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Pray for a Miracle — An Initial Reaction to the Close of the Synod

Pray for an apostolic exhortation that glorifies and lifts up Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation.

I, like many of you, feel overwhelmed by the events of the past month in Rome. Many an evening, late into the night, I have come before the Lord in the rectory chapel in lament for the confusion and chaos in the Church, the Lord’s beautiful bride and our mother. Oftentimes too in the fourth watch of the night, between 3 and 4 a.m., I return to the chapel, for with my cares I cannot long rest.

Reported from Rome are terrible and seemingly impious things at worst, and confusing and ambiguous things at best. In the final document of the synod are included proposals for married priests on a wide scale and women “deacons.” The Church is currently deeply divided and, I would argue, on the brink of schism, if the Pope includes such proposals in his apostolic exhortation and plan. We must pray for him as never before to hold the line, much as Pope Paul VI miraculously held the line in 1968 when he wrote Humanae Vitae, upholding the Church’s perennial view of the nature and purpose of human sexuality and the ancient forbiddance of contraception. He did this against pressure from the spirit of the age — a pressure that was even stronger than the pressure Pope Francis currently encounters. And, like Francis, Paul VI was no conservative and was very friendly with the agents of radical change. This makes Humanae Vitae all the more miraculous, and we must allow this to give us hope now that Pope Francis will issue a document that does not take us over the brink.

But frankly, it would seem it is going to take a miracle. Pope Francis is deeply enmeshed in the Amazon Synod and its outcomes. It is clear that the Synod was stacked with liberal — even radical — members and that all the matters that ordinary Catholics feared going into the synod have been realized. Pope Francis was certainly at the helm in this Synod and seems to have learned his lessons well at previous Synods where he was publicly resisted. There was a tight leash on the proceedings and press conferences were highly scripted. Catholic reporters did a worthy job, asking often tough questions. The usual reply to these questions by the hand-picked press panel was to express surprise and outrage that such questions were even raised. The whole process has been steeped with the jargon and ambiguity that is the hallmark of this papacy.

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