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*Image: Ordaining of the Twelve Apostles (Election des douze apôtres) by James Tissot, c. 1890 [Brooklyn Museum, New York]

By Fr. Gerald E. Murray, The Catholic Thing, May 20, 2023

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City. His new book (with Diane Montagna), Calming the Storm: Navigating the Crises Facing the Catholic Church and Society, is now available.


A note from Robert Royal: Several of you have written to say that there’s a problem with the donations page. It’s been fine for most people. But we’ve taken steps to fix the incompatibilities that strangely seem to be cropping up for a few of you.  It should be working fine now (If not please contact Hannah Russo and she will quickly resolve any problems). It’s probably just some digital glitch – though in the current climate we’re not discounting less-than-innocent explanations – just one of the many worries an orthodox Catholic online site has to guard against these days. Fr. Murray’s column this morning recounts other worries – he and I will be in Rome this October with some daily podcasts on what is transpiring in this ill-conceptualized “synod.”  We can only bring you news from Rome on such crucial matters and our daily columns at other times because you provide the support for such work. Tomorrow is Sunday. And we’ll suspend fundraising for the Sabbath. But if you understand what’s currently at stake and how much we need clear understanding of what some less-than-candid forces are trying to do within our Church, we need you to step up. Now. Today. In a better world, there would be no need. But just now, we need all God’s faithful people to do their part. Click the button. It will make things happen.

The Synod of Bishops, as Pope Francis remarked in his 2014 Letter to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, was established by Pope St. Paul VI to meet “the need to strengthen by closer bonds the union of the Bishop of Rome with the Bishops whom the Holy Spirit had constituted to govern the Church of God.” He added that “it is necessary more than ever to further revitalize the close relationship between all the Pastors of the Church. . .there is no doubt that the Bishop of Rome is in need of the presence of his Brother Bishops, of their guidance and of their prudence and experience.”

To promote this revitalization “the Successor of Peter must proclaim to all who ‘Christ, the Son of the Living God’ is, and at the same time he must pay attention to what the Holy Spirit inspires on the lips of those who – accepting the word of Jesus who declares: ‘you are Peter’ (cf. Mt 16:16-18) – fully participate in the Apostolic College.” It is this “affective and effective communion which constitutes the Synod of Bishops’ primary purpose.” …

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