(CNSNews.com) – Thomas J. Tobin, the Catholic bishop for the Diocese of Providence, R.I., commented on the recent Synod of Bishops on the Family held at the Vatican as “being rather Protestant” in having bishops vote on “doctrinal applications,” and added that in terms of Pope Francis’s fondness for a “creating a mess,” you can say, “mission accomplished.”
“Pope Francis is fond of ‘creating a mess.’ Mission accomplished,” said Bishop Tobin in his Oct. 21 blog post at the Diocese of Providence website.
Pope Francis has sometimes said he wants to create “a mess” in the Church, meaning he wants to stir things up, and challenge people to do things they may not have considered.
During the World Youth Day in Rio de Janerio in July 2013, Pope Francis said, “What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! … I want to see the Church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”
Commenting further on the Synod, Bishop Tobin said, “The concept of having a representative body of the Church voting on doctrinal applications and pastoral solutions strikes me as being rather Protestant.” At the close of the Synod, the bishops voted on all 62 paragraphs in the final document, the Relatio Synodi.
The Synod of bishops will meet again in one year to review the document, make more changes, and then Pope Francis will review that material and write a public letter on the family and marriage issues examined.
As for more of his “Random Thoughts about the Synod on the Family,” Bishop Tobin said:
-- “Have we learned that it’s probably not a good idea to publish half-baked minutes of candid discussions about sensitive topics, especially when we know that the secular media will hijack the preliminary discussions for their own agendas?
-- “Wherever he serves, Cardinal Burke will be a principled, articulate and fearless spokesman for the teachings of the Church.”
-- “Relax. God’s still in charge.”
Pope Francis removed Cardinal Raymond Burke, 66, from his position as head of the highest court at the Vatican, the Apostolic Signatura, and reassigned him to be the Patron of the Knights of Malta, a largely ceremonial post and viewed as a demotion by Vatican observers.
Cardinal Burke, an American, is a top expert on Canon Law, the law of the Catholic Church, and has been a staunch defender of the Church’s teaching, particularly on moral issues. He has explained in detail that the Church does not have the authority to change its teaching on such hot button topics as abortion, homosexuality, contraception, marriage and divorce.
The Catholic diocese of Providence, R.I. was established in 1872. There are about 675,000 Catholics in the diocese and there are 143 parishes.