Be wary of news reports about the what the Synod is up to

We must be wary about the “Synod of the Media”.

There is a Synod of Bishops that takes place and there is the way the MSM and also Catholic (especial catholic) media spins the Synod.

As the bishops split up in to smaller groups, there comes a status report called the Relatio post disceptationem  (Latin disceptatio is “a dispute, disputation, debate, discussion, disquisition”).

The Relatio p. d. is getting mixed reviews.  Liberals are experiences frissons of glee, which doesn’t usually bode well for truth.

Nicole Winfield of AP has this piece about the newly released mid-point report, after the first week of everyone yakking in the Synod hall.

Note some of the language in this piece.  Nota bene, this is written for a low-information audience, but the language is still pretty misleading.

Bishops [which?] clearly took into account the views of Pope Francis, [of course they would – he’s the Pope] whose “Who am I to judge?” comment about gays signaled a new tone of welcome for the church. [Is there a clear connection between what the bishops considered and what Francis said on the airplane?  Not really.] Their report also reflected the views of ordinary Catholics who, in responses to Vatican questionnaires in the run-up to the synod, rejected church teaching on birth control and homosexuality as outdated and irrelevant. [They did, did they?]

The bishops [which?] said gays had “gifts and qualities” to offer and asked rhetorically if the church was ready to provide them a welcoming place, “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony.”

Maybe some bishops do hold that.  Others don’t.  But here we have a vague “bishops”, implying greater unanimity than there is.

Be careful in your reading of news about the Synod.

For example, if the Synod makes a statement about the “gifts and qualities” of homosexuals, keep in mind that homosexuals do NOT have “gifts and qualities” for the Church simply because they are homosexuals.

Of course homosexuals have “gifts and talents!”  But they have them as human beings, not as homosexuals.  They must not be turned into some subset that can then claim rights as homosexuals.  They are no better or worse than any other human being and each of them have the obligation to respect nature and God’s law.

Homosexuals are not special.

Catholics do not object to homosexuals participating in the life of the Church.  We object to the suggestion that homosexual acts are normal, acceptable, good, proper… take your pick.  They aren’t.  They are objective sinful and gravely disordered.  The people with the inclinations toward them are obliged to struggle against them just ever other person on earth is obliged to struggle against inclinations, to battle against and resist the world, the flesh and the devil.

Vatican Radio‘s coverage is a little more careful, distinguishing between the “Synod Fathers” and “the report”.  But not much.

That said, am I happy with what we are hearing come forth from the Synod?  No.  Then again, we are hardly getting a good picture, are we. The spectacularly bad decision to close off information from the public has only exacerbated the pre-Synod confusion.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. lucindatcm says:

    To be honest, the report is making me very upset. However, we don’t have a good picture, Francis has got to approve, etc. Pray and fast and reserve judgement until we actually get a good idea of what is going on.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    When the bishops “asked rhetorically if the church was ready to provide them a welcoming place,
    ‘accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony'”, the rhetorical question of Romans 6:1 came to mind: “What shall we say, then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

  3. Robbie says:

    The problem is not how the media is reporting things. The problem isn’t poor translations. The problem is the liberals and the modernists are on the march at the synod. And because of the way things have been reported, it doesn’t really matter what the final product says. Liberals, bishops included, will simply go with the “spirit of the synod”.

  4. acardnal says:

    And remember, it’s only been one week! We have another week to go. And then we have to wait a year for the Ordinary Synod and the Pope to write his Apostolic Exhortation. I pray – but am not hopeful – that the A.E. will use clear and precise language NOT the ambiguous statements used in the V2 documents that BOTH sides used to justify their positions. If the language in the A.E. is too loose, the liberal priests and bishops will use it to their advantage. It should be clear and precise in what is permitted with regard to faith and morals and religious practice and what is not.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  5. Thank you Father Z for keeping our heads on our shoulders, and reminding us to be wary of the Press on the Synod. Likewise, we should also be wary of the dark soothsayers of that thing known as the “Magisterium of the Blogosphere” who are following said coverage and declaring homofascist conspiracy theories, and spewing Pope and Church hate in what they write about what’s coming out of the Synod.

    Funny, I thought here in Canada, that this is Thanksgiving weekend? Guess some people forgot that point.

  6. iteadthomam says:

    With all due respect, some of the report from the synod is just harmful to the faithful. The suggestions that we can value homosexuality is simply evil. There is nothing to value about an intrinsically evil act. We can value the sinner, but not the sin, but they are suggesting we should value the sin when they say “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation.” I am not a prophet but I am almost certain there will be a major schism in the Church in two years once the final word comes from the Holy Father, regardless of which side he falls on. The schism will be between the hermeneutic of continuity and the hermeneutic of discontinuity, between those that want to be Catholics in light of all of Catholic history, and those who want to call themselves “catholics” rejecting anything before Vatican II, and some of what has come after Vatican II. The good news is that the massive amount of apostates will have left the Church and we will finally be freed from the dead weight we have been carrying for so long. We can also take comfort in the fact that though the mystical body of Christ is being crucified at this time, she will be resurrected after the crucifixion, like her Lord.

