Synods are messy. The media quarantine isn’t helping.

One of the reasons why the “Synod of the Media” has been so successful in spinning the Synod is because of the media gag that the head of the Synod of Bishops, Lorenzo Card. Baldisseri, imposed.  For this extraordinary meeting of the Synod, the interventions, or speeches, of the participants weren’t made public through the Vatican website or L’Osservatore Romano.  So much for being in the “information age”.

Some people have observed to me that they found this move “inexplicable”, “unimaginable”, etc.

No.  It is not inexplicable.  When you want to control the message so that you can advance a particular agenda, you try to control the public flow of facts.  Rather, you control which facts become public and which don’t.

In any event, I saw a preview of a fuller interview to come out tomorrow in Il Foglio with Card. Burke.  He isn’t pleased that only one side of what’s going on in the Synod is being reported.

Q: What are you seeing beyond the media cordon which surrounds the Synod.

BURKE: There is emerging of worrisome trend because some are advancing the possibility of adopting a practice that distances itself from the truth of the Faith. Even if it ought to be evident that one cannot go in this direction, many are encouraging, for example, dangerous openings open-minded ideas on the question of communion being given to the divorced and remarried. I don’t see how it’s possible to reconcile the irreformable concept of the indissolubility of marriage with the possibility of admitting to communion those who live in an irregular situation. This places directly into discussion that which our Lord said when he taught that whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.

[…]

I don’t know how the briefing was conceived but it seems to me that something isn’t working well if the information is being manipulated in a way so as to underscore only one proposal instead of reporting faithfully the various positions that have been brought up. This bothers me a great deal because a significant number of bishops do not accept the ideas of openings [“aperture”] but few know this. They speak only about the necessity that the Church open itself to petitions from the world brought up in February by Cardinal Kasper.

The whole interview comes out tomorrow.

So, a media quarantine is placed around the Synod and the interventions, or speeches.

Suddenly, as the large sessions and cease and the small groups, which draft proposals for a larger document to be given to the Pope start to meet, suddenly there emerges a mid-point report, the relatio post disceptationem.  The unofficial translation is HERE.

Meanwhile, Radio Vaticana reported that the President of the Polish Bishop’s Conference has rejected the Relatio post disceptationem. I found a link HERE.

Sorry, I had to rely on Google for this version . Some words didn’t come through, but I’ll bet there are Polish speakers out there who can help:

Archbishop Gadecki: Document synod of bishops for many unacceptable

In an interview with Vatican Radio chairman of the Polish Episcopate did not hesitate to say that this document departs from the teaching of John Paul II, and even that can be seen in the traces [antyma??e?skiej] ideology. According to Archbishop Gadecki, this text also highlights the lack of a clear vision for the synodal assembly.

[…]

Hey… that old teaching of St. John Paul II? That’s obsolete by now. Familiaris consortio is… what… already 33 years old?

This Synod isn’t looking orderly and peaceful.

But… Synods are not smooth and orderly. Synods are messy.

If you want a smooth and orderly Synod, then take a cue from the old Supreme Soviet meetings, where every clapped at the same time at the same lines.

But first impose a media cordon.

Ironically, my own media cordon is now imposed. The moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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41 Responses to Synods are messy. The media quarantine isn’t helping.

  1. smithUK says:

    My Polish is a bit rusty, but I think ‘antyma??e?skiej’ translates as ‘Fishwrap’.

  2. LarryW2LJ says:

    My mom always used to say one thing about us Poles – that we’re stubborn as all heck and won’t go down with out a fight. God bless the Polish Bishops (and Cardinal Burke)!

  3. Kate says:

    Father Z,
    According to the online translator, “antyma??e?skiej” means “anti-marriage”.

  4. jhayes says:

    Catholic News Service (CNS) is an operation of the US Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It is an alternative to the MSM. [Is that so?]

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In strikingly conciliatory language on situations contrary to Catholic teaching, an official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops on the family emphasized calls for greater acceptance and appreciation of divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and homosexuals.

    “It is necessary to accept people in their concrete being, to know how to support their search, to encourage the wish for God and the will to feel fully part of the church, also on the part of those who have experienced failure or find themselves in the most diverse situations,” Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest told Pope Francis and the synod Oct. 13.

