#AmazonSynod through a lens from St John Henry Newman

Corruptio optimi pessima… the corruption of the best thing is the worst sort of corruption.

The other day I heard Australian author Tracey Rowland give a great talk in Rome about Newman’s idea of a university in juxtaposition with what’s going on in education today and what an “updated” Newmanian model might be given that not only must young men be trained to be Catholic gentlemen, but young women must be trained to be Catholic ladies.

That got me thinking more about Newman’s work, The Idea of the University, [US HERE – UK HERE] which I hadn’t read since the early 80s.  It was one of those works that the late Msgr. Schuler used to keep me on the hook during my journey toward and into the Church.   So, I’m reading it again.

I’m reading Newman’s Idea against the backdrop of Rome and the ongoing farcical pan-Amazonian (“walking together”) Synod.

So, along I read and arrive at this passage.    Read aloud and, in your mind, substitute “Ireland” and “England” with “Amazon”, “Celts and Saxons” with “indigenous tribes”, “Gregory” with “Francis”, etc.

In the first centuries of the Church all this practical sagacity of Holy Church was mere matter of faith, but every age, as it has come, has confirmed faith by actual sight; and shame on us, if, with the accumulated testimony of eighteen centuries, our eyes are too gross to see those victories which the Saints have ever seen by anticipation. Least of all can we, the Catholics of islands which have in the cultivation and diffusion of Knowledge heretofore been so singularly united under the auspices of the Apostolic See, least of all can we be the men to distrust its wisdom and to predict its failure, when it sends us on a similar mission now. I cannot forget that, at a time when Celt and Saxon were alike savage, it was the See of Peter that gave both of them, first faith, then civilization; and then again bound them together in one by the seal of a joint commission to convert and illuminate in their turn the pagan continent. I cannot forget how it was from Rome that the glorious St. Patrick was sent to Ireland, and did a work so great that he could not have a successor in it, the sanctity and learning and zeal and charity which followed on his death being but the result of the one impulse which he gave. I cannot forget how, in no long time, under the fostering breath of the Vicar of Christ, a country of heathen superstitions became the very wonder and asylum of all people,—the wonder by reason of its knowledge, sacred and profane, and the asylum of religion, literature and science, when chased away from the continent by the barbarian invaders. I recollect its hospitality, freely accorded to the pilgrim; its volumes munificently presented to the foreign student; and the prayers, the blessings, the holy rites, the solemn chants, which sanctified the while both giver and receiver.

Nor can I forget either, how my own England had meanwhile become the solicitude of the same unwearied eye: how Augustine was sent to us by Gregory; how he fainted in the way at the tidings of our fierceness, and, but for the Pope, would have shrunk as from an impossible expedition; how he was forced on “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,” until he had achieved the conquest of the island to Christ. Nor, again, how it came to pass that, when Augustine died and his work slackened, another Pope, unwearied still, sent three saints from Rome, to ennoble and refine the people Augustine had converted. Three holy men set out for England together, of different nations: Theodore, an Asiatic Greek, from Tarsus; Adrian, an African; Bennett alone a Saxon, for Peter knows no distinction of races in his ecumenical work. They came with theology and science in their train; with relics, with pictures, with manuscripts of the Holy Fathers and the Greek classics; and Theodore and Adrian founded schools, secular and monastic, all over England, while Bennett brought to the north the large library he had collected in foreign parts, and, with plans and ornamental work from France, erected a church of stone, under the invocation of St. Peter, after the Roman fashion, “which,” says the historian, “he most affected.” I call to mind how St. Wilfrid, St. John of Beverley, St. Bede, and other saintly men, carried on the good work in the following generations, and how from that time forth the two islands, England and Ireland, in a dark and dreary age, were the two lights of Christendom, and had no claims on each other, and no thought of self, save in the interchange of kind offices and the rivalry of love.

Recruited by the Pope, sent to a savage place, driven by charity, “until he had achieved the conquest of the AMAZON to Christ”, is what you will not be reading in the future.

“They came [to the AMAZON] with theology and science in their train; with relics, with pictures, with manuscripts of the Holy Fathers and the Greek classics…”.  Nope.

Instead, from the Amazon they came to Rome with pagan carvings that they set up in the hall where bishops babble, “under the invocation of St. Peter”.  They come to Rome and her churches consecrated to the Triune God to set their demon idols up in front of picnic tables installed by modernists to displace the glorious main altars lovingly built by our forebears.

Pope Francis speaks at the start of the first session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 7, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See SYNOD-OPEN-POPE Oct. 7, 2019.

It’s enough to make you weep and gnash your teeth.

Consider what lofty aims are bruited in the “walking together” hall, how we of the Greco-Roman Judeo-Christian Western and especially Northern civilization must listen to the atavistic, pagan worshipers of idols, indeed, we must listen to the idolized trees and toads and snakes and raindrops, and gather into our own Catholic Thing their “wisdom”.   It is suggested that we set aside proven disciplines of literally millennial testing and adapt to their ways.  Why?   Because, well, the alternative is toooo haaaard.

Reprising…

Augustine [of Canterbury] was sent to us by Gregory [the Great]; how he fainted in the way at the tidings of our fierceness, and, but for the Pope, would have shrunk as from an impossible expedition; how he was forced on “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,” until he had achieved the conquest of the island to Christ.

