Did no one know that when the MSM got hold of the ‘Relatio’, people were going to go bananas?

We continue to watch the spin and the spinning of the spin after yesterday’s Synod… what can we call it?…. debacle.  Yes, debacle.  The release of the Relatio post disceptationem, an unprecedented mid-point summary document, was a debacle.   It has provoked “wonder”, which is old Church code for “shock, scandal provoking confusion”.

It was telling that, during yesterday’s presser, for the presentation of the Relatio, the chair of the Synod, Card. Erdö, tossed a question about the now infamous homosexuality paragraphs over to Archbp. Bruno Forte (whom some suggest might wind up as Prefect of a Franciscan CDF… if it isn’t Archbp. Fernandez), saying: “the one who wrote the passage ought to know what it means”.

The Holy See Press Office spun the Relatio this way:

Declaration of the Director of the Holy See Press Office on behalf of the General Secretariat of the Synod

The General Secretariat of the Synod, in response to reactions and discussions following the publication of the Relatio post disceptationem, and the fact that often a value has been attributed to the document that does not correspond to its nature, [Is that so?] reiterates that it is a working document, which summarises the interventions and debate of the first week, and is now being offered for discussion by the members of the Synod gathered in the Small Groups, in accordance with the Regulations of the Synod.
The work of the Small Groups will be presented to the Assembly in the General Congregation next Thursday morning.

A good example of spin – and the massive damage inflicted by the release of the Relatio – is found at CNN, which has a few slanted points:

Under conservative assault, Vatican backtracks on gay comments

Rome (CNN) — Under furious assault from conservative Catholics, [Furious assault?] the Vatican backtracked Tuesday on its surprisingly positive assessment of gays and same-sex relationships.
In a report Monday, the Vatican had said that gays and lesbians have “gifts to offer” the Christian community and acknowledged that same-sex couples can give “precious support” to one other.
The statement, an interim report from a closely watched meeting of Catholic clergy here, was widely praised by liberals. It is believed to be the first time the Vatican has said anything positive about gay relationships. [And yet it isn’t supposed to be an official document, a final document.  It’s just a working document.  Right?]

And that, even with its ominous language about conservatives and their furious assaults, is somewhat more responsible than what you will see at some other outlets, especially the even more openly pro-homosexual sites.

Again, my great worry is not so much what the Synod is talking about, but the expectations that are being raised because of gaffs, errors, bad decisions, weird language and, it must be said, the machinations of some within the Church.

So, let’s accept that the Relatio is just a “working document”.  Fine.

Did nobody in the Synod office or in the Press Office know that when the MSM got hold of it, people were going to go bananas?

Of course they knew that chaos would occur and that certain paragraphs would be read with strong reactions.  Of course they did.

Therefore, someone wanted the chaos.  Someone wanted those now infamous paragraphs to hit the press and then be spun into all sorts of false conclusions and false expectation.  They wanted to bump the needle, move the paradigm in a certain direction.  This seems like a classic exercise in creeping incrementalism.  They know that they are not going to get their way, or get everything that they want… this time.  But they toss things out, create the chaos, and then, even as they back away from it and do some clean up, they have managed to moved the paradigm a degree or two toward their goal.  That’s how they work.

Conservatives, by the way, don’t do this well.  They tend not to work together well and they tend to want everything right away.  It would be great were faithful Catholics able to work together better.  Meanwhile, the catholic Left is having a conga line dance, with noisemakers and little hats.

Anyway, a bright spot today occurred during the presser.  Card. Napier of South Africa said that he was surprised that the Relatio was released and that he clearly disagreed with some elements in the document.  He also is worried about the false expectations that are being created.


The moderation queue ON.

Meanwhile, TIME magazine – predictably – and purposely – misrepresented the facts.  HERE

The Bishops Are Catching Up To Pope Francis on Gay Rights [How many things are wrong with that.  First, “the bishops” aren’t doing anything. Second, what has Francis really said?  Third, “Gays” don’t have rights, other than basic human rights.]

Mercy must be the way forward for the Catholic Church.  [Which means, I think, you can stick anything where ever you want and eventually people will be forced to call it “good”.]

Stunning news came from Rome today where the bishops [some few bishops] gathered for Pope Francis’s Synod on the Family issued a report suggesting that the Church should create a more inclusive space for gay Catholics to participate in the life of the Church.  [They already have it.]

In the [unofficial draft] document, the bishops [no… the writer of the draft] said without reservation [is that so?] that gay Catholics have “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” From that, they ask: “are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?”

This is a stunning language change from the Catholic Church on the question of homosexuality. [Is it?  Really?  Did the document say that it’s okay to have homosexual sex?] Since the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared in 1975 that “homosexual acts [ACTS!] are intrinsically disordered” Rome has been clear on where it stands on the issue of homosexuality and same-sex unions. As recently as January 2013, Pope Benedict — while affirming the dignity of the LGBT community — suggested that gay marriage threatens the world’s “justice and peace.” [And he was right, as we are seeing today more and more.]

