The false front is showing on this Potemkin Synod – Catholic World Report

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The meaning of the Synod for many of its proponents is the elimination, or radical alteration, of “structures of exclusion,” chief among them the Church’s traditional natural law moral theology as exemplified in Veritatis Splendor.

The Synod on Synodality is just around the corner in October and already one can feel the excitement building among rank-and-file Catholics for what promises to be the first time the Church has ever really listened to them. At least, that is what synodal cheerleaders like Austen Ivereigh and Massimo Faggioli are breathlessly announcing, claiming that the Holy Spirit has finally broken through the cracks in the ecclesial sidewalk and is ushering in a new era of “being Church”.
Never mind that only 1-2% of Catholics worldwide participated in the listening sessions. Never mind that the potted-questions they were handed were not the result of the scientific, well-established protocols for poll taking or opinion gathering. Instead, they were the product of ecclesiastics out of their depth and who thus framed leading questions such as: “What is your experience of exclusion and inclusion in the Church?”
Besides, contrary to my sarcastic opening line, the vast majority of Catholics probably do not even know that such a Synod on Synods is even taking place.
Never mind all of that because there is an ongoing effort among the promoters of the Synod to create an image of the event as straightforward and unproblematic, with definitional specificity and a clearly articulated set of safely orthodox goals. That this is—finally!—the implementation of Vatican II and its ecclesiology (apparently, ahem, after a long interruption by two papacies), that nothing doctrinally untoward is going on here, and that all claims to the contrary are hyperbolic hyperventilations from the loony right-wing of the American Church. The image is being presented of a Synod that represents a true “listening” to the “people of God” with the latter being misconstrued, as I have pointed out elsewhere, as a kind of mysticism of proletarian egalitarianism.
But none of this is true. We are being presented with a Potemkin Synod, the true goals of which remain hidden in mystery behind the outward façade of an almost conservative sense of ecclesial respectability. Even Pope Francis now admits that the upcoming Synod probably holds little interest to most Catholics owing to its self-referential and rather technical nature and therefore, on its face, has only a small bearing on the real lives of people in the pews.
However, the Pope insists, it is still an event of enormous importance for the Church. But why?
Pope Francis goes on to explain the why and thereby adds to the Potemkin façade of a Synod that is, apparently, about nothing more nefarious than listening in mutual dialogue and harmony while we all walk together in togetherness. And he further underscores that the Synod’s “reality” is a call for a Church of inclusion for everyone. So the Synod is, as he says, an exercise in “listening together” and he emphasizes over and over the need for synodality as a means for universal inclusion of all voices in the Church. This is as close as we have come to a papal explanation of what he considers to be the deep essence of the Synod, and that essence is a listening to everyone in a manner that will lead to a Church that is universally inclusive of everyone, with apostolic office walking hand in hand with all of the baptized. He states:
We have opened our doors; we have offered everyone the opportunity to participate; we have taken into account everyone’s needs and suggestions. We want to contribute together to build the Church where everyone feels at home, where no one is excluded. That word of the Gospel that is so important: everyone. Everyone, everyone: there are no first-, second-, or third-class Catholics, no. All together. Everyone. It is the Lord’s invitation.
Those are nice words—and who could possibly object to them? But what do they really mean? What do they truly signal? Because, in fact, the Church is already inclusive of everyone; everyone that is willing to submit to the Church’s moral, spiritual, and sacramental discipline. And no matter how often we might stumble, fall, and backslide into sin, we are only a Confession away from reconciliation and beginning anew. But the Pope’s words seem to imply that the Church is not now truly inclusive of everyone and that “synodality” means that we are now rectifying the situation by opening new doors that have, apparently, been closed.
Perhaps the Pope is just doubling down on the traditional sense of inclusion and simply wants to place even greater emphasis upon it. However, who can take seriously the Pope’s call for the inclusion of “everyone” when his papacy has been marked by a singular refusal to dialogue and listen to his more conservative critics? Who can take seriously his call for free and open-ended discussion (parrhesia as he calls it) when he himself only seems to want to dialogue with those who agree with him? Indeed, rather than listen to his critics and reach out to them “inclusively” he has instead excluded those who desire to worship in the older forms, scolded them for their pharisaical “rigidity” and “backwardism”, and refused to give them a hearing.
And I am not talking here about the small but vicious wing of the traditionalist movement—and it is vicious—but of those more conservative Catholics who simply long for a liturgical experience of transcendence and who are not finding it in their parishes which are quite often boring and uninspiring. I am talking about Catholics who desire a Catholicism that requires something of us, that has “bite”, and provokes us by way of a challenge to holiness.
