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Signs of “doctrinal tension” in view of the Synod on the family

by Carlo Marroni

The Synod on the family, a key appointment for the Church of Pope Francis in 2015, is approaching (in October). After the very intense debates last year, especially on divorced, remarried and gay couples, we can detect new signals of a new confrontation about the “doctrine” of the family, which is expected among the cardinals.

The initiative taken by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when speaking of a new task of his ministry in one of the several interviews given in recent weeks and focused on the next Synod, should probably be read in this context. A task that would have never been mentioned in the documents concerning the precise competencies of the former Holy Office.

Indeed, the German cardinal interviewed by “La Croix” said: “The arrival on the Chair of Peter of a theologian like Benedict XVI is probably an exception. Pope Francis is also more pastoral, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the mission of the theological structuring of a pontificate.”

So, according to what Müller stated, the former Holy Office must “theologically structure” the pontificate of Pope Francis. This is probably the reason why the Prefect “has intervened so often publicly, like never before,” noted the authoritative Vatican Insider.

Therefore, if for Muller, at least according to his statement, the present pontificate does not have sufficient theological “structure,” we will have to expect a new strong confrontation on the family - as it happened last year before everybody's eyes - and perhaps also on new grounds. Who asks for a frank debate and without fear is the Pope himself: eventually, in any case, he will be the one that will decide on possible openings in the family field.