It appears that when the Synod did not go where the Pope wanted, he redirected the outcome -- which is well within his right except that such a departure is not merely a change of practice but in effect a change in doctrine which, unless the Pope declares he is speaking ex cathedra, he cannot do. Even then, he cannot contradict doctrine already established.
Now some of you may not care what happens in Rome. Others are nodding their heads thinking that Rome got what Rome deserved when this man was elected. But my concern is this. Rome is the elephant in the room when it comes to many different moral teachings -- from same sex marriage to abortion among them. Rome coughs and Lutherans get a cold. Trite but true. And the point for us Lutherans of the confessional kind is that we have counted upon Rome -- its size, and its ability to flex some muscle -- in our own struggle to maintain continuity with the doctrine and practice of the apostles, Scripture, and the catholic tradition. If Rome proves to be unreliable or willing to change, it only isolates us even more. We have already seen most other Lutherans cave on the subjects of same sex marriage, GLBT clergy, and abortion. We LCMSers stand virtually alone among the Lutherans in resisting the impulse to disregard the clear teaching of Scripture and the unbroken doctrine and practice of the Church since the apostles. Yes, we do have support from WELS and ELS but they are very small and even more isolated than we are.
I am NOT sounding the alarm that we are in danger of being swallowed up in this cultural move to create a sexual ethic and family morality that fits the tone and tenor of modern times. What I am suggesting is that we need to realize that under Francis Rome may not at all be a reliable partner in our public stance against the shifting sands of right and wrong. What I am also saying is that we need to be prepared to stand way outside the stream of thought and tolerated positions in order to remain faithful to God's Word and apostolic doctrine. The time is coming when itching ears within and without the once steadfast Christian bodies will exert their influence to tear down our continuity with the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles and to hitch our wagon to the uncertain course of bare desire unleashed from all restraint. This is not about nuance but about the core teaching of the Church with regard to Scripture and its unchanging voice, the doctrine of the apostles, and the faithful practice that follows from them.
What did the Pope say? Whether the pace is faster or slower, the outcome is the same. History has proven him correct -- unless those who hold for the Word and catholic doctrine and practice are willing to risk a smaller more faithful church and to risk being tarred and feathered in the press. But I suggest that battle will be fought not in the spotlight of the media but in the home, faithful parents teaching their children well and in churches where we talk about this and teach the faith, dig into the Scriptures, and stand with the Lord against a moral and doctrinal wind in which people think and do whatever seems right in their own eyes.