VATICAN INSIDER LOOKS BACK AT THE SYNOD – POPE FRANCIS ACCEPTS CARDINAL WUERL’S RESIGNATION

Don’t miss the weekend festivities in Rome! Stay with EWTN for the canonization on Sunday of, among others, Blessed Pope Paul VI and Blessed Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, killed while celebrating Mass.

Paul VI’s tomb in the grottoes will have a new look….hope to bring those photos to you soon.

VATICAN INSIDER LOOKS BACK AT THE SYNOD

This week I feature a longer than usual news segment on Vatican Insider, focusing on the synod of bishops, and my radio colleagues are preparing a “best of” for the rest of the program. That is because I have basically been homebound for about 9 days with a very painful muscle-related back problem. The people I hoped to interview are very busy with the synod and unable to come to my office for a conversation – and I can’t get out to go to them! I have been out to go to pharmacies but therapy so far has had no effect and I actually am going to see a doctor the minute I post this. Let’s hope things improve by next week!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE FRANCIS ACCEPTS CARDINAL WUERL’S RESIGNATION

Pope today accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as archbishop of Washington, asking him to remain on as Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese. The cardinal submitted his resignation on November 12, 2015, when he turned 75 as is required by canon or Church law. The Pope did not name a successor.

What follows is from the Archdiocese of Washington. The cardinal did write a letter to the faithful of the archdiocese but that was not on the webpage as I prepared this column. The copy I was received could not copied to this text. The letter was sent to all priests and the cardinal requested that the letter be read at Masses this weekend.

Cardinal Wuerl resignation: Full text of Pope Francis’ letter
Please find the full text of Pope Francis’ letter to Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, in an unofficial translation made available on the website of the Archdiocese of Washington.

To our Venerable Brother Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington:

On September 21st I received your request that I accept your resignation from the pastoral government of the Archdiocese of Washington.

I am aware that this request rests on two pillars that have marked and continue to mark your ministry: to seek in all things the greater glory of God and to procure the good of the people entrusted to your care. The shepherd knows that the wellbeing and the unity of the People of God are precious gifts that the Lord has implored and for which he gave his life. He paid a very high price for this unity and our mission is to take care that the people not only remain united, but become witnesses of the Gospel “That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John17:21). This is the horizon from which we are continually invited to discern all our actions.

I recognize in your request the heart of the shepherd who, by widening his vision to recognize a greater good that can benefit the whole body (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 235), prioritizes actions that support, stimulate and make the unity and mission of the Church grow above every kind of sterile division sown by the father of lies who, trying to hurt the shepherd, wants nothing more than that the sheep be dispersed (cf. Matthew26:31).

You have sufficient elements to “justify” your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you.

In this way, you make clear the intent to put God’s Project first, before any kind of personal project, including what could be considered as good for the Church. Your renunciation is a sign of your availability and docility to the Spirit who continues to act in his Church.

In accepting your resignation, I ask you to remain as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the appointment of your successor.

Dear brother, I make my own the words of Sirach: “You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost” (2:8). May the Virgin Mary protect you with her mantle and may the strength of the Holy Spirit give you the grace to know how to continue to serve him in this new time that the Lord gives you.

Cardinal Wuerl’s Statement on the Holy Father’s Acceptance of his Resignation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the news from the Vatican this morning, Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued the following statement: “Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation first offered on November 12, 2015, when I reached my 75th birthday. I am profoundly grateful for his devoted commitment to the wellbeing of the Archdiocese of Washington and also deeply touched by his gracious words of understanding.

The Holy Father’s decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future. It permits this local Church to move forward. Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon. My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington.”

Statement from the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington on the Holy Father’s Acceptance of Cardinal Wuerl’s Resignation

“We, the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington, wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to His Eminence, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, for the loving pastoral care and devoted service he has provided the Archdiocese of Washington for the past 12 years.

Cardinal Wuerl’s pastoral and spiritual leadership in the archdiocese is well appreciated. We are particularly grateful for his efforts on behalf of parish life, our schools, Catholic Charities and so many other indicators of the vitality of this archdiocese including Saint John Paul II Seminary which he founded and is now filled to capacity.

We believe that Cardinal Wuerl’s decision to request that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, accept the resignation he first offered years ago is a clear manifestation of his love and concern for the people of this archdiocese. As the Holy Father stated in his letter, the Cardinal’s decision shows that he has the heart of a shepherd who places the good of the Church and its needs before his own right to justify his actions. His request and the Holy Father’s response allow the Church of Washington to continue to focus on healing and the ability to move forward.

