Great analysis of some Synod issues – VIDEO

On EWTN my friend Fr. Gerald Murray is doing analysis of the workings of the Synod.  He made some outstanding observations yesterday.

NB: If you need a recommendation to watch it, Fishwrap‘s MS Winters viewed the program from his Fainting Couch and didn’t much like what he saw.  HERE

May I recommend these moments in the video (below):

Start at 3:45 and get his comment about the danger of sociology replacing theology, about describing how people live and then falling into the trap of conforming the Church to shifting mores.

Start at 8:45 about the reporting about what is going on in the Synod.

Start at 11:15 – Is this Synod rigged? The danger of process overcoming product. (Channeling his inner McLuhan) And get his comments about Card. Kasper’s proposal.

Start at 12:30 for how the Church should talk about homosexuals. Includes a video clip of Fr. Thomas Rosica (so you can get a sample of his style). The “embracing reality as it is” comment is like what Fr. Murray said about sociology replacing theology.  In a way, this is a variation on what Robert Stark wrote about Card. Kasper’s approach: in a nutshell, politics replaces philosophy.  Doctrine shifts according to how people feel, etc.

Start at 17:15 to get how bishops are bringing in issues that have nothing to do with the work of the Synod (like ordination of women… what could be more irrelevant than that?)

Start at 19:45 for how the faithful must raise their voices in defense of Catholic doctrine.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Synod, The Drill and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I don’t know about you guys, but I am finding that the daily Office of Readings and Morning Prayer seem almost to be written for this Synod.

    I read St Gregory this morning on priests who fail to be labourers in the harvest. Thank you, Fr Z, for being a labourer in the harvest, in deed as well as in name.

  2. iamlucky13 says:

    Wow. After rambling along in irrelevance about the prodigal son, as if the actual story in the Bible were about how the father encouraged his son in his sinful life rather than welcoming him in his effort to repent and seek mercy, Winters offered as his closing argument effectively that in order for a Catholic (he singles out Archbishop Chaput) to take a position that we are supposed to try to avoid sin (and thus be more like we were created to be*), we must also deny the notion of private property rights.

    I’m trying desperately and struggling to read the way he parenthesizes “It was not so in the beginning” as anything other than a blasphemous mockery of Jesus’ own words, themselves delivered in a “post-lapsarian” world in a context where it is inescapably clear that the same goal applies today.

    * I had to look up “pre-lapsarian.” Depending on the context, it either means “before the fall” or “an obscure term used when blinding with brilliance fails, for the alternate purpose of baffling with BS.”

  3. Andrew says:

    Many Catholics of a more traditional bent, are scathing in their criticism of EWTN the days, applying pejorative labels like “neoconservative” to them, etc.

    But when it comes to television, and their incredibly expanded new services, not only the flagship The World Over, but EWTN Nightly News, and a temporary regular round up of the Synod each evening, you get information there, as these anecdotes from Fr Murray, that you don’t get anywhere else.

    Something tells me before this Synod is over, there will be another organized revolt among the more conservative Fathers. Shortly we are approaching the Fatima and Akita anniversary, at last year’s Synod, that date was so significant. I would not be surprised history repeats itself.

    We all have to trust in God, because in the end truth will always prevail.

  4. xsosdid says:

    “What Did The Prelates Really Say”…..

  5. FXR2 says:

    Father Z.,
    As you said in an earlier post Pope Francis owns the synod. I humbly suggest we all stop and pray for the Holy Father. Saint Michael…


  6. Lin says:

    Catholic doctrine cannot change! Pray, fast, and speak the Truth! I pray that priests are not instructed to determine their own pastoral practices under the guise of mercy. The pastor of my home parish (which I miss terribly) believes rubrics are only guidelines. My guess is he is giddy with anticipation! Pray for Pope Francis and all priests! They are under attack. No priests, no Eucharist. Lord have mercy on us!

  7. NBW says:

    Pray and fast! May God help all of us!

  8. HighMass says:

    “La lingua è un grosso problema/language is a big issue”….hum sounds familiar, like what happened during and after Vatican II, and every other meeting of collegiality since Paul VI allowed it.

    What a mess, where is Pope Benedict XVI???? Oh how we need him now.

  9. frjim4321 says:

    I appreciate the clip. I’m not a fan of Raymond but the clip was a pretty succinct summary of the fundamentalists’ take on the synod. Rather helpful. Thanks.

    [Nice try. You used that apostrophe properly. EVERYONE: Just keep moving.]

  10. Eugene says:

    Thank you Father Z for your admonition re: Fr Jim’s comment. I will move on to recite the chaplet of divine mercy it’s almost 3 AM and can’t sleep and his comment is not helping but I will turn and seek God’s mercy for this priest, and for all of us. God bless.

