I admit to having Synod Fatigue™ already. I am so sick of it already, that even now I force myself to write this.
I hereby commit myself to use my irritation and concern to my advantage. I will force myself to pay attention and to mutter prayers as I go about my business in the following days.
On the one hand, I am not worried that the Synod will attempt to change God’s and the Church’s teaching. It can’t. The Synod can’t order pizza unless the Pope says so. On the other hand, I am worried that the widely reported antics that might take place at the Synod will create an atmosphere of expectation that God’s and Church’s teach can change and that, based on that expectation, people will start doing whatever the hell they want.
Some of you are no doubt saying, “But Father! But Father!” People are doing whatever the hell they want right now! Isn’t that great?!? This is the age of mercy! You hate Vatican II, don’t you!”
I don’t think it’s great, no. I think souls are in deep jeopardy and that many will be lost because of our feckless leadership and fuzzy teaching and aimless liturgical worship.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…
But back to my theme: the Synod.
I saw an interesting observation at the blog St. Corbinian’s Bear which merits a little of your attention. He makes a point about the papal style. Popes tend to begin with positive and affirming points before they weigh in with their true agenda, often correctives. The writer of the blog post trots out a Latin adage which is rather pointed. He begins with a personal viewpoint from his own experience as a lawyer. When judges would rule against him, they would start by praising his arguments, while waiting to the end to go against him. Thus the phrase in Latin, in cauda venenum… the poison is in the (scorpion’s) tail, that is, the stuff you don’t want to hear, the bad news, comes at the end of a discourse. It’s a pretty common technique.
He applied this to the Holy Father’s speech at the opening of the Synod.
You might check out his post.
BTW… during the Synod you will probably see endless repetitions of the groan-inducing cliche that Synod, made up of the Greek preposition syn and (h)odos means “walking together”. No. It means “meeting”. Sorry.
Here an example from VIS:
Over at The Catholic Thing Robert Royal (who I believe will also be providing some coverage of the Synod (not “walking together”) on EWTN with my friend Fr. Murray) provides some tips for your own sifting of news about the Synod. Here are the tips, but you have to go there for their explanations.
Principle No.1: Be Cautious About Drawing Large Conclusions.
Principle No. 2: But Don’t Be Too Cautious.
Principle 3: Look out for claims of a false sense of freedom in the Church. Principle 4: Stay focused on how that false freedom is corrupting concepts like love, mercy, charity.
Principle 5: So, Increase Your Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.
That last one is what I have more than once pushed you to do.
I recently gave a couple talks to two different groups about the Synod (not “walking together”). I confess that I painted a grim picture. I confess also that I wanted to scare them all a little and make them a little angry.
To help them (you) overcome Synod Fatigue when it inevitably sets in and keep them (you) focused on praying and fasting, asking God to protect the Church and her people (one might add… “from their pastors”).
This is not a time for endless happy talk. Some years ago I asked an American bishop what he thought was the state of the Church in these USA. “Terrible!”, he said. I asked, “What can we do to turn things around?” He responded, “The first thing we have to do is stop blowing happy gas!”
Meanwhile, I will recommend a few books.
First, don’t forget the game (Synod) changing book last year, the Five Cardinals Book™. This book scared the organizers of the Synod (not “walking together”) that the copies that were sent to the members were boosted from their mail boxes. Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church contains five essays of cardinals, of the archbishop secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, and of three scholars on the ideas supported by Walter Card. Kasper in the opening discourse of the consistory in February 2014. Also available now in the UK! HERE
There is now also the Eleven Cardinals Book™. Eleven Cardinals Speak On Marriage and the Family and also Christ’s New Homeland – Africa, the Ten Africans Book™. And to have a look at what the organizers of the Synod (not “walking together”) are capable of, see Ed Pentin’s new Smoking Gun Book™ about last year’s chaotic Synod.
Finally, here is a book that is being hailed as the “Ratzinger Report” for our time.
God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith by Robert Card. Sarah
He is the real deal. UK HERE
I wish this book had come out a few year ago.
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