Pray for the 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family

An actual photo of the 70,000 witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima Portugal
October 13, 1917

On the 13th day, of May through October of 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima Portugal. Visions of the future were given to them, along with dire warnings, instructions and a promise. The warnings centred around the trials of the 20th century, an upcoming Second World War,
Painting of Our Lady of Fatima
Artist Unknown
the rise of communist Russia, the persecution of Christians, the loss of Christian faith in the industrialised world, suffering for the pope, and a form of sexual 'liberation' that would send many souls to hell. It is one of the few Marian apparitions that the Vatican itself has confirmed as authentic, and it has been acknowledged by every pope in recent memory.

There is a strong connection between the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal and Our Lady of Lourdes in France fifty-nine years earlier. The connection centres around the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In Lourdes the dogma was revealed by Mary to a peasant girl. In Fatima, Mary promised the three shepherd children, that in the end, her Immaculate Heart (i.e. her Immaculate Conception) will prevail. I cannot help but see a strong connection here, but what it means I cannot say. I live in a country dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Is there an American connection to all of this? Again, I don't know, so I cannot say.

On October 13, 2014, ninety-seven years to the day, after the miracle of the sun at Fatima, witnessed by some 70,000 people, something remarkable happened at the Vatican in Rome. A controversial but non-binding document was issued by the coordinators of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, in which traditional Church discipline (and to a lesser extent, doctrine itself) was questioned regarding the sacrament of marriage, and human sexuality in general. I will not comment on the final document here, but rather simply quote the most controversial statements. From Synod 14: Relatio post disceptationem...
 46.        Likewise, those who are divorced and remarried require careful discernment and an accompaniment of great respect, while avoiding any language or behavior which might be construed as discrimination. Caring for such persons by the Christian community is not a weakening of its faith and its witness to the indissolubility of marriage, but, in this manner, the community precisely expresses its charity.
 47.        As to the possibility of partaking of the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, some synod fathers argued in favour of the present regulations because of their theological foundation, while others were in favour of a broader outlook with well-defined conditions, when dealing with situations that cannot be resolved without creating new injustices and suffering. For some, access to the sacraments might take place if preceded by a penitential practice — determined by the diocesan bishop —  and  a clear commitment in favour of the children. This would not be a possibility applied to all, but the fruit of a discernment [...] on a case-by-case basis, according to the law of gradualness, which takes into consideration the distinction between a state of sin, the state of grace and [...] extenuating circumstances.
 48.        The suggestion of limiting these persons to the practice of “spiritual communion” was questioned by many synod fathers. If spiritual communion is possible, why not allow them to partake in the Sacrament? Consequently, greater theological study was requested, beginning with the links between the Sacrament of Marriage and the Eucharist in relation to [...] Church-Sacrament. Likewise, the moral aspect of the problem requires further consideration, listening to and illuminating the consciences of these persons.
50.        Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing [...] them [...] a place of fellowship in our communities? Oftentimes, they want to encounter a Church which offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
I will not comment on the above paragraphs here, because there is no point. The document is non-binding and simply outlines the matters to be discussed in the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family in October of 2015. All I will say about the document is this. It caused a lot of controversy and confusion. There were
Painting of Our Lady of Lourdes
Artist Unknown
some scandals surrounding the original version of it (not shown here) in which a pre-manufactured version was translated, printed and distributed to the press long before the bishops participating in the synod themselves received a copy of it. The mainstream press inaccurately reported on it (as usual) giving people the false impression that Rome is about to make major doctrinal changes. (There is no evidence of this by the way.) The initial document was revised and the final document is merely a work in progress that is going to be taken up in the next synod. As I said, it's a work in progress. It is NOT binding on any Catholic in the entire worldwide Catholic Church.

This historical fact that the original document, that caused so much confusion, was released to the press on October 13, 2014 is no coincidence in my book. As the rabbis say, 'Coincidence is not a kosher word'. I see a direct spiritual connection between what happened in Rome on October 13, 2014 and what happened in Fatima on October 13, 1917.