The Church’s shift on LGBT issues began shortly after Pope Francis’s election in March 2013. In July of last year, Francis famously said, “[i]f someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” [Hang on!  That comment had a context. HERE]

But today’s document produced by the [tiny number of] bishops [in reality, the one’s who wrote it… it wasn’t a collaboration that all the bishop members of the Synod voted to approve] shows that Pope Francis’s personal vision [HUH?  No.] is slowly becoming the vision of the universal Church. [This babble is the personal vision of the writer.  Enough of this rubbish.]


This is the sort of trash that people are going to read about this Synod.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, What are they REALLY saying? and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    As far as we know, no beards were pulled in the making of this mess of pastoral pottage (expression comes from Peter Kreeft, years ago, in reference to a document produced by the American Catholic bishops):

    Having Patience for the Sausage-Making Synod , by Rev. Robert Barron.

  2. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I have a friend, a very good priest, who says that there will be no return to the True Catholic Faith until all of us believers have been stripped naked, scourged, publicly humiliated and then crucified. His vision of the future of the archdiocese of Boston is Cardinal Sean standing in a field of rubble with a few followers, saying Mass on the hood of a car.

    I’d say this Vatican document is a good start.

  3. revueltos67 says:

    “Therefore, someone wanted the chaos. Someone wanted those now infamous paragraphs to hit the press and then be spun into all sorts of false conclusions and false expectation.”

    Someone wanted to make a mess…

  4. thefeds says:

    This (the Relatio) like it was written by about half of the faculty members of the college seminary that I attended from ’82 to 84. I am nearly as shocked as I was after my first week there!

  5. acardnal says:

    I would like to see every cleric and attendee at the Synod for the Family pray this prayer daily. It was composed by the late Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ who, by the way, was very, very, very highly thought of by Cardinal Burke who supported many of his apostolates:

    Crusade for the Family – Prayer
    Mary, Mother of God ,at your request, Jesus
    worked His first miracle. He changed water
    into wine for the wedding guests at Cana in Galilee.

    Over the centuries you have not ceased to
    obtain countless signs and wonders for the
    poor, exiled children of Eve.

  6. acardnal says:

    Sorry….above prayer is incomplete. Will retry.

  7. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Other bright spots, were Cardinal Stanislaw Gadecki’s and Cardinal Burke’s reactions to the document.

  8. CatholicMD says:

    This has also probably completely shut off the stream of converts who see the Church as a rock in the sea of relativism.

  9. There are some diamonds in the rough in the document, for sure. However, the amount of vague and misleading language is just rampant. Not to mention basic misunderstandings of sacramental theology (section 48), putting polygamy and arranged marriage in the same species (section 7) and it just goes on and on. This isn’t an official document, but it’s going to do just as much damage to your average poorly informed Catholic through its dissemination. Welcome to Humanae Vitae: Part II. What comes out officially in the end will be fine, but to many it won’t matter.

  10. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Conservatives, by the way, don’t do this well. They tend not to work together well and they tend to want everything right away. It would be great were faithful Catholics able to work together better.
    Ain’t it the truth!

    [And many of them seem not to realize how they weaken all of us by keeping us divided. It’s really selfish. It’s why we lose.]

  11. acardnal says:

    Crusade for the Family – Prayer
    Mary, Mother of God, at your request, Jesus
    worked His first miracle. He changed water
    into wine for the wedding guests at Cana in Galilee.

    Over the centuries you have not ceased to
    obtain countless signs and wonders for the
    poor, exiled children of Eve.

    We therefore ask you to intercede with your
    Divine Son for the miraculous graces which
    the modern world so desperately needs:
    -For the conversion and reconversion of whole
    nations to Jesus Christ and His teaching on
    marriage and the family.
    -For the heroic preservation among Christians of
    their faith in the indissolubility of marriage, marital
    fidelity and the loving acceptance of children, as the
    bedrock of the Christian family.
    -For the courage of martyrs in all of us followers of
    Christ, that we may witness to His power to
    overcome the powers of darkness that are bent on
    destroying the human family and the moral law.

    Mary, Mother of the Holy Family, and
    Mother of our families, pray for us. Amen.

    Composed by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, Servant of God
    Imprimatur +Rene Gracida, Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas
    December 12, 1992

  12. wanda says:

    It’s even on our measly local news – ‘Pope softens attitudes toward gays.’ Catholic Church ready to embrace homosexuals.’ The most wonderfullest, fluffiest, cudliest, Pope ehvuuuuur.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom Father Z. Helps to keep us clinging to sanity and hope.

  13. Bea says:

    “Hagan Lio” The Pope said in Rio

    The Lio in Rio has come.

