Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us a prediction as to what will occur when the Synod resumes:
ROME, January 23, 2015 – One year ago Pope Francis gathered the cardinals for two days behind closed doors, to tackle questions on the family. And they were a fiery couple of days.
Next month he will bring them together again, this time to discuss the reform of the curia, and here too there will be a battle.
Because many contrasting ideas of reform have sprung up, at least as many as the brains of the nine cardinals who advise the pope, and some of them are even unpresentable. Like that of placing under a yet-to-be constituted dicastery of justice the various institutions and levels of the Vatican judicial system, including the apostolic penitentiary, which judges in the internal forum. With a horrible violation, if it were implemented, of the division between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers that is the prerogative of modern states from Montesquieu onward.
In fact, Francis has taken his time. He has said that he will not put the wraps on reform before 2016. And meanwhile he is proceeding like a general of the Jesuits, deciding himself on what is most urgent for him, in spite of the acclaimed collegiality of his governance.
In presenting his Christmas greetings to the heads of the curia, he slapped them in the face with a catastrophic diagnosis of their “illnesses,” listing fifteen of them, each more abject than the one before. But if one then looks at the few removals and promotions that the pope has made so far, the results are stunning.
The most illustrious of the defenestrated is Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a great canonist, whose competency and moral uprightness are recognized even by his adversaries.
While the most incredible of the promotions is that Monsignor Battista Ricca, called back to Rome years ago from the diplomatic service after he had caused scandal in three different nunciatures, the last in Montevideo where he had brought his lover, but who then experienced a miraculous career revival as director of the two Roman residences of Via della Scrofa and of Santa Marta, and above all as a friend of many cardinals and bishops accommodated there from around the world, including the one who today is pope and has made him prelate of the IOR, his trusted man at the Vatican bank.
So far there has not been the least follow-up to the proposal that Bergoglio had brought out in the spring before last: to overthrow in the curia that “gay lobby” which he had found living and thriving there.
But more than in the curia, it is with the synod of bishops that this pontificate is innovating.
Francis has made it an almost permanent structure, giving free rein to discussions that previous popes had closed, like that of communion for the divorced and remarried, and most notably on whether or not to admit second marriages.
The result has been a fiery battle between opposing sides, with the bishops of the “peripheries” above all, especially of Africa and Eastern Europe, as intransigent opponents both of divorce and of the recognition of homosexual unions.
But in the end, after the synodal session of next October, it will be the pope who decides, as an absolute monarch, and he has taken care to reiterate this by citing the code of canon law.
His clear sympathies are for the progressive wing, led by the German cardinals, and for the tolerant practice of the Orthodox Churches of the East, which already bless second marriages.
But Francis says he is also fascinated by Paul VI and continues to present as a model of prophetic courage the encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” with which that pope condemned contraception and approved only natural methods for the regulation of births.
He did so once again in Manila a few days ago, while remarking however that Paul VI also “expressed compassion for specific cases and he taught confessors to be particularly compassionate for particular cases.”
And this is what he will probably end up doing.
Francis will hold firm, in words, the Catholic doctrine of indissolubility, and at the same time will encourage bishops and the clergy to have “pastoral,” or practical, compassion and understanding for failed and remade marriages.
Paul VI, who was proclaimed blessed on the concluding day of the last synod, brought a flood of criticism upon himself with “Humanae Vitae,” from outside and inside the Church.
For Francis the opposite could occur, with his giving apparent satisfaction to both intransigents and innovators.
Many have predicted that this will occur, but PopeWatch is not so sure. PopeWatch is not certain that the Pope will attempt to alter the teaching of the Church when it comes to communion for those in adulterous marriages, but PopeWatch is certain that Pope Francis is very unpredictable. What PopeWatch does believe is that Pope Francis raised this issue for a reason and that he has a goal he wishes to obtain via the Synod. PopeWatch also believes that the Pope was surprised by the amount of opposition that he received at the first session of the Synod. What this adds up to for the future, PopeWatch will leave to sharper minds and/or bolder spirits.