In a recent interview I conducted with Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, the bishop referred to these sorts of Catholics as “glad trads”, a term I happily embrace. He described a typical glad trad as someone like a young woman who comes to Mass dressed in sweat pants, a hoodie, and a Mantilla. And what his description meant to capture was the thoroughly comfortable manner in which such young people have embraced the tradition, but without rancor, ideology, or puritanical rigidity. And with a joyous yearning for Christ.
Many of these Catholics feel thrown under the bus by this papacy as they struggle to raise their children in the pornified cultural septic tank, seeking to live by the Church’s moral and liturgical traditions—only to be scolded for their alleged “nostalgia” and rigidity. And, quite frankly, this angers me deeply since it is so manifestly inaccurate and unfair, and therefore lacking in charity.
But this should not be surprising since a Potemkin Synod requires a Potemkin villain as its putative foil. And so the call has gone out for a more inclusive Church in order to overcome the dragon of judgmental, finger-wagging, moralizing Catholicism which, apparently, has morality bouncers in the vestibule making people feel bad about themselves. However, this is certainly not the pastoral reality in the vast majority of parishes. The truth is actually the opposite, with empty Confession lines while the Communion lines are full.
Where is this “rigid” Catholicism of which the Pope speaks so often? Answer: it exists only in small and insignificant pockets, and therefore the bogeyman of moralistic Catholicism is just that: a fiction. But it is a useful Potemkin fiction meant to deflect from the deeper reality of the aims of the Synod by its most ardent supporters.
Meanwhile, so-called “Pride” Masses proliferate without the same kinds of punitive sanctions levied against traditionalists. And some European bishops are now beginning the liturgical blessing of same-sex “unions” without a peep from Rome. The Pope has made James Martin, SJ, a voting member of the synod and made Cardinal Hollerich—a prelate who has openly called the Church’s teaching on homosexuality to be wrong—the Relator General of the Synod.
Allowing such folks to have their say and even elevating them to positions of authority is already telling enough. But when one also sanctions more conservative voices at the same time the clear impression is given that this is a strange form of “inclusion” indeed. And when one couples this strangeness with the message of prelates like Cardinal McElroy—a papal favorite—a clear picture begins to emerge as to what is really meant by the “inclusion of everyone” mantra. Cardinal McElroy wants total open table fellowship at the Eucharistic liturgy, a downplaying of the Church’s traditional sexual morality, a greater openness to the LGBTQ+IA “community”, and a radically inclusive Church that overcomes our ongoing “structures of exclusion”.
Thus, we are seeing what is truly meant by a Church that is open to everyone. We now see what the meaning of the Synod is for many of its proponents beyond the Potemkin façade. It means the elimination, or radical alteration, of these structures of exclusion. And it is now clear what these structures are, chief among them the Church’s traditional natural law moral theology as exemplified in Veritatis Splendor. The new head of the DDF, Cardinal designate Victor Manuel Fernández, has already stated that Veritatis was a fine encyclical as far as it went, but since it was mainly a document meant to discipline certain errors, it did not engender a true reform of moral theology, which is a task which the Pope has given to him. But this is a wildly inaccurate assessment of the theological depth of that encyclical and is also an empirically false statement about the nonexistence of moral theologies inspired by it.
Thus, the “favored words” like inclusion and “welcoming everyone” and “listening to everyone” are Potemkin words because they come across as ever so reasonable even as they gloss over what appears to be a deeper agenda of change in a particular ecclesial direction. Here it is instructive to recall the Pope’s statements, similar in tonality but not in complete content to Cardinal McElroy, to the effect that a priest should never deny absolution to a penitent (even if manifestly unrepentant one can only assume) and that he (the Pope) has never, ever denied anyone Communion. By implication, one can only assume therefore that the Pope made these references in order to make a point about the need for the emergence of this revamped Church of endless inclusion in a register not radically different from that of Cardinal McElroy. And at the very least, it definitely signals a departure from the traditional sacramental discipline of the Church in both the Confessional and in the Communion line.
The game’s afoot and the progressive wing of the Church—rightly or wrongly remains to be determined—clearly think that their time has come. They have waited out the previous two papacies, have kept their powder dry, and they now think that they have “their Pope” and that this is the moment to be seized. I do not think that Pope Francis is entirely on board with the entirety of their agenda. Nevertheless, his words about inclusion bear at least a family resemblance to their words and it is he, Pope Francis, who at every turn has empowered them.
