The rhetoric of “walking together-ity”

Robert Royal has a good piece today at The Catholic Thing about the twisty, tricksy, rhetoric of reality distortion that is hanging like a dense fog obscuring the swamp of synodality (“walking together-ity”).

The Ruinous Rhetoric of ‘Synodal Interpretation’

Here’s a taste.


In The Divine Project: Reflections on Creation and the Church, a series of lectures from 1985, lost but rediscovered and recently published by Ignatius Press, Joseph Ratzinger’s very first sentences read:

Our first concern in this opening lecture is to work out the standards that we will be using to interpret Scripture: How, indeed, can we properly understand a biblical text – not coming up with ideas of our own, but remaining honest with ourselves as interpreters of history – and yet, without doing violence to the text, inquire into its relevance for the present?

This strikes the ancient Catholic note, the desire to know what God has communicated, carefully distinguishing what we might like to be the case, for whatever reasons, from what is the case, and the further effort – beyond intellectualism – to discern how it should shape our lives.

Compare Ratzinger’s spirit in seeking to understand Creation with this account in “Vatican News,” the website of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, of remarks by the General Relator of the Synod on Synodality at the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality:

In his third and final point, Cardinal [Jean-Claude] Hollerich offered a synodal interpretation of the creation text. Rather than looking at the text as the creation of “man,” or “man and woman,” or the institution of marriage and the family, a “synodal interpretation of the text” is that “humanity” was created, he said. “We as Church are part of that humanity, and we are called to serve humanity. So, a synodal Church is a Church that is missioned by Christ, proclaiming the Gospel. And if we do not serve the world, nobody will believe in [our] proclamation of the Gospel.”

Anyone reading this might be forgiven for thinking that “a synodal interpretation” – not only of the Creation account but of the Bible in general – really seeks to correct the defects of the text. Forget those simplistic bronze-age binaries, “male and female” He created them, or on the very next page, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gn. 2:24)

Forget what the text – which is to say divine revelation – actually says, concrete reference to man and woman. We now have – who knows how? – “humanity.”


One more step towards being a fulltime NGO.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Man and woman are concrete realities – or at least they used to be. Humanity is a vague notion.

    I believe it was C.S. Lewis who observed that there are plenty of people who love humanity, but who are absolutely awful toward individual men and women.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    Ugh, these men are nauseating. They have set up a false church of their own making. They kept the titles and buildings and money, but hollowed out the actual Catholic faith. They don’t like it. They can do better, they think.
    Their creation has nothing to do with Catholicism. It’s beautifully clear now. It’s great the wondering is over, we spent decades trying to figure it out, but that’s over.
    For the average Catholic, these men should be anathema, as scripture advises. Stick to the Jesus Christ, Our Lady, the saints, sacraments, Holy Mass, scripture, you know.

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