Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Holy See Press Office director Fr Federico Lombardi, S.J., spoke in today’s Synod briefing about the letter to the pope signed by some cardinals.
“As we know, the General Secretary and the Pope responded clearly the following morning. Therefore, to provide this text and this list of signatories some days later constitutes a disruption that was not intended by the signatories (at least by the most authoritative). Therefore, it would be inappropriate to allow it to have any influence.
“As we are aware, at least four of the Synod Fathers who were included in the list of signatories have denied their involvement (Cardinals Angelo Scola, Andre Vingt-Trois, Mauro Piacenza and Peter Erdo).
For his part, “Cardinal Pell has declared that a letter sent to the Pope was confidential and should have remained as such, and that neither the text published nor the signatories correspond to what was sent to the Pope.
“That observations can be made regarding the methodology of the Synod is neither new nor surprising. However, once agreed upon, a commitment is made to put it into practice in the best way possible.
“I would add that, in terms of content, the difficulties included in the letter were mentioned on Monday evening in the Synod Hall, as I have previously said, although not covered extensively or in detail. As we know, the General Secretary and the Pope responded clearly the following morning.
"This is what is taking place. There is very extensive collaboration in the task of allowing the Synod to make good progress on its path.[. . .] The overall climate of the Assembly is without doubt positive."
Speaking about the letter, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera that "the intention of those who wanted to see the letter published is to sow strife and create tensions. I am not going to say whether I signed it or not. The scandal is that a private letter to the pope was made public. This is a new Vatileaks."
Calling on the fathers "not to give in" to a "hermeneutic conspiracy", he said that he was of the opinion “that Francis spoke about those who say that there is opposition against the pope in the Roman Curia. Those say and write that Francis is surrounded by wolves. This is an offensive and criminal expression."
Speaking also about the issue, Card Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, said, “I wish to clarify that I never signed this alleged letter,” said
At the briefing, Father Lombardi read a statement from Cardinal Napier “to clarify the comments published in an interview with Crux, which do not correspond to his opinion.
“With regard to the composition of the ‘Commission of the 10’ appointed by the pope for the Synod’s Final Report, it was incorrectly written that “Napier challenged Pope Francis’ right to make that choice. Cardinal Napier told me to correct that, stating the exact opposite, namely, ‘Napier does not challenge Pope Francis’ right to choose that Commission.”
Abbot Jeremias Schröder, General of the Benedictines of St. Ottilien, also spoke at the briefing, in representation of the ten general superiors present at the Synod.
Speaking about the link between vocation and family life, he said that "many young monks no longer come from well-formed Catholic families. Often the vocational journey is also a catechetical journey. This involves making their way towards the faith, involving reflecting upon the vocation. In view of this, we have seen profound changes in the social basis of our vocations. "
In response to a reporter’s question on the issue of women deacons, which was discussed in the plenary, Rev. Schröder said, “I'm impressed, because it seemed a bold topic, and for me, a convincing one, so much so that I could imagine a similar path. But I did get the impression that this issue, for now, has not had a major impact on the assembly. We listened to an opinion, but for the moment, that is where it stands.”
Another Synod delegate, Thérèse Nyirabukeye, of the African Federation of Family Action, spoke at the briefing. From Rwanda, Ms Nyirabukeye mentioned her country’s genocide 20 years ago, and spoke about the importance of the family in the process of national reconstruction because, she explained, the family bears witness to love and reconciliation.
Another delegate, Ms Moira McQueen, welcomed the role given to delegates. In her opinion, the Synodal process was “fair and very democratic”.