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Was Pope Francis sending a subtle message to his critics this week? Or have I become a bit paranoid about papal statements? You decide.
In a statement of condolence after the death of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Pope Francis summed up the ecclesiastical career of the Belgian prelate in two sentences. Pay particular attention to the second sentence:
Pastor - Church - Dedication - Level - President
This zealous pastor served the Church with dedication, not only in his diocese, but also at the national level as president of the Conference of Bishops of Belgium, while being a member of various Roman dicasteries. Attentive to the challenges of the contemporary Church, Cardinal Danneels also took an active role in various Synods of Bishops, including those of 2014 and 2015 on the family.
Cardinal Danneels was Archbishop of Brussels for more than 30 years. In all that time, did he do nothing more memorable than serve as president of the episcopal conference and participate in Synod meetings? And why does the Pope make a special mention of those very controversial Synod meetings in 2014 and 2015? If Cardinal Danneels made any noteworthy statement during those sessions, it escaped my notice.
Vatican - News - Service - Coverage - Cardinal
The Vatican News service, in its coverage of the cardinal’s death, also put a special focus on his attendance at Synods, methodically listing all eleven (!) of the Synod meetings he attended. But Vatican News, too, paid particular attention to the 2014 and 2015 meetings on the family, setting them apart in a separate paragraph, and mentioning that in these cases, rather than beting elected by his brother bishops as a delegate, “he was appointed by Pope Francis himself.”
Which is—or should be—a sore point. Cardinal Danneels was chosen by the Pope to participate in the Synods on the Family after he was caught on tape advising a man who had been sexually abused by another...
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