Synod (“walking together”) art work was a distorting sham, say the students who were supposedly the subjects

Remember that art that the Synod (“walking together”) process in Philly excreted, not to reflect the actual opinions of young people but to drive an agenda?

Well, it turns out that the art was intended not to reflect the actual opinions of young people but to drive an agenda.

A priest friend alerted me to this piece at CNA.  You should also read the whole thing there.  I cut stuff out.

Some excerpts.  My emphases and comments:

Artwork based on a listening session for Philadelphia-area Catholic university students drew global comment and criticism after it was shared on Vatican social media. Organizers are now taking seriously some students’ objections that the art mislabels their images and misrepresents their professed Catholic faith.

“We thought it was misrepresenting what we were standing for,” Sean Smith, a student who is an active member of the Catholic Newman Center at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania, told CNA Sept. 30. “The artist put us in the spot where it looks like we are saying the beliefs found in the artwork. None of that is any of the beliefs that we share.

Smith and several companions had attended a session of the Philadelphia Catholic Higher Education Synod, which drew about 400 participants from 11 Catholic colleges or universities and three non-Catholic universities’ Catholic centers. The synod’s final report included artwork that drew global attention after the Synod of Bishops on Sept. 24 shared cropped images on its social media accounts.


Further, the artwork realistically draws six young people sitting in folding chairs. They are labeled as “Muslim,” “first-year education student,” “physics major,” “CLC leader,” “grad student,” and “Queer.” Various opinions are written in cursive across the whole image.


“The art portrayed in the picture of the synod does not correctly represent us as practicing Catholics. The artist depicted four out of five of us with false identities seemingly to fit a more inclusive and skewed agenda,” he told CNA.

Furthermore, the woman next to Smith was drawn with her real-life features, except she was drawn as a person of color and labeled as a graduate student, when she is a white undergraduate student.

“The woman next to her was labeled as queer, but she is a heterosexual woman in agreement with Church teaching on sexuality,” Smith told CNA. “This image warps the truth.”  [Tisk tisk.  What is “truth” after all?  The image has its own truths which are transformative!  They reflected you as you ought to be and will be through the synodal, walking together, process, maybe not this year or next year… but eventually, when you are all vaxxed multiple times, rendered sterile to save the planet and have a vague memory that what happened in that big decorated building, now a night club, was something against the unity of the global community.]


O’Connell [a spokesperson for the local synod team] said that, in her understanding, the artist used an image from the cross-campus gathering to try to “communicate the broader demographic of the 400 students.” [Sooo… not reality, as it really was but how it ought to have been.  Something not true.]

“Our intention there was that art expands the conversation, it doesn’t contract the conversation. Art opens up space for multiple interpretations,” O’Connell, who is an associate professor of Christian ethics [?!?!?] at La Salle University in Philadelphia, said. “Hearing that there have been students who feel as though their very selves have been misrepresented is a cause for real concern. So we are definitely trying to address that.”  [One might be tempted to think that a profession of Christian ETHICS at a nominally “Catholic” school might have thought of that ahead of time.  But the artist was chosen, not out of the blue, but for a reason.  And one might ask… was the artist paid?]

O’Connell said the first synodal session is focused on listening.

[NOTA BENE]This isn’t about articulating truths, it’s about articulating what the hopes and the dreams of the people of God are,” she said. She hoped that art in the next stage of the synod is “something that can help us cultivate much-needed skills for communal discernment.” [Orwell could not have done better. Read between the lines and you find propaganda.]

“We don’t want that to cause harm to any student who showed up and had entered into a space of trust to risk telling us what was really on their hearts in terms of their wounds and their hopes,” she said. [After exposure of this effeminate venom-infused navel-gazing B as in B, S as in S, I’d be surprised if a single man showed up for future events.  I am torn between saying to the college men who might read this in Philly either 1) ignore this crap or 2) organize, get a whole phalanx of glad trads and take over the damn meetings.]

Smith, one of the students who says he was misrepresented, said he and his companions were “trying to represent truth” and wanted to say that the youth would like the clergy to “share that truth found in Scripture.”

There’s a lot of confusion in the Church regarding clergy and opposing views between progressive bishops and conservative bishops,” he said. “What I’m looking for is a unifying voice.[“When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”]

In Smith’s view, the discussion at the cross-campus synod gathering reflected cultural pressures, [Wait for it….] including the discussion on homosexuality. He said the event “started out talking about women deacons and more representation in the Church and in the clergy.”  [homosexuality and deaconettes… whaddya know?  Yeah, normal men really want to sit around and share their feeling about that garbage.]

Other artwork from the synod report included a picture of a “woman priest” that drew particular comment and criticism when it was shared by the global Synod of Bishops on social media, given that the Catholic Church has rejected as impossible the ordination of women as priests.

