Thursday, October 15, 2015

The walk-out petition-letter for the Synod Fathers - it's not that bad.

I read it.

I read it and skimmed through the signers, surprised to find Anthony Esolen signed - so I read through the letter again. It's fine and good that the laity voice their concerns, after all, 13 prelates did as well.  The letter itself seems fine to me in so far as it expresses reasonable concern.  Some of the signers strike me as rather panicked.  The following quote is signed Anthony Esolen - he doesn't seem to be as panicked.
I am weary of the prelates of my church playing for chumps those young people who try with all their hearts to follow the moral law as regards sex. THEY are the most "marginalized" among us, and THEY get no attention from anyone. They need our help and our encouragement. They do not need betrayal, neglect, and contempt. - Source*

I wouldn't sign it.  I think it is wrong to ask participants in the synod to walk out.   It's a Protestant thing to do and is not Catholic.  Fr. Blake disagrees with the idea as well.  I've been reading some of his commentary, which seems more balanced than some of the others who have expressed misgivings about the Franciscan papacy.

What I don't get is this:  The Gay Synod.

Why are gay people so important?  How did this get to be such a major point of discussion?  Not just at this synod, but all along; gay rights/equality has been an issue with activists and dissenting Catholics for years.  Some priests and bishops continue to express the hope for a development of doctrine - to permit gay unions.  I don't understand how that can happen?  Has the contraception mentality of separating sex from marriage contaminated our understanding of sex all together?  To be in a sexually active homosexual relationship/union is sinful.  Same sex partners, setting up a household and creating a family, to put it bluntly, is still living in sin.  It can't be approved.

That said, my question stands.  Why is this such a major point of discussion at the synod?  It is the traditional family which needs attention, promotion, pastoral care, and so on.  I believe it is media blowing the gay agenda way out of proportion.  As well as gay lobbyists.  I don't believe it will change Catholic teaching.  Dissidents have tried to wipe out the record, the teaching - they want to eliminate language they find offensive, they want to strike it from the Scriptures, from the Catechism, and CDF documents.  They want to undo it.  They've been trying for decades.  Today they seem to have captured the limelight, and the issue is front page news.  It can't change Catholic teaching.

I don't understand how or why gay people and gay issues have commanded such attention and significance - even dominance.  As Fr. Blake noted, what was once a shadowy lobby is now front and centre out of the lobby and sitting in the drawing room.  

The Synod presenters, if not the discussions themselves, seem to be obsessed by the homosexual issue. Perhaps this is a peculiar quality of the Roman Church, non- pastoral priests with 'issues', let go by their own bishops, sent there and failing to cling on to their vocations. It was not long ago that the entire community of Rome's Cistercian Abbey of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, where the relics of the Passion are kept, were dispersed following grave rumours of moral turpitude. Perhaps the Holy Father needs to address his own diocese' problems, and perhaps the Synod needs to address chastity and fidelity with great clarity but then the Holy Father seems happy not to judge where gay issues are concerned.
There is a petition on-line suggesting right thinking bishops should walk out of the the Synod, I can't think of anything more foolish, now is the time for truth about the real position of the Church, for 'parhesia', the word much used by the Pope. - Fr. Blake

Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed.

I am completely confident the Holy Father is faithful to the Gospel, in fact, I get the impression he is permitting the 'impurities' to rise to the top, as it were, with his desire for open, unrestricted discussion.  Just as Cardinal Dolan affirmed, “I said ‘Way to go, Pope Francis. You told us to be honest; we were. You answered right to the heart, I’m grateful that you paid attention, let’s get on with the work.’”  Like I said - that is one reason why I don't worry.

"Thou hast placed men over our heads."  I think of that often, St. Benedict reiterated that in his Rule, discussing obedience.  We need to know and believe, Our Lord will not abandon us.

I don't understand the panic and lack of faith.

I tend to think it is because Catholics have gone after novelties - both progressives or liberal Catholics, as well as traditional and conservative Catholics.  We've neglect they 'key of Knowledge' as today's Gospel tells us:
Woe to you, scholars of the law!You have taken away the key of knowledge.You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
Each of us imagine ourselves to be scholars on some level - be we liberal or conservative - yet we are without charity.  We don't have an interior life.  We can't possibly if we are distracted out of our wits. It seems to me most of us have not entered into that interior castle where the Blessed Trinity dwells - if we have - it seems obvious we do not reside there.   As the Gospel says, we also stop those who would try to enter.  That is, enter into that same loving relationship in the heart of the Church, where we proclaim ourselves to be.

Today's feast of St. Teresa reminds us of these things, how we need to seek Love who is not loved by men.  We need to give up everything for this one thing necessary and all will be given us ...  What I'm trying to say, albeit awkwardly because I don't have language to express it well - what I'm trying to say is, if we ourselves work and labor and sacrifice ourselves, entering into deeper communion with Our Lord in prayer - in love - we need not worry.  Precisely because wknow that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  We can know that experientially.

