The circularity of word salad synodality. Walking together… in a circle apparently.

I think today’s presser on the Synod (“walking together”) on Synodality (“walking togetherness”) produced the best description of Synodality (“walking togetherness”) so far.

It’s the cirrrrrrcle of liiiiiiife!

Otherwise… maybe it’s this?

In the Inferno, Canto 3, Dante is led by his master Virgil through the Gate of Hell (with its famous inscription) into the Fore-Hell.  Fore-Hell is the place of the tepid, who never decided to be either good or evil.   Here Dante sees a plain where a vast crowd of souls screaming in agony are stung by wasps, their blood dripping wounds eaten by worms.  They are doomed to chase in a circle for all of eternity after a huge whirling banner that has no symbol, no meaning.

I then: “Master! what doth aggrieve them thus,
That they lament so loud?” He straight replied:
“That will I tell thee briefly. These of death
No hope may entertain: and their blind life
So meanly passes, that all other lots
They envy. Fame of them the world hath none,
Nor suffers; mercy and justice scorn them both.
Speak not of them, but look, and pass them by.”

And I, who straightway look’d, beheld a flag,
Which whirling ran around so rapidly,
That it no pause obtain’d: and following came
Such a long train of spirits, I should ne’er
Have thought, that death so many had despoil’d.

When some of these I recogniz’d, I saw
And knew the shade of him, who to base fear
Yielding, abjur’d his high estate. Forthwith
I understood for certain this the tribe
Of those ill spirits both to God displeasing
And to his foes. These wretches, who ne’er lived,
Went on in nakedness, and sorely stung
By wasps and hornets, which bedew’d their cheeks
With blood, that mix’d with tears dropp’d to their feet,
And by disgustful worms was gather’d there.

There’s some circularity for ya’.

Virgil tells Dante not to acknowledge any of these souls, which is part of their punishment: non-recognition a deserved nobody-ness. This is the consequence of moral cowardice.

And so we return to the Synod (“walking together”) of Bishops in the circularity of a Synod (“walking together”) on Synodality (“walking togetherness”).

BTW… before I leave you to ponder this, demons long to have an identity, and so invoking as “spirits” that which is not God allows demons to attach to the names.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. excalibur says:

    Starting to sound like Ralstonism.

  2. Front Pew View says:

    In corporate or governmental parlance, this is basically the Committee on committees.

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Z, this touches on something that just always feels off, and it only makes sense considering these modernists just can’t say or do anything faithful. They have to change everything. For as long as I can remember the pope, bishops, priests referred to the “Holy Spirit”. Then Francis is in the chair and suddenly it’s just “the spirit”. No more Holy. But if you aren’t talking about the Holy Spirit, what spirit are you talking about, and why did that have to change. It didn’t have to change, and changing it should probably make faithful Catholics squirm like an itchy bear cub. Now we know, of course, that invoking other spirits is more than just fine now, according to these people. So go invoke demons, spirits, sprites, fairies, elves, witches, whatever ya got. That’s in-sane. Or should be.

  4. WVC says:


    Little Dorrit.

    Chapter 10.

    The Circumlocution Office.

  5. Uniaux says:

    Fruitful circularity?

    Sounds fruity.

  6. hilltop says:

    In Washington, DC there used to be The Association of Association Presidents. This led me mirthfully ( and derisively) consider the absurdity of being the President of the Association of Association Presidents.
    These People……

  7. TonyO says:

    I suspect this new “synodality” is a farce. But it is being used for a very serious purpose: that of power.

    The leftist grass roots think that communitarianism and collegiality and “sharing power” is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and they are fed that gruel all day long. In the meantime, those at the top don’t believe if for a minute: “collegiality”, in their hands, is a means for getting those in power – when it’s not the liberal elites – to share their power with those lower down, which weakens their power and dilutes their capacity to get anything useful done against left-liberal extremism. However, when the leftist elites are in power, they don’t for a minute share power with those lower down, no, they stick knives in their backs, and USE all their power to enforce their vision. They don’t even pretend to believe in collegiality then.

    Synodality is a new mechanism in the same strain: it is a method for using up the energy of all the grass-roots efforts in mindless talk, pretending that all such talk will be “heard” higher up. However, there will be SO MANY different threads of “conversation” being said aloud (recall Babel) that then the elites in power can assert anything they please as being “what ‘the people’ have been asking for”. Anything at all. Because, in reality, there will have been SOME people lower down asking for EXACTLY what the elites want to pursue. (And if there weren’t any groups lower down asking for that, the elites are perfectly able to plant the necessary instigators to generate talk in the right direction.

    What evidence is there of this? So far, 2 items: First, there was absolutely NO EFFORT, in the synodal process so far, to limit, or even wave in the vague direction of limiting, the participants of the process to be believing and practicing Catholics. None. So, members of “Catholics for Choice” would have been just as able to register their feelings as real Catholics. Second, there was absolutely NO means of ensuring that the reports of the “discussions” and commentary were formed and collated in a faithful manner: those making the reports could emphasize whatever elements of the people’s comments they chose, and ignore whatever they felt best to ignore. And this not only was possible at the first level (in parishes), it was also possible at each further stage. There is simply no POSSIBLE way to say whether the reports getting to Rome, and then any summary getting to the pope or any person making decisions, have even the least shred of similarity to the actual discussions as they played out in the parishes.

