The Wanderer: A Synod (“walking together”) of clichés

At my old stomping ground, The Wanderer, there is a good summary and analysis piece by Peggy Moen (a terrific editor!) who attended much of the Synod (“walking together”).

Clichés Of The Francis Era Dominate A Press Briefing

ROME — Following the Thursday, October 25 Youth Synod press briefing, I spoke with Robert Royal, editor in chief of The Catholic Thing, and said that I could as well have skipped this one. It was void of any substance.
They didn’t get what they wanted, he said, a pro-gay document, and that also it just wasn’t going to happen.
He agreed with me that the African bishops were likely responsible for this turn in synod events.
The October 25 briefing presentations were all process and no content, I said.
But, said Royal: “They would like the process to become content.”
Here are some examples of what was said in this press briefing. It took place two days before the vote on the synod’s final document:
A youth delegate, Lucas Borboza Galhardo from Brazil, said: “We walk together…a very strong participation — they’ve been listening to us.”
I thought of Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Mamfe, Cameroon, who, at the previous day’s press briefing said: “We should also get the youth to listen to the elders,” as it is not a matter of “one-way traffic.”
Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, OFM, archbishop of Trujillo, Peru, pointed to “a very important word . . . synodality” which is “for the young and with the young.”
“The Church should . . . take on this synodality,” he added.
We need to accompany all the discernment processes.”  [What does that even mean?!?]
In the subsequent question period, Suzy Pinto of EWTN News Nightly asked the archbishop what “synodality,” a word that “is not known,” means. He replied, in part, that Pope Francis “highlights that notion of walking together” with everyone in the Church, but also with those who are more distant.  [Who has noticed that when I write about the Synod I always add “walking together”?]
In his presentation, Arlindo Cardinal Gomes Furtado of Santiago de Cabo Verde called the synod “an experience of the Church . . . a communion amongst everyone . . . altogether forming a real ecclesial family.” He called it “a model for me.”
He added that we need to strengthen this process of working together, walking together.
Gualtiero Cardinal Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve praised the synod’s “so many different colors, so many different languages” and called the discussions in the small groups “unforgettable.” He said we must all “truly walk together.”
Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register tweeted on October 25: “#Synod18 sources: ‘Synodality’ as a new model of the Church (i.e. permanent revolution) is now being imposed on the assembly, despite it not figuring highly in working document nor synod discussions. It dominates 3rd part of final doc. draft, has no connection with synod theme.” [“permanent revolution” is a phrase made famous by Leon Trotsky.]
But along with a curious new word, “synodality,” Francis-era clichés ran through these press briefing comments: “accompany,” “walking together,” “listening,” “discernment process,” and more.
And the problem with a cliché is that its words have become empty of meaning.
In the question period, Vaticanista Sandro Magister told Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican’s Department of Communication, that in the past few days, L’Osservatore Romano has given information that was not provided in the synod press conferences.
As one example, Magister cited L’Osservatore Romano’s reporting that the Pope has taken part in the drafting of the final document. That is important news, said Magister, because the final document should be offered to the Pope, not written by him.
Magister asked: Do we also today have to wait for L’Osservatore Romano to get the information that was not given in the press conferences?
Ruffini — on the stage with the above four speakers and Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office — replied to the effect that he would answer questions, and anyone could otherwise read L’Osservatore Romano.  [??!??]
This, with all the above, speaks for itself.

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First, they are on side.  For many years before the development of alternative news through the internet, The Wanderer stayed on course as an invaluable resource for faithful Catholics against the ravages of the libs.

Second, they have good content.  We get our news swiftly through the internet, but we also need good commentary.

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The Wanderer has been walking the walk for a long time.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JonPatrick says:

    So much emphasis on “listening”.
    Are they listening to the people upset about the Homosexual sex abuse scandal and who want an end to the homosexual subculture in the Church?
    Are they listening to the young people that want more reverent worship that is in continuity with our Catholic tradition?
    As for “walking together” how are you going to get people to walk with you when they are not even sure they want to be left alone in the same room with you? Just saying.