  11. SKAY says:

    Thank you for the video Father Z.

  12. robtbrown says:


    I’ll ask you a question–and give you the chance to extend your streak of never answering:

    What do you mean by “fundamentalist”?

  13. morphysghost says:

    I am personally hopeful that the Holy Ghost will lead this synod down a more fruitful path than the last one.

  14. Broggi66 says:

    You say fundamentalist like that’s a bad thing. I was raised in a diocese that had nuns that didn’t wear habits and priests that, apart from some of them being pedophiles, had Masses that didn’t look anything like Mass, Novus Ordo or not. They did such a bang up job not teaching me anything about God, that by 1983 I didn’t believe in him. I proceeded to live my life accordingly, in the sin is non existent manner. I would have written that the people on Fr. Z’s website were fundamentalists and meant it as a slur, such as you do. Eventually, the “fundamentalist” part of the Church brought me back to God and Church, to the point where I consider myself saved (I know that is a Protestant thing but Catholics can do it too. Especially if said Catholic didn’t believe in God as started from square one). You see, the part you miss in all your judgement of “fundamentalists” is that they uphold the Church. Christ and the Church were not supposed to change, I was. And when I was ready to do that, Christ and the Church were the rock for me to come to. I didn’t need relativism, I was already living that. I hate to tell you Fr Jim, but where you see your methods as merciful, I saw them as permission. So quit riding the people on this website, you look like a fool to someone who has had the mentality that you do. I proudly sign myself,

    A Fundamentalist

  15. Zephyrinus1 says:

    One wonders how The Synod is being reported across the World. Is it accurate ? Is it true ?

    Why not tune in to Finnish Radio, from Helsinki, to find out.

    Their News is broadcast in LATIN !!!

    The LINK is

    I kid you not.

    in Domino

  16. benedetta says:

    It seems to me that a lot of the “official” words coming from this event are flirting with a deeply divisive ethos which wrought destruction already in our times — the presentation of the product of conceptualizing the Church’s engagement with the currents of the times, products of thought or movement outside of our communion, not necessarily all ultimately valueless, but of course some of value and some worthless and some destructive, in such a way as to condemn huge swaths of believers as, for lack of a better descriptor, “doing it wrong” or “peasant/superstitious spirituality” or “backward” or of no value for being conformed to the Church and not of the times, continuing with that actually very good hope, swimming against the tide and being not afraid. We know that this presentation of the attempt to engage with a very new world after Second Vatican, as condemning the spirituality and holiness, the worship and devotion, of whole believers in one fell swoop as out of date, of no utility, and of no value for appreciation, reverence, and imitation, was taken up by many in truly evil ways within and without the Church and has led to a great many unhelpful misunderstandings, between and among believers, as well as between and among the observers and commentators of our communion from without, sometimes to great destruction, materially, in terms of the health of believers or discouragement and isolation, and even worse yet, soft persecution or worse still. The Church ought never be in the position of condemning the faith of our fathers. This faith was good enough for Thomas Merton, for Dorothy Day, for Servant of God Fr. Ciszek, for a great great many and is more than good enough for us as well in these very times. The dynamism we aspire to, always present in the world but not of it, need not necessarily indict or humiliate those who took up the narrow path and availed of mercy just as things are as being so many things. It is an attribute of our time, this psychological reductionism in which we culturally en masse call one another “fool” or murder another’s name or identity in our hearts, and this is born not of encounter or communion but of something else, and the Church ought to be the place that finds a better way of proceeding. The fact that we acknowledge problems is a virtue and aspect of our humility, but it is not an occasion for beating down anyone who took up their cross even in the midst of problems and lived the faith with humble, ineffable joy.

  17. benedetta says:

    I’m not saying that the tendency or rut we are all stuck in and must muddle through by, the tendency to cast aspersions upon the beliefs, worship, and holiness of believers according to some arbitrary mark on a fixed and dry timeline was inherently of and born of Second Vatican necessarily. Better minds than mine may analyse this. But what I am saying is that this tendency, from whence it came or going, taken up by many as the dominant theme in pastoral practice, theology, or dialogues, was destructive to the overall health of our communion, and moreover destructive as a practice and approach of those who articulated it. Quite obviously.