  7. Dialogos says:

    I suspect I am like many who are at best discouraged and at worst on the edge of despair. I have been telling myself that we need to cling ever more tightly to the Lord and remember that the Truth has often been in the minority. I am thinking especially of St. Athanasius and those scary decades. I also remind myself to beware the sin of Denethor (LOTR) and to do my duty regardless. We are always in it for the long haul and Christ has triumphed, is triumphing, and will triumph…though that is darn hard to see at times like this.

  8. Adam Welp says:

    Does Greg Burke still work for the Vatican? If so, I’m shocked that they are letting the media run away with this Synod.

  9. gsk says:

    @Julian: Conspiratorialists don’t usually hate the Church but, to the contrary, love her. We must all admit that the Fallen One is the source of all such “conspiracies” over the centuries. That said, something is obfuscating the truth about marriage, despite everyone’s great intentions. The question that remains is Qui Bono [by this confusion]?

  10. Traductora says:

    I think this was an attempt -successful, unfortunately – to short circuit the whole process. The word is out now, and they probably don’t even need to bother to have the Synod next year. The Pope has also managed to do this in such a way that he can say he is not responsible for it; appointing those six overseers (all “progressives”) for the relatio ensured that his position would be imposed but with no need for any overt expression of it for which he could be held responsible.

    We may know here that there’s another year of discussion, another Synod, etc. – but the rest of the world is receiving headlines that say things like “revolutionary change,” “overnight change,” “Vaitcan II fulfilled,” “dynamiting the old doctrines” (on sexual morality), etc. Many struggling souls are going to be lost because of this, many smoking flaxes extinguished. The scandal is immense.

    I’m sorry, I just find it impossible to be sanguine about this, because in the mind of the world now, it’s a done deal. The Church has finally given in and, overnight, accepted the standards of the world in everything having to do with sexual morality, chastity, family life and all the things that used to distinguish the Church and its members. Even when people didn’t live it, they knew they should, and it gave them somethung to strive for or even just wish for. And now it’s all gone.

  11. kpoterack says:

    I am curious about #47 in the report:

    “For some [divorced and remarried], partaking of the sacraments might occur were it preceded by a penitential path – under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop –, and with a clear undertaking in favor of the children. This would not be a general possibility, but the fruit of a discernment applied on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of gradualness, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances.”

    Am I looking at this with rose-colored glasses, or is this basically another way of stating the brother/sister marriage? Particularly since it mentions “state of sin,” “state of grace.” In other words, “since your first marriage is valid, try to stay away from sexual sin with you current legal spouse – however, we realize that you may fall, even many times (i.e. law of gradualness), but keep at it, make a firm purpose of amendment, and go to confession if you do fail. Then you can receive communion.”

    If I am correct, this isn’t really the Kasper proposal. Or am I being a Pollyanna?

    Just trying to understand.

  12. Elodie says:

    Pope Benedict:

    “The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

    “She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members…

    “It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

    “And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”

  13. Sonshine135 says:

    One thing is for sure…With no ill will wished toward the Holy Father, the next conclave is going to be a real doozie.

  14. iteadthomam says:

    One other thing I wanted to add to my post above.

    What is done to the head of the Body (Jesus) is also done to the body itself (the Church). As the Apostles betrayed the Lord, with the exception of the Apostle John, it should come as no suprise that some/many of the successors of the Apostles are betraying the Lord. We should suffer through this, and offer up the suffering for the salvation of the Church and for the salvation of the world, as Christ suffered on the cross and offered his suffering for the Church and for the world.

  15. JesusFreak84 says:

    For those of us who are trying to bring friends into Holy Mother Church and where doctrines on marriage are ALREADY a sticking point with some folks…how can I convince my friend that marriage IS as long as both spouses live when my friend can point to the TV, internet, radio, whatever, and say, “That’s not what YOUR Bishops say…” *Headdesk* Souls will be lost, by apostasy, scandal, and more =-\

  16. ChuckShunk says:

    kpoterack: I don’t think your interpretation is possible, as the report was talking about future possibilities, whereas the “Josephite Marriage” is a current option.

  17. Joe in Canada says:

    This is why I preferred a silent Synod. That having been said, it was useful to me after reading Fr Martin SJ’s article in America, to read the Vatican News article he linked to. The Vatican News article did not use the word “gay” once: Fr Martin’s article used it many times. He has already interpreted the Synod, and his interpretation, while popular, is, it seems to me, tendentious and misleading. And while I won’t link to “let the heavens rain down”, I do like this headline: Wojty?a Nation to the Rescue. President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference: “Synod Document Unacceptable”

  18. Maineman1 says:

    O ver at National “Catholic” Reporter, one of the headlines PROPERLY linked the apparent spirit of this ongoing Synod with the “Spirit of Vatican II.”

    Depending on the results of this Synod, I may very well be heading to the Orthodox Church.