The key is charity, love.  Confidence and love is what Little Therese taught, and she learned it from her parents who will be canonized this week end.  Let's not grieve the Holy Spirit with our fears and resistance.  Rather, let's take the big St. Teresa's advice to heart:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. - St. Teresa of Avila

Works for me.

_ _ _

An update:

*Steve Skojec has a smart post explaining why a walk-out is appropriate and attempts to explain why it is not unprecedented.  He cites earlier councils and synods where there was great division and controversy - in the end the reigning pontiff condemned the errors.  Even in Vatican I when American bishops resisted the decree of papal infallibility - the decree passed.  Walking out in protest in some of these instances was indeed an act of resistance - it doesn't make it right.  The reason I think much of the concern over the synod is over the top is because the synod isn't over.  The Pope - the supreme law giver in the Church - hasn't signed off on anything proposed.  Without mincing legal and theological definitions - it seems to me that is what is being challenged is the leadership of Pope Francis - and these efforts by laity and clergy are disruptive.  It seems to me to be part of the anti-Vatican II cult which seeks to discredit the Magisterium.  Cited is last year's Extraordinary Synod, as well as Edward Pentin's sensationalized book, investigating the so-called rigging and manipulation of Synod proceedings, as well as the platform laid out in the final Relatio.  This year's synod is indeed a continuation and the controversial problems appear to be addressed and noted, and are in process of being worked out.  Nevertheless, people are publishing leaks and sound bites, upsetting the faithful and stirring things up.  That's unfortunate in so far as it is not possible at this point to come to any sort of conclusions about the end result of the synod before it is over.

The best Skojec's essay has to offer is that he demonstrates similar disputes have happened in the past - throughout Church history.  One is not the same as the other however.

There is also an element of anti-clericalism entwined in the anti-Vatican II/anti-Magisterium mindset.  Both progressive/liberal Catholics, as well as traditional/conservative Catholics run the danger of having their fidelity compromised or contaminated by it.

I'm convinced, in the case of traditional Catholics at least, that very often, select private revelations of the last two centuries have infected popular piety and devotion to such an extent that a mistrust of papal authority and the hierarchy and magisterial teaching has become commonplace.  It is amazing how deeply embedded in popular piety the dubious, unapproved messages of LaSalette have become.  Especially the claims of a precursor of the Antichrist and the prediction Rome will lose the faith, and so on.
Those most vulnerable to this story are those unwilling to accept the non-doctrinal changes of Vatican II. Others have been scanda1ized by some clergy misusing the Council’s decrees to propagate their own false ideas. Although disgruntled they have stayed within the Church, but the purveyors of Melanie’s prophecy aim to encourage them to treat bishops as untrustworthy and to see the pope as disloyal to the desires of Christ and his mother. - Source

  Likewise, the revelations of Bl. Katherine Emmerich.  Recently a contemporary 'locutionist' has been disgraced because specific prophecy turned out to be false.  In many instances, the hallmark of false prophecy and revelations has been subtle anti-clericalism fostering a mistrust in the Papal authority and Magisterial teaching.  This mindset has infected cults and movements within Catholicism - especially traditionalist movements.  That's another post, however.

If I were in a position of offering advice I would suggest prayer - authentic prayer and devout assistance at Mass when possible, the rosary and fidelity to the duties of one's state in life.  Cultivating a spirit of continuous prayer keeps us in communion.  We need to pray for the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him - this has always been the Catholic way.  It was recommended by Our Lady at Fatima, the centennial of her apparitions is fast approaching.  (Myths have popped up about these apparitions and messages as well, but Vatican archives has the official interpretation of the events.)


  1. In all honesty, I understand why so many people find it hard to trust the Holy Father. However, I maintain the problem is not principally theological, but cultural. Where I live and minister, it is not at all unusual to see tableaus set up in devout peoples' front yards featuring statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Infant of Prague facing and venerating the image of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Patroness of Louisiana (who is also holding the Christ Child). I assure you that I am no relativist. One of the best backhanded compliments I ever received was in the seminary when our Dogmatic Theology professor publicly referred to me as "one of the finest living minds of the 12th century." Ha! I think that "what makes sense" is not at all a universal. That is why we need to take comfort in the extraordinary rigidity of Vatican I's definition of infallibility, and if that's not enough contact a medical professional and ask for any prescription beginning with the letter "V" -- like Valium, Vicadine, or Vistaril. (Is that bad? I don't mean it to be bad. My nerves are just shot with all the folks who seem to think Jesus is gonna play a dirty trick on us all and drop us like a cheap prom dress.)

    1. Haha! Cheap prom dress.

      On trusting the Holy Father: I trust the Holy Spirit - can't you feel his fire? Close your eyes. Feel it. In the greatest conflict the peace is always deeper.

