Mons. Charamsa’s coming-out, the girl who breaks the consecrated Host to give it to her parents separated, the “critical” letter of the thirteen cardinals, the news about the Pope’s alleged disease. All sorts of things happened during the short period of the Synod’s work on the family, seasoned with rivers of ink used for polemics, comments, highlights, confirmations and denials. A background noise which could have distracted the synod fathers from the meaning of this appointment, and could have created the ”necessary” confusion to put the Pontiff in a difficult situation. Yet, in the end, none of those things actually happened.
For the Cardinal Péter Erdö, the overall balance of the Synod can be synthesized in a “renewed crucial importance of the families and of laic people in the life of the Church”. In a long interview for the Vatican Radio, the cardinal, who is the chairman of the Committee of ten that has put down the Relatio finalis of the Synod, mentioned a greater “communion” between bishops. A confirmation of the fact that the Church is not European, but universal. And a “remarkable convergence on very important pastoral points”.
“During these weeks – explains the card. Péter Erdö to the pontifical broadcast – grew the experience of communion among us. Encouraged by the Holy Father and after having listened to the opinions and testimonies of the others, we became more open and more responsible ourselves. The Church is not European, we are truly global! Union and the conviction about the Church’s universality has increased. I think that a remarkable convergence on very important points of the pastoral life about families and about their mission was confirmed. For example, the community of families has been mentioned as a central feature. Surely, the Second Vatican Council emphasized as well the active mission of laity in the Church, but now it seems that a new step is being taken”.
The bishop of Parma, Enrico Solmi, in an interview for Corriere della Sera talked about the “concrete results” of the Synod, specifying that the news on the alleged disease of the Pope had “absolutely no impact and the same is true also for other recent blatant news. The atmosphere was serene. If there was intention to trouble it, that clumsy operation did not work”.
“The Church assumed an attitude of listening without judging towards the concreteness of every-day life and its problems”. On the topic of gays, “I’ve met and continue to meet many people with homosexual tendencies who wish to live together. Great respect must be shown, and their request for rights must be heard because it affects the dignity of the person, perhaps by introducing proper changes in the civil code. But it is not a marriage. It is something else”.
Summarizing the path of Synod, primed with the preparation of the 2014, hence at least two years of work, continues the card. Péter Erdö reminds us that “there were, there are and there may be different positions, different pastoral emphases, also the theological formation of each one of us can be different in the same and sole Catholic truth, of course… But – unlike the impression that some of the news media gave – there was always a fraternal atmosphere. That is to say, a comparison of ideas and proposals rather than struggles or fighting.
In short, acceptation, not rejection, and discussion, not an argument. After all, this is the most profound message of the Synod. Confirmed by the Pope during the homily of the final Mass. Also at present, the pastors of the Church sometimes run the risk of “falling into an ‘table faith’”. We will walk – he said – with God’s people, but we already have our roadmap, which comprises everything: we know where to go and how long it should us; everyone must comply with our rhythms and any inconvenience disturbs us. We run the risk of becoming similar to the ‘many’ from the Gospel, who lose patience and accuse those who bother or are wanting have to be exclude”. “Jesus – recalled Bergoglio – on the contrary, wants to include, especially those who are on the margins and cry towards Him”. “They, as Bartimaeus, have faith, because to know you need salvation is the best way to meet Christ”. Francis’ appeal looks at the situations of poverty and conflict, which for God are occasions of mercy. And today, is his final message, “it is time of mercy”.