14 October 2014

Synod Freak Out!!!

Apparently, without the approval of the Pope or the involvement of the Holy Spirit, an interim report from the Synod on the Family radically altered unchangeable Church teaching on the disordered nature of same-sex attraction and SSA sexual relationships. 

Who knew that an interim report from some of the bishops at a half-finished Synod could wield such authority!

Well, it doesn't. Wield any authority, that is.  Despite what the anti-Catholic bigots of the MSM tell you.

The freak-out over this toothless report among otherwise faithful Catholics has been. . .epic.

What's most revealing is the level of distrust among the faithful in the Church's leadership. Given the way the implementation of VC2 was hijacked and abused, it's little wonder that we Catholics are skittish about councils, synods, and other ecclesial bureaucratic gatherings. 

There's also a palpable sense among the faithful that there's a nefarious movement among some of the bishops at the Synod to influence the Holy Father toward changing unchangeable doctrine.

In answer to this suspicion, I give you Fr. Robert Barron: "One of the great mysteries enshrined in the ecclesiology of the Catholic Church is that Christ speaks through the rather messy and unpredictable process of ecclesiastical argument. The Holy Spirit guides the process of course, but he doesn’t undermine or circumvent it. It is precisely in the long, laborious sifting of ideas across time and through disciplined conversation that the truth that God wants to communicate gradually emerges. If you want evidence of this, simply look at the accounts of the deliberations of the major councils of the Church, beginning with the so-called Council of Jerusalem in the first century right through to the Second Vatican Council of the twentieth century. In every such gathering, argument was front and center, and consensus evolved only after lengthy and often acrimonious debate among the interested parties. Read John Henry Newman’s colorful history of the Council of Nicaea in the fourth century, and you’ll find stories of riots in the streets and the mutually pulling of beards among the disputants. Or pick up Yves Congar’s very entertaining diary of his years at Vatican II, and you’ll learn of his own withering critiques of the interventions of prominent Cardinals and rival theologians. Or peruse John O’Malley’s history of the Council of Trent, and you’ll see that early draft statements on the key doctrines of original sin and justification were presented, debated, and dismissed—long before final versions were approved."

We are in the Age of Twitter/Facebook/Texting. . .so we are seeing every morsel of fat and gristle that goes into the Synod's sausage making.

The trick is to wait for the final document (ca. 2017) and pray for the Holy Spirit to do His mighty work!

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  1. Anonymous11:04 AM

    At the same time, a Pollyanna view that the successors of the Apostles cannot whiff and waft heresy for centuries, leading millions to eternal damnation, is childish. Ask St. Nicholas.

    And, given that the whiffers and wafters were handpicked by pope Francis affronting subsidiarity, it's disingenuous to suggest that this is merely sausage making and not an intended goal.

    1. We have to see what kind of sausage the sausage-making makes.

  2. I've read the first seven councils. It was actually quite saddening in two ways- first, when talking to others about it, I would get stuff like, "I don't know if I believe that," which is not what I wanted to hear someone supposedly faithful to the Church say. Secondly, some of the more non-doctrinal stuff genuinely seemed like bickering. Lets not fast when the Jews do, lets ban anyone from going to a Jewish doctor (can't remember if this was actually in one of the first seven or somewhere else). And then good stuff, like asserting the autonomy of Cyprus- we ought to take that and apply it everywhere so those with a desire for power no longer have anywhere to go. Besides the press, the Catholic bloggers are going a bit nuts on this too. We wouldn't be particularly bad off if the Orthodox model was adopted. But whichever nutball decided to mention homosexuals in that interim report should be fired immediately. And deposed as well, probably.

  3. My take (worth what you paid for it) is that Pope Francis the Pastor wants the Synod to brainstorm every possible means of ministering to families, which can't be done without also brainstorming some impossible means too (hence his call for wide open conversation).

    I don't myself see the prudence of publicizing the relatio, but any unspoken motives or intentions of any of the parties involved are underdetermined by the information I have.

    1. I'm cynical enough -- brought on by my own experiences in religious life -- to believe that some in the Synod are trying to "manage the narrative" by publishing the relatio. That move backfired. Now, the bishops will be extra careful about what they say and what gets published. Of course, the media will spin any future document as a capitulation to Reactionary Righties. But the media are a mendacious lot, so they hardly matter in matters of truth.

    2. Anonymous5:49 PM

      It crossed my mind that Francis might be Jesuitic enough to give rope to the closet heretics, even by giving them the impression that he's one of them and making sure that the relatio is written by them, so that they can hang themselves with it.

    3. That strikes me as a very plausible interpretation. For that matter, I'd be a little surprised if even the Chicken Littlest reading of the relatio was the worst idea in a room with that many bishops.

  4. Thank you, Father, for your reasoned contribution. It's needed and necessary.