  2. Yes, I feel His fire; but it's more purgative than than consolatory. (Maybe that's why my hair is falling out, and my prostate gland shot across the room when I blew the birthday candles out on my cake a few months ago.) Better to make reparation now rather than later, though, I think.

  3. I'm with you Terry. I will pray rather than work myself into a frenzy. Last I read they were something like 2000 signatures on that petition. I was like, "is that all?" Were are the rest of my millions of brothers and sisters in the faith?

    I'm sure we are trying to live out our daily duty rather than sit in front of a computer raging at the imaginary "Gay Synod." How can something like that even take place when at the Synod there are many faithful sons of the Church who would take a very loud stand against it?
    Mueller, Sarah, Chaput, Pell, Scola all come to mind.

    In the meantime, the backbone of the Church are working, raising their kids, working on their marriage, working on their prayer life, discerning their vocation, and last but not least ...
    being martyred for the Faith.

    1. "In the meantime, the backbone of the Church are working, raising their kids, working on their marriage, working on their prayer life, discerning their vocation, and last but not least ...
      being martyred for the Faith."

      And that is the truth. Thanks Yaya.

    2. If you don't live in the Mideast you can't say that you are being "martyred" for your faith! It is a bit of a strong word and cheapens the meaning (and the struggles of people truly being slaughtered and martyred for their faith.) Because people don't agree with your ideas, etc, is not being martyred. Apologies if that is not what you meant but I have seen far too many Catholic blogs using that word to mean that the culture at large does not agree with you.

    3. "Apologies if that is not what you meant"

      Apology accepted since you are incorrect in assuming I was speaking about myself or anyone else in the US who believes himself to be a martyr.

      When speaking of martyrs, I am always thinking about our brothers and sisters in the faith who live in Africa, the Middle East, India, Pakistan ... wherever the brethren is being persecuted for the Name.

    4. I didn't assume hence my disclaimer. We both agree on that issue..I can't believe we as a country are not doing more.

  4. I don't know why people are so upset by the synod. No one can change what Christ taught. It is not going to have any effect on what I believe and how I live my life.

    1. Indeed - neither will it change my convictions.

  5. But I am glad you wrote this post, Terry, because it makes everything clearer to me.

    1. Thanks - but are you serious? Because I do not know very much.

    2. Yes I am serious. You save me the time of sifting through a lot of blogs.

    3. Good - I hope.

      Yesterday the Holy Father identified the key of knowledge as love.

      Today he reminds us of the necessity of prayer.

      Can't go wrong with that. :)

  6. "That said, my question stands. Why is this such a major point of discussion at the synod? It is the traditional family which needs attention, promotion, pastoral care, and so on."

    First what is traditional..the nuclear family is a fairly new invention (in Catholic Church time)..I think the discussion is focusing on the fact that ALL families need pastoral care. Single parents (be it divorce or death) adult children taking care of their elderly parents, working parents, single people, elderly people who don't have a "family" left, divorced and remarried people who may not receive communion but still go to Mass and still raise Catholic children and how to deal with a blended family, and yes, gay people who are part of the family too...and yes, Mommy and Daddy and the three kids..and all the stressed of MODERN life. and its effects on that family. .ALL of those people need pastoral care. It seems the Church likes to focus on the family as if time has not passed and there are no changes to the if the "nuclear" family is the only family to care about and everyone else can just sit down and be quiet and figure it out themselves. I don't think the Synod is focusing on gays, I think they are focusing on a new reality families are facing and how the Church can care for them.

    " I believe it is media blowing the gay agenda way out of proportion."

    True but what else is there to report? Gay and sex sells papers and gets eyeballs...part of that is the Church's fault for their focus on sexual sins above all non Catholic would not understand or give a hoot about why divorced people can't receive Communion...the real work on dealing with every day family life would not get people to read things...but throw Gay/Sex/Catholic in and people want to read what the latest blow up is about.

    And your right, nothing is going to change (I feel for the worst you feel for the better) so why are both the left and the right getting all twisted up and frantic about it. The Synod actually means pretty much nothing to most Catholics as sad as that is...(I mention it and people look at me like Im nuts..well Im used to that but...)

    1. Very astute.

      So anyway - missing from the agenda has been alien families or alien children resulting from alien abductions. Can these kids be baptized? Admitted to Catholic school. When Third Rock From the Sun aired, the son attended public school and Dick taught at a non-denominational college - so the religious dimension was never an issue. I think this is a major concern.

    2. Those aren't aliens..their just from France.

      I am disappointed you didn't post that gif of the queeny priest about to faint....that cracks me up every damn time!

    3. I get a lot of laughs over that one.

    4. Where did you get it? Who is he? What was the context? Has he recovered? Does he need Aunt Pittypat's smelling salts? All these questions need to be answered my friend...


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