    HERE

  5. acardnal says:

    One thing that would definitely bring order to the messiness of this Extraordinary Synod would be for those participating in it to celebrate more masses in the Extraordinary Form!

  6. WesleyD says:

    Let’s recall that after the Synod of 359, St Jerome commented that “the whole world awoke to find itself Arian.” And the world had to wait far too long for that to be fixed. May our wait be much shorter!

  7. anna 6 says:

    Is there anything that we, the faithful; the people in the pew, the “little ones” can do about this?

    Pray…certainly!
    But is there anything practical that we can do?
    Petitions? Any ideas?

  8. acardnal says:

    “Catholic News Service (CNS) is an operation of the US Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It is an alternative to the MSM. “

    I wish my local diocesan newspaper would use less CNS stories in its paper and more CNA (Catholic News AgencyEWTN) stories. It’s like the difference between CBS and Fox News.

  9. donato2 says:

    I’m in total despair. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Apostolic Exhortation will be a disaster. Has anyone read Pope Francis’s last two homilies, the ones about the evil pastors who lay burdens too heavy for the people to bear and the pharisees who love only the law? The gloves have come off.

    The bishops must take action to put a stop to this. There must be more along the lines of what the Polish bishops have done.

  10. Sconnius says:

    WesleyD, look too at all the Saints who rose up and combated Arianism in the name of Holy Church! May that many more strive forward today. Perhaps someday our host bloggist will be honored among them?!

  11. The Cobbler says:

    “It is necessary to accept people in their concrete being…”
    Somehow I don’t think the Manichees are a big issue for the Church at the moment. Their apostate spiritual descendants, maybe…

  12. majuscule says:

    I won’t give a link here because I’m not sure it will do a lick of good, but someone is recommending writing to the nuncio (I guess the nuncio for whichever country you might be in).

    Writing to “demand NO CHANGE WHATSOVER on the Catholic teaching and practice on marriage, family life and perverse lifestyles, and to demand absolute fidelity to the received teaching of the Church, as found in Pius XI’s Casti Cannubii.”

  13. HeatherPA says:

    We can fast and pray. Fast as though it is Lenten Friday every day.

  14. Wiktor says:

    There’s an almost good translation of Abp. Gadecki provided at Rorate.
    But they got two sentences wrong:

    the first is: “Today, the discussion also highlighted that the doctrine presented in the document is marked by the sin of omission.”
    that should be: “Today, the discussion also highlighted that the doctrine presented in the document omitted the topic of sin entirely.”

    the second is this weird “Speak about the practical exceptions, but we also need to present the truth.”
    should be: “Practically, [the document] speaks about exceptions, but there is a need to present the truth.”

  15. kpoterack says:

    “antyma??e?skiej” basically means “anti-marriage.”

  16. Landless Laborer says:

    a better translation…

    In an interview with Vatican Radio, the President of the Polish Episcopal Conference did not hesitate to say that this document departs from the teaching of John Paul II, and even that in it can be noticed traces of the anti-marriage ideology. According to Archbishop G?decki, this text also highlights the lack of a clear vision for the synodal assembly.

    “Is the purpose of this Synod pastoral support to families in difficulty, or is its goal the study of special cases? Our main task is to support the family pastorally, not to hit her, exposing these difficult situations that exist, but which do not constitute the nucleus of the same family; they [the special cases] do not void the need for support, which should be given to good, normal, ordinary families, who are struggling not so much for survival as for fidelity,” said Archbishop G?decki.

    “Referring to the issues of marriage and family, certain criteria are being applied that raise doubt. For example, the criterion of gradualism. Can you really treat cohabitation as gradual, on the path to holiness? Today, the discussion also highlighted that the doctrine presented in the document is marked by the sin of omission. As if the world’s view prevailed and everything was imperfection which leads to perfection… Attention was paid not so much to what this document says, but to what it does not say. Speak about the practical exceptions, but we also need to present the truth. Also, the points that speak of children entrusted to same-sex couples are formulated somewhat as if this situation is being praised! This is also a defect of this text, which should be an incentive to fidelity, family values, but instead seems to accept everything as it is. It created an impression that the teaching of the Church has been merciless so far, as if the teaching of mercy were beginning only now.”

