The international coalition Voice of the Family notes with serious concern the appointment of John Cardinal Dew as a member the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, which are two dicasteries of the Holy See.
Pope Francis elevated Archbishop Dew to the rank of Cardinal on 14th February 2015 and it was announced yesterday that he had been appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.
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.”
During the Extraordinary Synod of the Family held in Rome in October 2014 Archbishop Dew returned to prominence. On 8th October he wrote about the content of his intervention in the synod hall. He said:
“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, an 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.”
Also on the 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 intervention was “let’s not be concentrating on rules, but looking for language that helps people and encourages people in their journey to God.”
Archbishop Dew was a relator for one of the English speaking groups during the synod.