Mass for Benefactors, some Synod Notes, and forming my Battle Plan

While here in Rome, I have each day been saying Mass for my benefactors for this Rome trip.  Today I will be saying Mass for you sometime between 1800-1900 (I think) Rome time.   If I am not mistaken, in the USA the Daylight Savings is still on.  It dropped off here last weekend.  So, that would be 1200-1300 CDT.   The wavy flag gives you a page to send a donation.  My last full day here is 28 October (my birthday, by the by), Feast of Simon and Jude.

Again… I’m trying not to immerse myself too much in Synod stuff today or the last few days.  It was a pilgrimage for me and I am trying mostly for time with friends, prayer, rest and errands without getting down into the muck. I did that for a long time when I lived here. Still, some things have gotten under my skin. I can’t ignore the Synod completely while here. Frankly, last night I was upset enough that I wound up walking around town for a few hours reciting the Rosary.  It helped.  I am determined to form a battle plan in view of what I think is headed our way. I’m concerned.

Anyway, here is some analysis, rewritten here and there, edited a bit, from a friend who has been really paying attention. He begins thusly:

The most intelligent (meaning I agree with it) report that I have read this morning is by Robert Royal at The Catholic Thing: HERERoyal … has some paragraphs toward the end on the composition of the new Synod Council, which has the responsibility of preparing the next Synod (if we have to have more of them). [Quod Deus avertat.]Many of them are very good, meaning that the Synod appreciated the contributions of prelates like Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Napier Fox, Archbishop Chaput, Cardinal Pell and others. Unfortunately some bad apples were also elected.  […]

Meanwhile, our Hero, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, has just given an interview to Edward Pentin. HERE The Cardinal says everything about the Synod Final Report on CDR (Communion for the Divorced and Remarried) that we all feared already.

But Cardinal Burke does more. He points out the ambiguous use of term “imputability” in Section 85. How responsible or culpable one is for the breakdown of their marriage does not have a bearing on the validity of that marriage. Hence, the exclusion from the Sacraments of those who are in irregular marital situations cannot be voided on the basis of the extent to which they are morally responsible for their divorce.

Of course, it’s this kind of clear, Catholic reasoning about sacraments that Pope Francis lashed out at for the umpteenth time on Sunday in his Final Address to the Synod (as reported above by Robert Royal) or in the homily at the Closing Mass of the Synod yesterday.

Finally for a more upbeat take on the Final Report of the Synod, there is this by Cardinal Pell, which will surprise some of you.  HERE

The Cardinal maintains that the Final Report is not as bad as people on our side are saying. I’ll leave you to ponder that conclusion and his reasons, but I’ll add that I am hearing similar views from others who were also “in the room” and who are certainly “on the side of the angels”.

So, that is some analysis and news.

Moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. MWindsor says:

    I’m still confused by something.

    Cardinal Pell, in the story linked above, mentions that the various portions passed thusly:
    84: 187 yes and 72 no.
    85: 178 yes and 80 no.
    86: 190 yes and 64 no.

    Ok, so that means that only 80 of those voting on #85 were against it? Two thirds were in favor of it? And this is somehow good?

    Maybe I’m just being thick headed. But if a bad passage is getting a two thirds vote, does that not mean that only 1/3 of those voting are on the “side of the angels”? And it’s somehow good news that only 1/3 of the hierarchy is on the side of the angels? I mean, I guess it’s better than 1/10th, but still…

    [So, 187 wanted pizza with something gross like… pineapple, and 72 wanted pizza that men eat. Then, like teens at a party, they have to go to the Pope for the credit card and to make the call for delivery.]

  2. gatormom says:

    “Certainly ‘on the side of the Angels?!'” The only Cardinal I know of [Psychically? Reminder: we were not in the room.] that was “certainly” on the side of the Angels was Cardinal Burke being that he was not “in the room.” I hold every Cardinal at this Synod accountable for it’s results. If God excuses them as being “on the side of the Angels” then He can sort that out. I signed that petition asking the Cardinals to walk away from this mess and they chose to stay. None of them is blameless for what will come out if this. And for them to now say, “Hey, see it’s not as bad as we thought,” exponentially increases their blame. BTW, less then 3,000 people signed that petition and it would have been the right thing to do. I know [You know because… you are a member of one of the angelic choirs?] that any Angel of God would have fled that filthy den in disgust; [I know people are angry, but this sort of thing is what you find at the Fishwrap, in their horrid combox. Make your points but keep the filthy den of disgust stuff on your blog, please.] evidently they chose not to destroy it with a flaming sword from above.

