THE COMING SYNOD - SALVATION OUT OF AFRICA

                     "Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, 
               
ST. HEDWIG's   CATHEDRAL OF BERLIN
                      shall He find faith on the earth?”  (Luke 18:8)


From the 4th to the 25th of October, Rome will host the 14th  Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod has been convoked by Pope Francis to discuss matters related to" the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.

We have earlier written about the preparatory Synod of last October at some length, and on several occasions because of the extraordinary events preceding it and the even more sensational events that occurred during it. Here are the links :

http://vexilla-regis.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/german-bishops-faithful-ones-and-swiss.html

http://vexilla-regis.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/current-event-termites-rampant.html

http://vexilla-regis.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/pope-francis-meerkats-and-chameleons.html

In summary, we saw before the preparatory Synod, Pope Francis give exceptional praise to some writings of German Cardinal Walter Kasper, then the Holy Father enabled Cardinal Kasper to address the Synod Fathers before the Synod .In his address Cardinal Kasper strongly advocated the granting of Holy Communion to divorced persons who had subsequently gone through the form of contracting a subsequent civil marriage and who are effectively living in sin. He advocated this for "pastoral reasons".

In the actual 2014 Synod meeting it became quite clear that the Holy Father was in control of the processes adopted to "manipulate"  the Synod - to use Cardinal Pell's reported words when he strenuously objected to that manipulation. The manipulators gave some ground - with the Holy Father's direct consent -  and published the actual text of the Synod Fathers' interventions. However they subsequently included in the final document of the Synod the clauses that had been objected to. And , they made the point that this was done with the Holy Father's consent.

Subsequently, and in preparation for next month's Synod a group of North European Bishops - including Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Berlin, held a Seminar in Rome which was to have been unpublicised.This gathering was to consider and develop radical ideas to change Church practice concerning not only divorced and "re-married" persons , but also homosexual "marriages" and other issues.  This lead a group of orthodox German Bishops to strongly assert their opposition to any such ideas.

Life Site News carries the following report:

Cardinal Gerhard Muller
"In a move that is making headlines in Germany, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has said German bishops are leading the Church to a schism.
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller is warning that the tendency of German bishops to divide doctrine from pastoral practice is not unlike the abuses surrounding the Protestant split in 1517. One should "be very vigilant and not forget the lesson of Church history,” he said.
Last week, in a speech at the release of the German version of Cardinal Robert Sarah's new book God or Nothing in Regensburg, Germany, Cardinal Mueller criticized "a climate of the German claim to leadership for the Universal Church." According to the German newspaper Die Tagespost, Mueller said that he is frequently asked why German bishops claim to be leaders of the Catholic Church -- while flouting teachings on marriage and sexuality -- despite overseeing dramatic reductions in church attendance, shrinking numbers of seminarians, and a drop in vocations to religious orders.
Mueller also said that predictions of a worldwide collapse in Christianity, as has taken place in Europe, were premature. "We should not predict for others that it will all develop as it has developed with us [in Europe] - as if de-Christianization is a process according to a law in nature. No. With the help of the Faith, one can move mountains," he explained.
Only with the help of a "strong new evangelization with an apostolic courage and zeal," can weakness in Germany's Christianity be reversed, explained Mueller. However, such zeal faces an enormous challenge that he described as "an ideological constrictedness," according to which the truth and the unity of the Church shall be sacrificed in order to achieve a change at least in the field of pastoral care.
Mueller specifically identified allowing "remarried" Catholics to receive the Eucharist, as well as accepting a redefinition of marriage, as challenges to overcome. "One tries, with all means - with the help of exegesis, history, dogmatic history, and with reference to psychology and sociology - to deconstruct and relativize the Catholic teaching on marriage which comes from the teaching of Jesus, and this only in order that the Church appears to conform with society," he said."
But of all the parties entering the lists in defense of Catholic orthodoxy in relation to the Synod, none have been more impressive and resoundingly staunch than the African Bishops. Several factors led to their vigorous teaching. One of these , was the visit to parts of Africa by the President of the United States  Brack Hussein Obama who is a firm advocate of homosexuals and abortion and euthanasia. He had earlier received a visit in the U.S. from the recently elected President Buhari of Nigeria. In the course of this visit it was made clear that the United States woud not be giving military aid to Nigeria ( which is fighting against the radical Mohammedan terrorists Boko Haram) because Nigeria has outlawed homosexual "marriage". The Nigerian President made it clear that the  vigour of African culture made any change in the law impossible no matter what pressure was applied. Shortly thereafter Mr Obama was to visit Uganda. Before the visit the President of Uganda publicly warned the President of the United States that Uganda would not bow to "cultural imperialism" in this or any other matter.