  19. codefro says:

    Thank you for posting this Fr. Z. Many faithful, myself especially, are hurting inside with all this chaos in the Church. In a world where the world is spiraling down the drain of the pit, Catholics would love to cling to their Mother Church for guidance and a drop of comfort. It seems that in the Lord’s testing, he is removing even this comfort for a time. I pray the Church always be one, holy, apostolic, Catholic Church- but not at the expense of making heresy and blasphemy acceptable.

  20. Mike says:

    Thanks to OP Elodie for the quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger. The whole essay “What Will the Church Look Like in 2000?” is worth reading. His characterization of Enlightenment-era synods is eerily prophetic.

    Better yet, read the whole of his short book of talks and essays, Faith and the Future — conveniently available for Kindle!

  21. Clinton R. says:

    This Synod and its resulting document have the potential to cause a deeper schism that has existed de facto since the radical changes in Church praxis following the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. On one hand, you have Catholics who love the timeless teachings of Christ and His Church, who love the Mass Immemorial, and believe man must change for the Church and not the other way around. On the other hand, those who profess to be Catholic want to change the teachings of the Church, hate the TLM, believe Holy Scripture is outdated, and that all religions are one and the same. Obviously these are some generalities, but can we say this Church, that seems bent on her auto destruction is the one founded by Christ? Would our grandparents and great grand parents recognize this Church? Sad to say the men who are entrusted with the Bride of Christ are treating her disgracefully. The history of the Catholic Church is filled with many turbulent times, but this era of Modernism and outright heresy has filled us with much grief. But where else can we turn? As St. Peter said in John 6:68 “Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.” Is sedevacantism the route we should take? I surely hope not, but yet we know the days will grow darker before the return of Our Lord. As St. Paul says in 2 Tim. 3 1:4; “Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times: Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,
    Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,
    Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God” As Father Zuhlsdorf unfailingly reminds us, go to Confession. And of course pray without cease to Our Blessed Mother. +JMJ+

  22. thomas tucker says:

    This document is perfect for allowing those who live and advocate for sin to feel affirmed in their sins. What is missing is the notion that they should change, and repent. Are these bishops really so naïve as to not know how this will be interpreted?

  23. jacobi says:

    I have no objection at all to homosexuals, of either sex, participating in the life of the Church, nor for that matter, drug dealers or conmen, or adulterers, or gluttons or gangsters, or contraceptors, or even abortionists.

    That is, so long as they do so with the intent to work out their problems and weaknesses, and do not, repeat, not under any circumstances, receive sinfully and sacrilegiously, the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ under the outward appearance of bread and wine.

  24. robtbrown says:

    If there is a Synod of the Media, then the responsibility belongs to the Pope. He can’t be naive enough not to know that most of the media drools while waiting for the latest liberal agenda to attack doctrine. By encouraging Kasper et al, he is feeding the Synod of the Media.

  25. Landless Laborer says:

    Yes, that line, “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation”, was the point where the line was crossed. This practice of walking ever so close to the edge of doctrine runs the risk of foul, and here we have it. Trying to appease the world without compromising Catholic doctrine is a zero sum game. If the world is at all appeased, Catholic doctrine or at least the Catholic’s perception of it, suffers.
    We have a God whose grace is not necessarily restricted to seven sacraments, nor is the possibility of His mercy confounded by His law….unless they be presumed. This constant stretching the definition of what God might forgive is presumption of mercy, and it’s causing despair among the faithful. What do we do? We suffer with Jesus through Mary, and we repent of despair. Story of our lives anyway, so no biggie.

  26. Maineman1 says:

    They are selective about the reality of Christian mercy. Yes, our Lord Jesus is merciful, and He indeed was a radical in that period of history. Yes, Jesus opposed the Pharisees who attempted to stone the unnamed prostitute. He chose mercy over the strict enforcement of the Law of Moses.

    “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:11.

    SIN NO MORE- that part of the passage is always ignored. But it must be emphasized- yes Christ’s mercy is radical, and our language should be altered to be more merciful, but at the end of the day, you must avoid those sins to which you were enslaved.

  27. romanrevert says:

    I too am disgusted with what is happening. For those of you for whom this is unbearable and you feel the need to leave the Church, remember John 6:69:

    Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.

    Stay in the Church! If you gag on the bile of the modern Church, find a Traditional community. There is unambiguous truth there. There is a purer faith there. There is reverence and holiness there. There is a Mass that recognizes the sacrifice that our Lord made and proclaims it. It was the best move I have ever made. Thank God for the FSSP, ICK, and yes, the SSPX.

  28. robtbrown says:

    Landless Laborer says:

    Yes, that line, “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation”, was the point where the line was crossed

    Does accepting their sexual orientation include AIDS?

  29. SimonR says:

    The front page of BBC news has this headline at present:

    “A report by a top-level Vatican panel on the family calls for a more positive view of homosexuals, in a move hailed by gay groups as a major shift”.

    And the body of the article says this:

    “Senior clerics taking part in a review of Catholic teachings on the family have called on the Church to adopt a more positive stance on homosexuality.

    A preliminary report written by bishops during a Vatican synod said homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer”.

    I wish Pope Benedict had not left us.

