“We need to call people to perseverance in grace … not confirm them in their errors”

Philly archbishop releases text of his intervention from Synod of Bishops session

Editor’s Note: Archbishop Chaput’s message to the Synod Fathers includes things members of the Marriage Reality Movement should contemplate for the benefit of their own formation. Optimism: have greater confidence in the Word of God (which is Reality for everyone), and avoid thinking or speaking of marriage as some kind of beautiful ideal rather than a reality that can only be recognized.

By Catherine Harmon

While the discussions among the Synod Fathers are taking place behind closed doors, participants are able to make their prepared statements — known as “interventions” — public if they choose. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia — who is serving as rapporteur for one of the English-speaking small groups at the synod — has published his intervention, which he delivered during yesterday’s session, at the Catholic Philly website. An excerpt:

The Instrumentum [the synod’s working document] seemed to present us with two conflicting views: pastoral despair or a decision to hope. When Jesus experienced the pastoral despair of his Apostles, he reminded them that for man a thing may seem impossible, but for God all things are possible.

In mastering nature for the purpose of human development, we human beings have wounded our oceans and the air we breathe. We’ve poisoned the human body with contraceptives. And we’ve scrambled the understanding of our own sexuality. In the name of individual fulfillment, we’ve busied ourselves with creating a new Babel of tyranny that feeds our desires but starves the soul.

Paragraphs 7-10 of the Instrumentum did a good job of describing the condition of today’s families. But overall, the text engenders a subtle hopelessness. This leads to a spirit of compromise with certain sinful patterns of life and the reduction of Christian truths about marriage and sexuality to a set of beautiful ideals — which then leads to surrendering the redemptive mission of the Church.

The work of this synod needs to show much more confidence in the Word of God, the transformative power of grace, and the ability of people to actually live what the Church believes. And it should honor the heroism of abandoned spouses who remain faithful to their vows and the teaching of the Church. …

We need to call people to perseverance in grace and to trust in the greatness God intended for them — not confirm them in their errors. Marriage embodies Christian hope — hope made flesh and sealed permanently in the love of a man and a woman.

This synod needs to preach that truth more clearly with the radical passion of the Cross and Resurrection.

Read all of Archbishop Chaput’s intervention.

This article was originally published in Catholic World Report. All rights reserved.