The following comes from a May 29 LifeSiteNews article by Lisa Bourne and John-Henry Westen:
“The Synod is a solely consultative assembly that has no Magisterial weight in and of itself.” “Neither the Synod of Bishops nor any other Church authority has the competence to change the doctrine of the Church.” Those are a couple of the hard-hitting quotes in a newly released book penned by three bishops and endorsed by another four, one of whom is a retired Vatican cardinal.
“Preferential Option for the Family — 100 Questions and Answers Relating to the Synod” was authored by Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, and Archbishop Aldo de Cillo Pagotto of Paraiba, Brazil. The guidebook on the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family, released in an effort to counter the confusion surrounding the upcoming Synod on the Family was also endorsed by Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Italian Archbishop Luigi Negri, Belarus Archbishop Tadeuz Kondrusiewicz, and Ecuador Bishop Patricio Bonilla.
The book tackles very difficult questions head-on. One of the questions for instance refers to a bishop who suggested that homosexual unions, while they should not be marriages, should be blessed. In answer, the new book’s authors say, “A homosexual union is not merely affective coexistence among friends but erotic cohabitation between lovers which involves the use of unnatural sexuality. Therefore, homosexual unions are gravely sinful and cannot be compared to marriage, nor can they be blessed by the Church. Instead, we must oppose recent attempts to legalise such unions in any form whatsoever.”
Bishop Vasa explained the need to restate Church teaching with the publication as the book was released in Rome last week. “There is nothing new or revolutionary in this book,” the bishop said. “We just simply felt that, in light of the upcoming synod on the family, it was time to reiterate those things the Church has clearly and consistently taught.”
Addressing questions about the teaching of the Church being out of touch with the modern world, the bishops reply, “If the faithful no longer understand a moral doctrine, the blame does not fall on the doctrine but above all on those who should teach it in a clear and convincing way.” It adds, “The historical transformation of society is a result of cultural and moral errors. The Church should not adapt to these errors or their consequences but rather identify, denounce and remedy them. Therein lies a real ‘update’ of her ministry.”
Last year’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family was marked with chaos and confusing communication reports, coupled with media misrepresentation of Church teaching, as opposing orthodox and liberal flanks among synod fathers skirmished over marriage, divorce, family, and homosexuality.
While some at the 2014 Synod suggested admittance of remarried divorcees to communion, the book counters: “Adultery is objectively a grave sin and as such can be forgiven if the sinner has manifested not only a sincere repentance but also a purpose of amendment, that is, of ending the adulterous behaviour.”