As the Synod on the family drew to a close I was teased by a former Anglican colleague who simply said “Welcome home!” I had to laugh. He is right. It was/is hard to believe this Synod was a product of the Catholic church with its fine reputation for clarity and fidelity to revealed truth. Instead it contained all the hallmarks of an Anglican equivalent. From overly politicised divisions, stemming from obsession with the sexual revolution and relativist thinking, to an agenda centred on this life not the next.
Little wonder the final document was also thoroughly Anglican in feel; it said nothing new, the language bureaucratic and platitudinous and the real importance found in what is absent not said. Meaning the end result- failing something heroic from the Holy Father- will be further division due to intended ambiguity that allows all and any to take from it what they will.
We already see it happening. Faithful Catholics breathe a sigh of relief because nothing changed on paper. Modernists cheer because victory is won! Doctrine may not have changed on paper but the ambiguity created provides the smoke-screen they needed to usher in change via the back door. And what is more they tested the water and were not scalded. Cardinals publicly endorsed the sexual revolution over the teaching of the faith and remain in office without censure. So now they know they can push yet harder. At present they are clearly supported, despite heterodox views, by the very body they want to overthrow. What crisis for the church of the Apostles…did John Fisher give his life for nothing?
It isn’t a case then, at this stage, of asking “who is right?” At this point we must step back and acknowledge the bigger picture. When we do a daunting image emerges; one that, however painful, must be transmitted to every soul who still cares for the church. Those who would yet guard the deposit of faith, with their lives if necessary, that it may survive without taint for future generations.
In this cause those who upheld the faith heroically on the floor of the Synod deserve our thanks. They won a battle, at some cost, but let us not pretend they won the war. It was important that the final document of this confused and confusing synod contained no change in doctrine, this helps the Catholic cause and avoided deep scandal, but such small victory does NOTHING for the cause of truth long term. It means little if the modernists continue their march unfettered and with renewed vigour. We should fear what they plan next given their clear power and influence as they walk away from this Synod.
So despite an embarrassing loss in this Synod (using a stacked deck, so take heart) the modernist spectre remains a growing menace. And it MUST be overthrown if we are to rid the church of the gravest menace to faith in recent history; if we are to avoid the pit into which, lamentably, Anglicanism has fallen. To stop the rot of the dictatorship of relativism. To stand by the faith of the saints and martyrs of old.
That is not a sensationalist conclusion. The evidence stares us in the face. Helpfully, albeit tragically, elements within the Anglican church have already mapped out where this path of liberal relativism leads within the Christian faith. It is no co-incidence the most bonkers examples of practice are found where the liberal agenda has enjoyed most success. That is currently America and Scandinavia though England is fast catching up.
Nor is it co-incidence that where liberalism flourishes there you find disunity. Consider how clergy in the C of E now require bishops, out of communion with one another and aligned to different parties, just to hold the ship together. Unity comes from shared proclamation of truth not ambiguous statements designed to please all. Which is why the very fabric of the Anglican communion is unravelling. Christian decline is sharpest where relativism dictates. A truth within Catholicism too, we face the same storm at present, as the decimation of faith in Holland and Belgium make clear; liberalism leads to decay.
It strikes me this Synod was only helpful then in that it made an inescapable truth clear. There is deep division within the Catholic body which fast approaches crossroad from which Anglicanism already departed…and in the wrong direction. Ever since Vatican II prelates have been unwilling to confront this reality, papering over differences for fear of conflict at best. Advancing a false cafeteria Catholicism at worst because they themselves are in thrall of the menace. And so the spectre has only grown stronger, the threat more serious. Soon it will be too late.
If we allow synodal models of government within Catholicism, where the tricks oligarchs apply to manipulate democratic process in the world can then be used against the faithful, Satan will win the day. I have no doubt about that. Only divine intervention will then save us. Rigged synods, stacked decks, vague documents and creeping reform are quite as effective as nails and thorns in pinning Jesus Christ to the tree. They serve well as fatal blows against his Church whose vocation never was to reinvent the faith afresh in every generation but to guard the faith in fidelity that his voice may be heard.
It is all rather gloomy then isn’t it? And the confusion of this latest papacy really isn’t helping regardless of whether you think Pope Francis is a part of the modernist game or just another victim.
What can we do then? We who, despite being concerned, have no voice in Synodal process and no way of effecting change at high levels of ecclesial life? How do we keep heads above water and remain optimistic when the battle for the life of the church falls into our laps.
Firstly by recalling victory is won. As long as we hold the line, profess the faith without compromise and keep eyes fixed on Jesus, all will be well.
Secondly by prayer, fasting and the sacraments. This battle is spiritual not political.
Thirdly by witnessing to faith within faithful parishes. We must no longer shrug our shoulders and put up with poor liturgy and bad teaching. Complain when clergy are not upholding the faith. Vote with feet and support those who are struggling to swim against the tide of relativism. Back the solution not the problem with your presence. Then parishes will come together where the faith is lived out in fullness and these can shine as lights in the darkness to recall people to where they should be. I have no doubt at all that God will bless them.
And finally dare to be a living confrontation to the lies. Dare to live out the faith courageously and unashamedly. I have long believed that society will not be healed until the church is healed and that the church will not be healed until the family is healed…so be that family that witnesses to truth. Be the holiness the church needs to recover. Don’t look for the solution- be the solution. Be the change you want to see. This battle will be won one soul at a time. Sign up with Jesus today.
A final thought. What is presented here is my lived experience as one who entered Rome following the collapse of Anglo-Catholicism. What is so, so obvious to me is that the game is the same, the tactics of the modernists identical. The only question then is this- can Rome hold out where Anglicanism caved in….
….the answer to that will be written in the coming years and months. And it will depend on how many Catholics today cared enough to do something about it. How many were the concerned clergy and laity who did nothing out of fear in the years leading up to Anglican collapse? How many rue their timidity now as the house falls around them. The time to bury heads in sand is over. Now is the time to stand up for the faith and to fight against the modernist heresy. Lord Jesus give us the wisdom, inclination and courage to fight this battle for you and never give in to despair. Recruits should sign up at Mass in any faithful church.