  18. Kathleen10 says:

    Huh. Good coverage, and I will be checking The World Over regularly now that I see they are actually covering the reality of this Scary Synod. They all did a nice job of bringing up the concerns, and also responding to them. I liked Raymond’s description of the synod as “grand international theatre”, because that seems entirely accurate. This is theatre, most unbecoming our Catholic Church, and is a terrible embarrassment, or ought to be. It is concerning that only, what, 15 Cardinals approached the pope about their concerns over the process? Where are the rest? Pope Francis takes to the floor to “reassure the Cardinals”. Is that why he did it. Is that why he openly mentioned a “hermeneutic of conspiracy”. Hm.
    Obvious manipulation of this entire process. Obvious setting up of key radical players. Obvious placement of key radical players in terms of translation and spokespeople. Rigid, authoritarian controls over the actual discussion. Slyly veiled but not invisible restraints by the pope on more conservative talk. Discussion of topics that should be closed and not even discussed. The opportunity for blatant heretics and assorted nut jobs to get their sickness out there for open discussion. That these topics are being discussed is a success for the heretics who want to dismantle Catholic teaching. They are already rejoicing. Every time Fr. Rosica opens his mouth and speaks, somewhere a dissident cheers. They are close to success. Close!
    More Cardinals need to find their spines! They must find their spines and openly state the case, name names, and call out the heretics with as much force and clarity as they possibly can. As someone else said, get a cord of whips. This will require the raising of voices and some pounding on podiums. It will require some set aside of usual decorum. THAT is not a sin. It would be a sin, an outrage, to allow any man, or group of men, to dismantle or otherwise tear apart, the fabric of the teachings of Christ right in front of their eyes. Most of these men are of a certain age. It would be crazy to tolerate, at this point, heresy and error, that has the potential of leading so many to hell. The church needs them to do so. The faithful need them to do so. If they leave, crawl back to their cozy offices, and have not properly defended the teachings of Christ, God help them.
    God help them fight this the whole way, right to the bitter end.

  19. benedetta says:

    Clearly it cannot be “the best we can manage” to merely have on the one side articulated stereotypes of real human beings in all their foibles and splendor adopted from those who care not genuinely for believers or contribute to the build up of human kind on the one hand lodged as accusation versus sterile restatement of settled doctrine on the other. Really, if that is all this is then that is completely pathetic, and the “rigged” nature or descriptor would seem apt. It would appear to be an arid agenda, based on artifice and unreality, despite the claims to the contrary of real worlding here, and a situation of synod fathers talking over one another’s heads, delivering their lines out on cue but not touching upon the human. For one thing, that there may be problems, that the chaos of the current world presents new and unique issues for the Church just as in every age, that we all struggle in myriad ways still doesn’t amount to a clear negation of the fact of the existence of countless saints living the joy of the Gospel in even unlikely places today, not outside of or beyond or forgetting of or denying the difficulties presented, but actually right within that, and doing so according to the faith of believers more or less the same as in believers of all times and places. To the stereotype accusation, for every difficulty lobbed over everyone’s speaking, they do not amount to one crucial doubt so as to negate the Gospel and the way of life we are all called to nonetheless. The saints are a scandal and a confounding to the accusation put to Christianity. And they are not only discovered via televised beatification from Rome, of course.

  20. Lin says:

    The messages at both Fatima and Aikta foretold of this smoke of satan entering the Church. Pope John XXIII was the first modernist pope in my life time. He believed that announcing Vatican II to modernize the Church was critical. And concealing the third secret of Fatima irrelevant. Anyone know why he was declared a saint?!? To set a precedent for this pope? The anniversary of both visions of the Blessed Mother is October 13th. Pray the Rosary for a miracle!

  21. robtbrown says:


    Where in the Fatima messages does it mention the smoke of satan entering the Church?

  22. LeeF says:

    Over at Fishwrap, MSW analyzes the synod through the lens of the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the prodigal son. In both he forgets an essential element that Father has mentioned several times before, which is REPENTANCE, i.e. a resolution to go and sin no more. When the lost sheep come back into the fold, they stay there and heed the shepherd’s voice. When the prodigal son returns, he again is a good son, not one who continues his dissipation in his father’s house. Jesus opens the door of Mercy, we step through with repentance. He cannot force us through or else free will would be violated.

    Whatever comes out of this synod, both we and the Holy Father would do well to remember that not only does the Holy Spirit guarantee that true doctrine cannot be changed, but also that the actions of the current pontiff, excluding ex cathedra pronouncements, can be overturned by the next.

  23. benedetta says:

    I make it my practice to never click on any links to the Fishwrap or National antiCatholic Reporter — goodness knows I already have enough incitements to occasions to the sin of anger surrounding me at all times these days than to add that to it.

