That Pope Francis would have executed the synod in the manner in which he did was predictable from many things he has said over the course of his papacy, including Evangelii Gaudium, esp. 32-39. From what he says there, especially about the “conversion of the papacy,” it seems he is not adverse to critique, as long as there is ultimate unity with Peter and under Peter (cum Petro et sub Petro).
One ought to make a distinction between legitimate but respectful criticism from those who are genuinely concerned about the preservation of the deposit of faith, and the radicalizing tendencies of certain factions who will use anything to promote their own interests. One group uses Francis’ openness to sinners as an excuse to justify the unjustifiable, and the other is bent on using the synod to prove that everything since Vatican II was a mistake.
We must pray for the Holy Father, trusting in Christ, not in man. I presume Pope Francis is inspired and that it will all work out in the end. As we all know and profess, the pope is not infallible in every instance, but neither may we adopt a kind of ecclesial communion that is based only infallible pronouncements.
Ecclesial communion is sometimes difficult because the Church is not only divine, it is also human and in its humanity it is influenced spiritual powers. Pope Benedict has called that power “something in the air,” poisoning the “spiritual climate.” St. Paul called it “the prince of the power of this air” (Eph 2:2). Under its influence, the desire to know, to confirm and be certain overcomes the desire for truth. The name of truth thus becomes a tag for curiosities and self-justifications.
Archbishop Chaput said:
To get your information from the press is a mistake because they don’t know well enough how to understand it so they can tell people what happened.
But even more dangerous are the purveyors of gossip who travel to Rome on a mission to prove their point. Thus, even Archbishop Chaput’s reference to the diabolical confusion of the media coverage has been used to suggest that problem was at the synod itself.
We need to invoke what Pope Benedict has called “the exorcistic power of Christianity” over the efforts to manipulate men and quicken schisms already resolved upon. Pope Benedict wrote:
God’s dominion, God’s Kingdom, means precisely the disempowerment of these forces by the one God, who is good, who is the Good itself.
We should pray for all the bishops, that the apostolic college, cum Petro et sub Petro, will be open to the Holy Spirit, and receive fruitfully all the necessary graces to guide the Church.
O, Immaculate, deliver us from the spirits of the air . . . and the airwaves.