John Cardinal Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, is one of the Holy Father’s special appointments to the Ordinary Synod on the Family to be held next month. Last year he attended the Extraordinary Synod as the representative of the Bishops’ Conference of New Zealand. This year however the bishops of New Zealand chose to elect Charles Brennan, Bishop of Palmerston North as their representative.
For what reason did Pope Francis also extend an invitation to John Cardinal Dew?
Pope Francis has long been aware of Cardinal Dew’s strong support for the admission of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion without amendment of life.
During the October 2005 Synod on “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission on the Church” Archbishop Dew argued for the admission of the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion. He said:
“Our Church would be enriched if we were able to invite dedicated Catholics, currently excluded from the Eucharist, to return to the Lord’s table. There are those whose first marriages ended in sadness; they have never abandoned the Church, but are currently excluded from the Eucharist.”
Earlier this year Dew revealed that he discussed the issue with Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio.
At the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome in October 2014 he continued to undermine Catholic doctrine. On 8th October he disclosed the content of his intervention in the synod hall:
“I gave my own Intervention today and it seemed to be well received by most. I basically said that we have to change the language
which is used in various Church documents so that people do not see and hear the Church judging or condemning, passing out rules and laws, but rather showing concern and compassion and reaching out to help people discover God in their lives.”
On the same day Fr Thomas Rosica, English speaking spokesman for the Holy See, told journalists at a briefing at the Holy See press office that “one of the salient interventions” of the day had made the point that “language such as ‘living in sin’, ‘intrinsically disordered’, or ‘contraceptive mentality’ are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the Church.”
Fr Rosica continued:
“Marriage is already seen by many as being filtered in harsh language in the Church. How do we make that language appealing, and loving and inviting. We’re not speaking about rules or laws we’re speaking about a person who is Jesus who is the source of our faith, the leader of our Church, he is the one who invites us into a mystery.”
On that same day Archbishop Dew gave an interview to Fr Rosica’s Salt and Light television network. During the interview he said:
“…the message of the New Zealand bishops was that we wanted to see language in Church documents changed so that it’s something that gives people hope and support and encouragement, rather than being something that appears to many people that they can’t sort of meet the mark, that they can’t live up to the standards that the Church is asking of them.”
He went on to say that 25% of respondents to the pre-synod survey were “non-practicing Catholics” who objected to being “told that because we’re using contraception we’re intrinsically evil or that we’re living in an irregular situation, that the language is so negative that it doesn’t help us.” It was this reason, Archbishop Dew said, that his suggestion in his intervention was “let’s not be concentrating on rules, but looking for language that helps people and encourages people in their journey to God.”
It would seem clear that Pope Francis was well aware of Dew’s opinions and yet he:
1. Elevated him to the College of Cardinals in January 2015
2. Appointed him a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in April 2015
3. Named him one of his personal special appointees to the Ordinary Synod to be held in October 2015, despite the presence of another representative from New Zealand.
There is very good reason to believe Cardinal Dew has been appointed to the Ordinary Synod not despite his heterodox views but because of them.