  30. LarryW2LJ says:

    I can’t help but thinking that these Synod reports are being sent out by those determined to advance a certain agenda. As dispiriting as these preliminary reports may seem, the outcome of this Synod may be totally opposite of what these would seem to indicate.

    What’s being advanced as happening; and what is actually happening may be two separate things entirely. The best thing to do is keep offering up prayers, rosaries and fasting so that the true desires of the Holy Spirit are imprinted upon these men’s hearts.

  31. Gerard Plourde says:

    At times like this our faith calls us to remember that as Catholics we believe that Christ has promised that He will always remain with his Church and that the Church is a visible institution with His Vicar, the successor of St. Peter as its visible head. Our task now is to pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the Holy Father and the Synod in its deliberations which are still ongoing and its conclusions which have not yet been determined.

  32. anna 6 says:

    Everything Traductora said!!

    I am very discouraged about this. How can Pope Francis NOT know that this “synod of the media” is going to have grave effects on the faithful.

    I hope that the Pope Emeritus speaks to Pope Francis about this. It is a pity that the pope seems to not have understood that Benedict and John Paul (and countless clerics and laypeople) spent their entire lives attempting to show that the teachings of the Church are beautiful and will bring true happiness and genuine freedom if properly understood.

  33. Maineman1 says:

    Let me ask you this: during the debate in the 1960’s over the Church’s stance on contraception and birth control, there was an overwhelming sense that the Church would legalize these options for the Faithful. Of course, Humanae Vitae contradicted these wild assertions.

    But did Pope Paul VI give an indication that he supported birth control or contraception? Was he as vague or confusing as Pope Francis?

  34. lweisenthal says:

    Although the caution against “The Synod of the Media” is well made, I think that what has emerged so far is quite consistent with the way Francis has endeavored to re-position the Church since the early months of his papacy. He did not initially do this by speaking formally and directly. Rather, he gave interviews. Reaction was predictable. “Bad translation.” “Not the words of the Pope, but only the paraphrasing by a 90 year old atheist.” And then a fight between “liberals” and “traditionalists” over what the Pope really thought and what he intended to do.

    But, inexorably, (although the vast preponderance of evidence is that neither the fondest hopes of the liberals nor the worst fears of the traditionalists will be realized), it would seem that there will, in fact, emerge a tilt away from a rigid emphasis on doctrine (small tent Church) in favor of a more tolerant approach (big tent Church).

    I’d like to engage in a thought experiment. It has to do with the concept of “gradualism.” It also has to do with “what would Jesus want?” Would Jesus wish to expand his Church, to include as many sinners as possible, or would He want a Church of exclusivity, welcoming only of those who, by good fortune of birth circumstances, upbringing, and genetics, have a relatively easier time immediately accepting all the burdens and responsibilities which the Church demands?

    Is there not something to be said for the concept that the Holy Spirit can and does work personal miracles, but only if a door is opened, to allow communication between the sinner and the Holy Spirit to begin? (i.e. “gradualism”).

    It is a certainty, in my opinion, that the currently reported interim working document does faithfully present the views of Francis, as it is consistent with everything we have come to learn of this Pope. It is also a certainty, in my opinion, that Francis is utterly opposed to reducing Church membership to a rump collection of orthodox who believe that the rigid emphasis of “disjointed doctrines” is what God most wants of His pastors.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

  35. Maynardus says:

    Try as I might, I can’t find a way to put a good construction on any of his. I would go so far to ask: who – amongst the churchmen who love Our Lord, uphold the doctrines of His Church, and strive for personal holiness – thought it was a good idea to release these propositions publicly, during the Synod, while it is impossible for the faithful – or the media – to obtain any clarifications?

    Everyone here is becoming aware of the sorrow and bewilderment visited upon so many of the faithful by the release of the Relatio which after all, is neither a leak nor the conjectures of some Vaticanoligist. This is what the Synod has chosen to communicate to the world at this juncture, and one can only wonder to what end.

    Already the media is picking and caressing phrases from the Relatio and pronouncing upon them as though they are now chiseled in stone, and even using them to distort the actual teaching of the Church and (of course) bad old Pope Benedict. I was hardly surprised to hear on the midday (radio) news that the Church would now be welcoming homosexuals, “a sharp contrast with Pope Benedict who called them ‘disordered’ ”

    I will not be surprised if in my lifetime I am asked to choose between the law (or the state) and my Faith, but even in the 1970’s I never dreamed of even the possibility that I might someday have to choose between my Faith… and my Church… Indeed, we must pray!

  36. Mike says:

    The arguments of OP lweisenthal are skillfully derived from the premises on which they are based. The problem is that the premises of “exclusivity” and the like are false, and of a falseness so frequently and demonstrably denied by the Church and Her servants as to be contemptible both intrinsically and in the attempt to trot them out as a rump to be cast aside.

  37. JesusFreak84 says:

    lweisenthal: “Narrow is the road that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Name that author.

