by ROWENA OREJANA
Pope Francis has appointed Wellington Cardinal John Dew as one of his personal representatives to the 2015 Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family to be held from October 4 to 25.
Cardinal Dew, who received the Pope’s appointment in August, said it is a privilege to be appointed because of the “very major topics” that will be discussed.
Cardinal Dew will be travelling with Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan, who was appointed early this year as New Zealand representative to the synod. It was announced earlier that two lay representatives, Sharron Cole and Dr John Kleinsman, are going with them.
“It’s a privilege, but I need people’s prayers for it, too,” Cardinal Dew told NZ Catholic.
On his Facebook page, Cardinal Dew said Pope Francis has asked for the prayers of the Church for those who will attend the synod.
“We pray also for families who face many difficult issues today where family values are challenged in the modern world,” he posted. “For millions of families around the world, day to day life is a matter of survival. It is a simple fact that so many struggle just to stay alive and keep their families together,” he noted.
Asked if the appointments might be seen as stacking votes in the Pope’s favour at the synod, Cardinal Dew replied, “I don’t think so. I think he’s open to having a wide representation. He wants to have a wide representation around the world. That is what he’s concerned about, making sure that the universal Church is widely represented.”
Cardinal Dew said he will be just “a participant, like everybody else”.
Criticisms and accusations flew fast and thick last year that a handful of bishops tried to insert their own agenda in the discussions of pastoral care.
A book called The Rigging of a Vatican Synod, by freelance Vatican journalist Edward Pentin, came out on September 5, a month before the 2015 synod begins.
Mr Pentin makes no definitive conclusion in the book, but allows readers to make their own conclusion, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.
In an interview with Wel-Com last month, Bishop Drennan said the synod process should air all views.
“It is not so much about us ‘accommodating’ trends as it is about us praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance, evolving our theological insights, and, for example, in regard to the origins of homosexuality, learning from the best of evolving scientific knowledge,” he said.
“Those who say nothing will ever change have scant regard for the work of the Holy Spirit or the mission of theology,” he added.