  3. iPadre says:

    I usually pull my video into iMovie or Final Cut Pro and send it right to YouTube. It’s the easiest way to do it, and viewable by all.

  4. Mike says:

    Pineapple on pizza with ham, especially with a hint of cloves, is not girly. It’s chicken that is ridiculous. (You started it, Father.)

  5. jhayes says:

    Cardinal Burke referred to the mention of “imputability” in #85, whic says

    Furthermore, it cannot be denied that in some circumstances “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” (CCC 1735) for reasons of various conditions. Consequently, the judgment of an objective situation should not lead to a judgment about the “subjective imputability”

    I think that that is just pointing out the traditional distinction between objective and subjective sin: that it is objectively sinful and grave matter for a divorced and remarried couple to have sexual relations but that, subjectively, they may not be sinning at all or only venially – in which case, there is no impediment to their receiving Communion.

    There is an issue of possible scandal but that could be avoided in various ways.

  6. gatormom says:

    I apologize for saying filthy den of disgust. There were certainly holy men and women present. I just find it so hard to imagine any group of religious men discussing whether or not sodomites should be receiving Holy Communion. To me it brings the level of discussion to such a point that one shouldn’t even dignify it. Maybe Angels would have that discussion but I can’t imagine that either, I guess they don’t really need to discuss do they? Anyway, lots of things that I can’t imagine happen. Again, I apologize for bringing down the level of discussion myself. I am upset.

  7. oldconvert says:

    Well, how about that. Those of us who have lived and, according to Church teaching, in frater-soror partnerships, until the good Lord saw fit to resolve our situations Himself have been what the English call right mugs, haven’t we? Oh, I suppose the ban on communion in remarriage after divorce, that was right five minutes ago but it’s going to be wrong now? Or perhaps Our Lord was only joking, yes that must be it, ho ho ho, what fools we have been!

    Sorry, Father.

    [No need for “sorry”! That’s exactly the sort of thing that I am hearing from a lot of people right now. Time and again in recently history faithful priests felt kicked in the teeth for preaching Catholic doctrine. Now, faithful Catholics suffering in certain ways related to their relationships, feel kicked in the teeth. The cumulative effect is that people – including priests – start to doubt why the hell we have been fighting for all this time? I understand your frustration. But… we must persevere.]

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Pineapple on pizza with ham, especially with a hint of cloves, is not girly. It’s chicken that is ridiculous. (You started it, Father.)”

    I am not ridiculous…okay, I admit, standing on a pizza, I might look a bit ridiculous.

    The Chicken

  9. Lurker 59 says:

    I am very concerned as to what is going on. The Final Report of the Synod largely doesn’t matter as it is only advisory to the Pope. Pope Francis may or may not take it into consideration, but, at the very least, the main points of whatever it is that Pope Francis is going to release was long ago decided and whatever this is to be, will be the dynamo (or a major part of it) for the Year of Mercy.

    Most documents are not 100% self-interpreting. The problem with the Final Report of the Synod is that it needs to have a hermeneutical lens to interpret its key parts and the selection of this lens is not spelled out by the document sufficiently enough. So while we can read the document, after a fashion, orthodoxically using a hermeneutic of continuity, we can also read the document, more easily, hetrodoxically using a hermeneutic of rupture.

    Pope Francis believes in using a hermeneutic of rupture so the whatever that he issues will be less orthodox (according to a hermeneutic of continuity), or less able to be read in such a fashion, and it will be fairly easy to claim that this whatever is developed from a “proper” reading of the Final Report of the Synod.

    But I don’t think that any of that matter – not the problems with the Synod, not the problems with the Final Report, not the problems with Pope Francis’ whatever, not the strong armed “get with the program” that will happen. What matters is that underneath this all is that there is, to my convert’s ears, a formalized soteriological shift going on that is manifesting as a shift in moral theology and praxis.

  10. jhayes says:

    This comment by Cardinal Pell should be encouraging:

    “He [+Pell] explains that according to the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, “there is no doctrinal error in anything that has been published”.

  11. Stevetop815 says:

    @jhayes how could one be having relations in a “second marriage” and not be sinning at all or only venially without having either such invincible gnorance of Church teaching that they obviously cant get a hold of any Church teaching or being so mentally impaired that they are unfit for marriage in the first place.

    Even if one were that ignorant of teaching, don’t they have a grave moral responsibility to find out what the church teaches? Wouldn’t THAT be an impediment to Communion?