Synod organizers said they had commissioned the artwork from Becky McIntyre, a northwest Philadelphia artist and alumna of St. Joseph’s University, because she has commitments to the Church and has “a deep background in an understanding of the arts and human dignity and the common good.”  [Her site HERE. “I believe art ignites transformative justice and healing.” Operational word: transformative. Look at the bio and her other gigs.]

“We believe in the power of artistic expression to help people speak and hear truths, to build empathy and compassion, to build participation especially for voices that are often marginalized in our Church,” organizers told CNA in a Sept. 29 email.  [“Especially traditionally-minded Catholics who have been callously shoved to the periphery”, she added with a snicker.]

The primary goal of this “listening phase” of the synod was “to listen well to the students,” organizers said.

“Our report is consonant with Catholics across the country shared about women’s leadership and ordination,” they added, citing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ own instruction that during the synodal process “one may agree or disagree with some of the perceptions heard and expressed, but we cannot assume they have no importance in lived reality.”  [So to hell with Church’s teachings.  This is Rawlsian exercise in forcing consensus by whatever means possible while cooing about process and safe spaces.]

Guidelines for the synodal process emphasize the need for people with different experiences and perceptions to “continue to meet and listen to one another” to help perceptions “become more realistic and less based on broader cultural or political narratives,” local organizers told CNA.  [Is that a freudian slip?  “to become more realistic [forget about the “ideals” that Catholic moral teaching offers] and less BASED…”? Please correct me if I am wrong but isn’t “based” right now the current opposite of “woke”?]

“We believe in building trust among students who named experiences of broken trust,” the local organizers said. [I’ll bet you are.]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. redneckpride4ever says:

    Is it me or is it a bit providential that the hippie movement coincided with the modernist theft of Vatican II?

    Speaking of hippies, I’ve been a Deadhead since I was 8 years old. I in fact saw the Grateful Dead in 1995. So I share this quote from Jerry Garcia:

    “So, one block, scarcely 100 yards from the door at 87 Harrington, was God’s House! In those days they still had the wonderful Latin Mass with its resonant sonorities and mysterious ritual movements, the incense, the music, choir, organ, bells, candles, the muted light through the stained glass windows.” (From the book Harrington Street).

    Hmm…he describes TLM as wonderful. He actually praised it quite lavishly.

    Sounds to me like the modernists were trying and failing to be hip with the youth 55 years ago to this day they pathetically repeat this silly error.

  2. TheCavalierHatherly says:


    Indeed, that’s a good description of what happened. The hippie movement can be distinguished into a couple of separate elements, which are actually at odds with one another if carefully scrutinized.

    In general, it can be described as a rebellion against the hubristic and deeply artificial culture produced after the second World War. On the one side you have the negative element: promiscuity, irresposibility, drug abuse. On the other side, these vices are all, in some way, a very bad attempt at fulfilling a good: romance, contemplation and leisure, wine and song. The Catholic tradition has no shortage of these things: we created chivalry, we perfected poetry, painting, sculpture, taught men the wisdom of Plato and Aristotle, valued hearth and home above progress and technology, etc, etc. And yet, like ungrateful children, all these inheritances were squandered. Instead, they embraced a dull and glinting soviet futurist’s fever dream. Thousands of searching souls who might have been saved were sacrificed for this sake. (A sort of spiritual version of Stalin and Mao’s massacres)

    “With a time rusted compass blade,
    Aladin and his lamp,
    Sits with utopian hermit monks
    Side saddle on the golden calf.
    And on their promises of paradise
    You will not hear a laugh…
    All except inside the gates of Eden.”
    -Bob Dylan

  3. Fr. Reader says:

    “This isn’t about articulating truths.”


  4. Sandy says:

    This is an example of why I do not trust “listening sessions” (whatever the heck that is). I saw one of these take place in a parish long ago, and it’s a way of letting “leaders” shape the outcome of a meeting; coming up with what they “want” people to decide. It’s probably common in the normal diocese these days! You can use all the white boards and pens you want; it’s still manipulative!

  5. MitisVis says:

    Many old timers in the good fight recognize this whole process. It’s called the
    Delphi Technique which has been used to manipulate meeting towards a predetermined outcome. Here is a link to a short explanation and example which after reading you may very well realize you have been victimized. The “We are Church” types have been using this technique since the late 80’s. If you are not familiar I urgently suggest you read the short article.

  6. Christina D says:

    Yet another reason not to trust “listening sessions” or account them as anything valuable. It’s nice when trads show up in droves to drown out the screaming, blue-haired crazies, but in the end, the synthesis that compiles all the info is rigged.

    I participated in an online, survey-format one for the diocese where I lived up till last summer. In our current Quebec diocese, unvaxxed swine were not permitted on church property and so could not participate in listening sessions. “Something something… listening to all voices…” Sure…

  7. Brian64 says:

    How brainwashed or blind does one have to be not to see that the attendees were manipulated and that the event summary was completely choreographed?
    How many blog entries recently have touched on this topic of the Church as a democratic institution? Jesus did not ask sinners their opinions on which sins should be ignored – or even praised. Disgusting!

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