  17. MWindsor says:

    My wife is from Poland. “antyma??e?skiej” means anti-marriage and could extend to anti-family.

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Z,

    It is perhaps worth quoting – for purposes of discussion – Sandro Magister’s evaluation from the piece you linked in another post:

    “In the course of the synod, Cardinal Müller asked that the texts of the remarks of the synod fathers in the assembly be made public. But in vain.

    “The information blackout of the synod was therefore not his idea, nor that of other cardinals who like him have aligned themselves in strenuous defense of the indissolubility of Catholic marriage.

    “The one who wanted and decided it could have been no other, ultimately, than the pope.

    “To whom is also to be attributed the composition of the commission that will write the concluding ‘Relatio Synodi,’ with an overwhelming majority of them in favor of giving communion to those who have entered into second civil marriages”.

  19. kpoterack says:

    The Latvian synod father, Bishop Zbigniew Stankiewicz (who happens to be of Polish nationality) is also not pleased according to this article entitled “Synodal document raises a lot of controversy. He is not pleased with it.” The article goes on to say that “he admits , however, that the document is better than he expected , because it started at least from an evangelical vision of the family, and anomalies are found only in the second part of the document . . .

    http://gosc.pl/doc/2199626.Abp-Stankiewicz-krytycznie-o-dokumencie-synodu

  20. Mike says:

    I wonder: If Pope Francis wants Communion for adulterers, can a posse of highly placed bishops say NO? Reading Lumen gentium, I would they couldn’t. But they could always resign their office…but how’s that to help? We’re in a pickle.

  21. RJHighland says:

    I will continue to pray that the Holy Ghost be present during this Synod, a rules the day. We have several very faithful Cardinals and Bishops that God willing will rule the day. I am very uncomfortable with what the press is saying our Holy Father is saying but let us wait and see. No matter what I know the Catholic Church contains the fullness of Truth given to us by God but we will have to see if these current leaders are in the line of Peter or Judas.

  22. kpoterack says:

    One more interesting Polish article, quoting Archbishop Kondrusiewicz of Minsk, Belarus (also a Synod Father of Polish origin) points out that the Orthodox bishops (at least in his region) think that they can “remove the blessing” from a first failed marriage and allow a second, but that this second marriage is “not sacramental” in their view. This would make it “from the get-go difficult to translate such a practice, given our view of marriage.” (This is admittedly my “dynamically equivalent” translation. The literal translation of “A my jednak chcemy, by to byl sakrament, wiec tak automatycznie trudno byloby te praktyke przeniesc” is “However, we want that it would be a sacrament, so thus [it would be] automatically hard to translate this practice.”)

    http://gosc.pl/doc/2199611.Prawoslawne-zezwolenie-na-zycie-w-nowym-zwiazku-to-nie-sakrament

  23. Son of Trypho says:

    I think this is all about the Western/Euro bishops realising that the Church in their territories is now fairly much in terminal decline and that they are desperately seeking ways to shore up the numbers irrespective of longer term outcomes to ensure that they don’t become redundant and insolvent during their administrations. They must consider that appealing to current Western thought on social issues will achieve this in the near future. As they say, desperate people will do desperate things!

  24. excalibur says:

    From Rorate

    “Is the purpose of this Synod pastoral support to families in difficulty, or is its goal the study of special cases? Our main task is to support the family pastorally, not to hit her, exposing these difficult situations that exist, but which do not constitute the nucleus of the same family; they [the special cases] do not void the need for support, which should be given to good, normal, ordinary families, who are struggling not so much for survival as for fidelity,” said Archbishop G?decki.

    “Referring to the issues of marriage and family, certain criteria are being applied that raise doubt. For example, the criterion of gradualism. Can you really treat cohabitation as gradual, on the path to holiness? Today, the discussion also highlighted that the doctrine presented in the document is marked by the sin of omission. As if the world’s view prevailed and everything was imperfection which leads to perfection… Attention was paid not so much to what this document says, but to what it does not say. Speak about the practical exceptions, but we also need to present the truth. Also, the points that speak of children entrusted to same-sex couples are formulated somewhat as if this situation is being praised! This is also a defect of this text, which should be an incentive to fidelity, family values, but instead seems to accept everything as it is. It created an impression that the teaching of the Church has been merciless so far, as if the teaching of mercy were beginning only now.”