  38. Unwilling says:

    It would be very bad, if souls were lost, basically willing to obey God, but finding the words of the r.p.d. scandalous and leaving the Church to Orthodoxy, SSPX, non-Christianity. But in the storm around this Synod, there are two immutables to cling to:
    1. homosexual acts reject and move the soul away from God
    2. extra Ecclesiam nulla salus “outside the Church there is no salvation”

    CNN (whose reporter cannot even pronounce “synod”) et al. should not be trusted as a source of explanations of the Gospel and the Church.

  39. thomas tucker says:

    @lweisenthal: Jesus would welcome all sinners, and tell them “Go and sin no more”, and “Not everyone who says to me ” Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of my Father.” No one has a problem with the church being a hospital for sinners rather than a museum for saints, but when you start trying to call sin non-sin, then we do have a problem. I am beginning to wonder how people kept the Faith during the Arian heresy.

  40. Cavaliere says:

    I hate to be the dark cloud to rain on the parade but the cat is out of the bag and it ain’t going back in. Regardless of what happens insofar as any orthodox statements to ultimately come out of this synod the progressives have won the media game. This synod is shaping up exactly as the discussion did leading up to the encyclical Humanae Vitae. In fact the National “Alleged Catholic” Reporter is publishing the same garbage as it did 40 years ago when it helped pave the way for the rejection of HV after it was released. When HV was released and the dissenters opposed it Paul VI did nothing to punish those responsible for what has become one of the worst things to ever happen in the Church. At least he didn’t remove any of the orthodox bishops and cardinals who supported HV. Can’t say the same about today. So if someone can show any sign that things aren’t going to turn out exactly the way they did before I would love to hear it.

  41. acardnal says:

    Even my LOCAL evening news broadcast somewhere in midwest USA, lead with the news from the Synod regarding the “changes” in the Catholic Church’s position on the homosexual lifestyle. Unbelievable! Some writer from the British “The Tablet” offered her soundbite for broadcast.

  42. Cavaliere says:

    But when the king came to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘my friend, how is it that that you come in here without a wedding garment?’ Then the king said ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

  43. Pat says:

    Padre, watch today’s PBS news at 6 pm

  44. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Depending on the results of this Synod, I may very well be heading to the Orthodox Church.”


    As a fellow Catholic and ex-Anglican, all I can offer is this.

    “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal…”

  45. erhatke says:

    Lord, where are we to go? As an over 60 Catholic this is all very disheartening. I cling to Our Lord’s words : “….The gates of Hell shall not prevail….” But, I do wonder Why, Lord?

  46. HeatherPA says:

    As a dear FSSP priest has preached,
    “If you are in the middle of a typhoon, and there is a fight in the wheelhouse, one doesn’t decide all is lost and jump overboard. That would be a sheer act of lunacy. One clings even tighter to the stout ship and realizes the storm will pass, and it does. Thus it is in our beloved Church during times of great difficulty. We already know we believe in what has been revealed to be the fullness of Truth, and to abandon it would be madness and lack of trust in The Lord.”

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  47. robtbrown says:

    lweisenthal says,

    I’d like to engage in a thought experiment. It has to do with the concept of “gradualism.” It also has to do with “what would Jesus want?” Would Jesus wish to expand his Church, to include as many sinners as possible, or would He want a Church of exclusivity, welcoming only of those who, by good fortune of birth circumstances, upbringing, and genetics, have a relatively easier time immediately accepting all the burdens and responsibilities which the Church demands?

    First, I don’t think you understand what gradualism is.

    Second, your “thought experiment” sets up false choices via a best case/worst scenario. It is like saying: Do you want to drive a Ferrari from LA to San Diego? Or would you rather crawl on your hands and knees?

  48. robtbrown says:

    lweisenthal says,

    It is a certainty, in my opinion, that the currently reported interim working document does faithfully present the views of Francis, as it is consistent with everything we have come to learn of this Pope.

    If you think you know the view of this pope, then you are lying to yourself. This man is a Jesuit, and Jesuits are formed over many years to keep their own council.

    I do think, however, that like most SJ’s formed from about 1960-85 (or later) that he is an Existentialist. And Existentialists prefer chaos to order.

    It is also a certainty, in my opinion, that Francis is utterly opposed to reducing Church membership to a rump collection of orthodox who believe that the rigid emphasis of “disjointed doctrines” is what God most wants of His pastors.

    No priest, including BXVI, wants to reduce membership of the Church. BTW, what are “disjointed doctrines”?

    Your comments leave me with the impression that you are as good at Theology as I am at Oncology.

  49. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Z and ByzCath08,

    Thank you for the links to the unofficial Vatican-supplied translation of the full text! (I further note that ByzCath08’s link has the added benefit of enabling easy movement between the original Italian text, and various translations.)

  50. Elizabeth D says:

    It could be worse. The following is a list produced by the prioress of a large women’s religious congregation (those who know me know which one) summarizing their discussion of the “institutional church” at their congregation’s (ie institution’s) version of a “synod” in 2008.

    A. Questions which arise from our sense of integrity in living our
    Gospel beliefs
    1. When and where does the institutional church serve as an obstacle to fulfillment of our mission?
    2. What would Catherine do?
    3. How does remaining faithful to our mission invite us to transform the institutional church and its structures?
    4. Can we as a congregation call Bishops to account?

