Scared of this Synod


By Mark Lambert from De Omnibus Dubitandum Est:

For me, this articulates what is going on with the Synod perfectly.

The scary thing is not that Church teaching will change; it can’t and it won’t (as everyone seems to be repeating ad nauseam, almost like some desperate mantra). The scary thing for faithful Catholics is that there are Ordained men; bishops and priests, who have lost their faith to the extent where they are openly pushing for a sinful agenda. That’s why the media are all in Rome; like vultures awaiting the final expiration of some great beast, they are circling, anticipating the capitulation of the Church to the world. As Michael Voris puts it:

…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.

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15 Responses to Scared of this Synod

  1. Michael says:

    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.

    That’s it there – nail on the head. All this talk about ‘meeting people where they are’ (by which is usually meant leaving them as they are) is a waste of time. Clarity and compassion are all that is needed – it really isn’t that difficult!


  2. A friend read this article and e-mailed me:

    “Scared? Yes, I’m scared. I’m scared that Pope Francis and like-minded prelates are leading the Church into a new Dark Age, which will last for decades, perhaps even longer. My worst fears about the synod are being realized with every passing day.

    “Since none of us may live to see the end of this Darkness, all we can do is remain faithful to the real teachings of the Church, no matter what heresy the hierarchy may preach. At the same time, we can trust that no matter how bleak the future may look, as far into that future as we can see, the gates of hell will, in the end, not prevail – no matter how much they seem to be prevailing at this present moment.”


  3. Michael says:

    My worst fears about the synod are being realized with every passing day…the gates of hell will, in the end, not prevail – no matter how much they seem to be prevailing at this present moment.

    Robert, perhaps you might like to re-direct your friend to yesterday’s ‘Synod Roundup’ article, wherein Edward Pentin has provided a more balanced account of what is going on at the Synod. Thomas Rosica et al are not representative of the whole and it is, I suggest, unwise to give undue precedence to reports that suggest the worst possible scenario over and against more comprehensive assessments of the situation. Or, failing that, it might be best to just wait until the Synod has finished and then decide whether or not the gates of hell are prevailing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael says:

    P.S. Just to be clear, I’m not saying that there are no problems here, or that there are no people within the Church seeking to subvert its teachings by any means possible – that much is pretty obvious. All I’m saying is that it doesn’t help to exaggerate how much influence these people have, or to claim to be able to know what the Holy Father really wants out of this (chance would be a fine thing), or to seize upon the twisted proclamations of people like Rosica as evidence that their narrative accurately represents the way things are going on the ground.


  5. ginnyfree says:

    I’m simply grateful that Mr. Voris wasn’t bashed here at CPS. Maybe more later. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  6. Michael says:

    Ginnyfree @ 12:20:

    Indirect accusations of past anti-Voris sentiment – always a good way to prepare for a productive debate…


  7. johnhenrycn says:

    Mark Lambert, the author of this post, quotes Fr Ray Blake who in turn quotes Dr Adam DeVille. In which Dr DeVille reminds us that “…papal authority can really only be used for one purpose: unity. Papal authority cannot be used to promote favored papal causes, no matter how noble.”

    Good article: The Limits of the Pope.


  8. johnhenrycn says:

    Oh, I see CP&S has a new principal contributor (Richeldis). Welcome and best wishes.


  9. TerryC says:

    I think the real problem here is that the following will happen: At the actual synod the doctrine of the Church will be upheld. During the end of synod press conference the only clerics which will be present will be dissenters who will fabricate whatever they want. The media will come out with headlines saying how every dream of the dissidents has come true as far as what the Church will now teach.
    Since there is neither to be a mid-synod report nor a final report we will have to contend with the slew of anecdotal response by orthodox clerics, which the media will ignore, declaring that what has been released to the media is a false report of what happened at the synod.
    Meanwhile bishops in Germany and the British Isles will behave as if everything has changed, even through the synod will not have suggested any change to either doctrine (which is impossible) or pastoral practice (which would be disordered). It will take a year for the Pope to respond with a document which will say that nothing has change, and which the dissident bishops and the media will ignore anyway.


  10. Michael says:

    TerryC @ 17:33:

    Agreed. It doesn’t matter what the outcome of the Synod is – the dissenters will indeed try and keep riding the wave they have done for the last few decades, regardless. As for the media reportage, the more I read the more I’m tempting to just close my eyes and shut my ears until it’s all over – there’s so much mis and disinformation going on. it’s starting to wear me down.


  11. Michael says:

    johnhenry @ 16:03:

    Splendid article – makes some essential points there, and does so with great clarity.


  12. ginnyfree says:

    Hello Terry! A true cynic! Have you got odds on this projection? I’m bettin’ you may have a few things right! God bless. Ginnyfree.


  13. ginnyfree says:

    Now, for my thoughts thus far. I’m not really worried at all simply because none of what occurs will have any bearing on my faith, what I believe, how I practice and how I spend my Sundays, etc. Nothing will change for me at all. So why all the fuss? My neighbor! And concerns for them. Already in my small patch of the green planet, there are some who are unsure of whether or no the wedding they had way back when was sufficient. There are others who think the whole process of annulments is being done away with. One gal I know who got absolved and not annulled feels her day of vindication is at hand because all these years she’s been receiving the Eucharist with unease related to her marital issues never be resolved the “traditional way,” (HER WORDS, NOT MINE!!!!!) will be in the past and all those who over the years have told her otherwise will be proven wrong! Then there is the constant undermining of the general peace of faithful who read anything in the Catholic News world who are losing trust in their leaders because the irresponsible reporting by the press of all the impending changes that will happen. Meantime, my personal hope was that they were going to blow the dust off the Documents of the Second Vatican Council and have break out sessions to re-evangelize the de-catechised among the clergy and faithful about what the Church truly believes and teaches regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony and the splendors of the truths of marriage and family life as God willed it to be. I haven’t heard one word from the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World repeated so all know exactly where the epicenter of the discussions should be focused. I would love to see Pope Francis like Ezra of old stand up and read the entire first chapter of the second part of this particular conciliar document. The entire chapter is what they need to be reminded of. If they were made to hear these words it would become very evident that there has been a failure in passing along this essential teaching of the Church by her pastors to the faithful so they can fulfill the mandate of Christ in their family lives. If they listened with their hearts as well as their ears, they would hear what they’ve failed to teach others about the part family plays in our society as we bear Christ to the world through our living as members of His Body. People are generally clueless about what is expected of them in this regard and that is because they’ve not taught with clarity and certainty what the Second Vatican Council ACTUALLY said to teach and preach. Instead they allowed those who claimed an outpouring of the “spirit of Vatican Two” (eau de toilette available in purse sized sprayers for freshening the air in the Rectory after lunch) for themselves to baffle us with their new theology while the tore out the altar rails in our churches and sent for the guitar band.
    No, the true Mission and re-statement of purpose contained in the V2 documents needs to be brought to the fore and those there gathered need to be told to teach and preach what they actually say as they were supposed to do all those years before.
    There ya go. I’ve said too much. Please forgive me. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  14. Catherine Geldart says:

    My search for constancy and security in a troubled life culminated in the Church. Don’t turn round and tell me it wasn’t worth it. Don’t tell me my sacrifices meant nothing. Don’t destroy the Peace.


  15. johnhenrycn says:

    Well said, Catherine. They say There Will Always Be An England If England Means As Much To You As England Means To Me (a lovely patriotic song), and that sentiment is far more true of our love for Holy Mother Church; although I envisage, indeed expect, an epoch of persecution during our lifetime when real Catholics will be driven out of their comfortable parishes into the wilderness. If so, it will be worth it.


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