There are no “spectacular revolutions” in the offing at the Synod of Bishops, and those expecting one will be disappointed, one of the three president delegates of Synod of Bishops said Monday in a press briefing. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris underscored that the “discussion at the synod was coloured, even filtered, by inaccurate media reports” but that “the Pope and the synod do not want to listen to what is floating in the air, and fashionable, today.” The Pope and the synod want rather to listen to “the signs of times, that is, the discernment we have learned from the Second Vatican Council.” The cardinal rejected the notion of a Church divided into two parties, as did Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, who is serving as special secretary of the Synod of Bishops. “The media depicted a Church divided into two poles… but this is not the perception we have from inside the synod hall,” Archbishop Forte said. In the morning, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa made the same remarks. Cardinal Rodriguez said the synod fathers have been “sometimes saddened by the way the world has ignited this synod, thinking that we have come has two opposite gangs in order to defend irreducible positions.” Cardinal Rodriguez stressed that instead, “each of us is looking for a unanimity that comes from dialogue, not from ideas to be defended with a vengeance.” And he underscored that the Church “is not a Church endangered,” and nor “is the family, though it is under threat.” Cardinal Vingt-Trois had also given an initial address to the synod assembly. Speaking shortly before Pope Francis, Cardinal Vingt-Trois identified in the reform for the procedures of declaration of nullity and in the Jubilee of Mercy two guidelines for the spirit of the synod. The motu proprio that reformed the procedures for the declaration of nullity is — according to Cardinal Vingt-Trois — “a precious indication of the spirit in which we should approach” the synod’s work. “Without questioning the sacramental tradition of our Church or her doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, you invite us to share our pastoral experiences and to better implement the paths of mercy by which the Lord invites those who so wish and who are able to enter a process of conversion with a view to receiving pardon,” he said. The year of mercy is — in Cardinal Vingt-Trois’ words — a “sign of hope for those who are overcome in the path (of life) and hope to know a real liberation.” Cardinal Vingt-Trois also hoped that “these three weeks of intense work will be an important experience of the Church.” “Despite the differences among ourselves, we do not want to live these times as a showdown between a few people, whose judges are microphones and cameras. We want to live this as a time of common conversion, with the strength of Communion under you, Holy Father, Guardian and Servant,” concluded Cardinal Vingt-Trois.
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