  14. HeatherPA says:

    As per Cardinal Burke’s request, we will be praying the Chaplet of the Holy Face (very interesting choice) for the next while.
    Here is a link to the prayers for those unfamiliar-

  15. Kerry says:

    Wasn’t there a Far Side cartoon with “a conga line dance, with noisemakers and little hats” with smiling Devils with pitchfork hiding behind the ‘This Way’ signs?
    As for me and my household, “To whom else would we go Lord, you have the words of Eternal Life”.

    [I wonder if someone will find it.]

  16. marcelus says:

    In all honesty, I hate to admit it but it looks to me directly like the work of gays.period.
    Someone there must be very eager to get that in print and official, A line , had this doc ever need to be published, I said a line on the issue of gays was probably expected but such flattering? The Pope will not take too long to talk about all this and we’ll finally know .Or he will get asked

  17. marcelus says:

    THe Synod has spoken. Let’s hear what the Pope has to say

    [That’s the thing… the Synod has NOT spoken yet. This was a blip.]

  18. Charles E Flynn says:

    Here is a useful perspective:

    The Great Catholic Cave-In that Wasn’t , by George Weigel.

  19. Landless Laborer says:

    The Synod may bring clear teaching and solemn definitions of V2 spirit:
    *Anyone who lives by the law is a Pharisee, and those outside of the law are among the prostitutes and tax collectors whom Jesus embraced.
    *Jesus saw sins of the flesh as venial imperfections but moral legalism as damning (and hypocritical since we’re all sinners anyway).
    *”Go and sin no more”, was never part of the early manuscripts.

  20. wolfeken says:

    Of course the liberal bishops knew they would overpower the conservative ones at the synod (especially when Francis personally stepped in to toss six liberals in the mix to write the report).

    Here is how to modernize something:
    1) One man floats the trial balloon (Kasper).
    2) The jury gets stacked (by Francis).
    3) A report that goes way, way, way into left field is issued (Monday).
    4) Outrage from the faithful and cheering from the left is the reaction.
    5) Months will go by. Conservatives (George Weigel, Mark Shea, etc.) begin to defend much of the synod report’s language, while traditionalists vocally oppose loosening moral theology.
    6) October 2015 arrives. A compromised version of a new report is settled upon. Moral theology is liberalized. The pope supports the compromise.
    7) Traditionalists vocally oppose the loosening of moral theology, and conservatives — serving as relativists — will argue it’s not as bad as it could have been.

    This formula also works in secular politics, BTW. Conservatives are usually very predictable suckers in this regard.

  21. asperges says:

    This is the age of instant news where any detail goes viral within seconds. For the synod either traditional diplomatic language needs to express a brief summary accurately or nothing should be said at all. We don’t need a blow by blow account.

    If there has been one single thing dangerously wrong since the beginning of this papacy it has been ill-considered soundbites, usually swiftly explained away or contradicted, at all levels and this has sewn confusion and worry. No-one is any the wiser on anything. This cannot continue and simply makes the Church look foolish and divided.

  22. cyrillist says:

    “Conservatives?” Is that political term really appropriate? What’s wrong with “orthodox?”

    Regardless, there’s no need to unduly beat ourselves up over this – that keeps us divided too. The spirit-of-Vatican-II crowd also wanted everything right away, and they got it. What’s easier, creating lio or restoring order?

  23. tcreek says:

    My pastor left no doubt that he was overjoyed as he told of the statement at Mass today.
    Now it is official – Catholic must quit persecuting those in homosexual relationships.
    Sad for me and my “rigid” Catholic friends as we used to enjoyed that so much.

  24. Dialogos says:

    I’d like all the apostles of mercy at the synod to know that I had to comfort my crying wife this morning before breakfast when she read the stories in the local papers. But they wouldn’t care, because we are a heterosexual married couple (trying our best to be) faithful to the Magisterium–apparently we don’t matter any more.

  25. jhayes says:

    Here is the official summary of the objections raised at the Monday meeting. Much calmer than the presentation on many blogs.

    Holy Father: present

    Synod Fathers: 184

    The eleventh general Congregation began with the presentation, in the Assembly Hall, of the “Relatio post disceptationem”, read by the General Rapporteur, Cardinal Péter Erd?.

    Immediately after, there followed a period of free discussion among the Synod Fathers. In general, the “Relatio post disceptationem” was appreciated for its capacity to photograph well the interventions that have been offered during this last week, capturing the spirit of the Assembly and highlighting acceptance and welcome as the principle theme of the works. The document, it was said, reveals the Church’s love for the family faithful to Christ, but also her capacity to be close to humanity in every moment of life, to understand that, behind the pastoral challenges, there are many people who suffer. The Synod, it was emphasised, should have the watchful gaze of the shepherd who devotes his life to his sheep, without a priori judgement.