  8. Grant M says:

    I wasn’t thinking of Dickens or Dante. I was thinking of AA Milne and of Piglet and Pooh unwittingly wandering in circles though the forest and wondering at the mysterious footprints they encounter in the snow.

  9. teomatteo says:

    Like a shark jump’n a shark

  10. Ipsitilla says:

    To the tune of “Sisters” from “White Christmas”:

    “Synods, synods, there have never been so many synods
    They’ve got no agenda here, no sirree
    They’ll let the Holy Ghost be free
    Talking, talking, round and round in circles we are walking
    ‘Cause a certain Pontifex who lives in Rome
    Is hoping to hear from us at home

    Give him a yodel if you’re synodal…”
    (more here)

  11. roma247 says:

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

    Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 1:18-25)

    Or there’s always Isaiah 5, which should make everyone feel better…

  12. Benedict Joseph says:

    I’m beginning to think that Kamala Harris is there, or at least her speech writer.

  13. mburduck says:

    Nice literary allusion, WVC!

  14. majuscule says:

    TonyO said …those making the reports could emphasize whatever elements of the people’s comments they chose, and ignore whatever they felt best to ignore. And this not only was possible at the first level (in parishes)…

    I witnessed this first hand at a local diocesan listening session.

    We were organized in tables of six people with one person acting as “scribe” who was to capture the thoughts of all. I did not realize until well into the process that the “scribe” at our table was a militant contraceptive advocate. I was also the only one at our all female table who was against the ordination of women.

    I have no idea what this “scribe” wrote down. Since the room full of people had all prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit (and the word Holy was used) I would like to think that she did make note of any views opposed to her own.

    At the end of the session the remarks were to be collated and turned in to the diocese by a woman hired to run the various meetings. And those again were to be collated by someone else and sent…where? And around and around we go!

  15. josephaloisius says:

    What does it take for someone just to come on out and say, Bergoglio is most likely the pope who is under the control of Satan??? Does one honestly believe that if one follows Bergoglio in the Christian life with no other influence or prior knowledge that one can remain in friendship with the Lord?? I think not. It seems as though we are bending over backwards to avoid saying the obvious? If he wore a black cassock, what would we say about him? Would we encourage our children to follow him? I wouldn’t and don’t. He plays footsies with the LGTB group rather than condemning it outright. It is my main battle as a father. Even at Catholic schools. Especially at Catholic schools. But sure, let’s pretend we can learn anything from him. Rather than exposing my children to him where I have to explain away his flirtation with heresy every month (even Cardinal Mueller says he surrounds himself with heretics). No thanks. They know who he is but also know he can’t be trusted.

  16. acardnal says:

    What is it with all the “circle” talk by the liberals in the Church all the time? It reminds me of the labyrinth story Fr. Z wrote about some years ago regarding the Sinsinawa Dominicans. HERE

  17. James C says:

    “ I suspect this new “synodality” is a farce.”

    You think? Guess who has been named to the committee to draft the “synthesis” for the Synod?

    Austen Ivereigh.

    Guess who Cardinal Roche met with today? The correspondents for the Fishwrap and the Bitter Pill.

  18. sendero says:

    In the corporate world, it was called the “circle of excellence” which discussed the “centers of excellence” ad nauseaum.

  19. The Vicar says:

    “The Circumlocution Office”


    The Ministry of Silly Walks?

  20. sendero says:

    When some of these I recogniz’d, I saw And knew the shade of him, who to base fear
    Yielding, abjur’d his high estate.


  21. BeatifyStickler says:

    Synodality is a BS way to push an agenda in the name of the Spirit! It’s like the spirit of Vatican 2 crap that we have all heard our entire lives. Circularity, sounds super gay and another stun bling block to keep hard working men out of the Church. Men associate circleness with pansy’s and gay mens clubs. God help our Church.

  22. James C says:

    It seems like in this new Synodal Church EVERYTHING is up for discussion except for the traditional liturgy.

    Well, not everything. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Academy of Life, was on the Italian state TV station RAI last night. Asked about Italy’s law 194, which provides for publicly funded abortions and which is responsible for the deaths of millions of preborn children, he described the law as “a pillar of society” and said repealing it is “absolutely not” up for discussion.

  23. Fallibilissimo says:

    @James C,

    On other occasions I’ve seen Bp Paglia defend life issues on TV, sometimes quite firmly. If this is the whole of his contribution to the show, this latest appearance will not go down as one of them. He seemed to want to shift the issue to use more “positive” language regarding maternity and fostering families. I think if you would press him on his performance he might argue he was merely observing social realities that abortion has become an integrated pillar of modern society and that, as a matter of fact, it is not up for discussion.

    Must be said, the odd time that abortion legalization comes up during a campaign, even centre-right and right wing politicians in Italy don’t talk about eliminating the law and give guarantees that their governments would never repeal the law. If Bp Paglia was speaking as a mere observer, he’s sadly accurate.

  24. OldProfK says:

    Circumlocution Office, Committee on Committees, Department of Redundancy Department.

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