught.”


Such statements might be explained away as a sort of overzealous enthusiasm, but they also raise questions of impropriety, inasmuch as they can be interpreted as a sort of borderline-idolatry. If Rosica were saying that Francis is like Jesus, that’d be one thing. But his words, taken literally, make it sound as though he is describing Jesus Himself. Another such statement was posted the following day:


It would not be unreasonable to discuss in greater depth what is at work behind Fr. Rosica’s conflations between the Vicar of Christ and Christ Himself, and whether these might be dismissed as rhetorical excesses. But that is not our concern here. What does concern us is that Rosica is clearly a man so uncritically in awe of his pontiff that it would be implausible to expect him to report the Synod proceedings objectively – especially if he believes he knows the Holy Father’s agenda and desires to promote it. And with Father Rosica serving as the principle conduit through which we in the English-speaking world are receiving our information about the Synod, this presents a serious problem.

Fortunately for us, the ever-stalwart Ed Pentin continues to dig deeper and provides glimpses of what is actually happening behind the scenes – and there is more resistance to the agenda of “accompaniment” and accommodation of sin than Fr. Rosica lets on:

It wasn’t clear who said what under the synod rules, but neither was it clear how many synod fathers addressed the issues Father Rosica, or the other language attaches, had mentioned.

In effect, this meant the public were left with a skewed interpretation of what was said at the opening debate, as happened throughout the last synod.

Thankfully, reliable sources have shared with me a few of the subjects covered by other synod fathers, helping to provide a more rounded picture of what was discussed:

* A number of synod fathers spoke in support of Cardinal Peter Erdo’s introductory speech, including one who underlined the importance of keeping fidelity to truth about marriage, the family and the Eucharist.

* A synod father asked “What are we doing here?” and stressed the synod is about the family, not other relationships such as homosexual ones. He also stressed that if the synod accepts the divorced-remarried issue, the Church effectively “supports divorce”.

* Another said the emphasis should be the sacrament of marriage, so the spiritual beauty of marriage is brought to the fore. Often the Church is not united around the “positive vision” of marriage and family. He said instability around marriage is “against its nature”.

* A synod father referenced St. Augustine, saying some of the baptized living in “irregular situations” don’t want to approach the Sacrament of Penance; he said the crisis of the family is a crisis of faith. He quoted 2 Timothy 4:2-5

* Another intervention noted the flock are too few, and that one should show respect for families which battle and try to remain faithful, those who in particular remain faithful to their marital vows given before God, although there are controversies and difficulties.

* A further intervention stressed that the Church has to defend that which God revealed about marriage and family and that the work of prelates is to support healthy families. A danger for families are “certain cultural currents,” as well as a sociological approach. In order to serve the family one has to take point of departure the word of God.

These were just some of the interventions the press didn’t hear about from Father Rosica among the 72 delivered to the synod on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

We have heard that even before the Synod began, a secret group of theologians began work on its final documents, which would make it somewhat difficult for them to accurately reflect the proceedings. We know that whatever happens in the Synod, Pope Francis has the final say on what we are to take from it. We have been told that Francis’s own intervention in the opening days of the Synod has kept the most controversial aspects of last year’s portion in central focus. And now, we have one of Francis’s biggest fans in the position of telling us what (and only what) he thinks we should know about the proceedings.

Fortunately for us, journalists like Pentin have their own sources within the Synod. But as long as the smokescreen persists, we’ll only be receiving an occluded view.

74 thoughts on “Fr. Rosica’s Bias: Are We Getting The Whole Synod Story?”

    • It’s creepy because it’s gay. Do these men ever stop touching one another? Touching faces lingeringly, holding hands, embracing, gazing into each other’s eyes… gak

  1. Thanks for a thoughtful article; there has been too much hyperventilating on a synod which is only beginning, and remains only a consulting body.

    I have had my own concerns about Fr. Rosica for several years, and they are not lessened by his role in this synod.