    Furthermore, to allow this Report to bring together various points of view to provide a basis for the work of the Small Groups, certain additional reflections were suggested: for example, while the Church must welcome those in difficulty, it would be useful to speak more widely about those families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, thanking them and encouraging them for the witness they offer. From the Synod it emerged more clearly that indissoluble, happy marriage, faithful for ever, is beautiful, possible and present in society, therefore avoiding a near-exclusive focus on imperfect family situations.

    Read the rest HERE

  26. cyrillist says:

    Sorry, Father, my bad – you made it clear in your post that the modernists were patient and cunning, and didn’t need to get “everything right away.” However, I still maintain that their destructive goals were easier to effect than our traditional ones. I don’t think that their tactics are available to us.

    [Setting aside small differences for the sake of a larger, more important goal… that’s available. Relentless patience… that’s available. Choosing just the right words… that’s available. No, we don’t lie, like the other side does. True. But we can do a lot.]

  27. Landless Laborer says:

    Cardinal Burke has raised his voice, calling for Pope Francis to issue a statement defending Catholic teaching, saying it is “long overdue”. Wow. Maybe this midterm document is the kick in the cassock our good shepherds needed.

    “The faithful and their good shepherds are looking to the Vicar of Christ for the confirmation of the Catholic faith and practice regarding marriage which is the first cell of the life of the Church,” said Cardinal Burke.

  28. lweisenthal says:

    The relatio may have been produced by a small number of bishops, but those bishops were hand picked by Pope Francis. An interesting statistic is that there are 190 voting member of the synod, of which 41 reportedly expressed concerns. I think that there is a lot of righteous certitude being expressed — on both sides. I think that humility and reflection are in order, as opposed to reflexive condemnation. There are many holy and devoted bishops on both sides, including, apparently, a probable majority who are not in disagreement with the views expressed in the relatio. I think it’s not right to imply that this is the work of Satan, as some seem to think. There is also a Pope who certainly approved of the release of the relatio. In my opinion, the Pope has prayed for strong guidance and is, in turn, providing strong guidance. — Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

  29. Pnkn says:

    Chaplet of the Holy Faith or Holy Face ?

  30. pseudomodo says:

    There may be something good to come out of all this but it would take a miracle.

    Francis promises free and open dialogue that has the intended (or maybe unitended) consequence of drawing the wacko-liberals out into the open so that the whole world can see them exposed for who and what they are. At this point my inner ‘Pirate’ kicks in and says, “Aaarrrrr, crafty bugga is he!”

    An old Jesuit Priest I knew (now deceased) had an apostolate that philosophically promoted and defended pro-life issues.

    His tactic was to repeatedly make the best possible case for the opposition.

    He then would conclusivly prove its failure, or, better still reduce the oppositions arguments to a ridiculous ad nauseum state where thier ‘hard cases’ whoud completely fall apart.

    Is this too much to hope for?

  31. CatholicMD says:

    What is the chance the Synod fathers do NOT approve a final text?

  32. cajuncath says:

    While it may not apply to ‘conservative’ Catholics, use of the term ‘furious assault’ does generally apply to traditionalist Catholic reaction, and is, if anything, an understatement.

    The synod and its deliberations are being referred to as wicked and satanic influenced. While that may be over the top, I don’t think it is wrong to be appalled by the nature of the discussions taking place at the synod. There is no Catholic theology of graduality.

  33. albizzi says:

    If I am not mistaken, the beatification of Pope Paul VI is scheduled by the end of the Synod.
    Then once I read that “mid-point summary document” I just understood that the beatification of this controversial pope is in direct line with that Synod. The personal life of Paul VI (as it was unveiled in a few books) matches quite well this “Relatio post disceptationem”

  34. pseudomodo says:


    IMHO the Catholic Theology of Graduality seems to describe the Catholic process of RCIA.

    Think of this direction of graduality: ignorance, hatred, animosity, tolerance, doubt, possibilities, pondering, questioning, more pondering, inquiring, more possibilities, ‘the aha moment’, enlightenment, instruction, defending, faith, acceptance, peace.

  35. Joseph-Mary says:

    “the Vatican backtracked Tuesday on its surprisingly positive assessment of gays and same-sex relationships”
    No, ‘the Vatican’ can never ever approve of homosexual sex because it is an intrinsic evil and a mortal sin. Period. That seems to be lost in the shuffle of what passes for ‘mercy’ these days. But it is no mercy to not stand up for The Truth and to allow people to remain comfortable in sin because it is the role of holy Mother Church to bring souls to salvation. What a concept!

    I am sorry, but for those prelates who are pushing the homosexual agenda, one can wonder why that is so important to them personally?

  36. SimonR says:

    In the absence of clear teaching from Pope Francis, will the authority of his Pontificate ever recover from this crisis?

    After having read the Pope’s homilies, speeches and addressess since March 2013, in recent months I have found that I am simply ignoring this Pontificate. I find it too exhausting mentally.

    I say this with sorrow, but the Cardinals elected the wrong man as Pope. This Papacy is a disaster. [It isn’t over yet. There are a lot of confusing things going on, but it isn’t over.]

