The following comes from a May 16 Catholic News Agency article by Mary Rezac:

Nearly 1,000 United States priests made their own a petition to the fathers of the upcoming Synod, originally made public and signed by nearly 500 English priests.

The statement’s wording is exactly that of the English version, and urges the fathers of the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family to issue a “clear and firm” proclamation of Church teaching on marriage and sexuality.

An incorrectly translated midterm document as well as skewed media coverage of last year’s preliminary Synod led to confusion among many Catholics about the purpose and practical effects of a Synod. The purpose of this signed statement is to clarify where the Church stands in regards to its teachings on marriage and family, said J.D. Flynn, director of communications for the Diocese of Lincoln.

Bishop Kagan of Bismark, N.D., said he thought the secular media was trying to understand the synod from the point of view of a political process, rather than as a dialogue amongst bishops who are in union under the same Pope.

A look at Church history and the various synods and councils that have taken place will show that there has often been differences of personal opinion and perspective among the faithful during discussions, but this does not mean that everything everyone says will then be codified into official Church teaching, Bishop Kagan explained.

“If people in general want a good idea of how the synod works, or how a council works, read the section (in Acts of the Apostles) where Paul and Barnabas come to Jerusalem and meet with the apostles to clarify whether Gentile converts needing to be circumcised in order to be true Christians,” Bishop Kagan said. “That’s a very good analogy to keep in mind.”

“The credo statement certainly isn’t new, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any Catholic,” he said. “I see it as an expression of my fraternal support for my brother bishops and for the Holy Father, and it’s a great teaching moment for the whole church.”