A sharp view of the Synod and the winds of change

Marco Tosatti, an Italian journalist whom I have always liked and for whom I have even greater respect now than before, has a piece at La Stampa which bears attention. What really caught my eye was his quotation at the end from a liberal journalist who works for a Left-leaning Catholic news agency, Adista.

This quote tells you more than a thousand other editorials on the Synod:

Finally a short note: It’s not very often that I find myself in agreement with Adista, a Catholic news agency. But I could not do otherwise than appreciate this editorial by Augusto Cavadi:

“Two observations to close. Newspapers are saying that this Synod has broken the Catholic Church. False: it brought into the light an old split, perhaps as old as the Church herself. Without going too far back, decades ago now the Catholic philosopher Pietro Prini had written about a submerged schism, invisible, on the part of many (bishops, priests and theologians included) in respect to the official Magisterium. In this split, it is instinctive to find oneself in sympathy with the progressives, but, and I have to add this out of love for sincerity, not without some discomfort. Between some of the current “progressives” and the immovable “conservatives”, my esteem goes to the latter, faithful to their own line of thought even when it is inconvenient to sustain it. In just a few months the change of wind has seen many bishops and pastors, who for decades accused the “reformers” of heresy, now showing themselves to be “open” and “sensitive”. This kind of thing disgusts me. These careerist conformists are too skilled in jumping onto the banged wagon of the powers-that-be-of-the-moment to merit our trust as fellow travelers.”

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29 Responses to A sharp view of the Synod and the winds of change

  1. Traductora says:

    Excellent comment at the end. “Whatsoever king may reign, still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir…” Some things never change, and the human urge to careerism and sucking up to power is certainly one of them. I was just reading about one bishop in the US who changed the name of what was formerly the diocesan “Pro-Life Office” to that of “Office of Social Justice.” Guess he knows which way the wind is blowing.

    That said, it’s true that the Synod and other recent maneuvers have made the split rather clear, but I think the reason for that is that the current powers that be are much more inclined to punish or cast out into darkness any dissenters from their program. Both BXVI and JPII tolerated dissent, probably even too much so, and JPII was so vague on so many things that I doubt that the “progressives” were even seriously discomforted most of the time. By contrast, the current administration of the Vatican has shown an unaccustomed readiness to go out and enforce their program, not simply by attempting to drum up support or create the impression of support, but by pro-actively removing or marginalizing people or institutions they consider to be opponents. It’s odd, because I don’t really think these people see themselves as opponents or adversaries, but simply as people quietly adhering to their principles (as the author pointed out), and yet they are being treated as enemies.

  2. Winfield says:

    Winds of change: for the first time in my experience at my current parish, which I’ve attended for four and a half years, a lector (who strikes me as personally conservative, almost a good ole boy here in the Deep South) departed from the text of the readings to substitute “inclusive” language. In the first reading, from Wisdom, rather than reading “For if before men, indeed, they be punished,” he read, “For though in the sight of others . . . .” I can’t imagine he did this on his own, and I suspect we’ll see more of this.

  3. donato2 says:

    I recently came to the belated realization that that, so long as the modern world endures, modernism will never be extirpated from within the Church no matter how many past or future encyclicals denounce it. The modern world generates modernism. So long as the world generates modernism, the Church cannot permanently extirpate it is because, as Pope Benedict points out in “Saved In Hope,” man has his freedom. His freedom allows him to destroy any thing at any time, Pascendi Dominici Gregis notwithstanding. But by the same token truth can never be extirpated from within the Church either. Moreover, the nature of truth is that it is indestructible. This is why the gates of hell shall not overcome it.

  4. iPadre says:

    Yes, for 50 years they have been hiding in the shadows. But as our Lord said: “What is spoken in darkness will be heard in daylight.” They have always know who we are. Now we clearly know who they are and there is no more hiding behind a cassock or varying colors.