  12. Traductora says:

    An action plan would be wonderful, although I’m not sure where one would start. I was thinking back on VII and what a shock that was…and if only we’d fought back at the time, things might be different now. But it was imposed from above immediately and ferociously, all features of the “old world” were ripped out and the ground leveled so we could not find our way back again, and the persecution of the orthodox took off right away. People honestly couldn’t believe that this was coming from the Church itself, from the bishops and authorities – and of course the religious orders, particularly the Jesuits.

    But some people managed to hang on, and I’d say one of the great things that resulted was the development of new Catholic educational institutions. This certainly has given us some intellectual leadership. However, I think the mass of the faithful were abandoned and I’m not sure how one can bring them back. Many conservatives talk gleefully about a smaller Church, but I’d rather see a larger one, saving as many people (and thus their society) as possible. Maybe we need a new (orthodox) order of preachers?

  13. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Furthermore, it cannot be denied that in some circumstances “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” (CCC 1735) for reasons of various conditions.”

    You know, a few nights ago I had a Brilliant Thought™.

    Why don’t we help the Synod and crowd source the reasons for the problems in the family and possible solutions. I say we should start a popular movement to analyze the reasons why the family is falling apart and suggest plausible and possible solutions. Won’t they be pleased that we took the initiative? Hey, didn’t they ask the laity to get more involved in the documents of Vatican II? The bishops should just crowd source the Synod and then go out for drinks. When they get back, we will have the problems all sorted out. Hey it worked for the Search for Extraterrestrial Life on other planets (SETI), didn’t it? It worked for protein folding, didn’t it? Crowd sourcing – the collective brains of the Internet. You know, that sensus fidelium thing just got a whole lot more interesting with the Internet.

    What, we haven’t found any intelligent life on other planets? Well, we might not find any on this planet, either, but it is an interesting use of computers. On Dr. Who, they talk about the Papal Mainframe. I say, let’s give that a try…I offer to be the first transistor in the new Papal Mainframe. Who will join me? Let’s be the Mainframe.

    Our motto…


    The Chicken

    P. S. Oh, this comment was supposed to be about subjective imputability? Oh, please, who gets re-married by virtue of an uncontrollable brain tumor? No one gets re-married due to ignorance (“I thought I was walking the dog, honest”); inadvertence (“I got married?”); habit (“Let’s marry every two years??”); inordinate attachments (“But I’ve got to be in Love”).

    Now, I might give you duress or fear about not having money to raise the kids, but this could have been answered really easily by the Bishops – SET UP A FUND FOR RECENTLY DIVORCED PEOPLE WITH KIDS. Phew, they needed a Synod to figure that out?? I might, also give you psychological factors, especially, if you consider being a Black Widow, a career choice.

  14. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “. . . subjectively, they may not be sinning at all or only venially (sic) – in which case, there is no impediment to their receiving Communion.”

    That’s only true until their pastor informs them that their conscience is in error. Then they are culpable before God.

  15. MWindsor says:

    “[So, 187 wanted pizza with something gross like… pineapple, and 72 wanted pizza that men eat. Then, like teens at a party, they have to go to the Pope for the credit card and to make the call for delivery.]”

    Which doesn’t actually address my point at all. 2/3 of the bishops voted in favor of this stuff. Only 1/3 didn’t. That seems just a wee bit more distressing, regardless of who actually pays for the pizza.

  16. acardnal says:

    Cardinal Burke says the Final Report is misleading and lacks clarity. I would add that although there is no doctrinal error in the Report, it is ambiguous and open to interpretation . . . same problem the Second Vatican Council documents contained. And this language is there intentionally!


  17. Justalurkingfool says:


    Keep me in your prayers, from time to time. I need them.

    Thank you.


  18. The Masked Chicken says:


    I do keep you in prayer and had a Mass said for you. Hang on. You were single before you got married and you will be single after you die. You have been given a strong test of faith, but God knows what we are made of. Offer your anger and lonliness to the Cross of Christ and let them be transformed into hope for others. That may seem like small consolation, but on the day you die you will see the fruits your suffering has yielded. The people your own suffering has strengthened, the hearts your own turmoil have gained peace for, will be seen by you and you will be amazed that you were surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses. You can’t see them, now, but hang on a little longer. Someday, you will glimpse their outline, then their hands, then, their feet, and little by little your anger will be replaced by the knowledge that you fought the good fight and they are there, ready to greet you. Just hang on. Feel free to contact me, when needed. Orthodox Chick has my contact e-mail.

    The Chicken

  19. acardnal says:

    Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria told LifeSiteNews last week that people in objectively sinful situations cannot receive Communion. (I think Fr. Z posted the video previously but it’s worth reiterating.)


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