Skip to main content

Synod Post-Game Show 4 - The Aftermath of the Synod / Council As Demonstrated By Statistics


In the aftermath of the 'Synod', I think we see simply the fruits of the 'Council'.

In many ways it has every appearance of being a very similar conflict.  With the key difference that in the Council the conflict was over doctrine, in this 'Synod' or 'mini-Council' was over ... morals.  Of course, you can never separate morals from doctrine as they are intrinsically linked.

While most articles that I've seen focus on the final document( DICI ), for good reason, I'd like to make my own contribution to the discussion by focusing on what the Synod told us about the health of the Mystical Body of Christ.

The seed of this can be found in this post by Rorate.  It contains some very simple results on the voting on two core issues: Communion for the 'Divorced and Remarried' and Civil Gay Unions.  Why is this important?

Because these results are, in essence, an opinion survey.

Here are the 'survey' results along with my presumed opinions being canvassed. I used the linked sample size calculator to determine the margin of error and 'confidence' level (95% /99%) for the opinions sample. In the calculations I used 5133 for the total Number of Bishops in the world.

What does that mean?

Well the percentage in favour can be stated as a reliable sampling of the bishops of the world with a margin of error and a degree of confidence in the aforesaid margin of error.  Resulting in the following stats.
  • Opinion: Catholics who have been civilly divorced and remarried should be able to receive Holy Communion (Paragraph 52)
  • Results
    • For:104
    • Against:74
    • Total Sample:178
    • Placeat: 58.4% confidence:  7.08% (95%), 9.31%(99%)

  • Opinion: (Paragraph 55)
  • Results
    • For:118
    • Against:62
    • Total Sample:180
    • Placeat: 65.5%confidence 6.85% (95%) 9.01% (99%)

  • Opinion: Civil marriage and concubinage have positive elements (Paragraph 41)
  • Results
    • For:125
    • Against:54
    • Total Sample:179
    • Placeat: 69.8% confidence 6.61% (95%)  8.7%(99%)

So what do these numbers tell us?

That we can be 99% certain that, in the case of communion for divorcees, between 49.09 and 67.41% agree with this opinion.

My conclusion: We're heading towards a schism on the order of 66% of the Bishops.  How many of the faithful will follow them is a good question. But if the surveys in the states are representative, it will be at least that same ratio.

By way of analogy, the hole is deep and the sides steep.  If the hierarchy keeps on digging, the sides will cave in upon them.


Reference Links and Materials

Church Stats: CARA
Church Stats # of Bishops: 5133 - Catholic Herald
Church Stats # of Bishops: 5104 - Catholic News
Statistical Calculations: Confidence Interval

Here is the english translations of the final 'relatio' from the Synod.
52. The synod father also considered the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried  access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Some synod fathers insisted on maintaining the present regulations, because of the constitutive relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church as well as the teaching on the indissoluble character of marriage. Others expressed a more individualized  approach, permitting access in certain situations and with certain well-defined conditions, primarily in irreversible situations and those involving moral obligations towards children who would have to endure unjust suffering. Access to the sacraments might take place if preceded by a penitential practice, determined by the diocesan bishop. The subject needs to be thoroughly examined, bearing in mind the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735).
53. Some synod fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons or those living together can have fruitful recourse to a spiritual communion. Others raised the question as to why, then, they cannot have access “sacramentally”. As a result, the synod fathers requested that further theological study in the matter might point out the specifics of the two forms and their association with the theology of marriage.
55. Some families have members who have a homosexual tendency. In this regard, the synod fathers asked themselves what pastoral attention might be appropriate for them in accordance with the Church’s teaching: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family.” Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4.)
41. While continuing to proclaim and foster Christian marriage, the Synod also encourages pastoral discernment of the situations of a great many who no longer live this reality. Entering into pastoral dialogue with these persons is needed to distinguish elements in their lives which can lead to a greater openness to the Gospel of Marriage in its fullness. Pastors ought to identify elements which can foster evangelization and human and spiritual growth. A new element in today’s pastoral activity is a sensitivity to the positive aspects of civilly celebrated marriages and, with obvious differences, cohabitation. While clearly presenting the Christian message, the Church also needs to indicate the constructive elements in these situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to it.

Rorate-Caeli: Relatio
Vatican: Relatio
Catholic World Report: Relatio
Rorate-Caeli: A Synodal Mess


Popular posts from this blog

Thirty Days Prayer to Our Lady -

Providence has cast this prayer in my path twice in the last week.  I decided to post it here in order to have a copy handy.


Source Intro Prayer

With the condition of affairs in the cultural, political and physical world in a state of disarray we enter Lent - Ash Wednesday - February 25th - 2004 - more compelled then ever to pursue, diligently and faithfully, our personal road to holiness. It is a long, difficult path each of us treads, however, we do know the journey can be sweeter and more blessed if we travel it with others. Jesus has told us: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am with you." And there are many other biblical passages, as well, that urge us to love and help one another.

A 'Thirty Day Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary ' was said by many Catholics during troubled times in their lives up until Vatican II. While looking through old stored away boxes, I came across a small white prayer book of the kind give…

Homily vs Sermon

Something that I've noticed is that Modern Catholics use the phrase 'Homily' instead of 'Sermon'.

I've often wondered about this difference.

Here's what I found

Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) Homily:
...Since Origen's time homily has meant, and still means, a commentary, without formal introduction, division, or conclusion, on some part of Sacred Scripture, the aim being to explain the literal, and evolve the spiritual, meaning of the Sacred Text.  ...
Wikipedia Sermon::
A sermon is an oration, lecture, or talk by a member of a religious institution or clergy. Sermons address a scriptural, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law, or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of the sermon often include exposition, exhortation, and practical application.  
Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) Sermon:
As to preaching at the present day, we can clearly trace the influence, in many respects, of Schola…