    B. Questions about process in which to engage
    1. How do we talk with the hierarchy?
    2. How can we dialogue with the institutional church?

    C. Questions about movement toward truths some of us perceive?
    1. How do we formulate a feminine sacramental system?
    2. How do we support and proclaim feminist theology and feminist theologians?
    3. How can we change our vocabulary about God in such a way that we experience an inclusive God?
    4. How do we help all people understand that the violence of the world will never be stopped until we stop the violence against women in all organized religion?
    5. How do we move toward addressing the deeper issues of human sexuality evident in the sexual abuse crisis?

    D. Questions about necessity of the institutional church
    1. What is the point of having the institution?
    2. What is the value of canonical membership for our community in today’s society?
    3. Is it better to work within or step outside and have our own
    4. Could the congregation have a united voice regarding the
    institutional church?

    E. Questions about supporting those who cannot accept statements or decisions of the hierarchy?
    1. How do we support priests and bishops suffering the same way we are?
    2. How much support, given our own integrity can we show for women now being ordained?
    3. How do we support the laity and our sisters in repressive diocesan structures?
    4. Could we as a congregation publicly support women’s ordination?
    5. How do we remain faithful to our mission of the Gospel vis-à-vis demands of the institutional church which we see as contrary to the Gospel?
    6. What is our reaction to the exodus of people from our church and our own sisters’ exodus from our church?

    F. Questions about our commitment to the teaching of Vatican Council II
    1. How do we educate laity caught in an understanding of authority and who don’t know the freedom of the children of God defined by Vatican Council II?
    2. What do we say when people ask us what it is really important to believe?
    3. How do we address or impact the indifference of people in our faith tradition?
    4. How do we revitalize the concepts of Vatican II?

    G. Questions about our responses to the firing of laity and sisters
    1. How do we deal with ultra-conservative, inexperienced pastors firing laity and sisters?
    2. How do we deal with the creation of elaborate buildings followed by the wholesale elimination of programs?

  51. Unwilling says:

    I found the key!

    The way to understand these “innovative propositions” from the r.p.d. is to postulate that they may have been formatted for publication in the classic Magisterial structure:

    Si quis dixerit _______________ anathema sit!

  52. acardnal says:

    I hope Benedict XVI is given an opportunity to address the Synod before it adjourns to clear up the confusion which appears to be in control.

  53. Son of Trypho says:


    Without being disrespectful I think that Pope Ratzinger is seen as a symbol of another age and don’t think that he would have all that much impact on anyone at this stage. I think those who want to do as they wish will do so irrespective of anyone short of Pope Bergoglio enforcing a position. Sad really.

  54. xgenerationcatholic says:

    I am curious if anyone knows if Pope Francis has any kind of devotion to the Blessed Mother or the Blessed Sacrament. I know he had that one Holy Hour. Those are, according to the vision of Don Bosco, the two things we should steer between to when the ship gets tossed about by the waves (if I remember correctly). Those two things are two previous Popes definitely had. But I’m just not seeing it in Pope Francis, maybe I’m just missing stuff. Am I?

  55. Urs says:

    @Son of Trypho
    Without being disrespectful I do NOT think that Pope Benedict is seen as a symbol of another age , at least to the Bishops and cardinals, though perhaps to the young an age may seem to pass quickly like the times and the culture. However, the Church is almost 2000 years young and has watched civilizations, cultures, empires, rulers, generations, good popes and bad popes come and go. If Pope Benedict were to speak, it would have an impact; but I do not think that he will speak. Pope Francis is the pope. He will not interfere…unfortunately imho.

    I think that Pope Francis loves the Blessed Mother…I have no idea how much time he may spend in front of the Blessed Sacrament …I do not know how far the chapel is from his room. JPII and Benedict had the Blessed Sacrament very close by in the papal apartment…

  56. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear HeatherPA,

    Your FSSP priest is very wise. The Barque of Peter is the only vessel guaranteed by God to ensure a safe albeit tumultuous passage and a sure harbor. We have to remember the example of the Apostles in the storms on the Sea of Galilee. If we call on Him, Our Lord will be there to calm the sea and accompany us to our destination.

  57. Geoffrey says:

    “I am curious if anyone knows if Pope Francis has any kind of devotion to the Blessed Mother or the Blessed Sacrament.”

    His Holiness the Pope never leaves Rome for an apostolic journey without first visiting the Basilica of St Mary Major, in order to pray to the Blessed Virgin. I believe he always stops there first thing upon his return to Rome as well. As for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, one only need see how he looks at the Host and Chalice during their elevations at Mass.

  58. Giuseppe says:

    Geoffrey, but is it for an hour?

    While there might be chaos at the Vatican this week, there is no doubt in my mind that Roman Catholicism will remain the same. It will not become the Episcopal Church USA, for when a church essentially becomes secular humanist, it ceases to be a church.