We offer our prayers and profound gratitude to His Eminence for the service and pastoral care that he has faithfully given to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of this local Church. We accompany him with our love and support during this time of transition.”

Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville
Most Reverend Roy E. Campbell Jr.
Most Reverend Michael W. Fisher

Statement on the Retirement of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington by Kim Viti Fiorentino Chancellor and General Counsel of the Archdiocese of Washington

The news that our Holy Father has accepted Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation as Archbishop of Washington fills me with both profound sadness and, at the same time, deep appreciation and admiration for the Cardinal’s abundant, sacrificial love for our archdiocese which he has tirelessly served for the past twelve years.

Cardinal Wuerl’s decision to ask the Holy Father to allow him to retire came after prayer and reflection, in view of the news we have all confronted. This includes the Archbishop McCarrick scandal, the Archbishop Viganò allegations and particularly the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. This report targeted six dioceses in Pennsylvania and touched upon the Cardinal’s tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988-2006 before he became our Archbishop. Unfortunately, the Cardinal’s pioneering leadership in the enhancement, implementation and enforcement of historically innovative and rigorous child protection policies was overshadowed by the report’s flaws and its interpretation by media.

Cardinal Wuerl reflected on the impact these realities have had upon the Archdiocese. As the Holy Father reflects in his letter, although he would have been justified to move forward with challenging many of the assertions that have been lodged against him, Cardinal Wuerl decided to forgo his personal interest out of love for the people entrusted to his care. He chose to take the step that would allow the Archdiocese of Washington to move beyond these difficulties and to focus, under new leadership, on healing, renewing and revitalizing our beautiful archdiocesan community, that is the Church of Washington.

We have been profoundly blessed to have this great priest as our archbishop and his final decision to act in favor of the people he loved and served for twelve years is the most eloquent witness to the integrity of his ministry and his legacy. I am truly thankful for his steadfast fidelity and his courageous and sacrificial commitment to the future of the Church in Washington.

Statement from Moderator of the Curia Archdiocese of Washington What is An Apostolic Administrator?

Today Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Washington. In this capacity, he serves as the caretaker for the Archdiocese in this time of transition. The appointment of the retiring archbishop in this capacity has occurred before in the Archdiocese of Washington.

The Administrator’s role is to keep things working normally and to preserve things insofar as is possible until the new Archbishop takes over. As a caretaker, he does not make significant changes or decisions that might affect the incoming Archbishop. The principle involved is “sede vacante nihil innovetur,” or, “When the see is vacant, let there be no innovations.”

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POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR NOVEMBER – VATICAN INSIDER: CARDINAL WUERL TALKS ABOUT THE SYNOD – THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR NOVEMBER

His general prayer intention is: “That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.”

His missionary intention is: “That pastors of the Church, with profound love for their flocks, may accompany them and enliven their hope.”

VATICAN INSIDER: CARDINAL WUERL TALKS ABOUT THE SYNOD

Tune in this weekend to “Vatican Insider” for my conversation with Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, who was in Rome for 3 weeks for the synod on the family – his 7th synod  – and talks to us about that event,  the media coverage, the methodology and the final document. The cardinal was one of 10 people on the commission who put that final document together – and he will tell you how. The original synod message is in Italian, and we are awaiting translations. The relatio has been given to the Holy Father who will write an Apostolic Exhortation.

20151018_165425

Cardinal Wuerl and I first met in Rome during the September 1975 canonization of St. Elizabeth Seton when then-Father Wuerl was the priest secretary to American Cardinal John Joseph Wright, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. His Eminence wanted a secretary for personal correspondence on weekends and, given his great love for Joan of Arc and his vast book collection about her, when my name was proposed, he was apparently enthusiastic (I originally wrote ‘he jumped at the chance’) about the idea of a Joan becoming his secretary. Father, then Bishop and now Cardinal Wuerl and I have followed each other over the years and, as the saying goes, all roads lead to Rome!  At least for a synod!

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

MY FAVORITE STORY OF THE DAY – Pope Francis has received an unusual gift aimed at boosting relations between the Catholic and Anglican Churches – a cricket bat signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and his team following their recent rematch with the Vatican’s XI on Rome’s Campanelle grounds. Australian Cardinal George Pell, a former rugby player who nevertheless knows cricket, gave Francis the bat on Thursday after the St. Peter’s Cricket Club beat the Church of England’s XI by 43 runs in a 20-over match this weekend.  Pope Francis promptly signed it himself.