    But in the end, there are no publications from the synod, and the very best info seems to be from Mr. Pentin. We need to pray, and have patience.

    • And keep very alert. I am glad that Edward Pentin is reporting on the Synod. Given that he wrote the ebook about the Synod’s manipulations, orthodox bishops and cardinals will know who to approach to give their statements, which given Fr. Rosica’s history, will not be reported.

  2. [Re: the picture you have above , the one the newly elected pope is meeting with Fr. Rosica]. For some reason, when watching this meeting on TV, it disturbed me. It seemed the two were celebrating the papal ascension … almost like we did it!.

  3. The fantasy here is that most of those who remarried without annulment are actually interested in reconciliation with a Church that they no longer hold sacred, if they ever did, and which, you may depend upon it, will hold even less appeal for them after she gives in to their demands. To the extent that they think about the matter at all, I think they will say “We were right all along, so please do not bother passing the collection plate this way now.”

    Reconciliation is a two-way street. Unless an outstretched hand is grasped, one who has fallen will stay exactly where he is, which is to say, in the case of the vast majority of those in adultery, in a state of utter indifference to their plight.

    Oh yes, and let’s not forget the extra benefit that the Church will reap in the demoralization of those couples who remained faithful to their marriage vows, the saps.

    • I agree. Just where is this ground-swell of demand? Many re-marrieds just go about their daily business and don’t care. The ones that do care already go to Communion. This is sleight of hand on Francis’ part.
      Don’t you wish someone would ask about this? Show us the numbers!

      • The German bishops want to keep their flocks in the pews and paying the Church tax, and that means giving in to their modernist demands.

    • Unless an outstretched hand is grasped, one who has fallen will stay exactly where he is, which is to say, in the case of the vast majority of those in adultery, in a state of indifference to their plight.

      Well said. And you’re right: the Church almost invariably has less appeal to them after the cave-in happens.

    • Basically, if the Church “approves” divorce (it does not have this mandate from God) it will be like throwing faithful Catholics under the bus. Those who are DEMANDING that the Church accept homosexuals and the divorced don’t believe in God. It’s just a way for them to corrupt the people who cling to God

  4. The whole Synod is a sham.The modernists, led by the silver tongued devil is trying to undermine Christ and His Church’s doctrines.Darkness in the light of day (pastoral care).

  5. Our local, diocesan (?) newspaper, the Catholic Sentinel, published a feature story on the Pope’s US visit with the screaming headline, “HE CHANGED US.”

    And I thought, “No, he didn’t; Jesus does.”

    On the other hand, perhaps the Sentinel was just jumping the gun on the Synod.

    • As has been pointed out today by Michael Matt, Pope Francis has not changed anything. Abortions gone? Contraception a thing of the past? Mass attendance way up? Confessional lines out the door? Divorce courts empty? Annulment Canonists on the breadline?

  6. Rosica is to this papacy what George Stephanopoulos is to the Clinton team, i.e. you can’t trust a word either of these sycophants says. And the FB photo with his quip (above) actually made me burst out laughing. Here we see the pope with a mic and modern sound projection system in front of him, and what does Rosica comment? “I have often wondered how Jesus taught on a Galilean hillside. Tonight in Philadelphia I saw how Jesus taught.” Our spokesman here may be about as reliable as a used Yugo, but he IS funny, even if unintentionally.

  7. Rosica gives me the creeps. Part of me wishes he’d sue me, I’d relish a good scrap with this cretin, especially knowing I’d have the entire Catholic world (i.e what people today call “traditionalists”) behind me, not to mention countless Rosaries backing me up. Not that I’d wish the ire of a litigious and mendacious NuPriest on anyone, mind, and I’m certainly pleased for Vox that things didn’t go any further. But as a single man who’s survived my fair share of set-tos with idiots who deserved nothing less than a good smack in the mush, I submit that I’m a far more worthy target in that respect.

