The election of delegations from the US and Spain have Catholic conservatives at least slightly buoyed about their chances of winning the debate at the next and final Synod on family issues in the Catholic Church.
The Extraordinary Synod that met in the Vatican last October was only a prelude to a larger meeting to take place next year.
The Extraordinary Synod roiled the Catholic world, made global news, and made some hearts–particularly LGBT hearts–beat a bit faster.
The interim document seemed to suggest a change in Catholic approach to ministering to gays and lesbians while also leaving the possibility open that the divorced and civilly remarried could receive communion.
The final document walked some of that back but some on the left hold out hope controversial issues could be revived in the next and larger meeting.
While Catholics believe the Holy Spirit is at work at such meetings, they understand that personnel can also be policy and therefore the make up of the delegations is of supreme importance.
To that end, conservatives in the US and Spain are pleased.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops met last month in Baltimore and elected their delegation that includes Bishops known to defend traditional teaching including Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, KY, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, TX, and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles.
The alternates for the US delegation include perhaps the most outspoken opponent of gay marriage in the US Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. The only wild card is the other alternate, Archbishop Blase Cupich, who was recently appointed by Pope Francis to run the Archdiocese of Chicago and is considered a hero to the progressives.
Two of the three recently elected delegates are described by conservative bloggers as being “of strong character and conservative.” The newly Francis-appointed Archbishop of Madrid came within a single vote of losing a spot on the delegation to Bishop Juan Antonio Reig, who is considered among the most rigorous in Spain in defending traditional values.
Lastly, conservatives are encouraged because the Pope has named South African Cardinal Wildred Napier as the primary organizer of the General Synod. It was Napier who was one of the leaders of the conservative revolt against the troubling interim report last October.
Dr. Robert Royal, president of the Faith and Reason Institute and Editor-in-Chief of the influential website The Catholic Thing told Breitbart News, “Yes, to be sure. Archbishop Kurtz was good at the [Synod] press briefing this year. Di Nardo of Houston is very solid. Chaput and Gomez are solid citizens. Cordileone, as alternate, has stayed strong, even in crazy SF. Cupich is being called “moderate,” but whether that means he’s moderate in approach or weak in substance remains to be seen.”
Royal, who published widely read daily dispatches from the Vatican at the last meeting, said, “I was very impressed with the forthrightness of Cardinal Napier in October, so that’s a definite plus.”