POPE-CRICKET BAT

The Vatican team includes seminarians and priests studying at Rome’s pontifical universities. They are 4-0 this season ahead of an April rematch with the Royal Household.  Australia’s Vatican ambassador, John McCarthy, said the Anglicans’ visit “strengthened personal and institutional relations” between the two churches.  (Source: Vatican Radio: AP)

POPE WELCOMES SALVADORAN PILGRIMS – (VIS) – Friday morning 500 pilgrims from El Salvador, who are in Rome to give thanks for the beatification of Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, met with the Holy Father in the Paul VI Hall. The Pope defined the Salvadoran bishop martyr as a “good pastor, full of love for God and close to his brothers who, living the dynamism of the Beatitudes, gave his life in a violent way while celebrating the Eucharist, the supreme sacrifice of love, sealing with his own blood the Gospel that he announced. … From the very beginning of the life of the Church, Christians have always believed that the blood of martyrs is a seed for Christians, as Tertuliano said. Today too, in a dramatic way, the blood of a great number of Christian martyrs continues to be shed on the fields of the world, with the certain hope that will bear fruit in a rich harvest of holiness, justice, reconciliation and love of God. But we must remember that one is not born a martyr. …. “Indeed, the martyr is not someone relegated to the past, a beautiful image that adorns our churches and which we recall with a certain nostalgia. No, the martyr is a brother, a sister, who continues to accompany us in the communion of saints and who, united with Christ, does not ignore our earthly pilgrimage, our sufferings, our anxieties.”

PAPAL MESSAGE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING – (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the Santa Marta Group, an initiative he personally launched in the battle against human trafficking, involving the security forces of various countries, episcopates, social organisations and representatives of various religious confessions. The group is currently meeting at San Lorenzo del Escorial in Spain. It was inaugurated today by Queen Sofia and attended by cardinals, bishops, social activists and around fifty heads of police from around the world. In his message, Francis wrote that, in the short time of its existence, “this worthy group has made significant achievements and is called upon to play a decisive role in the eradication of human trafficking and modern slavery.” He noted that during the last year there have been important institutional changes that have without doubt supported its activity, starting with the meeting of mayors in Vatican City on 21 July, in which key figures signed a declaration expressing their commitment to eliminating the new forms of slavery that constitute a crime against humanity.

Human trafficking

FRANCIS MARKS CELAM’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY – (VIS) – To commemorate 60 years of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), Pope Francis wrote a message to CELAM president, Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, in which he expresses his gratitude for all the good the Lord has gradually sown there, and that has borne fruit through the service of God’s Church in Latin America. “I hope that CELAM, making pastoral and missionary conversion its priority, may increasingly participate in, support and give momentum to this evangelising movement towards all environments and all frontiers. It is important that our communities be ‘homes and schools of communion’, which attract by a surprising fraternity based on the recognition of the common father, and help always to keep alive in the Church in Latin America the passion for our peoples, the bearing of our sufferings and the capacity for Christian discernment of the vicissitudes of their recent history, to open up paths of greater equality, peace and justice.”

 

Cardinal Wuerl and I first met in Rome during the September 1975 canonization of St. Elizabeth Seton when then-Father Wuerl was the priest secretary to American Cardinal John Joseph Wright, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. His Eminence wanted a secretary for personal correspondence on weekends and, given his great love for Joan of Arc and his vast book collection about her, when my name was proposed, he was apparently enthusiastic (I originally wrote ‘he jumped at the chance’) about the idea of a Joan becoming his secretary. Father, then Bishop and now Cardinal Wuerl and I have followed each other over the years and, as the saying goes, all roads lead to Rome!  At least for a synod!

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

MY FAVORITE STORY OF THE DAY – Pope Francis has received an unusual gift aimed at boosting relations between the Catholic and Anglican Churches – a cricket bat signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and his team following their recent rematch with the Vatican’s XI on Rome’s Campanelle grounds. Australian Cardinal George Pell, a former rugby player who nevertheless knows cricket, gave Francis the bat on Thursday after the St. Peter’s Cricket Club beat the Church of England’s XI by 43 runs in a 20-over match this weekend.  Pope Francis promptly signed it himself.

