It is now pretty clear that Francis has got what he wanted out of the Amazon Synod. He promises very quickly to come up with his magisterial post-Synodal Exhortation – though in truth that was probably drafted some time ago.
He will get three things from the synodal exercise:
- Permission for local conferences of bishops to authorize a married priesthood. This will begin as a concession to the special circumstances of the Amazon basin, but will spread like wildfire to other areas. (Just watch the proposed German ‘Synodical Path’!).
- Encouragement to re-open his Commission on women deacons – and to pack it with further nominees in favour of the innovation. No longer will the Commission’s focus be historical. History will be massaged to serve what are perceived to be the needs of the Future.
- Further endorsement for synodal ‘walking together’, which is in fact a cover for further diminishing central authority and devolving it to local or national churches. More and more decisions about doctrine and praxis will be taken at the regional level rather than at the level of the Church Universal. |So ‘walking together’ becomes walking apart.
All this fulfils what have long been this Pope’s aims and aspirations. It amounts, with Francis’s egalitarian view of other religions (as expressed in the Abu Dhabi Declaration), to a radically new ecclesiology.
You have been warned!