This isn’t satire or parody or Fr. Z’s version of the Babylon Bee.
I wrote about this yesterday. HERE I pointed out a couple of their core ideas, such as, “It is not enough to have a synod. We must be a synod.” and “The point of entry must always be ‘situatedness’.”
I promise you I am not making this up. A reader clued me in.
On page document page 29 (PDF page 31).
Discernment, then, is also an opening of the heart in love and mercy to all things. As St Isaac of Nineveh (St Isaac the Syrian) expresses it:
What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them, the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled, and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner, such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.18
18 First Collection, Homily 74.
Do get out there and pray for reptiles. Or maybe for demons depicted as reptiles?
Hmmm… isn’t Satan first depicted in Scripture as being a reptile? Isn’t the S. American demon/god Quetzalcoatl a feathered serpent?
Here’s the situatedness. This quote of Isaac the Syrian, “of Nineveh”, is quite popular in Eastern Christian thought. Google it. You find it also amongst environmentalists and animal rights activists such as the Animal Liberation Front (really).
At first glance this is a little alarming. My first thought was, “What does he mean in Syriac by demon?” I looked around at some of Isaac the Syrian’s writings. He talks about demons quite a bit and he really means demons: fallen angels. Isaac is also considered by scholars to be – not without some disagreeing – a believer in apokatastasis, that is, the eventual salvation of all creatures. For now, Isaac thinks that there truly is a Heaven and a Hell and that Hell is not empty. But eventually? [Not sure how that works.]
He also believes that God loves the damned and that the damned know that and that it makes them suffer more.
If there is out there an expert on Isaac the Syrian’s thought, please correct me if I am wrong.
In any event, it seems to me a curious thing to find, in a document produced by the Vatican’s Synod (“walking together”) document on the spirituality of synodality (“walking togetherality”), there should be a reference to loving – what else does “having a heart on fire” mean? – demons, when it was for a Synod that the demon idol Pachamama and all the environment mumbo jumbo was being bandied about.
It is not out of bounds to quote non-Catholic writers in such a document, but it seems to me that they’ve gone rather far afield to find someone who – and there’s a difference – affirms their position rather than shapes their position.
It seems to me that if you were on a team that was trying to get Catholics with skulls full of mush open to praying to trees and loving lizards with “hearts on fire” and even loving demons, this would be on the reading list.
Put enough of these comments into enough documents or speeches, and the cumulative effect over time will manifest itself.
It’s going to look a lot like a demon, too.