Pope – bat

The Vatican team includes seminarians and priests studying at Rome’s pontifical universities. They are 4-0 this season ahead of an April rematch with the Royal Household.  Australia’s Vatican ambassador, John McCarthy, said the Anglicans’ visit “strengthened personal and institutional relations” between the two churches.  (Source: Vatican Radio: AP)

POPE WELCOMES SALVADORAN PILGRIMS – (VIS) – Friday morning 500 pilgrims from El Salvador, who are in Rome to give thanks for the beatification of Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, met with the Holy Father in the Paul VI Hall. The Pope defined the Salvadoran bishop martyr as a “good pastor, full of love for God and close to his brothers who, living the dynamism of the Beatitudes, gave his life in a violent way while celebrating the Eucharist, the supreme sacrifice of love, sealing with his own blood the Gospel that he announced. … From the very beginning of the life of the Church, Christians have always believed that the blood of martyrs is a seed for Christians, as Tertuliano said. Today too, in a dramatic way, the blood of a great number of Christian martyrs continues to be shed on the fields of the world, with the certain hope that will bear fruit in a rich harvest of holiness, justice, reconciliation and love of God. But we must remember that one is not born a martyr. …. “Indeed, the martyr is not someone relegated to the past, a beautiful image that adorns our churches and which we recall with a certain nostalgia. No, the martyr is a brother, a sister, who continues to accompany us in the communion of saints and who, united with Christ, does not ignore our earthly pilgrimage, our sufferings, our anxieties.”

PAPAL MESSAGE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING – (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the Santa Marta Group, an initiative he personally launched in the battle against human trafficking, involving the security forces of various countries, episcopates, social organisations and representatives of various religious confessions. The group is currently meeting at San Lorenzo del Escorial in Spain. It was inaugurated today by Queen Sofia and attended by cardinals, bishops, social activists and around fifty heads of police from around the world. In his message, Francis wrote that, in the short time of its existence, “this worthy group has made significant achievements and is called upon to play a decisive role in the eradication of human trafficking and modern slavery.” He noted that during the last year there have been important institutional changes that have without doubt supported its activity, starting with the meeting of mayors in Vatican City on 21 July, in which key figures signed a declaration expressing their commitment to eliminating the new forms of slavery that constitute a crime against humanity.

PHOTO

FRANCIS MARKS CELAM’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY – (VIS) – To commemorate 60 years of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), Pope Francis wrote a message to CELAM president, Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, in which he expresses his gratitude for all the good the Lord has gradually sown there, and that has borne fruit through the service of God’s Church in Latin America. “I hope that CELAM, making pastoral and missionary conversion its priority, may increasingly participate in, support and give momentum to this evangelising movement towards all environments and all frontiers. It is important that our communities be ‘homes and schools of communion’, which attract by a surprising fraternity based on the recognition of the common father, and help always to keep alive in the Church in Latin America the passion for our peoples, the bearing of our sufferings and the capacity for Christian discernment of the vicissitudes of their recent history, to open up paths of greater equality, peace and justice.”

 

RAPPORTEURS AND MODERATORS OF LANGUAGE GROUPS NAMED – CARDINAL WUERL: SYNOD FATHERS HAVING “VERY GOOD DISCUSSIONS” – ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF CARDINAL ERDO’S OPENING SYNOD SPEECH

RAPPORTEURS AND MODERATORS OF LANGUAGE GROUPS NAMED

The Holy See Press Office has published the following list of rapporteurs and moderators of the synod’s Circuli Minori, or Language Groups: Gallicus (French), Anglicus (English), Italicus (Italian), Hibericus (Spanish) and Germanicus (German). The language groups met for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

It was noted at a press briefing in the Holy See Press Office today that while a group may be labeled as English, French, etc., not all members of that group would be native English- or French-speakers. For example, Archbishop Charles Chaput of English Group D said that, in his group, there were people from Canada, France, India, Bangladesh, Australia, Belgium and Uganda and several people from United States.

RAPPORTEURS

Circulus Gallicus “A”:     Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Lille, France

Circulus Gallicus “B”:     Msgr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier S.J.

Circulus Gallicus “C”:     Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher

Circulus Anglicus “A”:   Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz

Circulus Anglicus “B”:   Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Circulus Anglicus “C”:   Bishop Mark Benedict Coleridge

Circulus Anglicus “D”:   Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Circulus Italicus “A”:     Rev. Fr. Manuel Jesus Arroba Conde, C.M.F.

Circulus Italicus “B”:     Cardinal Mauro Piacenza

Circulus Italicus “C”:     Bishop Franco Giulio Brambilla

Circulus Hibericus “A”: Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R.