  5. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Winfield: you can give your lector the benefit of the doubt. In the New American Bible, approved for use in the Lectionary, Wisdom 3:4 reads:
        “4 For if to others, indeed, they seem punished,   yet is their hope full of immortality.”
    (2011-10-31). Bible: New American Bible, Revised Edition 2011 (Kindle Locations 30940-30942). . Kindle Edition.

    Either that is what you heard or it was another version that is similar. The lectors don’t have to substitute inclusive language; the translators have already done it. Not knowing Hebrew or Greek, I am in no position to say whether they have stretched the text.

  6. CatholicMD says:

    Winfield –

    I noticed the same thing that “men” was in my Magnificat and “others” was what I heard read. This was at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, no hotbed of liberalism or dissent. I’m guessing that “others” is what was printed in the lectionary.

  7. LeeF says:

    One always has to be on the lookout for so-called “concern trolling” from the left, especially in matters of politics. A different way of viewing conservatives suddenly getting all “open and sensitive” is that they always truly were open and sensitive to the plight of individuals in difficult circumstances that result from not following God’s ways, but without being open to changing doctrine. What the left probably fears, including these journalists, is that the conservatives will take whatever good can be legitimately had from “progressive” proposals, and dump the rest. This is mostly what happened with liberation theology where concern for the poor and calling attention to the injustices of crony capitalism were were shorn away from the mantle of violent Marxism. Liberals want the whole cloth. And the last thing they want is for conservatives to appear reasonable.

  8. Bob B. says:

    The synod seems to be but one of the platforms that many will use in attempting to change the Church.
    Changing the Church has been happening in our Catholic schools for some time now, as well.
    A case in point: A principal changing the lyrics to As I Kneel Before You to As I Bow Before You for May Crowning. Her reasoning? Catholics worship Mary too much!
    Another: Classrooms looking Too Catholic.
    Or another: A Jesuit priest apologizing for the Readings of the day to a faculty because the non-Catholic majority in the pews were offended. (Not to mention how many of these took Communion!).
    This has to stop.

  9. TuAutem says:

    FWIW (in the “slavishly literal” tradition of this blog): Wisdom 3:4 says “?? ???? ????????” in the original, [Use Unicode]
    which is very strraightforwardly “in the eye of men” or “in the eye of people” (Greek, like Latin, has a word that means man as in male (vir) and another for Man, as in a human (homo), this is the latter). “They seem, to others” is definitely paraphrasing, but I’ll concede it matches the spirit of the text.

    I probably would have said, “To human eyes…” if I were translating into colloquial English, or “In the eyes of men…” if I were going for a more poetic translation (I think both are accurate translations, though).

    The Latin text, though, says “etsi coram hominibus tormenta passi sunt”, with no “seeming” or “in the eyes of”, so what you quoted, Winfield “For if before men, indeed, they be punished,” is a spot on translation of the Clementine Vulgate.

  10. catholictrad says:

    Such “liberal journalist who works for a Left-leaning Catholic news agency” fought successfully to replace the beautiful Tradition and her remarkable church buildings with banal “liturgy” and bland unremarkable church buildings. The results of such nonsense surrounds us.

    People seeking holiness don’t want and can’t use a willow-in-the-wind on which to attach their faith. They must grab on to the “fortress” Church for that which sways not, and changes not.

  11. iteadthomam says:

    Very good quotation! The liberals position, of for no other reason, is bound to fail simply because it constantly changes to conform with the current culture, whereas the “conservative” position remains faithful to truth regardless of the circumstances. Not to mention, the liberal position doesn’t have supernatural backing to sustain it.

  12. majuscule says:

    I’m a lector and I read that passage from Wisdom on Sunday. Our lectionary used the word “men” and no one suggested changing it. I can’t imagine any of our priests doing so! And no one else better suggest it either.

    I practice ahead of time using our Lector’s Manual. It helps to understand the readings and gives suggestions for presentation. It even had men in bold.