  2. Kerry says:

    From the pilot’s seat of a B-52, Slim Pickens reads:
    “We need to accompany all the discernment processes. We need to discern all the processes of accompanying. We need to process all the accompaniment of discernment.”
    “Shoot!”, ain’t nobody ‘kin understand this stuff!”

  3. MaximilianAugustine says:

    “Who has noticed that when I write about the Synod I always add ‘walking together’?” I believe we’ve all noticed, Father. I always assumed you wanted to make sure that we, your classically educated readers, understand that the topic of this illustrious gathering is pastoral accompaniment and growth in sanctity through conformance to perennial Church doctrine, and not merely sexual intercourse, which is what, for example, Plutarch or Aristotle use the word “synodos” for.

    Oh, wait.

  4. Johann says:

    Father,I agree 100% that The Wanderer deserves our support. I would add the Catholic Herald in the UK ((and I heard somewhere they are going to be publishing an American Edition as well).

  5. TonyO says:

    From the Wanderer:

    And the problem with a cliché is that its words have become empty of meaning.

    Too true. And remember, this is NOT AN ACCIDENT. Remember George Orwell’s 1984, and the use of “Newspeak”? The government intentionally forces people to change the “meaning” of words over and over again, until they just give up the “meaning” fight altogether and simply accept whatever the government says without critical thought. The constant use of word-salad phrases (like in Kerry’s excellent illustration above) where the words end up being interchangeably used in any direction or combination at all shows that they are empty of actual specific content, they are used only for the “emotional quotient” of each word, and by increasing the number of high-EQ words one increases the EQ of the entire phrase, regardless of the fact that it means nothing at all.

    Instead of Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of the loaves (actual substance, which actually fed 5,000 men, plus women and children), we get a ‘miraculous’ multiplication of paragraphs, ad infinitum, where each paragraph is empty of substance; word phrases which feed nobody, sustain nobody, protect nobody, enlighten nobody.

  6. Andrew says:

    Suzy Pinto of EWTN News Nightly asked the archbishop what “synodality,” a word that “is not known,” means.
    I am surprised people don’t know that “synodality“, also known as “synodness,“ means almost the same as “meetingness“ or “meetingnity”. As in: “after our meeting we celebrated our meetingnity with a song and a dance.”

  7. roma247 says:

    It is very crucial to notice that “Synodality”=”Good” plus “Clericalism”=”Bad” equals dissolution of the authority inherent in the priesthood and in the Church Hierarchy, and thereby of scripture too. In other words, anarchy by committee and “individual pastoral accompaniment” (read: letting people do whatever they want) is intended to be the new model everywhere. This is what they mean by making sure that their changes are permanent and impossible to roll back.

    God save us.

  8. ajf1984 says:

    Whenever I read the “walking together” tag that Fr. Z always attaches to “synod,” I am reminded of the Emmaus appearance in Luke’s Gospel. How I wish this was the kind of “accompaniment” or “walking together” that so many in our Church have in mind when they use these words! For Christ walked together with the two disciples heading to Emmaus, and He certainly did listen to those two disciples–He listened to them speak of their imperfect understanding of His Life, Passion, and Death, and then He taught them the fullness of Truth! How I long for a Church that would have the courage to say to us, and to the world, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Lk 24:25). How I long to have “explained to [me] what was said in all the Scriptures” concerning the Lord (Lk 24:27). And finally, how I desperately wish to have Him “stay with us” and open our eyes…

  9. Il Ratzingeriano says:

    The walking together in this Synod had the appearance of a forced march. This is what walking together tends to look like when it is commanded by authority:

  10. jaykay says:

    “the final document should be offered to the Pope, not written by him.”

    So what was all that about dissing so-called “clericalism”, I wonder? Is this not the ultimate in “clericalism”?

    Or control freakery. Same thing, really.

    Oh well…

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Hodos” is the walking part of “synod”. It is also the Greek word for “the Way”. So we are not just supposed to be strolling and chatting. The bishops are supposed to be meeting together and showing us Jesus, keeping us traveling on Him.


  12. CharlesG says:

    “the final document should be offered to the Pope, not written by him.”

    This sham Synod process sounds just like the Chinese National People’s Congress — they just rubberstamp whatever Communist Party Central has already decided. What a joke.

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