Friday 10 April 2015

Cardinal Nichols' misleading statement at Chrism Mass

Cardinal Nichols holds press conference on synod, 21 October 2014
I was astonished to read in the Catholic Herald that Cardinal Nichols used his sermon at the Westminster Chrism Mass to claim that it is wrong "to think or speak of this Synod as a battle, a battle between contesting sides."

I was present in Rome during the Extraordinary Synod, working with representatives of other pro-family organisations as part of the Voice of the Family coalition. It was plainly evident to us, after numerous meetings with prelates on both sides of the divide, that a battle was taking place over crucial aspects of Catholic teaching and discipline relating to marriage and the family.

George Cardinal Pell, Prefect for the Economy, publicly stated that "radical elements" within the hierarchy were attempting to use the synod to undermine Catholic teaching on questions such as cohabitation and homosexual unions. They were, he said, using the issue of Holy Communion for the divorced and "remarried" as a "stalking horse" to help pursue these wider changes. 

These attempts to undermine the doctrine of the Church were strongly resisted on the floor of the synod hall, resulting in a partial reversal of the radical agenda outlined in the now notorious interim report. The final report remains gravely flawed however, as outlined in Voice of the Family's in-depth analysis.

This serious division between leading prelates is widening as the Ordinary Synod approaches. Cardinal Marx, Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, has claimed that the Church in Germany is not “a subsidiary of Rome” and that each bishops’ conference must “preach the Gospel in its own, original way.” Cardinal Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has called this idea “absolutely anti-Catholic” and another German, Cardinal Cordes, has accused Marx of false mercy, “theological blurriness” and language better suited to the “counter of a bar”. Furthermore Swiss-German Cardinal, Kurt Koch, has stated that the dissenters are trying to adapt the faith to the world after the manner of some German Christians under the Nazi regime.

This sounds like a battle to me.

Those interested in knowing what really happened before and during the Extraordinary Synod will benefit reading from the detailed narrative overview produced by Voice of Family.

I found Cardinal Nichols' comments particularly surprising because he himself has taken part in the current battle over Church teaching. I wrote last week about his disappointment that language about homosexuality placed in the heterodox interim report was removed from the synod's final report. He has also expressed his openness to the admission of those in public and unrepentant mortal sin to Holy Communion, which would contradict twenty centuries of Catholic teaching.

I have previously documented many of Cardinal Nichols' statements and actions relating to homosexuality and homosexual unions.

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