    As far as the translation of the quote from Adista…”banged wagon” might have been a Freudian slip. Google translated it “bandwagon”… Of course, we know about Google and translations!

  13. Paulo says:

    Winfiled, Grateful and CatholicMD – the “men” ship has sailed: “Hominibus” has been translated to the more general sense of “humankind”, and as such you will find contemporary translations using “people” and variants (in my parish, the choir sings the Gloria using Marty Haugen’s, uh, adaptation, and off we go singing “and on earth peace to people of good will”).

    But we digress… I personally owe much to Father Z’s blog and to the many others that I have discovered through it in keeping me “faithful to [the truth] even when it is inconvenient to sustain it”, if Marco Tosatti doesn’t mind my editing. Actually, on Saturday, one of our priests commended me during confession for using the sacrament regularly. I guess “Go to Confession!” does sink in!

  14. Netmilsmom says:

    I have to agree with Winfield. My parish went from Devotions and Latin Benediction to “Slain in the Spirit” and winging it for Adoration within a year. I never thought I would see the day.

  15. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Thanks to all who joined in the “slavishly literal” discussion. I love it! “Homo” should be translated as the generic “man,” thus allowing such variations as “people,” at least as far as meaning is concerned. Aesthetic preferences are another argument. But I think modern Biblical versions rely on the Greek and Hebrew texts. Personally, I still use my old Confraternity of Christian Doctrine edition based on the Challoner-Rheims-Douay English version from the Vulgate. And that indeed says “For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality.” That’s good enough for me!

  16. Legisperitus says:

    I keep wanting this whole story to have a surprise ending, like Pope Benedict popping out and saying, “Okay, Jorge, thanks for your help. Time to go home. I only pretended to resign. Now that we know who can be trusted, let’s get back to business!”

  17. dbonneville says:

    Slightly confused. Can someone name some examples of to whom this applies?: “…many bishops and pastors, who for decades accused the “reformers” of heresy, now showing themselves to be “open” and “sensitive”. This kind of thing disgusts me. These careerist conformists…”

  18. Paulo says:

    Legisperitus – I also wondered about the same thing, but I got stuck on two apparently contradictory positions which, if they can be reconciled, would shed much light on this whole “imbroglio” (which, strangely, rimes with “Bergoglio”…), and point to other alternatives. To wit:

    (1) J. Ratzinger’s “remnant theology” view that “(…) Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the Church’s history, where Christianity will again be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intensive struggle against evil and bring the good into the world that let God in.” (Salt of the Earth, p.16., 1997); and

    (2) B XVI’s as the champion of the New Evangelization: “The term, “new evangelization” recalls the need for a renewed manner of proclamation, especially for those who live in a context, like the one today, in which the development of secularization has had a heavy impact, even in traditionally Christian countries.” (Address to Participants of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, 2011)

    So, here is the dilemma: EITHER Benedict stepping aside opens the door to a Maverick that will precipitate the actions that lead to (1) OR Benedict stepping aside opens the door to a Maverick that will precipitate the actions that leave to (2). In neither case B XVI steps back…

    “God writes straight with crooked lines”.

  19. Unwilling says:

    Legisperitus. Let 100 Flowers Bloom? Amusing speculation, even if impossible to suppose.

  20. Without going too far back, decades ago now the Catholic philosopher Pietro Prini had written about a submerged schism, invisible, on the part of many (bishops, priests and theologians included) in respect to the official Magisterium.

    Yes. Which is what I said in this article a couple of years ago, because I was sick of being told by people about the Good Old Days When Everyone Was Loyal.

  21. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    If Fr. Z will indulge another contribution to the Wisdom 3:4 discussion… I checked the Oxford Parallel Apocypha (1997) and found the King James agreeing with the Douay in rendering Septuagint “en opsei anthropon” as “in the sight of men” and the New American Bible (Imprimatur 1970) close to these with “before men”, but some very different (interpretative) translations, otherwise: Today’s English Version (Imprimatur 1993) has “It might appear that”, the New Jerusalem Bible (Imprimatur 1989) “as it seemed to us”, the New RSV (1989) “in the sight of others”, and Ronald Knox, “The world sees”!