    One final comment – this crisis surely makes it impossible for Pope Francis to exile Cardinal Burke from the Curia? Cardinal Burke has been such a strong defender of orthodoxy. [No. It is still possible. It is going to happen, alas. God will work with what happens to provide advantages.]

  37. Pingback: the Revision Division

  38. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    I’m confused. When did Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI or any “conservative” bishop oppose rights for homosexuals such as freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and the right to vote? (Gun rights have been a problem with some members of the hierarchy.)

    We also see how the left thinks and views people who don’t agree with them. A supposedly “conservative” bishop upholding Church teaching and opposing/criticizing the document amounts to “a furious assault.”

    I hope the bishops stop assuming goodwill among members of the secular press and gay groups, who by now should know the distinctions among: 1) homosexuals as people; 2) homosexuality as a condition (whose cause remains unknown by medical science), and 3) homosexual sexual acts that are freely and willingly performed.

    “And one more thing,” as Lt. Columbo liked to say. You often hear leftists talk and object to so-called “white male privilege.” If the white male happens to be gay, does the gay part of that person’s identity outweigh or cancels out the white and male parts of that person’s identity to the point where is considered a “minority” in the affirmative action/college admissions sense of the term?

  39. Charles E Flynn says:


    Chaplet of the Holy Face

  40. Father G says:

    Having seen what the media is saying about the relatio, looks like it will be necessary for me to make clarifications to my parishioners during this coming Sunday’s Masses that Church teaching is not changing.

  41. Unwilling says:

    There was far too much jumping off bridges today.
    On the other hand, if we didn’t get excited over this stuff
    WDTPRS would not be so interesting a daily read.

  42. Wryman says:

    What can we lay Catholics do to let our views known effectively? What “works” to let the Synod know how people feel? Should we be contacting our bishop? Or what?

  43. Traductora says:

    Fr Z is absolutely right about “conservatives” and their tendency to fight among themselves over petty issues and thereby destroy any influence they might have had. Let’s quit the “conservative” stuff and just call ourselves orthodox, since that’s the heart of the matter.

    I think we’re waiting for our Athanasius – but this time the issue won’t be the Trinity. It will be man, created in the Image of God. But Athanasius is still with us, because this is the Trinitarian God. The Faith and all its implications and foreshadowings never change.

  44. HeatherPA says:

    I usually don’t read Fr. Longenecker, however, this was on Crisis Mag’s site, and I think he hit it out of the park. I can imagine most priests would have to agree with his points.


  45. ChrisRawlings says:

    Let’s be clear about what is actually at stake here. This is not merely a political power-play between “liberals” and “conservatives,” which is something that has always been a part of Church history and really human history. But what is at stake here is the integrity of the Church’s teaching authority and the unity and continuity of the Magisterium. Is that an overstatement? It sure feels like we’re right back to the fight for the hermeneutical interpretation of Vatican II once again, this time with human sexuality being the prism through which we’re having that debate.

    So the question is, what does it mean to be a Catholic faithful to Rome when what has happened has, well, happened? You have talked a lot about the media and the transparency of the synodal process–all fair complaints, by the way. But there is a deeper issue than that. Where do we go from here? Again, what does fidelity to Rome look like tangibly and practically?

    You have Cardinals of the Church, including the prefect of the CDF, essentially distancing themselves from the Synod, or at least the “fruit” of the Synod so far. One Cardinal even called the Synod “irredeemable,” which is a theologically incorrect term, but you can understand his frustration.

    I just personally find the “oh that’s Church being Church” argument unsatisfying. The division in the Church seems untenable, especially since it has been latent since the Council. We’re still rehashing this stuff, even though the previous two popes tried really, really hard to give the correct interpretive lens to it all. And yet we’re back to the whole “Spirit of Vatican II” business again, and many Synod fathers openly and joyously say as much.

    So where does it go from here?

  46. Martlet says:

    Fr Dwight has been writing some excellent responses to what is going on. He is my go to man when I want to link something to my FB page, but yes, he hit this one out of the park. BTW, ventured over to Fishwrap for the first time and now see how it got its nickname. They ate gloating over there.

  47. Charles E Flynn says:


    Thank you.

    I usually do read Fr. Longenecker, but there has been so much to read in the last few days that I would have missed this crucial piece.

  48. ghp95134 says:

    Kerry writes, “Wasn’t there a Far Side cartoon with “a conga line dance, with noisemakers and little hats” with smiling Devils with pitchfork hiding behind the ‘This Way’ signs?…”

    To which Fr. Z comments: [I wonder if someone will find it.]
    I couldn’t find it. BUT, I did find a good one by Scott Hilburn that would work well with your “Zed Head” post …. (ungrateful)


  49. donato2 says:

    The document that JHayes links to is very interesting, and would be cause for some hope were it not for the evident tendencies of Pope Francis.