Earlier, The African Bishops Conference published an official statement on July 8th,2015 condemning the Supreme Court of the United States' decision to legalise same sex "marriage". The assembled Bishops adopted the following statement of the Nigerian Bishops Conference as their own :

"Official Statement of the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria

 OUR STAND ON MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND HUMAN SOCIETY

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria would like to once again reiterate the perspective of the Church on more recent developments concerning the sanctity and dignity of human life and the institutions of marriage and the family all across the world. The recent rise in Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender activism, the popular vote in the Republic of Ireland and the Supreme Court decision in the United States of America will tend to provoke a notable and rapid shift in public opinion about the nature and meaning of marriage and family as it has been known for millennia. This, in many countries, has inevitably led to powerful legislative and judicial maneuvers to redefine marriage in order to include “same-sex marriage.” We wish to state that this is a sad, unjust and lamentable situation based largely upon a distorted perception of natural law, the will of God and human nature.

Canada, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Ireland and most recently, the United States of America are some of the countries that have gone down this path. They are nations who undeniably have cultural, social and economic influence upon many African nations including Nigeria. Mozambique has not yet accepted same-sex marriage, but they have struck down their legal ban on sodomy, thereby opening the door to the festering of the homosexual culture/subculture within their society. Our people daily interact with these and other nations at different levels. These countries also generate a lot of the media content consumed in our country and continent as well as much of the educational materials used in our schools. They also give generous humanitarian aid to various establishments and projects in our country and continent. In these ways, their views, thoughts and trends are easily embedded into the heart of our society and influence many people, especially the impressionable young ones.

As Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, we are grateful for these interactions and support. We are however also concerned for the influence which some of these trends could have on morality and values. We therefore hereby express our concern with regard to the persistent and continuous propagation and globalization of the homosexual lifestyle and the effort to redefine marriage which is a distorted view of human sexuality, coming especially from the Western world. We call on our leaders to be circumspect. Accepting this Western trend by officially endorsing homosexual unions or “same-sex marriage” will be devastating and detrimental to our nation of Nigeria, as it will lead to the inevitable deconstruction of the family and the society at large, with other serious but negative implications.

For our part, we hereby re-emphasize that Marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman for the begetting and care of children. It forms the core of the family, which is the bedrock and foundational cell of our civilization and as such judges to shun all pressures and protect all Nigerians from the growing but dangerous influence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender propaganda.  We appeal to professionals in the domains of media, music, entertainment, teaching, medicine, marketing and business to become faithful gatekeepers by protecting the public from the infiltration of this propaganda, which is often spread through various media and forums. We encourage parents to educate their children on the immutable meaning of marriage so as to strengthen them to stand fearless by the indelible truth in a rapidly changing world. We urge young people to learn and hold firmly unto sound religious and cultural values that celebrate the beauty and blessings of marriage as the lifelong union between one man and one woman.

Finally we pray that God will grant us all the courage, integrity and perseverance needed at this time to uphold the unchangeable truth about the dignity of human sexuality and the sanctity of the institution of marriage."

This surely left the North European radicals in no doubt where the African Bishops stand concerning the Synod. But, if they did have any doubt, this contribution from African Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, would have set them straight :

"The African cardinal who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has high hopes for the Church on his continent – he believes that it can bring about the renewal of the family across the globe.
“I have absolute confidence in African culture,” Cardinal Robert Sarah told the Catholic weekly La Croix du Benin.
“I have absolute confidence in the faith of the African people, and I am sure Africa will save the family. Africa saved the Holy Family (during the Flight to Egypt) and in these modern times Africa will also save the human family,” the cardinal said Aug. 19 during a national Marian pilgrimage at Dassa-Zoumè.
Originally from Guinea, Cardinal Sarah chose be in Benin, one of the countries of his native Africa, during the launch of his new interview book in Rome.

CARDINAL ROBERT SARAH
Entitled “God or Nothing,” the book is a conversation between the cardinal and French journalist Nicolas Diat.
“God or Nothing” covers numerous topics, ranging from political questions to the sex abuse scandal in the Church to the post-modern world’s relationship to God.   
Reflecting on whether democracy is an inherently Christian system, Cardinal Sarah responded, “Without a doubt there is a Christian conception of the equality of human beings,” adding that “a democracy that contributes to the integral development of man cannot subsist without God.”
One chapter of his book, entitled “Cornerstones and false values,” is dedicated to the family and addresses various pastoral challenges such as the defense of life and marriage.
Concerning the divorced and remarried, the cardinal said: “(T)hey find themselves in a situation that objectively contradicts the law of God.” He also voiced concern about “gender ideology,” saying, “My worry is that this is due more to certain governments and international organizations that are trying to impose this philosophy any way they can, sometimes forcibly.”
Ordained a priest in 1969, Cardinal Sarah became the youngest bishop in the world 10 years later. Pope John Paul II called him to Rome in 2002 to serve as the Secretary for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Pope Benedict XVI selected him as president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in 2010, and in 2014 Pope Francis appointed him head of the Vatican dicastery on the liturgy. "

The Synod next month is sure to be a robust forum, and we can be sure that those entirely committed to the teachings of the Catholic Church will not only be outspoken, but will secure the correct recommendations from the Synod to the Holy Father.

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