    Have faith in Pope Francis. Have faith in God. The church will follow Pope Benedict XVI’s vision of being smaller and purer. I think the institutional church will stop lobbying on civic laws (other than abortion) and recognize that it cannot legislate morality in an immoral world. In that way, it will appear more tolerant and a bit more quiet, although it is marshaling its resources to maintain a steadfast beam of truth amidst the fog of today’s morality.

  59. Maineman1 says:

    HeatherPA says:
    13 October 2014 at 6:04 pm

    As a dear FSSP priest has preached,
    “If you are in the middle of a typhoon, and there is a fight in the wheelhouse, one doesn’t decide all is lost and jump overboard. That would be a sheer act of lunacy.


    I consider it a major problem that the helmsman has intentionally steered the ship towards the typhoon. It has been a year plus of vague pronouncements, statements hostile to traditional Catholics, side comments labelling defenders of orthodox faith as Pharisees, and so on. His counterappointment of six “moderate to liberal” cardinals to balance out the secretly elected orthodox clergy.

    That is lunacy.

    Progressive Catholics wildly cheer at the news emanating from the Synod, and conservatives blame it, yet again, on “poor translation.” I think we can rule that enabling excuse out.

    This is all directly linked to the “Spirit of Vatican II.” It reigns stronger than ever, and it will turn us Episcopal Lite. And conservative Catholics (as well as a few Traditionalists) have not done our Church any good by being enablers of abuse. We need to exorcise the demon of the “SPIRIT of Vatican II” from the Church. That should be the leading cause of our time.

    This debate never would have taken the Church by storm if we primarily worshipped in the ancient, venerable rites of the Church. “lex orandi, lex credendi” is the most accurate statement ever. Is there any validity to the alleged statement by Martin Luther, “Take away the Mass, destroy the Church”?

    Here is another true statement: Synod document is the fruit of the Vatican II spirit

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  61. Unwilling says:

    Post-Trent- “traditional”, Latin-loving Catholics (mostly rightly) see themselves as pursuing a more complete kind of Catholic devotion to the Christ. But externals really are secondary. To know, love, and serve God is the purpose of it all. Pope Francis says he is intentionally trying to make Post-Trent etc. Catholics uncomfortable. There are two questions we can ask of the form “Why would he do that?”
    What intention could the Pope have to do that?
    What intention could God have in inspiring him to do that?

    I feel [sic] it would be sinful to attribute to the Pope a cruel or malicious intention. So that is out. Could God have a plan in which this suffering would give him greater glory?

    Salvation is in bearing and holiness is in welcoming the Cross even unto death.

  62. HeatherPA says:

    But the Church cannot be destroyed.
    God said so.
    I know that it is easy (I have been guilty of this many a time) to get very upset and led to despair about things reported regarding the Church, its doctrine and what its princes are saying. My encouragement is not to dismiss anyone’s feelings. It is more to remember to take the longer view. We are here to work out our own salvation first and foremost.
    Think of the times in Church history when the faithful had “two Popes” and no internet, telephone or any kind of quick communication to know what was Truth and what was false. Indeed, most of the doctrine was given word of mouth because books were so costly.
    The Church survived much worse times with a lot worse in the wheelhouse. Take heart and have faith.

  63. HeatherPA says:

    Gerard Plourde- I wish (and pray) we had an FSSP parish to attend. The closest is 3 hours away. I quoted a dear FSSP priest whose homilies I am fortunate enough to listen to regularly on podcasts from Audio Sancto and a new site, Romans10seventeen. We all are very indebted to the people running those sites and ministry, as I would not know half the doctrine as easily or well as I do if not for these homilies.
    Probably the greatest homily I have ever listened to is this one (in which what I related in my above comment is contained):
    It is an FSSP priest in the Midwest.

  64. Kathleen10 says:

    I am certain that for me and mine we will be seeking out an orthodox order and attend Mass there pretty exclusively, if this takes hold and is the grand result of the Synod. This will mark the end of our NO days in a mainstream Catholic church.

  65. Lori Pieper says:

    Heads up, everyone!

    I’ve been navigating around at the Vatican web site and looking at the original Italian text and the translations of the report. (The Italian is the only one that doesn’t have “unofficial translation” under it, so it’s clearly the original).

    There is a serious discrepancy in the “unofficial” English translation on the section on homosexuality that has had everyone so worried – myself included.

    The Italian has “Le nostre comunità sono in grado di esserlo accettando e valutando il loro orientamento sessuale?” The word valutare means “to appraise, estimate, evaluate, measure the value of,” and by extension, “to consider, take into account.” To say “value” in the sense of “place a positive value on” in Italian you have to say valorizzare or something similar. ”

    So the proper translation should be “Are our communities capable of accepting and taking into consideration [the fact of] their sexual orientation.” (I think “the fact of” conveys the understanding necessary for including the two words together – that is, we’re not accepting the orientation in the sense of agreeing with it, just accepting that it’s a fact).

    The French and Spanish translations have words with the exact same meaning as valutare, that is, evaluer and evaluar. Only the English is different (There apparently isn’t any German translation yet).

    So the sentence in the original just doesn’t say what the press says that it says. Not for the first or last time.

  66. Lori Pieper says:

    Oh, sorry, in the translation, I left out esserlo, so “are we able to be this” (i.e. welcoming). It refers to the previous sentence.