    But of course as to the prodigal son parable, I think though we have great technological prowess in our times we are at the same time greatly lacking in terms of imagining the banquet upon the son’s return. We get hung up at our favorite twists and turns of the plot along the way. Undeniably, the banquet is not an iteration of that which the son was formerly engaged in wherein he squandered all and then some. It can be difficult to recognize this, and also that the time is forever changed — in the past, the son physically, spiritually, psychologically quite clearly and in no uncertain terms in sinning separated himself and fed his pet agendas for the way he wished to spend his time on earth. In both the parable of the lost sheep and the prodigal son, we know the joy of God in relationship to us, God’s desire for us to be close to His bosom at all times, and that the mercy of forgiveness for whatever it is we have done will never be withheld. At the same time, it is always up to us to acknowledge the separation we caused by our sinful actions and then turn and take the next good step.

    The fact is that everyone is all in when it comes to desiring a pope who will chastise, it seems, no matter if you style yourself a progressive or dissenter or not. Everyone wants someone else to get the big public humiliating scolding here. Still I can’t imagine that a valid goal of a synod. Even while many articulate what they want to see happen, a beat down of someone they hate, essentially, no one really says the better thing which is greatly needed, which is a pope who encourages us as a good and wise father to the good, to holiness, to be saints. Why was the prodigal son counted among the saints? Why was the other brother’s reactioning highlighted?

  24. benedetta says:

    N.B.: I have always recognized in the older brother’s limiting, severe, and discouraging, faithless reaction undermining communion to be one very representative of the attitude and approach of the culture of death and its partisan artisans in our own times in these USA. Obviously, a developing infant securely in his or her mother’s womb is a far cry from a squandering adult young man, but the “no room at the inn” scowl of the older brother is quite familiar, the one that says we can have too many babies, or flowers, or that we come first and must have our inheritance before we may admit another to our earthly communion. Now there’s a take you’re never going to get at the AntiCath Rep.

  25. Mike says:

    My experience parallels that of broggi66 above in substance, if not in some of the accidents (e.g., I’m four years older, I think). Like him and Cardinal Burke, I come down on the pejoratively labeled ‘fundamentalist’ side without apology.

  26. ChrisRawlings says:

    I saw this interview, in Polish, with Archbisbop Kondrusiewicz of Belarus. Notice about a minute or so into the video what happens. I don’t actually know what he is saying, but he becomes so passionate about whatever he is saying about the family he begins to tear up from the emotion. The one thing I know he does say is this: Doctrine does not change. Indeed, St. John Paul II, Pope of the Family, pray for us.

    And if anyone can translate, please do.

  27. Gratias says:

    Thank you Father Z for this apostolate that advances Evangelization and brings Hope to your internet flock.

  28. Lin says:

    Read The Fourth Secret of Fatima.

  29. Pingback: Bring Back the Ordo Paenitentium - Big Pulpit

  30. Christine says:

    Don’t foget that it’s all part of the evil one’s plan that faithful Catholics become discouraged to the point of despair. I think our focus should be prayer, fasting and staying very close to the sacraments.

  31. robtbrown says:

    Lin says:

    Read The Fourth Secret of Fatima.

    I was not satisfied with the Vatican documents on the Third Secret released in 2000– not primarily because I thought there was more. Rather, it was because what was released seemed like no big deal–certainly not worth keeping it under lock and key for so many years.

    I have no problem with the commentary by Cardinal Ratzinger. He does not, however, introduce it by saying that it is THE interpretation–but rather that it is AN ATTEMPT at interpretation (un tentativo di interpretazione). Thus, he is saying that even though his commentary is legit, he is not insisting that it closes the book.

    In fact, the official documents released in 2000, which seemed to have been a Sodano bella figura compromise, a half a$$ed attempt to calm Third Secret worriers, IMHO accomplished the opposite.

    The wag is that Pope Francis, despite his hail-fellow-well-met image, is more apocalyptic than JPII and BXVI combined. Further, on the first anniversary during his pontificate of the Miracle of the Sun, the Fatima statue was brought to Rome. So much for limiting Third Secret meaning to the assassination attempt of 35 years ago. (In light of Francis’ concern with Global Warming, I have to wonder whether Francis’ interpretation of the menacing Sun at Fatima includes, but is not limited to, a global natural disaster.)

    Re smoke of Satan: We have no definitive Fatima text saying that. Even if we did, it would have been stunning in, say, 1950, but not so much now. Even the enculturation freaks, who think the Church should approve all behavior except that of the SSPX, know the Church is in crisis. They, however, think it’s a matter of lack of devotion to the Zeitgeist.

  32. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Dear Broggi66,

    Very well said. Bravo! :^)

    I am going to copy your post and save it.


Comments are closed.