There has been a lot of turmoil churning around in the press lately over the Vatican's synod on the family that recently ended in Rome. Next year will be the final meeting of the synod and in between will come the World Day of the Family in Philadelphia. So there is a lot of time to chew on what has been accomplished and what needs to be done to address the enormous deterioration experienced by the family in recent years.
Unfortunately for the Church, and for all of us, the discussion on the family has been sidetracked by a dispute over Communion for the divorced and remarried. The chief publicist for this notion seems to be Cardinal Kasper, an older German cardinal who has written a book on mercy that was praised by Pope Francis. Cardinal Kasper writes that there should be a way for Catholics who are divorced and remarried outside of the Church (without a declaration of nullity) to be able to receive Holy Communion while still preserving the Church's perpetual teaching that marriage is indissoluble. I won't go into all of the gyrations of this proposed accommodation, but the unintended or perhaps intended, result is that the attention of the world was pulled away from the problem of the family in modern culture and directed toward this one aspect of marital life.
Another consequence of the debate over Cardinal Kasper's thinking is the seemingly endless squabbling over who is the better Catholic - those who hold to traditional teaching or those with a more progressive bent. In a case of what might be viewed as "you never know what you've got until it's gone" - I recently read an incisive interview with Cardinal George, the newly retired archbishop of Chicago. I never really knew much about Cardinal George, but after reading this interview I wished I had paid more attention to him. Yes, your eminence, the Church is about truth! It is so tiring to read the press accounts trying to portray Church leaders and the pope as fitting into one political mold or another. The faith does not work that way. It is not a political institution, it is a religious institution tasked with the work of spreading the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The entire interview with Cardinal George can be found at the CRUX website. The interviewer is John Allen, someone who has been attacked by both those in the "traditional" and "progressive" camps. It must mean he's doing something right. The interview can be found here.