The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?' Edward Pentin with Raymond Arroyo | 24Set2015 19:48:56
THE WORLD OVER - WITH RAYMOND ARROYO
(Narrator) Now, once again, Raymond Arroyo.
(RA) Welcome back to The World Over live; last October cardinals from around the world gathered for the Synod on the family in Rome. The Pope wanted them to discuss the pastoral challenges the church faces in ministering to the family; the subjects that got most to the press attention were communion for divorced and remarried catholics, the pastoral care of gays, as well as how the church might treat same sex relationships.
Some saw the discussions as a much needed breath of fresh air, others decried what they saw as an effort to alter the church teaching on marriage and the family; now a new book chronicals the back stage moves that shaped the Synod and poses a provocative question; was the outcome of the Synod pre-ordained? It's called "The Rigging of a Vatican Synod." An investigation into alleged manipulation at the extraordinary Synod on the family; it's a new e-book from Ignatius Press, joining us in studio is author and Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Register, Edward Pentin.
(RA) Delighted to have you here.
Beginning of interview
(EP) Good to be here.
(RA) Hey, I wanna start with why did you want to write this book? I mean, you've been, you covered every movement of this while it was happening,
(Screen) Alleged Manipulation at the Synod on the Family why write a book about it?
(EP) Well, I think there was, there was some unanswered questions during the Synod, and I think, uh, people heard about this allegation of rigging going on or manipulation, and so I thought well, as a journalist I have to find out what the truth is, and if there's something unjust then that needs to be uncovered, so I thought, well, I need to look into this in more detail; so I thought, over the past year or so I've been looking at what happened in more detail, and that sort of ended up with this book; but uh, as I say, it's important that the title has a question mark at the end because it's, I want the reader really to decide, to look at the evidence and let them decide, was this rigged, was there manipulation going on, was there an agenda being pushed, and really allow them to make up their own mind from the evidence.
Rigging by people from the top
(RA) Cardinal Napier, the, the African Cardinal of, of great repute, he, at one point he is told by a Synod official, and I'm quoting here, "this thing is being manipulated, it's being engineered; they want a certain result." Who are they?!
(EP) They are,... it turned out, from my investigations, it was probably about seven or eight people involved in that, and they came from the top of the organization of the Synod; the Synod secretariat. So I think those, those seven or eight people were keen to see a certain result, they, they wanted to see their agenda pushed through, and uh, yeah it was just, it was them really.
(RA) Cardinal Baldisseri and some of the other four, Archbishop Forte, these are the people who were really,... instrumental.
(EP) That's right! Cardinal Baldisseri, who is the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, appointed by Pope Francis, and also Archbishop Forte, who is the special secretary; uhm, they seem to be pushing a certain thing, a certain agenda which was, obviously, more people didn't like, was contrary to what they thought was church teaching and the established....
(RA) I wanted to back up a little bit, I wanted to talk about Cardinal Walter Kasper's controversial speech in the February, preceding the extraordinary Synod, where he put forward this notion, that divorced and remarried catholics should be allowed some penitencial process; it was not an annulment that didn't take so long. What, what was at the heart of that proposal, and does that campaign go on? The last time I interviewed Cardinal Walter Kasper it appears as if he was backing away, but is he?
(EP) I don't know if he is but I think there is a, I think he's, he doesn't feel perhaps that he's as supported as he was in the beginning of the process; (EP) and I think he's standing back a little bit, to see if things will just gather momentum I think, but, yes, that, that proposal was very controversial as many viewers will know, that it was, it was, many saw in this an attack on the Eucharist and, some say it was like a three pronged attack, not only on the Eucharist but also confession, and at marriage itself; so that was, that was the great concern; I put in the book, in chapter two, a whole chapter devoted to what's at stake at the Synod; so the reader can get an idea of just why the people are so passionate about it.
(RA) Why all of this is important, yeah! And, and the forthcoming Synod which will really decide everything
(RA) And we're gonna talk about that in a moment; you, you suggest in the book that this is all a Trojan Horse...
(EP) Yes! This is one view that, that the divorce and remarriage issue was being used by certain people within the Synod, to push through another agenda,...
(RA) And what was that other agenda?
(EP) That other agenda basically centers on validating the same sex unions within the church, uh, changing the church's views on human sexuality, the church's doctrine in a sense, so all the church's pastoral practice which, in turn, they argue affects doctrine; so, it looses(?) teaching on cohabitation for example and so forth.
(RA) It was, it was that interim report, the report that sort of coalesced and gathered all the interventions and the conversations, throughout the first half of this process; they issued this interim report, that is what caused so many fireworks,
(RA) because it was released to the public, to the press, before the Cardinals even got a glimpse of it; tell me how that came to be, and,... many Cardinals said, this bears no relation to the conversations we've been having; in fact, nobody even talked about homosexuality or, or, uh, communion for divorced and remarried people; we barely had a conversation about that.
(EP) Yes, I mean, this is what really alerted people to the fact that they thought there was some sort of rigging going on, because they, they said, you know, we didn't hear about these things discussed during the first week, and suddenly they were front and center, and they were put out to the press before they even heard and, before they had even seen the report themselves so, they argued that there was, uh, that was being pushed through but also, I mean, against that, people say, well, there were so many interventions, it was very difficult to, to put them together in such a short time,
(EP) so they had to sort of prepare this document, even before the Synod began.
(RA) So you believe it was, it was prepared in advance? Before?
(EP) Well, this is the argument yes, that it, all these, certain aspects of it were prepared perhaps before the discussions began in that first week, so, uhm, so that's, yeah, I mean, it's, you could look at it from both sides.
(RA) Well, you mentioned this in the book and I, I've talked to some people who say, wait a minute, these were written, every, every Synod Father submitted a written intervention, which was handed in before the Synod started, and it was those written interventions that they based the midterm report on,... valid?
(EP) That is, that is possible, yes, but, the interim report is supposed to be, it's, it's, it's called the report on the discussions held at the first week of the Synod; so, if that's not the case, then it's a, a, it's a misrepresentation of that.
(RA) Tell me about how critical your, you reported throughout this Synod, you had incredible reports, but in the middle, you interviewed Cardinal Kasper, who was coming out of the meetings for the day; and he said something about the African Cardinals, that the African shouldn't be listened to on marriage and other things; it's tabu to them, and they're gonna hold us back; that was a major turning point! Was it not?
(EP) Yes, I mean, people have said that, that uh, it woke people up to the fact that there it's certain things that, uh, you know, were at play which they hadn't realized, uhm, and that, you know, there was this, uh, party, Cardinal Kasper's alliances if you like,
(EP) who weren't prepared to listen to what the african said, for example, on same sex marriage, same sex unions, uhm, and so that, that was quite a turning point I think, yes,...
(RA) Well, it, it woke up and galvanised all of the african Cardinals.
(RA) uh, uh, Cardinals.
(EP) Well, they realized that the, they weren't gonna be quiet, and they weren't gonna be silenced, by, those running the Synod; they realized that they needed to speak up; so, yes, it did, it did galvanise them.