By Mark Lambert from De Omnibus Dubitandum Est:
For me, this articulates what is going on with the Synod perfectly.
…what is happening here is the appearance at least of the Church giving up the ghost, so to speak, and adopting the ways of the world with regard to divorce and homosexuality. At the end of the day, that’s why the press is here in droves — no other reason. Most of the media outlets are here to chronicle the demise of the Church, its throwing in of the proverbial towel and becoming more worldly. At least, they think that’s what might happen. They aren’t pouring resources into covering this for a month to get the headline at the end of October “Church Teaches Marriage Is a Sacrament” or “Church Condemns Homosexual Acts.”
They already know that and have already reported that kind of thing in a zillion stories. The headline they want and are looking for — probably safe to say even hoping for — is “Church Accepts Divorce” or “Church Blesses Gays.” They have reported on the possibility of all this quite a few times, and that’s what all the interest here is about — nothing else.
This is a scandal to anyone who loves the faith, and the tension for those who are committed to it is palpable. Everyone knows that these are things that do not change; the Pope’s job is not to make up new doctrine, but to hold the teaching of Christ (the deposit of faith) in perpetuity, unchanged, until the parousia (the second coming). That is the function and purpose of the papacy. In the interim period, he is commissioned with preaching anew this Gospel in every age.
This morning, The Catholic Herald carries the story that, In a surprise speech to the synod yesterday, Francis said the ‘Catholic doctrine on marriage has not been touched or put into question‘. Is the Holy Father beginning to wake up to the scandal and confusion that has been caused by his facilitating what has come to be called “the Kasper proposal”? Think about it: how shocking is it to hear that the pope has had to stand up at a synod held in the Holy See and say that Marriage doctrine will not change. How on earth did we get here?
Meanwhile, this morning, Voice of the Family suggests the Pope has just made it worse!
The Ordinary Synod on the Family moved much closer yesterday to a repudiation of the teachings of the Catholic Church on human sexuality. The hopes of faithful Catholics were raised on Monday by the reassertions of Catholic orthodoxy made in the relazione introduttiva of the General Relator of the Synod, Péter Cardinal Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. Yesterday Erdő’s report and position were seriously undermined after an intervention of Pope Francis indicated to the synod fathers that the question of Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried” was still open. Cardinal Erdő was also undermined by remarks made by synod fathers invited to a press conference organised by Holy See press spokesman Fr Lombardi S.J.
Father Hunwicke, that erudite scholar, has several good posts on the synod, (including this one for example) and reminds us that ‘Proclaiming and publicly defending any sin is worse than committing it.‘ These men must have lost their faith, because they display no fear of God (c.f. Matthew 18:6). There is a terrifying responsibility for those who seek to lead us in faith. And it seems that relationship has broken down. It has broken down because of the abuse crisis and the apparent hypocrisy of those who lead us. Especially in this Country I fear, it has broken down because of an attitude that says “oh we don’t believe in that any more…You don’t have to do that any more…”. If it doesn’t matter for them, why should it matter for any of us?
Imagine how hard this now is, under this papacy, for bishops and priests. Each Parish is fairly autonomous in any case. The Church isn’t great at authority, it is more about broad consensus post Vatican II, which is a very adult approach to communion. However, under Pope Saint John Paul II and under Pope Benedict XVI, we had the sureity of the See of Peter behind that authority. It was easier to administrate by pointing to the Holy See and saying, with the Apostle, “not I but the Lord” (1 Cor 7:10). In the current climate, any individual priest might say “Well, Pope Francis says…” or commonly; “Who am I to judge?”
With the clergy so at odds over the transmission of the faith, what hope then for the sheep they shepherd? Anything goes.
Father Ray Blake considers this issues in his recent blog post, where he states:
I have been pondering the connection between ‘trust’ and ‘faith’. Because Christ gave us a Church founded on the Apostles rather than a book in order for people to believe in Christ they must first of all trust the Apostles, the bishops are the successors of the Apostles. Perhaps the saddest development in the Church has been the break down in trust between the faithful and their bishops and maybe equally important the paralleled break down in the trust between the world and the Church, to the point, in the West at least, where the idea of the Church was on the verge of becoming toxic….
The centrality of Peter is essential to the Church, it is Dr DeVille points out at the service of ‘unity’. After the lio Pope Francis has to re-establish trust not just in himself but in but in the bishops in the Church as he has done outside it in his Papacy, because trust is an essential to faith and mistrust of the Pope and Bishops is seriously damaging to the Church’s integrity and ultimately to individuals’ faith. Unitatis Redintegratio is clear that not only is disunity a scandal but it is also detrimental to faith. Speaking for myself the shifting sands of the build up to the Synod has hardly strengthened my faith.
These words should be reflected on by those who are creating such a mess in Rome at the moment, scattering the sheep, confusing the faithful, opening up the solid sureity of the tried and tested message of Revelation to interpretation and ignorant mis-interpretation.
In yesterday’s report on the Synod, Michael Voris tells an anecdote from the Press Briefing after the morning sessions:
…in one particular episode right at the very end of the press conference, one last question came up from the press gallery, and on stage was the archbishop of Gatineau, Quebec, Paul-André Durocher, who was asked, “What about this question of the discipline versus the doctrine of administering Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics? Is it safe to say that this issue is still under debate? And if so, what does that say about the question of the dogma and the discipline?”
And he gave an answer that stunned a number of us inside the press room. He said, ‘If you want dogma, go read Denzinger. The Synod will be deciding and talking about whether this is a discipline or it’s a dogma.”
That caused one priest who was sitting very, very close to us to sort of go into a rage. He actually confronted the archbishop on the way out of the door and said, “All you bishops, everything you’re doing here, is this conciliarism, which is destroying the Church! You are confusing the faithful. You don’t know the Faith.”
What is really scary is when someone says one thing and does something else. We don’t follow any man, we follow Christ and always will, but the lack of humility before the spiritual reality of the Church is stunning and sad. The worst part for me is the effect it is having, right now, on the little ones who look to these men as the great and the good; as those who are to lead us in faith, and the longer this goes on, the sad look of hurt, betrayal and disappointment on their trusting faces.
When I look at the dossier built up by Cardinal Nichols for the Synod, and the quote he has included I quoted in this postand repeat again here:
“…To the younger generation the Catholic Church is a medieval irrelevance. While I, myself, believe in Jesus – I am appalled at what the institution He founded has become. A tyrannical power structure, stuck in a medieval culture and unable to bring itself into the modern world. One good example of this is the so called New Translation of the Mass. A backward step from language that ordinary people understood to a ridiculous artificial so-called sacral language which is no more than a mixture of garbled English, medieval theological vocabulary and transliteration from Latin…”
it seems self-evident to me that no amount of pandering to people like this will bring them to Christ. No amount of watering-down or giving way will make any difference to them. What it will do is betray those who are so faithful they would lay down their lives for the faith. Those who have heroically lived with same sex attraction or after their spouse has deserted them. If only Cardinal Nichols had the courage to see that if he only stood up for Christ, if he only stood for what he says he does, he would engender such loyal support as he could scarcely imagine at present!
Lord save us from the wolves who would ravage your Bride!
Let us continue to pray for the Synod Fathers.