  22. pannw says:

    dbonneville says:
    Slightly confused. Can someone name some examples of to whom this applies?: “…many bishops and pastors, who for decades accused the “reformers” of heresy, now showing themselves to be “open” and “sensitive”. This kind of thing disgusts me. These careerist conformists…”

    Thank you. I thought it was just me. Who are considered the accusers and who are the “reformers”?

  23. TNCath says:

    ” In just a few months the change of wind has seen many bishops and pastors, who for decades accused the “reformers” of heresy, now showing themselves to be “open” and “sensitive”. This kind of thing disgusts me. These careerist conformists are too skilled in jumping onto the banged wagon of the powers-that-be-of-the-moment to merit our trust as fellow travelers.”

    A certain cardinal in New York, perhaps?

  24. JARay says:

    I see that many are commenting about the exactness of translations. Fine, but I also find myself bemused by the inadvertent invention of new words because of the slipshod practice so many use of texting words which are not English words at all.
    What am I referring to?
    I quote from the extract above….” jumping onto the banged wagon of the powers-that-be-of-the-moment”
    What on earth is a “banged wagon”?!!!
    There is an English word “bandwagon”. But a wagon that has been “banged” LOL

  25. floppy2 says:

    Now that the Wheat and Tares recognize each other, living in the garden together just got a whole lot more interesting.

    bjr

  26. JonPatrick says:

    Paulo I think both (1) and (2). A small group in the Church implements the New Evangelization via reverent liturgy and emphasis on adoration and devotions as the rest of the Church continues to wither away.

    I had a stark reminder of the withering away this last weekend visiting a city in Central Massachusetts. When I lived there in 2001 there were 4 parishes in the city with 5 priests. A few years later this was reduced to 3 priests covering the 4 churches. Last week there was an announcement that 2 churches will close and the remaining 2 clustered into one parish. The attendance at the 8 AM mass I attended was a fraction of what it was 10 years ago and was smaller than the EF congregation at my home parish (admittedly located in a larger city). The EF of course did not exist in 2001 and came about as a result of Summorum Pontificum.

  27. robtbrown says:

    The present situation reminds me of something I read more than once in Malachi Martin’s books. Quoting an influential Churchman (e.g., Cdl Wyszynski), The Church cannot be reformed right now.

    It should be in mind that the current mess has followed 35 years of JPII and BXVI trying to improve the episcopacy in the West. Certainly, there are the likes of Cardinal Kasper (who doesn’t seem to realize that the seminaries and religious houses are empty in Germany) and perhaps a S American or two who resent the European influence on the Church (after having studied in Europe). But it’s amazing how much this seems like a flashback to 1980.

  28. Paulo says:

    @Jon

    Sure, the “both/and” solution could be applied here. I give the mike back to Father Ratzinger: in the compilation of lectures called “Principles of Catholic Theology”, while discussing structure and content in Catholic faith, he writes that along with the nominal acclamation “Jesus is Lord”, there exists the “[verbal] confession of faith, (…) a confession of the Resurrection. As the Risen One, Jesus is Lord, and he is Lord because he has risen. But confession of the Resurrection is inseparable from confession of the Cross. (…) [W]here the Cross is acknowledged, there the earthly Jesus is acknowledged.” (Ignatius Press, pp.19-20, 1987).

    The dynamics of this short but content-rich excerpt parallels the dynamics of western cultural reality: a society which has lost sight of heroic virtue (and the various degrees of suffering that often come with it), i.e., the Cross, will also de-emphasize the Resurrection. Back to the “both/and”: A Church, even “insignificant” but “nonetheless liv[ing] an intensive struggle against evil” (a Cross), which brings “the good into the world that let God in” through a “renewed manner of proclamation” (revival, Resurrection). Food for thought…