  25. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Fasting and praying is never a bad idea – it’s right there at the core of our Catholic faith along with miracles, particularly the Eucharist. And personal holiness needs to be our first response any time we see that something is not right.

    But what I think I see emerging from the synod (to qualify :at least the way the media has currently been reporting it ) are elements of moral relativism – and these ,very nicely placed strategically if one is intent on sowing some confusion. Most commentary coming from the synod questioning divorced and remarried Catholics not being admitted to Holy Communion , attempted their strongest arguments by way of comparing these people to other groups and/or individuals ; the comparison usually being made in the abstract (where it never gets brought all the way through to its logical conclusion).
    Some examples:
    It has been argued that (technically Catholic) murderers and pedophiles could theoretically go to Confession and then receive Holy Communion , but divorced and remarried couples cannot.

    Also in cardinal Kasper’s (in)famous 2-hour speech/preamble 7 months ago leading up to the synod, he suggested: “Noting that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1994 wrote that those who are divorced and remarried can make an act of spiritual communion, he asked, “why, then, can (such a person) not also receive sacramental Communion?”
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/cardinal-kaspers-speech-on-divorce-remarriage-and-communion/

    It becomes evident in these examples that, quite sadly, no reference at all is made to the actual sacrament of Holy Matrimony – the emphasis is always on others receiving Holy Communion. In the CCC it is presented- with sound reasoning ,as clear as water, why the majority of validly married, then divorced and remarried Catholics need to guard against committing a sacrilege by abstaining from Holy Communion ; and one needn’t be a rocket scientist in order to be able to understand it –
    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/matri.html

    What I believe to be at the very least an incongruous coincidence is Cardinal Kasper’s words (from that same speech 7 months ago) that the issue “cannot be reduced to the question of admission to Communion,” but regards “the overall pastoral interest in marriages and families” , begins with words identical to the words of the Prefect for the CDF Archbishop Muller’s letter (TESTIMONY TO THE POWER OF GRACE: ON THE INDISSOLUBILITY OF MARRIAGE AND THE DEBATE CONCERNING THE CIVILLY REMARRIED AND THE SACRAMENTS) published almost one year ago – “Clearly, the care of remarried divorcees must not be reduced to the question of receiving the Eucharist. It involves a much more wide-ranging pastoral approach, which seeks to do justice to the different situations.” But Cardinal Kasper appears to interpret the words in a manner distinctly different from how the CDF presents and intends them . What do we call that if not overstepping the boundaries of the Magisterium ?

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/muller/rc_con_cfaith_20131023_divorziati-risposati-sacramenti_en.html

  26. ChrisRawlings says:

    Bishop Reig Pla is bishop of the Diocese of Acala-Henares, which is basically part of Madrid. He is one of the Spanish episcopate’s feistier conservatives. Here is what was posted on the diocesan website today:

    http://www.obispadoalcala.org/endefensadelmatrimonio.html

    Included are blurbs about various martyrs who defended the Church teaching on marriage, and a prayer by St. John XXIII to our Lady against heresy (the part of the prayer relating to heresy is actually in bold font on the site).

    I think it is safe to say that there are plenty of good people who are pretty upset about the relatio, and they are many more in number than those of us who read Fr. Z’s blog. As an African priest-friend said to me today, “they won’t let this happen. Listen to me.” He was referring to African bishops. But it looks like those African bishops are receiving plenty of help from the rest of the world, too.

  27. Charles E Flynn says:

    Try not to despair, even though today is a worse day than the one on which a woman was allowed by a priest to substitute a reading from “Winnie the Pooh” for a reading from one of the four Gospels during a mass:

    Here’s why Church teaching on ‘gay marriage’ did not change today

  28. Sidesplitting headlines on Google News right now, along the lines of ‘Church decides to welcome people with homosexual orientation, children of non-traditional families’.

    Who knew. Better tell my sister, who has been attending Mass as a sole parent with her son since forever. Better also tell the folks in Courage that they can start going to Mass again.

