Buchanan: Either the Church has been in grave error in the past, or the Church is toying with heresy today.

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Saturday, The Washington Post described the synod as a “brawl over Francis’ vision of inclusion.”

Reporter Anthony Faiola compared the synod deliberations to a Tea Party rebellion in John Boehner’s House caucus, and the pope to a change agent like Barack Obama who finds himself blocked and frustrated by conservatives.

Saturday’s document from the synod ignored the call for a new Church stance toward homosexual unions. And it did not approve of giving Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, whom the Church considers to be living in adultery.

Yet, in Sunday’s sermon the pope seemed angered by both the defiance of the resisting bishops and the conclusions the synod reached.

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Pope’s revised annulment procedures might make synod back room shenanigans unnecessary

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The changes move the church away from a set of 18th-century safeguards meant to make sure that the annulment process wasn’t subject to abuse, Martens said. Those changes, set up by Pope Benedict XIV, included a provision that would require a mandatory appeal of the lower court’s decision.

“What guarantee do you have for a fair trial if you take away those guarantees that were put in the past?” Martens said. “Sometimes you want to go so quickly, you miss elements and make mistakes. Procedure law takes time to unfold.”

Martens said the way Francis changed the annulment process was unusual, because he did not go through the Synod on the Family, as expected, in October. [It takes some things off the table for the Synod, which explains something of the timing of this.]

“If I were a bishop, I would be upset,” Martens said. “It’s a bit strange and even a sign of contradiction that a pope who is big on consultation and collegiality seems to forget that on something like this. It’s highly unusual for legislation like this to get through that way.”

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Preparatory document and questionnaire released ahead of 2014 Synod on the family – full text

(Vatican Radio) The preparatory document for next year’s Synod of Bishops on the Family was formally released at a news conference in the Vatican on Tuesday.

The synod’s theme is “The pastoral challenges to the Family in the context of Evangelization and it will run from the 5th to the 19th of October 2014. The document gives an overview of Church teaching on the family and spells out in a frank manner the many daunting challenges facing the family in today’s society, saying there is an urgency for the Church to address these challenges.

The document also includes a questionnaire or consultation containing 39 questions on family issues that has been sent to bishops conferences around the world asking them to share it as widely as possible so that input from local sources can be received.

Read the full text