My comments first: All of us must keep a proper perspective on the discussions going on in Rome. The first summary yesterday seems to be falling into disrepute by the synod's fathers themselves as noted by Sandro Magister, the great Italian blogger of things Catholic. The report below is good news but also shows the scandalous maneuvering by post-Catholic leaning bishops.
There is a different method to this synod in terms of open discussion. What seems to be old hat is the manipulation of things by an individual or individuals when it comes to presenting the discussion as Magister indicates below.
But let's not freak out. What is good about a more positive approach to sinful lifestyles that appear to have some good in them? And why don't we get as hysterical about other "institutionalized" lifestyles, particularly of the rich and the famous who claim to be Catholic? Materialism and unbridled consumerism, both of which have elements of sinfulness in them when done so in the extreme.
But what is good about a more compassionate approach to homosexuals and those in unrecognized marriages?
Most people are attracted to Christ and His Church and thus the grace that is available for conversion leading to repentance and a new way of life with honey rather than vinegar. Of course there are people who life to be scourged for their sins, but I think this is a form of masochism and not the best approach to take. Hell fire and damnation have their place in preaching and our personal attitudes toward sinners, but how effective is it in getting today's generation to turn from sin?
What is problematic with the synod's preliminary summary?
It doesn't tell us how to be pastoral and effective in calling people to repentance and a new lifestyle. How do we teach sin and its various grades? How do we teach natural law? And are people now to receive Holy Communion simply for comfort (which is certainly legitimate) and not after an examination of conscience and a desire to repent? Is sin now so individualized that the only one who can declare something a sin in their lives is the sinner themselves? For example if I think the ends justify the means, can I steal from the rich and give to the poor and not see any sin in this lifestyle?
I can certainly sympathize with a mother of 10 children who steals from the rich to feed her poor children. But do we accept that lifestyle?
I want to remind bishops that the sex abuse scandal and the liberality they took in what they thought was a compassionate stance toward child molesters is what has led to the greatest scandal in the Catholic Church and perhaps in the history of the Church more dastardly than the selling of indulgences to build St. Peter's Basilica. Bishops were myopic in sending perverted priests to therapy and then reassigning them time and again and some bishops doing so out of the very theology that this synod is proposing in this first draft of its first week's summary. It is the 1970's all over again and a mentality that led one Jewish psychiatrist to pen a book titled, "Whatever Became of Sin?" Are we back to the past again? These bishops were more concerned with the keeping these priests in the active priesthood and cared little about the victims and potential victims. How many people with a homosexual orientation who have struggled heroically to be faithful to the Church and to avoid sin will now give up and throw the towel in and enter the "gay" culture and without compunction because of what this synod is teaching?
Pandora's box is opened by the synod and thus there is an element of the anti-Christ located in the document itself.
But do not lose hope yet. This synod is not finished and when it is finished it isn't the final word. There is another synod next year. If Pope Francis endorses an approach without nuance that this preliminary draft indicates, then we also have hope in another Pope who will undo what his predecessor worked hard to accomplish just like this pope has done to Pope Benedict. Pope Francis has sit a precedence in terms of reversing the direction of a previous pope.
But here is Rorate Caeili's BOMBSHELL on what Sandro Magister has written about Monday's rather contentious meeting of the bishops:
POST SCRIPTUM – In the afternoon of Monday, October 12, "L'Osservatore Romano" gave a first dim account of the pitched battle that burst into the open in the morning in the Synod Hall after the reading of the “Relatio post disceptationem” written by Cardinal-Rapporteur Peter Erdo, with the collaboration - at times with prevarication [prevaricante - "with malicious abuse of one's position"], as Erdo himself made known in the morning press conference - of Special Secretary Bruno Forte.
Under the gunfire of aroung 41 interventions, Cardinals Pell [Secretary for the Economy], Ouellet [Prefect for Bishops], Filoni [Prefect for Propaganda Fide], Dolan [of New York], Vingt-Trois [of Paris], Burke [Prefect of Apostolic Signatura], Rylko [President of Laity], Müller [Prefect of Doctrine of the Faith], Scola [of Milan], Caffarra [of Bologna] among others spoke up, all against an opening to second marriages as proposed by Cardinal Kasper, who also intervened.
But among the protests also reported by “L’Osservatore Romano” there were also those regarding the paragraphs (written by Forte) on homosexuality, regarding which "a formulation was demanded that took people into account but that does not contradict in any way Catholic doctrine on marriage and family."
And also "was proposed a stronger message on the tragedy of abortion, as well as on assisted reproduction."
But "above all what was asked was a great prophetic encouragement towards all those families that, even at the cost of enormous sacrifices, lay witness every day to the Christian truth on marriage. In sum - it was revealed - a positive affirmation of marital love would be appropriate, as also that of the social value of families."
What appears clear from the sarcastic dismissal of rapporteur Erdo himself, the strong word used by Magister ("precaricante", that is, a malicious abuse of one's position), and the immediate furious response from the Synod Fathers (15 just during the morning and just on this matter, according to several reports, including many from the most vibrant region in the Church, Africa), is that Abp. Bruno Forte, known as an extreme liberal in theological matters, abused his position and the trust of Cardinal Erdo and included something that had not really been discussed in that way at the Synod but that was his own pet personal view on homosexuality and homosexual couples, and made it look as if it had been a Synodal view. That is why Erdo was so adamant to make clear that he, Erdo, was not responsible for this outrage, and why the response from the Synod Fathers was furious and explosive. Forte acted like a Bugnini for "Gayness", making things up to achieve his own end.