Some report that the document is 200 pages long. It is hard to think that all of these pages will be dedicated to pastoral care for the divorced-and-remarried.
"Focusing on the issue means that they really want to drive forward and misinterpret the document," a churchman and a source close to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told CNA.
This agitation might indicate that the post-synodal exhortation will not contain any doctrinal novelties or breaches. Rather, the text will focus on pastoral recommendations for the integration of the divorced-and-remarried.
This agitation was evident in the three articles published during the last week.
One article is by Enzo Bianchi, a layman who in 1965 established the Ecumenical Monastic Community of Bose in Italy. Brother Bianchi wrote a March 14 commentary in L'Osservatore Romano about the gospel account of the woman caught in adultery.
In general the commentary gave an ordinary interpretation of the text. But at its very end, Brother Bianchi stressed that "Jesus did not condemn her, because God does not condemn, but he gave her the possibility to change with his act of mercy."
Brother Bianchi added that the Gospel "does not say that she changed her life, that she converted or that she became a disciple of Jesus. We just know that God forgave her through Jesus and delivered her to freedom, so that she could return to life."
Vatican internal observers have interpreted this phrasing as an open door to the reception of Communion by Catholics who have divorced-and-remarried. A source told CNA March 22, "Brother Bianchi emphasizes God's forgiveness, no matter what she will actually do," as if "Communion might be given, no matter what you had done."
Another article appeared the in Italian newspaper La Repubblica on March 19, the very day Pope Francis was supposed to have signed the post-synodal exhortation.
The article was co-authored by Alberto Melloni and Claudio Tito. Tito is a journalist who sometimes covers church issues, but Melloni has particular weight in the global ecclesiastical debate. He is the leader of the Bologna School, which promotes the notion that the Second Vatican Council broke with Church tradition.
Their article appears intended to anticipate some of the contents of the post-Synodal exhortation.
According to Melloni, the aim of the document is clear: "to avoid break ups and to disarm the antagonists." Melloni characterized the synod as a fight between "rigorists" and "progressives." He said that the fight was "very tough." He believes Pope Francis wants to open up the path to the sacraments for those who live in irregular marital situations. Melloni claimed that "in the end, just one third of the synod fathers voted against the Pope."
The article also reports that the Pope was impressed by Cardinal Robert Sarah's rigorous approach.
Melloni underscored that "for what concerns communion for the divorced and remarried, no news is expected. The issue is to legitimate a practice, and to give it theological roots."
If Alberto Melloni is the director of the Bologna School, Brother Enzo Bianchi is widely considered one of its more prominent representatives.