Circulus Hibericus “B”: Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo

Circulus Germanicus:     Archbishop Heiner Koch

MODERATORS

Circulus Gallicus “A”:   Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, elected

Circulus Gallicus “B”:   Cardinal Robert Sarah, elected

Circulus Gallicus “C”:     Maurice Piat, C.S.Sp., elected

Circulus Anglicus “A”:   Cardinal George Pell, elected

Circulus Anglicus “B”:   Cardinal Vincent Nichols, elected

Circulus Anglicus “C”:   Eamon Martin, elected

Circulus Anglicus “D”:   Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins, elected

Circulus Italicus “A”:     Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, elected

Circulus Italicus “B”:    Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, elected

Circulus Italicus “C”:     Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, elected

Circulus Hibericus “A”: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B. elected

Circulus Hibericus “B”: Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, elected

Circulus Germanicus:     Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P.,elected

CARDINAL WUERL: SYNOD FATHERS HAVING “VERY GOOD DISCUSSIONS”

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., says the opening days of the Synod of Bishops are going smoothly. “I think we’re moving along very well. We’ve had very good discussions in the Aula (hall). Many, many of the points that were raised contribute positively to trying to find a better way to say what we want to say. The rest of them reinforced what’s already there. So far, this has been a very positive meeting.” (Reuters photo)

CARDINAL WUERL

In an interview in the synod hall with Vatican Radio’s Bernd Hagenkord, S.J., Cardinal Wuerl spoke about the atmosphere in the small groups, which began their discussions on Tuesday afternoon. “Now we’re in the small language groups. We’re just beginning. And I think we’re already beginning to sense, in our small group, a sense of solidarity around what it is we want to say, and a consensus where are the major points to be underlined. We’re just beginning, but we’re off to a good start.”

Asked about his predictions for the synod, Cardinal Wuerl said he hoped that, “out of this whole discussion will come a recognition that while we have a very clear doctrinal basis for our appreciation of marriage, equally part of the revelation is God’s mercy.” He also expressed his hope that the Synod would address the need to respond pastorally “to all of the people whose marriage is not the ideal, whose lives more reflect the brokenness of the human condition than they reflect the beauty of the ideal.”

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF CARDINAL ERDO’S OPENING SYNOD SPEECH

Catholic News Agency, CNA, in a piece appearing online yesterday, wrote that a day earlier, the opening day of the 2015 Synod on the Family, Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, the synod’s relator general, gave an introductory speech to the synod fathers. Drawing from the working document for the synod as well as recent magisterial documents, Cardinal Erdo surveyed the work the assembly is called to do. He examined current challenges to the family and marriage, the vocation of the family, and the family’s mission today.

Cardinal Erdo’s remarks have been criticized since he spoke Monday and many, in fact, share the opinion of Archbishop Coleridge who wrote on his blog that some “are uneasy about the impression given by the presentation of Cardinal Erdo in the morning that some key questions are already decided and seemingly off the table. They felt that such a stance was premature.”

The cardinal himself, at a press conference Monday, explained that his introductory address had followed the structure of Instrumentum Laboris. “I tried to systematize all the data which was received from the Church around the world, including families and individuals who wrote to us, following the themes already in Instrumentum Laboris.”

And here is what Edward Pentin wrote – in part – in the National Catholic Register about the Erdo talk:

“In his speech, Cardinal Erdö reasserted much of the Church’s teaching, and cast doubt on the prospect of a controversial proposal to readmit civilly remarried divorcees to Communion.

“The proposal, first raised by Cardinal Walter Kasper, a German and the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, at a consistory in February 2014 and which is based on the practice of Eastern Orthodox Churches, was one of the most controversial issues at last year’s extraordinary synod on the family.

“The current gathering, which runs until Oct. 25 and is being attended by 279 bishops and priests from around the world, is to discuss the theme “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.”

“In his 2014 proposal, Cardinal Kasper said divorced-and-remarried Catholics could be readmitted to the sacraments after a period of penitence for their first marriage. Critics said it undermined the indissolubility of marriage, amounted to an attack on the sacrament of the Eucharist, and would precipitate many other abuses of Church teaching.

“Cardinal Erdö, 63, whose position as general relator makes him responsible for underlining the goals of the synod at the beginning of the three-week meeting, stressed that civilly remarried Catholics “must be given merciful pastoral guidance,” but this “does not call into question the indissolubility of marriage as taught by Jesus Christ himself.”

“He added that ‘God’s mercy offers forgiveness to sinners but requires conversion’,” and, in this case, “a couple’s sin does not lie first and foremost in whatever behavior may have led to the breakup of the first marriage.”The reason they cannot receive the Eucharist “is not because of the failure of their first marriage, but because of the cohabitation in their second relationship,” he said.”

The cardinal’s speech appeared on Vatican web pages in Italian but it has now been translated into English by some of the CNA staff: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-cardinal-erdos-introductory-report-for-the-synod-on-the-family-67404/