    O tempora o mores. Still, we brought this on ourselves. I’m glad to be living in these times, because this suffering is saving me simply ages in Purgatory. I hope.

  29. Maineman1 says:

    acardnal says:
    13 October 2014 at 4:18 pm
    One thing that would definitely bring order to the messiness of this Extraordinary Synod would be for those participating in it to celebrate more masses in the Extraordinary Form!
    ————-
    That is the point: if the Church still worshipped in her ancient, venerable rites, we would not be overcome by such demonic thought. Lex orandi, lex credendi; as our modern worship constantly changes, eventually the faith of millions does as well. The Spirit of Vatican II has taken over the Church, once more.

    National “Catholic” Reporter gloats as much in a recent article.

  30. DavidR says:

    Several folks have asked “What can we do?”

    Here’s a thought; keep your wallets in your pockets. While that won’t help much in a state-supported country like Germany, it will make clear our displeasure in geographic areas which depend on our goodwill for funding.

  31. StWinefride says:

    Cardinal Raymond Burke has asked the faithful to pray the Chaplet of the Holy Face for the duration of the Synod (5th to 19th October):

    http://www.canadiancatechist.com/?p=440

    [Interesting.]

  32. Sonshine135 says:

    What does it mean- greater acceptance and appreciation of people in irregular marriages? Appreciate what? Accept what? Sin? I read the Synod document and I am flummoxed. Well, it seems that several fellow Catholics see it to mean, we now accept homosexuals in the church. I didn’t know that we prevented anybody from coming to church. What a mishmash of ambiguity. It does nothing more that to befuddle, confuse, and leave everything wide open to interpretation- which the liberal side of the church will gladly do.

  33. Kathleen10 says:

    I don’t know how much lobbying Cardinals have experienced. I doubt the Cardinals believe that giving in to the secular culture is going to put people in the pews, since even I can see that it has not worked for other denominations. As far as can be determined this is where some of the Cardinal’s hearts are, and Pope Francis, from all that can be gathered thus far, supports it, so…

    The Cardinals elected this Pope. They had to have some idea of the possibilities.
    This is stupendous progress for the secular culture and a lightning fast stamp of approval for homosexuality. The wording has indicated a 180 degree shift. That is already “out there” and I doubt that will be reeled back in. The intent to have “dialogue” about communion for people in second marriages is just a ruse. I don’t think this was ever about that.

  34. frival says:

    Who knew “hagan lio” was going to apply to Synods too? (C’mon, we all need to be able to laugh, or at least chuckle, even now.)

  35. JPK says:

    My biggest fear is that when all is said and done, there will just be more confusion, more error, and more of the same (divorces, broken families, etc…). The worst thing that can come about is a “Spirit of the Synod” that will be used to further heterodoxy. We’ve been down this road before.

  36. Supertradmum says:

    If people actually studied Church history and understood the context of the great Arian and Gnostic heresies which “almost” but of course, could not ruin the Church. Looks like this is happening all over again.

    Predictions: lots of smoke and mirrors, then the Holy Spirit steps and and the Truth is upheld, but the majority of the Western bishops leave the Church for either an American or European “church”. Then, the Pope will die (martyred) and Cardinal Burke will be elected pope. God prevails over all but there will a very small remnant.

  37. chantgirl says:

    I agree with others who have said that this synod is exposing the fault lines in the Church, the schism that has already existed under the surface for the last several decades. Yes, the church has been through this before, but in each age where heresy gains temporary control there are casualties among the members of the Church, and people lose their way. The souls lost to this will not be negligible as many will be led to believe that they can sin gravely, commit sacrilege by receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin, and still be upstanding members of the Church. The Church will survive this, but many individual souls will not. I grieve.

  38. HeatherPA says:

    The dream of The Two Pillars of St. John Bosco has been repeatedly brought to my mind of late.

  39. MikeM says:

    While the media quarantine isn’t helping, I don’t think that that’s the root of the problem here. The media twists the words of the Church and its leaders no matter how much they say and no matter how clearly. When they would try to twist Pope Benedict’s words, though, one could read what he said and understand what he actually meant. With the statements surrounding the synod, I can’t begin to make sense of the unintelligible babbling.

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