  50. RJHighland says:

    ChrisRawlings, I agree 100%. I see this as a direct assault on the authority of the Church and unity and continuity of the Magisterium. It shows the incrediable disunity in the heirarchy and in the Church as a whole. These two mind sets can not be from the same source, God. One is wrong and one is correct. We are to be one in Christ but this shows how different we are and until the shepherds of the Church get it together there is going to be chaos. I loved the fact the Cardinal Burke called Pope Francis to make a definitive statement. I pray there is a unity that comes forth from the Synod but I fear it will simply be Vatican II double talk. Until the Church unifies under one discipline and one doctrine we will splinter just like the High Protestant Churchs have, this dilema stems directly from a complete lack of leadership in the Church, starting at the very top. These Cardinals and Bishops show the world what a joke our hierarchy is, it is truly sad. All they need are red noses and sqeaker horns and they could give Barnem and Bailey’s a run for their money.

  51. Dennis Martin says:

    For Wolfekin,

    In charity, may I ask that you not drive wedges between. “conservatives” and “traditionalists”? Fr. Z. has implored us to be unified The two individuals you name are on our side in the titanic struggle that faces us. If I have misunderstood your intent in naming and labeling, please instruct me.

    These are confusing times, an uncanny repetition of the 1960s and 1970s in many ways. We do not need to be splitting those who are faithful to Magisterium into ever smaller slivers. One ought especially not indulge in speculation about what those in that “other camp” of not-quite-traditional-enough-Catholics will do six months from now. I may not like the acerbic style of Brother X or may think Brother Y lacks insight on this or that issue but these perilous times call for unity. Whether in the Weimar Republic or in the last two decades in the United States, a badly fractured opposition to the Lie permits the Lie to triumph.

  52. greg3064 says:

    Future result from the Synod: Blasphemers have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their inclination to blaspheme God’s name, without compromising Catholic doctrine on rendering God all due worship?

  53. OrthodoxChick says:

    If Holy Mother Church can survive an anti-Pope, She can survive this too.

  54. Dennis Martin says:

    R. R. Reno’s commentary at First Things is, along with Fr. Longenecker’s (liked above) one of the best I’ve seen. He puts his finger on the rhetorical tricks involved in the Relatio and on the underlying fallacies that even well-intentioned members of the synod might, perhaps in some cases even unwittingly, be taking for granted:


  55. donato2 says:

    In re Cardinal Burke’s statement that Pope Francis needs to make a statement reaffirming Church teaching: I too found it satisfying that Cardinal Burke laid down this challenge to the Pope. But let us be realistic. The guy the Pope is about to send to Siberia is the last guy the Pope is going to respond to.

  56. DisturbedMary says:

    The relatio was prepared and ready to go before the synod began. No way that document could have been written quickly and dropped on Monday. By bishops? Remember the 2000+ healthcare legislation? Does anybody know who really wrote it? That document was prepared and ready to go for years . The Church has been hoodwinked. [Not yet. Not. Yet.]

  57. GAK says:

    I half expect to see muppets on the loggia of St. Peter’s. And hear a whoopee cushion on Fr. Lombardi’s chair the next time he sits down.

    Waka waka.

    Except, it’s not funny.

  58. The Cobbler says:

    Reading the article from George Weigel, there was something that jumped out at me — the reminder that this synod is just a prep for next year’s synod.

    I instantly knew I’d heard that before. Honestly, though, I never expected it to apply to the Church.

  59. KingofCharity says:

    The article below is positive. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier is not happy with the document, either. http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=10948
    The article states that there will be “six prelates” that will help write the final report. It also talks about a “new methodology” of synod. Whose “new method”?

    “It will be the first time the synod issues a final report. Usually, synods made a list of proposals and suggestions coming from the discussions of the small groups, and the Pope himself was entrusted with summarizing all the concerns and suggestions in a post-synodal apostolic exhortation.
    According to the new methodology of the synod, the proposals will be summarized by the General Secretary of the Synod, the General Rapporteur, the Special Secretary, and a group of six prelates called to assist in drafting the document.

    The group includes: president and deputy of the Commission for the message, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Archbishop Victor Fernandez, rector of the Catholic University of Argentina; the General Superior of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas; Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla; Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington; and Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju.”

    Who selected these cardinals? It makes me nervous to see Fr. Adolfo Nicolas the “black pope” wielding so much power in the Vatican.