Immediately following the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, I published two essays on this blog which became very controversial in themselves. They can be read here and here. After listening to many of my Catholic friends (both traditional and non-traditional) float the idea that this pope may be an antipope, I politely rebuked such assertions here. Any bishop or ordinary reading this should be advised that despite the controversial nature of my blog essays on this matter, they were in response (and in educational rebuke) of significantly more controversial statements made by people under their pastoral care. These statements have been ongoing since the Extraordinary Synod. I could not stand idle and let others refer to the Holy Father as an antipope. I had to speak out. That being said, even though some priests liked my essays and thought they were timely and appropriate, I have been politely asked by multiple priests now to refrain from such controversial essays in the future. In response to them, I have this to say...
Thank you for your advice and concern. I think I've said pretty much everything that needs to be said, and I have no intention of going any further. I tried to help. If people under your pastoral care want to believe that our Holy Father is an antipope, I'll leave it up to you to correct. Please know it may be going on right underneath your nose, and please know that they probably won't come to you with it. They are more likely to let this error fester and then finally just disappear from mass someday, only to turn up in some kind of schismatic group. You also might be surprised to find that some of these people are not what you would consider 'traditionalists' but are actually regular Catholics who attend the regular Novus Ordo mass. So being proactive on this matter might be prudent. It has been my experience that when such errors are left unattended, they tend to spread like a virus and infect more people. If you are so inclined, you are welcome to use any of my previous writings (especially this one) as material to help you correct this egregious and uncharitable error. I wish you the best of luck and my prayers are with you.
Now as we approach the upcoming 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family, the rumour mills are going into overdrive. The blogs are becoming more active. Catholic media is publishing all kinds of controversial articles. Bishops are speaking out against bishops, and cardinals are speaking out against cardinals. The entire bishops conference in Poland has pledged to resist the entire bishops conference in Germany. The African bishops have pledged to resist anyone who presents unorthodox doctrine or practice. Over 500 priests in England have just sent an open letter to the participants in the upcoming synod, requesting that they maintain traditional orthodoxy and practice. The 'chatter' is picking up, and despite pleas from the Holy Father and various bishops, this is not going to stop. There is nothing I can do or say here that will change this. It is what it is, and it's only going to get worse in the days ahead. By the time we reach October of 2015, I expect the atmosphere to be so tense that one could 'palpate' the general feeling of unease and anxiety. Some have speculated that we may be witnessing the beginning of the next German schism -- a second 'Reformation' event. There is no way to know this will happen, but one thing is certain. The German bishops appear to be the primary force driving controversial change in the Church, and have openly said, they will go ahead with it anyway, in spite of what is decided at the synod.

Honestly, I really don't know what is about to happen. I only know one thing. At this point, I am powerless to do anything about it. Following the last synod, I've already said everything that needs to be said. I have nothing more to add. You can read those articles I linked to above. From now on, this blog will maintain a proverbial 'radio silence' on all issues related to the 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family. From now on, for the next six months leading up to the synod, this blogger will follow the instructions and requests of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome. This blogger will pray, and this blogger will request the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the titles of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, and the Immaculate Conception, asking for the Holy Spirit to guide the bishops at the October 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family. This blogger will maintain 'radio silence' during the synod and after, until some time after Easter of 2016. By this time the Ordinary Synod on the Family will no longer be a 'current event' but rather a matter of history, and this blogger does better commenting on historical events, long after emotions concerning such events have had time to cool off.

I invite all of my readers to do the same. Please join me in praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the titles of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes and the Immaculate Conception. Let us ask her to intercede for us, and request the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit of God into the 2015 Synod on the Family. Likewise, let us also request of her to ask for the Holy Spirit of God to guide our pope during the synod and in the days to follow. He has a very difficult job and he can use all the divine intervention he can get.



Shane Schaetzel is a published author and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'

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So, you have been asked by Priests to refrain from posting such "controversial" essays? To that I say, who is the Catholic Priesthood in America to give guidance on defending the faith? They have abandoned their duty to properly present the faith to the laity; they have criticized some Catholic apologists who have done more to defend the faith than the entire hierarchy; finally, they have coddled "pro-choice Catholic Politicians" out of either fear or a desire to not be a pariah in the D.C. cocktail party set. They are criticizing you? Ain't that some stuff! or a desire t