In light of the numerous overwrought print media and blogosphere reports circulating in recent days, we’re happy to provide, in the spirit of Sergeant Joe Friday of Dragnet, “just the facts” about certain events at Synod-2015:
⇒ The letter given to Pope Francis on the first working day of the Synod, signed by 13 members of the College of Cardinals, was private, entirely respectful and written in the spirit of open, fraternal discussion for which the Holy Father has repeatedly called.
⇒ The letter addressed concerns about Synod process that were widely shared at the time among the Synod fathers, many of which have been subsequently and satisfactorily addressed. Thus there was nothing “controversial” about the contents of the letter, as there should have been nothing controversial about the fact that it was given, privately, to Pope Francis.
⇒ In a press conference earlier this week, the Vatican press spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, did not refer to the letter itself as a source of disturbance within the Synod, but to the leak of the letter (containing as it did distortions of the letter’s substance and a mistaken list of signatories) as a source of disturbance.
⇒ Reports and commentary on the letter, and on the alleged concerns of its signatories about the subject-matter of Synod-2015, often assume that the Holy Father holds views for which the reporters and commentators have no evidence.
⇒ Whatever the storminess in the media Synod and the blogosphere Synod, the atmosphere within the Synod itself is good, and what agitations exist come from those pressing minority proposals for which there is no consensus among the Synod fathers.