  8. Steve Skojec

    I really think this Bishop has described what will most probably is the real aim of the people behind the manipulation:

    Since a few days ago it dawned on me that the end result will probably be something that while strictly orthodox, will somehow allow for bishops everywhere to make decisions that will accomplish these people’s goals at the local level. All while while leaving doctrine officially unchanged and the Pope’s hands clean.

    Similar (or pretty much just like) to the Motu Propio.

    • To paraphrase the great Michael Davis “the apostles’ abandonment of Our Lord on that first Maundy Thursday was the first act of collegiality in the history of The Church”. As his words and actions indicate, especially in relation to the Motu Proprio, Pope Francis is a huge fan of that dodgy piece of modernist twaddle which VII gave us.

    • I am loathe to direct anyone to that execrable liberal Catholic rag The Tablet (England), but a survey of the articles written there by Christopher Lamb will describe for you just what Team Bergoglio has in mind. (Don’t read these before going to bed; you won’t sleep much. And, whatever you do, don’t let the children read this stuff!)

      First, Lamb sizes up the real aims of this Synod, i.e. the reason the pope put the show on the road:

      Then we get a frightening look into a very dark space indeed, the mind of Cardinal Vincent Nichols. (Again, caution is the watchword here. If you have HBP or gastric problems of any kind, best you stay away from this ghastly British cocktail):

      • Hahaha that pic of Nichols is a treat. That ‘imma thinkin’ thing that the worst of self-styled intectuals with a column have, hand on chin, “this is me bein’ deep maaaan'” look that came out (and died) sometime around 1990. Lol. Made my night. I’ll sleep well, rest assured.

  9. Is the pope Jesus? I’ve read or heard a bit of that kind of thing- hyperbolic comparisons.
    I don’t trust Rosica for a minute. He had a show on TV called ‘Salt & Light’or something like that. At the end of the episode some young people would gather with him for a discussion. He was progressive. My memory is very fuzzy so I can’t give an example. Maybe for that reason I should not say anything.

  10. Isn’t it funny how our Pope is very clear when speaking about global warming or other communist ideas but when it comes to church doctrines he is so unclear? I wish I was a Catherine Sienna.

  11. Here’s an article that should be shelved under “Skinning the Cat, One-Inch Patch at a Time.”

    Archbishop Coleridge’s words here are a chilling indication of the confusion that will reign following this Synod. In my mind, it’s planned confusion. He talks about allowing more “decentralization” — that’s code for what most of us would call “ecclesiastical pandemonium.” One wonders if parishes will now have to print out pamphlets for visiting Catholics going to confession. The pamphlet could list the sins in that still need to be confessed in THAT diocese. Then there is this gem:

    “[We need] a new way of speaking about the situation of those who are same-sex attracted or in a same-sex partnership of some kind, or those who are divorced and civilly remarried.
    I personally think it’s just not in touch with reality to say there is no good in those relationships. I understand that there’s no continuum between good and evil, but that’s all theory. The reality is, and any pastor knows this, that when you meet people in these relationships, it’s not black and white.”

    Ask yourself this: When was the last time you even heard sodomy mentioned from the pulpit? What can this Australian bishop possibly have in mind here when he says “…it’s just not in touch with reality to say there is no good in those [sodomic] relationships.” There is, I suppose, ”good” in all kinds of sinful “relationships”. I mean, doesn’t a family whose main industry is thievery exhibit some “good”? They can feed the kids better, for instance, and there’s no longer any need to burden taxpayers with welfare payments.

    Folks, I don’t know about you, but way back in Catholic grammar school, six decades ago, even our third-graders would have scoffed at this kind of sophistry. And the nuns, most of whom are now dead or have left their ministry, would have had the good sense to bang Archbishop Coleridge’s head on the blackboard….very hard.