  60. KingofCharity says:

    A few points:
    1. There have always been evil machinations working inside the Church– nothing new. If anything, the history of Christendom IS the history of orthodox bishops and popes in conflict with heretics and the perpetual and relentless battle with heresy. So nothing really new here. Historically, orthodoxy has always been on the cusp of annihilation and on “thin ice.”
    2. What’s new? We now live in the Information Age. Information is instant and ubiquitous. This means the “dirty process” of debating and discussing theological, pastoral, and doctrinal issues can be “aired for all to see.” In other words, we will no longer simply get the final product, we are now exposed to the muddy waters of the debate itself. Just think how arduous, laborious, and murky the debates were at Nicea, Ephesus, Trent, and Vatican I, just to name a few. There were some instances where the outcomes of Councils turned bloody and violent. Some Councils took decades. Development of Doctrine means that the “clear voice” of the Church doesn’t magically appear out of thin air. The Holy Spirit doesn’t instantaneously deposit Truth into the hearts and minds of popes, Councils, synods, and bishops. They have to pray and work at it. Debate. Study. Discuss. Argue. Clarify. Deliberate. Etc. This is a very ugly process that was better left hidden to the public eye and the faithful. Now the process is naked and exposed for all to see. At face value, it seems to invalidate the Church’s teaching authority and make her look indecisive and just another provisional, arbitrary human institution. Instead of appearing as the Rock from which Divine Revelation rests firmly, Holy Mother Church looks like a clumsy human institution fumbling around with relativism and just as lost and confused in this world as any other political system.
    3. Modern media is almost completely controlled by liberal agendas, so all information is filtered through an agenda-driven media filter. This spins and distorts everything. Liberal and heterodox cardinals can now exploit the media to push their heresy and use the media to advance incrementalism. In addition, liberal and heterdox bishops can now use this “ugly process” of debate as a means to push their agenda on the Church and public.
    4. We slap “political labels” like conservative, progressive, and liberal on these divisions, but really, at heart, division within the church has always been the indefatigable work of diabolical machinations trying to destroy the Church. From Judas on, the devil has always been at work trying to trip up God’s plan of salvation. We know he does not succeed. Protestants believed that he can succeed or did.
    5. Like alway

  61. Eugene says:

    @SimonR: “After having read the Pope’s homilies, speeches and addressess since March 2013, in recent months I have found that I am simply ignoring this Pontificate. I find it too exhausting mentally.”
    You took the words out of my mouth. I have arrived at the point where I am having a hard time praying for the Pope’s intentions at the end of my daily Rosary, because and may God have mercy on me I no longer trust his intentions as highlighted by his “dictatorial” hand picking of synod leaders with a liberal slant no matter despite his best efforts to “portray” an open environment. The whole thing is a mess and makes the so called Vatileaks scandal look like a tea party. Thi papacy has lost me.
    I am also EXTREMELY weary of the press office, especially since a certain Rev Rosica has become involved. A man who as CEO of Canada’s “Catholic” TV network Salt and Light has heaped praises on dissenting theologians like a former priest Gregory Baum. This Rosica is very crafty, is very well connected and never fails to mention he is friends with all the top members of the hierarchy. Check out his twitter account to get an idea of this man and his agenda. Its beyond distressing that he is now an official spokesman of the Holy See and part of the synod process.
    JMJ have mercy on us.

  62. AlexandraNW says:

    I was a very new Catholic when the whole process went on to survey couples for input about family planning. When Humanae Vitae was issued, I remember feeling astounded that its conclusions were so different from what I anticipated, based on what I’d heard ahead of time. And yet, when I actually read it, it made sense.

    This time, there is one big difference to the situation, and it’s a game-changer. Today, we have the Internet. We have access to the documents, to many outlets for news, and commentary, and we have Fr. Z and many other voices of wise reason and guidance.

    The changes after Vatican II were put through ruthlessly, and the message from the pulpit in the churches I attended was “this is how it is.” It was bewildering. Not only had it changed, but the very practices that had drawn me and shaped my faith were now wrong. I was supposed to feel ashamed for loving that Catholicism.

    Not this time. The last time, I really thought that the church I knew was gone. Now, I know better, because of John Paul II, Benedict XI, and all of you. There will be a lot of noise, maybe horrible changes. So what. Since it’s nearly Oct. 15, how about this from St. Teresa:

    Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you,
    All things are passing;
    God only is changeless.
    Patience gains all things.
    Who has God wants nothing.
    God alone suffices.

    Be of good heart.

  63. All this for 1-2% of the population. What a bunch of puppets to Satan the world has turned into.

  64. Peter in Canberra says:

    Father, I admire your optimism in the frisk of the Time magazine article.

    But I am not convinced that the current Pope is not indeed driving or husbanding this agenda.

    [We shall see! Wait until the Post-Synodal Exhortation by Pope Francis. Which will probably be months after the Synod of 2015.]

  65. anna 6 says:

    I am stealing this comment from Mike S. on the C. Burke post relatio interview:

    “God bless Cardinal Burke! But please, for the love of God, do NOT ask Pope Francis to make any kind of statement!”

  66. pj_houston says:

    Dennis Martin,

    You wrote: “In charity, may I ask that you not drive wedges between. “conservatives” and “traditionalists”? Fr. Z. has implored us to be unified . The two individuals you name are on our side in the titanic struggle that faces us. If I have misunderstood your intent in naming and labeling, please instruct me.”

