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 we know 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.
_ _ _
*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.)