Fear not the Synod on the Family. The Holy Spirit Always Wins.
As the Synod on the Family approaches, I’ve seen one article after another shared around filled with panic and trepidation about secret agendas and worries that the Synod might end up pushing forward non-Catholic teaching and allow communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and other some such nonsense. When the Vatican released the list of those the Pope selected who would participate in the upcoming Synod on the Family, I swear I could hear a collective *gasp* from concerned Catholics around the world who found this list quite disconcerting to say the least. Does this mean the Pope is gearing towards changing Catholic teaching? Is this one of the signs of the end times? You may have seen the commentary from LifeSiteNews, or other similar articles and become filled with dread as you read through the dirty laundry list, wondering how there could be such division over what should really be clear, Catholic teaching. Let me put your heart at ease with some clear Catholic teaching then: The Holy Spirit will triumph in the Church. Always.
When we’re panicking over the Synod and thinking that accidentally, somehow, something will slip through and destroy Catholic moral teaching, remember the promise of Jesus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. It really is that simple. Need I remind you that during the 4th century, at the time of the Arian heresy, bishops, priests, and laypeople alike were wandering the streets singing catchy tunes that Jesus was not equal to the Father or that He was merely a creation of the Father. All but the Pope a few Bishops had jumped ship, but those few faithful, including St. Athanasius, remained steadfast and as we see, the Church prevailed even against overwhelming odds, and even against dissenting clergy. So yes, the Holy Spirit will always triumph. Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t be in for a bumpy ride, or that we shouldn’t voice our concerns, but let’s at least put that fear over the destruction of the Church to rest, shall we?
Second, I have a theory. A wild theory. Because I’m a man who likes to hope and I just have this gut feeling that in Pope Francis’ own, peculiar way, he’s laying out his own strategy by breaking the mold of conventional methods of dealing with issues. Because that’s kind of what seems to be his M.O. from what I’ve observed. But again please keep in mind, this is just a completely out there theory with no other basis than my general musings. Got it? Okay.
What if the Pope has intentionally selected the straying Cardinals in order to set them on track?
The Pope has made it clear that he wants transparency, openness and dialogue, and to be willing to consider various angles on things. The fact that he’s continued giving audience to Kasper’s push for communion to divorced and remarried Catholics is proof of that. But notice that he’s always in the end come down and corrected those errors. I remember the panic in the previous Synod about the interim meetings when erroneous teaching was in the discussion and faithful Catholics freaked out, but in the end, those issues were corrected. I think that maybe the Pope is trying to lead people back, by allowing them to say their piece, to truly be heard and considered, and then upon consideration, to be corrected, so as to both make clear what is erroneous, and to perhaps win some of these people back in the process.
Of course it is a whole other debate as to whether this is a good method or not, but the Pope has said that we need to think outside of the box when we evangelize so, who knows, maybe that’s what’s really going on. Of course, maybe I am completely wrong. I’m not married to this hypothesis. Pun intended. But regardless of the reasons for why this is going on, we should have full confidence in our Lord, who is guiding all these things by His Spirit. We can still be mobilized in making our voices heard as led by the Spirit, but we should not lose sleep over it, as though God will fail, because God has absolute victory.