#Synod2018 concerns in a couple of sharp sentences. Then Fr. Z rants.

At my old stomping ground, The Wanderer, their weekly contributor and a ubiquitous tweeter Fr. Kevin Cusick, nailed the Synod (“walking together”) situation in a couple of sentences.

Another rigged Synod is now underway with predictable results. All we need to know to verify that is the information that Archbishop Bruno Forte is on the drafting committee again for this confab. He is responsible for inserting pro-LGBT propaganda in the written record of the earlier Family Synod.
Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri says the drafts of the final document of Synod 2018 will be kept confidential and will not be published. What has been made public thus far indicates that the synod counts on another ruse to manipulate Church teaching for ill purposes.

Based on what we have seen, that nails it.   Today’s revelations about procedures give slim comfort.  HERE

The rest of Cusick’s piece concerns the gulf between what Synod organizers think young people want and need and what they really want and need, especially in regard to Tradition.  There are some funny memes about that, as I am sure you have seen.  His observations align very much with what I wrote yesterday in commenting on something Fr. Cipolla wrote at Rorate.  HERE

It strikes me that a huge swath of The Powers That Be are clueless.  Their cluelessness is self-imposed.  They are so committed to their ideological view of the Church and their clericalist condescension toward her members that they won’t permit that any other approaches be tried, especially if TRADITION is invoked.

We are left with – to use harsh imagery a “war of attrition” or, in a phrase that drives libs nuts, a “biological solution”.  Either way, the attrition and the ticking clock solution applies to all of us.  Which side with be ground down under the boots of the world, the flesh and the Devil faster?

Across the board, as demographics shift, we are going to lose huge numbers of nominal Catholics.  However, when I visit traditional parishes or communities, I see that the TLMs are the “children’s Mass”, based on the numbers of youngsters, young families and their rapidly increasing offspring.  Where I am on Sundays, it seems like every other week there is a newborn to be admired.  The average age in the pews must be about 7.

This suggests to me that there is a real and a fruitful synergy between the young people of today and Tradition, which is alive.

Tradition is alive and young people can have a relationship with it, just we can have a relationship with the true content of our Faith, whether fides quae or fides qua, who is in actuality a Divine Person.

In their relationship with Tradition young people and old alike are networked, so to speak, with our Catholic brethren across the globe and our forebears even across the doors of death.

There’s a thrumming depth to our millennia spanning global Tradition. Something cobbled up in the last few years in this or that place cannot offer the same.

In his indispensable book Noble Simplicity (US HERE – UK HERE), Peter Kwasniewski quoted my old friend, the late Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, may he rest in peace, saying:

Only the man who has roots has a future. Part and parcel of the problems of modern man are that because he has cut his roots with his own past, he can no longer project himself to the future. Man, without an inherited and objective frame of reference, cannot even make sense of the present in which he lives. To attempt to achieve freedom by escaping from the burdens of tradition tends to result in a new enslavement to a chaotic present.

In a more mundane way, in the movie The African Queen Humphrey Bogart explains to Katharine Hepburn that they have to get the propeller working because, in order to steer the boat through the dangerous rapids, they have to go faster than the current.  Like the root image, above, the propeller simultaneously “roots” the boat in the past while providing the organic option of where to go in our future without being swept helplessly into the rocks.

Meanwhile, each day with my increasingly gray hair and multiplying aches I smile at the words at the foot of the altar, “Introibo ad altare Dei… I will go to the altar of God, to God who gives joy to my youth.”  There is much for reflection in that first antiphon of Mass.

A smaller but highly creative flock is being drawn from the great culling and falling away.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. luciavento says:

    I still do not see personally the TLM out pacing attendance at liberal NO Masses. The two most highly attended Masses I attended recently were at churches where the tabernacle was not in the church, the architecture was highly modern, no one knelt during the Mass (except us), etc. etc. One church had bulletin boards and desks IN the sanctuary, as well as windows that opened up to the left of the altar where they served donuts and coffee right after Mass. The Masses at these modern parishes were standing room only. I do not see such high attendance at conservative NO Masses or TLMs in my area. [It may be that you stumbled into a non-Catholic worship space.]

  2. mwa says:

    There is a passage in Judith’s Marriage (by Bryan Houghton) which lays out very nicely this 2way nature of tradition. It is spoken by an old man who has just come to believe the truth of the Church on account of the birth of his grandson Richard:
    ‘ “As I said, my dear children, I am not a religious man, but I am a practical one. What is to be done about my recognition of God’s mercy manifest in our baby? I want to be buried exactly as Richard will be. I shall instruct my executors to bury me as an R.C., in the religion I not only despised, but hated. I think I hated it because of its claim to be changeless in a changing world. Like a fool, I always pictured tradition in my mind as looking backwards. But since the birth of Richard, at last I realize that tradition is precisely looking forward, giving to the new life — to Richard — the incalculable accumulation of knowledge and wisdom which has been handed down to us. Therein lies the strength of your Church. It lies less in your possession of the traditions which it has received than in the guarantee to hand them on to the end of time. That you should be buried as were your forefathers is less significant than that I can guarantee to be buried as will my grandson. Tradition is an insurance for the future, not a bill for the past. How right you Catholics are!”
    It must be remembered that Sir George was talking in June 1958, when what he said appeared true to the point of being trite.’