    • Goodness me yes, I read that guff earlier and made the mistake of reading the comments. Such badly formed ‘c’atholics lapping it up and engaging in some of the most preposterous justifications in defence of this drivel, I find it incomprehensible. *shakes dust from feet and moves on*

      • Crux is an ANTI-CATHOLIC webpage. I made the mistake of reading it a couple of months ago thinking that the people were mis-informed and that I could evangelize in the comments section. Nope: I was summarily blocked.

        they are not interested in being part of the Catholic Church but only to DESTROY it from within

    • But how does a man who publicly congratulates Michael Sam for coming out of the closet (“Bravo!”), and who allows gay marchers to infiltrate the St. Patrick’s day parade, define “family”? Does his definition include a gay married couple and their surrogate-born children? Nothing in that quote precludes such definition.

      • You won’t find me wasting my time trying to defend Dolan’s actions that you mention here. I merely cited this as something reasonable said amidst many other irrational statements by other prelates ( Cdl. Bonny, for example). I think you will have to admit, though, that Dolan’s first sentence cited here precludes the definition you give: “We have to defend what God revealed about marriage and the family.”

        • I’m sure you’re not as naive as you sound here. Dolan loves to play both sides. I’m quite sure someone as casual with language (not to mention thinking) as Dolan could argue that God “reveals” that, for instance, “all you need is luv” to have a “marriage” and/or “a family”. If Dolan really wanted to be clear he could have used the words “man and woman” but he didn’t. We’re past the point where lack of clarity can be excused as oversight. It’s a purposeful tactic. He’s playing ball.

          • I certainly won’t be disputing what you say, but in fairness we must acknowledge that he’s playing the right side in the one place where he could easily play for the other. It could be that the truth is actually winning out in the sessions right now, and he’s being savvy, or it could even be that he knows he’s being recorded and reported outside Rosica and co’s scripted BS. Or it could even be that Holy Innocents is keeping NY afloat fwiw. Who knows? Nothing would surprise me right now.

          • Quite right, I’m not as naive as you may believe me to be. On the other hand, I lack your powers of telepathy and therefore am reduced to merely interpreting what Dolan says, to reading his words not his thoughts. Since what God revealed about marriage and the family is fairly clear to all but the most clouded minds, Dolan’s two references to this revelation in less than five sentences rather limit his field of action, despite your assertion to the contrary.

          • Dunno. Because he’s a coward in front of the cameras? Because Francis has a way of ending good bishops with the stroke of a pen? Both? I dunno, really. Like I said originally, weird. But here we are.

          • He’s not a good bishop, definitively. He is two faced. Since when does that describe a “good bishop”? Maybe you’re younger than me. I think you’ll find as you get older that when it comes to “good bishops”, there should be zero tolerance for two-facedness. I’m open to correction, but it seems to me that making this point is the entire purpose of this website, as opposed to places like Patheos “Catholic Channel”.

          • and calling someone like Dolan a “good bishop” does a real disservice to those clerics who are willing to say uncomfortable things in front of the cameras and out from behind closed doors. The guys who do that are the good bishops. not Dolan.

          • Okay, I’m 45 for starters and not an idiot. I will qualify my reference to “good bishop” it was meant in reference to anyone not willing to out and out play the NuChurch card at every opportunity, and not a statement of objective fact, so I take it back. Francis has a way of ending Bishops who don’t tow the liberal line was my point.
            You don’t like Dolan, sheesh me neither. The St Patrick’s day thing stank. I’m not apologising for him, just stating observation and advancing theories. Seriously, chill out bro.

          • Ahem. “Context” would have once dictated that Christians reject out of hand any association with Paul of Tarsus.

          • Why, did Paul spout heresy after his conversion? Or are you suggesting that Dolan has not yet converted to Christianity? Because if you aren’t claiming either of those, the analogy is specious,

          • You do know what Paul did before his conversion I suppose. What other interpretation but the absolute worst could the “context” of these previous actions have suggested to the average Christian? Don’t be perverse. Look, you clearly don’t like Dolan, and that is your prerogative. But that does not authorize you to twist his words here into a defense of heresy.

          • I’m being perverse? No, sorry. You can’t compare the actions of a Roman Catholic Cardinal with a non-Christian when searching for context. Apples and oranges. And how dare you accuse me of “twisting Dolan’s words”? I did no such thing.