  67. Mary Jane says:

    HeatherPA, I know this priest who gave the homily you linked to. He gives some of the most excellent homilies I have ever heard! Thank you for the link!

  68. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Cardinal Burke has a great interview in the NCR today.

    So a lot of what is going in the synod doesn’t tally with what the Vatican is reporting to the media?

    Burke answered, “Not in my judgment. There are people who are pushing the agenda of Cardinal Kasper, and, obviously, some are following that line, but I do not believe in it, and there are many others who do not accept it.”

    Read the rest at

    God bless Cardinal Burke!

  69. frahobbit says:

    The media is having a celebration! 1010 – WINS reports that cohabiting couples have a lot to offer the church:
    “Sr Camille D’Arienzo” (sp?) is beside herself with joy. It’s sent me to the Gospel to read: Mt. 24:10 “And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another.” NAB.
    And v.13: “… false prophets will arise and deceive many…But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. ” It hadn’t occurred to me that this misinformation could be a way of expressing ‘hate and betrayal’. It felt like these people were confused from having been taught wrongly for the past 40 years, what is true Catholic teaching. Our Lady of Fatima, save us.

  70. frahobbit says:

    Back to Mt.25 next: my question is whether the words: ”the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give her light’ could be seen as a figurative image (?) of the church as the sun and natural law as the moon? Just wondering.

  71. Maineman1 says:

    People can denounce the Orthodox for their view of marriage, but I don’t hear that they are on the brink of giving some sort of eye wink to homosexual civil unions.

    Maybe Orthodoxy is the answer after all. I don’t know- I am being genuine.

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  73. Joe in Canada says:

    Regarding those who talk of an FSSP parish as some sort of refuge: they would not be allowed to contradict the public teaching of the church.
    But we should have confidence and trust in God. The synthesis of the reaction to the Report includes this:
    It was also noted that the word “sin” is almost absent from the Relatio. The prophetic tone of Jesus’ words was also mentioned, to avoid the risk of conformity to the mentality of today’s world.

    In relation to homosexuals, moreover, the need for welcome was highlighted, but with the just produced (sic: la giusta prudenza, a careful understanding?) , so that the impression of a positive evaluation of such a tendency on the part of the Church is not created. The same care was advised with regard to cohabitation.

  74. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Joe in Canada & Lori Pieper:


    Interesting! I wonder if the nuance of the Italian might be close to English “the just prudence”?
    But what weight has this “unofficial Summary” in comparison to the official “Relatio”?


    This “unofficial Summary” seems in line with your reading of “valutando”, in its distinction from “una valutazione positiva”.

    Something I wonder about is the choice of the term “orientamento” in both, translated in the “Relatio” as “orientation” and in the 14 October “Summary” as “tendency”.

    In reviewing (1) the official English translations of the Catechism 2357-59, (2) ‘Persona humana’ 8 (which it footnotes), (3) ‘Homosexualitatis problema’ (which addresses the “overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself” in “the discussion which followed the publication” of that Declaration), and (4) “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons”, I only found one instance of the word “orientation” – an instance where the Italian translation had “orientamento” – but the official Latin text “propensionis”: ‘Homosexualitatis problema’ 16.

    The whole English sentence there reads, “The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.”

    I don’t know about Italian, but in English ‘sexual orientation’ seems to have acquired a fairly specific sense:

    “A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.” [ from the “US English dictionary”]

    (But perhaps the sense is not universal: gives for American English “the tendency to have feelings of physical attraction for members of the opposite or the same sex” (adding “also sexual preference”) and for British English “the fact of someone preferring to have sexual relationships either with men, or with women, or with both”.)

    ‘Oxford’ seems to offer both a “fact of being” and a gender-theory “sexual identity”, while the ‘Cambridge’ British definition has a “fact” and assumes “sexual relationships” will be being had. All pretty “reductionist” in various ways, with no clear distinctions of “attraction” or “tendency” and ‘practice’.

    But how are the “Relatio”-authoring Synod Fathers using “orientamento sessuale”/”sexual orientation”? And is the “accepting” implicitly limited to ‘the fact of ‘ (whatever sense is intended)?

    And, similarly, with respect to the use of the terms “persone omosessuali” (“Relatio”) and “omosessuali” (“Summary”), translated “homosexual persons” (one of the times in ‘Relatio”) and “homosexuals” (in both). Is the full sense present of “Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a ‘heterosexual’ or a ‘homosexual’ and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life” (‘Homosexualitatis problema’ 16)?

  75. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A news story dated 16 October has drawn my attention to the fact that the “unofficial translation” into English on the Vatican site (as linked by ByzCath08 – but, oddly, not as linked by Fr. Z ! – above) of Relatio 50-52 (and its section title) has been revised in various details (though there is no note pointing this out). Curiously, one phrase which has not been revised is “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation” (though the earlier part of the sentence in which it occurs, has)!

    One phrase, notably discussed as odd, misleading, etc. (see, for example
    has not been revised…

    Incompetence of a high order? Mischievousness?

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