    I have to disagree with you about Mark Shea being on our side, the man would be more than happy to see traditional Catholics disappear altogether. He is one of the ringleaders of the “Church of Nice” (establishment) Catholics that Voris has been trying to warn us about for years. He has personally attacked Fr. Z in his comboxes, and he even wrote that he would have no problem voting for liberal politicians if it weren’t for their support of abortion. Anyway, I could be wrong, but I don’t think this is the type of person Fr. Z had in mind when expressing regret over the lack of unity among traditional Catholics.

    [How about letting Fr. Z speak for himself? Yes, I’ve been attacked over there, but – hey! – some people need a hobby. I just hope that the silliness will finally be over soon and we can close ranks. There is too much dangerous stuff going on. Rabbit hole closed.]

  67. Son of Trypho says:

    Strangely enough Pope Bergoglio seems to be setting himself up for a Humanae Vitae moment – the exposure of these ideas to the media will create a narrative with expectations and if these aren’t met will be met with hostility and derision by the secular world and elements in the Church.

    The whole circumstance is very odd – perhaps some of the Church hierarchy are particularly disconnected from modern media and don’t understand modern communications and impacts? Or inversely, perhaps some of them are particularly canny and are trying to influence events?

    Until the final document comes out there is no point in bewailing the developments – focus your energies on more pious endeavours that can help your own communities IMHO.

  68. Pingback: PopeWatch: A Feature Not a Bug | The American Catholic

  69. Imrahil says:

    I just yesterday ran over an article shared by someone of Facebook to the effect that “one of the more daring, controversial changes” (no literal quote, forgot the wording) was to “allow the divorced to Holy Communion” while “stepping short of saying the same for divorced and remarried” (no literal quotes).


    I quickly commented, of course, that this was old hat and the Church has always admitted the divorced to Holy Communion. But being the hopeless dreamer that I am, I still think a journalist should know what he’s writing about. Which I do think is the reason; though, if you wanted to actually push the Church in direction of actual changes, that’d be the way to do that do.

  70. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The last time, I really thought that the church I knew was gone. ”

    The last time, I thought that the Church knew what it were doing in implementing the drastic changes after Vatican II, so I trusted whatever the priest-of-the-moment said. Once I actually started studying the documents, theology, and history of the Church (late, too late), all of that changed. I wish there were a lay-led group that could be adopted in every parish (if even in secret) for the correct study of these things. Perhaps, it would inoculate the masses against some of the lunacy and help pastors stay on the straight and narrow by supporting their orthodox actions: “Hmm…I notice the collection goes up when I give homilies about confession or chastity. Maybe I should preach some more about that.”

    The Chicken

  71. wolfeken says:

    Father Z wrote: “I just hope that the silliness will finally be over soon and we can close ranks. There is too much dangerous stuff going on. ”

    Agreed. In fact, one of the Francis Effects is actually for the greatest closing of ranks between traditionalists and conservatives on moral theology in a long time! It’s a pity it took things like a synod report written by bishops handpicked by Francis saying the Church should “value” the “gift” of sodomy, but whatever works.

    Considering where the conservative versus traditionalist camps were in March 2013, the near-unity today is quite impressive! We indeed need to grow our remnant and fight united against the insanity coming out of the Vatican and in support of true Catholic teachings. Popes come and go, so we can also pray the current nightmare ends soon.

  72. LarryW2LJ says:

    Michael Brown from Spirit Daily has a good line – and I think this is what this Relatio should have said – in plain speak, so all the world would have understood with no confusion: “Reach out; but don’t sell out. “

  73. Supertradmum says:

    Sometimes, it is better not to read the msm. After all, most of the secular press hate God, hate the Church, hate the Truth and just want to maintain ideologies and idolatries.

    I follow a few good, reliable sources, this Fr. Z.

    Much more peaceful…

  74. Magash says:

    Oh but that we were exposed to the “exposed to the muddy waters of the debate itself.” Unfortunately the people in charge have insured that we do not become exposed to the debate itself, since the individual exhortations will not be published. The final report will be published by the same people who published the Relatio, so who can trust that it will actually reflect the Synod fathers? This is most disturbing of all. It will create the situation where bishops will have to disavow the final document publicly, while the media ensure wide dissemination of the “official” document which will only contain the opinions of a small heretical minority.
    Even if the Holy Father disavows the results that will be lost in the media frenzy of liberal support.

  75. Joe in Canada says:

    Was it any different from Pope Benedict XVI saying that a gay male prostitute who used a condom could be taking “a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility”? The Vatican had to go into full explanation mode for that.

  76. michelekc says:

    The Spirit of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family is the new Spirit of Vatican II.

  77. Unwilling says:

    Joe in Cda – The difference is that such gaffes were rare and immediately explained. In this case, the outrageous things come like an endless blizzard and are left to freeze unto permafrost.

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