      • Weirdly, apparently Dolan was one of those opposed to last year’s shenanigans too. Good to see that behind closed doors he’s pretty solid. Weird, I know, what Johnny C said on that. But credit where due.

        • “Apparently”? Did Dolan come out and say he was opposed to said shenanigans? Of course he didn’t. Prelates who are “solid behind closed doors” — assuming he’s even that — are a huge part of the problem. They get no credit from me at all.

          • I don’t know where you live, but as an erstwhile New Yorker I can tell you there are many instances when Dolan flatly contradicts himself. and I do mean flatly. the man has no credibility.

  12. This is papolotry when you take it to it’s final conclusion. It is also *THE* central error of “conservative Catholics” (as well as liberals when they have a Pope they like.)

  13. Participants of the Synod have indeed taken to the internet. Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki has a blog (in Polish), translated by the blogger at torontocatholicwitness blog. The blogger says that what Fr. Rosica is reporting, “is in total contradiction with what I have read on Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki’s blog. Fr. Rosica may be unaware, but this Prelate keeps copious notes on interventions”.

    The blogger translates some of Archbishop Gadecki’s notes on the torontocatholicwitness blog – an intervention by Cardinal Sarah for example. See it and others here at:
    We obviously cannot trust the Vatican Press to report objectively on the Synod.

      • Unfortunately, no longer. Today on Rorate Caeli, Balderisseri reminds
        “The bishops can publish their own texts, but they can’t (they just can’t, that’s it) the texts of others…”

        Well, it must have worked, because the President of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Gadecki, had made available on Wednesday a summary of the interventions of many Synodal Fathers (on the first day, in French). After the new threat, it disappeared ….”

        • Now we know how Russians felt when momentous debates were going on inside the Politburo. Francis is clearly a liberal, but the atmosphere at this Synod has a distinctly Bolshevik scent to it.

  14. This disturbance we feel with regard to Rosica is not new. There has been a strange discomfort amongst Canadian Catholics for years where this priest is concerned. This was obvious as far back as 2002 and the World Youth Day in Toronto. His Salt and Light TV has not exactly been Catholic at times in its subject material. His admiration for the ex priest Gregory Baum is blatant and very disturbing. Seeing him so deeply dug in in the Vatican, gaining more power over recent years is cause for alarm. Your focusing on him now is a relief and the more light you shed the better. Thank you.

    • Interesting. I confess that, although I am frequently in Canada, I’d never heard of him till recently. (Of course, I am frequently in Quebec and that may explain things. French and English Canada are very different worlds.) Could you provide some more sources of info on this priest?

      • Try Vox Cantoris here:
        Vox Cantoris has had a long going battle with Fr. Rosica, calling him out on many of the priest’s ‘unCatholic’ utterances.
        Fr. Rosica threatened to sue the blogger in February of this year, unless the blogger deleted the factual posts about Fr. Rosica. Thing is, that action of Fr. Rosica really riled traditional Catholics, many of whom offered to donate toward Vox’s legal fees should he decide to stand his ground, which Vox did. Fr. Rosica backed down. You can read about that kerfuffle on Vox’s side bar, as well as the older posts of Vox’s on Fr. Rosica.

      • Suffice that you read the contents of his ‘chat’ with Gregory Baum ….the rest was just the drop by drop disturbing statements, feminist rubbish on his TV station and other religions given legitimacy on same TV station….as equals…His handling of World Youth Day in 2002 also disturbed a lot of parents and other Catholics.

  15. Stirrings over at a site where “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” should be emblazoned on its masthead. Funny, isn’t it, that a pope who so boldly and repeatedly talks the democratic talk doesn’t seem to want at all to walk the democratic walk? But in the US we’re used to this kind of thing, used to seeing how liberals are always eager to control just about everything in sight. And when liberals aren’t dreaming up ways to control others, they’re busy giving speeches proclaiming how really broad-minded they are. Guess liberals are the same the world over.


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