  3. crjs1 says:

    luciavento I think it highly dependant on location. In Scotland where I am my experience is similar to yours in that the most liberal parishes have by far the largest congregations (on Sundays, barely a soul at daily Mass). The traditional rite is barely offered anywhere – and i am in Glasgow Scotland’s largest city. Where it is offered attendance is low and certainly not ‘young’. But in saying that I have friends in parts of England, like London where the opposite is true. I think it’s hard to generalise and supportive Bishops are key. Let’s just say Scottish bishops are far from fans of tradition by and large.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    I doubt the Synod organizers think young people want or need the changes they inflict. They are following the plan they have had roiling around in their heads for quite some time now. They have their opportunity, so they are implementing it. It was reported that when teens and “youths” were polled, they often were asking for tradition, but that was obviously going to be ignored, and it was ignored. This synod will “find” that young people are greatly concerned about “accompaniment” (a word no teen has ever actually used), and LGBT-related concerns. They won’t want to be judged with objective criteria (the Gospel) etc., etc. All the talking points of the current crop of poofy old geezers currently running the church.
    I saw a few photos of the youths and their dancing at the synod. I am not trying to be critical or mean, really I’m not. These are not your typical young people, and young people dancing all over the place? Spontaneously? American kids would certainly not do this, maybe European kids would. But they act more like a kids acting/dance troupe than typical Catholic young people.

  5. The penitential rite is one of my favorite parts of the traditional Mass. It is one of the things I really like about low Mass. The penitential rite is one of my least favorite parts of the new Mass, because in my diocese the practice seems to be for the priest to fill it full of a lot of speechifying and ad lib the words, thus making it anything but humble (thought it is very penitential to have to sit through).

  6. Malta says:

    Let’s get the acronym right, it’s : lggbdtttiqqaapp I suspect they will come-up with more letters in the future.


  7. Nathan says:

    Back to the synod for a second. Father, you mentioned that the Powers that Be might be willfully clueless. But what do they really hope to achieve in cooking the books for a synod, which undermines the entire purpose of one? Do they not consider that future generations will see a rigged synod as illegitimate? Do they not observe that, even with ecumenical councils, even with open discussion and decision making, synods are more likely to be unsuccessful than successful? How can you work through an issue in a synod honestly and in a way that will last when the outcome is pre-ordained?

    I don’t think that the council fathers at Nicaea pre-wrote the creed, even though Arius and his faction were utterly defeated there. Even Luther at the Diet of Worms (not a synod but operated much as one might, given the Christian society at the time) was given the opportunity to make his case without the outcome being preordained by the participants. The key to a synod being successful is the open airing of all the sides and honest discussion and decision making; you know, treating your fellow Catholics and Christians as Catholics and Christians. In fact, one of the historical problems with Vatican II’s legitimacy is the lingering perception that only one side was given the opportunity to speak, epitomized by the microphone cutting and mocking of Cardinal Ottoviani.

    This strikes me much as baby-boomer politics at work, even in the Church. “We’re going to die soon, so this is our last chance to get a document that reflects our agenda that we wanted in the 1960s and 70s, and darnit, we are going to set up the rules to make sure we get what we want. Naah Naah Naah.” In my opinion, this is not the way to achieve much of anything other than destruction.

    In Christ,

  8. KateD says:

    For several years now I have been straining to understand what is going on with the Church. I have resisted the obvious conclusion, turning always to Jesus’ statement that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her and looking to the example of Saint Francis and Saint Peter.

    Ultimately, I keep coming back to, “Walks like a duck….”

    And it reminds me that Jesus calls us to be gentle as lambs and clever as wabbits.


  9. tho says:

    I don’t mean to downplay the loss of life, but Vatican II and it’s spirit, was like an atomic bomb dropped on the sensibilities of way too many Catholics, both lay and clerical. And I think that there is a strong parallel between the fallout of deadly radiation, on the church, that has been going on since VII. It cannot be long before the all clear is sounded, and our return to Tradition.
    The attendees at a liberal Novus Ordo can be ascribed to any group who would enjoy a picnic, rather than the realization that life has an ending, that we should be prepared for.

  10. hwriggles4 says:

    Cardinal Sarah has explained that young people do not want the watering down. My Catholic news feed had a link to an article about this topic.

    I trust this source – it came from the UK Catholic Herald – Fr. Z sometimes refers to this publication in his posts.

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