Even in the face of dire and even deadly prospect, Holy Mother Church’s sons and daughters, in unity with Peter and the Apostles, have been obedient to the Great Commission Christ bestowed at His Ascension: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. (Matthew 29:19-20)

Holy Church has always done this very thing in the inevitable, inexorable and also profoundly desirable dynamic process of authentic inculturation.

In authentic inculturation, what the Church has to give to the world must always have logical priority in the simultaneous interchange of elements with the world.  Reverse that priority, and you wind up with disasters… such as, for example, grinning Jesuits who pressure the Church to change her teaching on sodomy, or “walking together” participants who think there ought to be an Amazonian liturgical rite, the ash-canning of clerical celibacy, and the embrace of the impossible ordination of women.

In finem citius.

 

 

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10 Responses to #AmazonSynod through a lens from St John Henry Newman

  1. Kerry says:

    Tracy Rowland’s talk is posted at Catholic World Report. Get thee hence.

  2. Kevin says:

    “I cannot forget that, at a time when Celt and Saxon were alike savage, it was the See of Peter that gave both of them, first faith, then civilization; and then again bound them together in one by the seal of a joint commission to convert and illuminate in their turn the pagan continent.”

    And they didn’t change Church dogma, doctrine, teachings, or tradition to accomplish it.

  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    It’s an insult to the old school Jesuits and Franciscans, too, who respected Amazonian native rights, learned native languages, and brought them the true faith as well as the best European art and science.

    This is treating native people like zoo exhibits, and treating all religion like amusing parade floats.

  4. FrAnt says:

    I think of all that is wrong at this moment of Church history, I always think of the disregard many have for the martyrs. I believe that if asked about the witness of the martyrs, the modernists would say they were fools. Because of my belief, I make sure to celebrate all feasts and memorials of the martyrs in the NO calendar. I preach on their heroic lives even when very little is known. Just the fact that they died defending the faith is enough. I hope that their stories will encourage us to stand-up to the heterodox leaders and their minions in the Church. St. Agnes, Virgin, and Martyr: Pray for us.

  5. What I find fascinating is that the “Amazon synod” isn’t even taking place in the Amazon. It’s a strictly Euro-American concoction. That yard sale–looking “altar” looks strictly synthetic, like someone Western’ss idea of cool pagan stuff. That naked pregnant lady is a hoot! I’ve never seen any indigenous art that looked like that! It looks like something sculpted by a junior-year art major trying to imitate Gauguin.

    If you’ve ever been on a guided tour of, say Incan or Meso-American ruins, you invariably have one of the guides blathering sentimentally about the “authentic” native religion that everyone down there supposedly practices. It’s always about “Mother Earth” and “Father Sun” and how in touch with nature the indigenous people supposedly were/are. There’s no resemblance to the actual religions of the Aztecs and the Maya. In those religions the gods were implacably cruel and wanted to be placated by human sacrifice. I’ve been on two guided tours of Guatemala, neither of which even mentioned the actual religion of large numbers of Guatemalans, which was evangelical Protestantism (they’d mention Catholicism from time to time as a sort of superficial veneer). Our bus would pass evangelical church after evangelical church, but no guide ever seemed to notice that they were there.

    I don’t think anyone at that Synod has any idea of what religion in the Amazon is actually like. I don’t know myself, but I have a strong feeling that neither do the attending bishops.

  6. OssaSola says:

    If I could afford a ticket to Rome, I would make my way to that church and lay hands on that Pachamama idol monstrosity and destroy the damned thing yelling “With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord!” Then hope my Go Fund Me campaign would cover my bail.

    I have no illusions it would wake any one out of whatever demonic disorientation they seem to be suffering over there; they would doubtless label me reactionary and rigid, but it has such a satisfying, Old Testament-y thunder to it!

  7. JonPatrick says:

    It is hard to take, this picture of the bishops and cardinals sitting with this demonic idol in front of a junk pile of pseudo Amazonian artifacts as though nothing unusual is happening. How easily we get used to the bizarre becoming commonplace and how we can tolerate things we never thought we would.

  8. Matamoros says:

    I found this somewhat funny: “…Theodore, an Asiatic Greek, from Tarsus; Adrian, an African; Bennett alone a Saxon, for Peter knows no distinction of races in his ecumenical work. “. The Greek is a European living in Asia, i.e., what is now Turkey. The African is also a European from North Africa, as this is pre-moslem conquest. They are all one race, European. He was obviously using the word “race” to mean our present day nationality.

  9. The Cobbler says:

    Matamoros,

    I find it funny in turn when issues concerning the people of foreign nations are assumed to be “racial”, as though those nations are ethnically homogeneous (Latin America is particularly not). The ancients, for all their tribal feuds, hardly even had a concept of what we now call race; the moderns are ethnonationalist even when they style themselves against racism!

  10. The Cobbler says:

    The other day I heard Australian author Tracey Rowland give a great talk in Rome about Newman’s idea of a university in juxtaposition with what’s going on in education today and what an “updated” Newmanian model might be given that not only must young men be trained to be Catholic gentlemen, but young women must be trained to be Catholic ladies.

    I have to say I’m tickled by the fact that: we traditionalists hold that, though the focus or path to virtue may differ for man and woman, in the end order, holiness and virtue are not what the kids these days call a “gendered” issue; while on the other hand in my experience it is woke feminists who do not want women held to standards like men or treated as men’s equals.