To be fair, even under John Paul II these Synods have been micromanaged affairs from the Vatican. And, also to be fair, this time around the process does seem on its face to be less micromanaged and a broader participatory net has been cast out. But is that necessarily better? I know in our democratic era that it goes without saying that it is better. But given the forces at play is it too cynical of me to point out that democratic processes are also open to manipulation from the Catholic Left who are experts at just this sort of Potemkin subterfuge? After all, we have seen all of this before. Many of us older folks did not just fall off of the ecclesial turnip truck yesterday, and even if things are not exactly the same as they were in the Seventies there are enough indications that the similarities are greater than the dissimilarities.
From the primitivist art designed to promote the Synod to the misuse of the “people of God” metaphor mentioned above, this looks for all the world like a simple recrudescence of the stale bromides of the past. And just as then, so now. There will be endless calls for “dialogue” and “listening” until they get their way. And then all such dialogue and listening will cease, the door will be closed, and the page will be turned. Sadly, this is a case that none of us wanted to see relitigated, since in our view the previous two papacies have already rendered a negative magisterial verdict on the progressive Catholic project, especially in matters of sexual morality. But apparently, in the synodal Church, the legal principle of double jeopardy does not seem to apply.
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Thank you, CWR and Dr. Chapp, for sounding the alarm.
The red flags are there for all to see. The gaslights have been lit.
Our moral and intellectual betters are readying their assault, using sexual sin, always the means preferred by their diabolical overseer.
This Church of our Lord’s is about to be tested in a way no one alive has ever seen — by the pope himself.
May we have the privilege of defending her and, yes, dying for her if we are deemed worthy.
May God have mercy on His little ones.
According to the United Nations, as many as 828 million people – or 10 percent of the global population – go to bed hungry each night. Of those struggling with hunger, 80 percent are living in areas prone to climate change – areas that are overwhelmingly in the Global South. Wars, uprisings and coups – often tied to geopolitical skirmishes between global powers – are also disproportionately harming these very same regions.
Unable to see an end to their misery, some of those suffering from war, famine, oppression or destitution in the Global South are embarking on dangerous journeys across desert and sea to find safety and prosperity in the Global North. Rather than taking action to protect the human rights of these refugees, however, the Western states who pride themselves in being the inventors of the very concept of human rights are treating them like an enemy. Our Pope is sounding the alarm about ignoring glaring sins of omission when the rich ignore the poor and get their feathers ruffled by “sins under the waist.” Listen to what Jesus identifies as Gospel values and what he says about the rich.
Yours is a good point, and well made, but then falls the shadow…Does the astigmatic Pope Francis offer us too much of a half-truth?
Better is his statement that “everything is connected”–as with “sins under the waist” connected to a contraceptive culture, connected with an abortion culture, connected with homosexuality, connected with the LGBTQ/gender theory cult…the real “seamless garment!”
Providentially, the first reading for today:
“…For this is the will of God [!], your sanctification; that you abstain from immorality; that every one of you learn how to possess his vessel in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God […] For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (I Thessalonians, 4:3-7).
So, for a coherent perspective tied to your point, this from St. John Paul II (“And God Saw that it was Good,” 1990 World Day of Peace, Dec. 8, 1989):
“Clearly, an adequate solution cannot be found merely in better management or a more rational use of the earth’s resources, as important as these may be. Rather, we must go to the source of the problem and face in its entirety that profound moral CRISIS OF WHICH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT IS ONLY ONE TROUBLING ASPECT [italics].”
How, then, to synodally go “walking together” and chew gum at the same time?
How to proclaim one truth without disdaining and dismissing another, as in key parts of the Synod on Synodadrift, or whatever? Yours truly raises THIS both/and point in conjunction with your own (and, like you with a Ph.D. (whoopie); in a relevant field: Urban and Regional Planning).
You’re using the words “our Pope” injudiciously.
Mr. Berman:
As we learned in grammar school, ice ages come and go.
And likewise in prehistoric periods, there were warm ages, as we were all taught as children in school and turning the pages of National Geographic, contemplating the dinosaurs, and the “Cambrian explosion,” etc.
The term “climate change” in contrast to the observations taught above, is none other than political propaganda, signifying nothing, apparently coined after the failure of the original propaganda term “global warming.”
Barring some serious scientific observations re-asserting the prior claim that the earth was warming, apparently those interested in wasting precious resources on the “green-energy-grift-industry” mean that if “it is not sunny and 75” we need to give more billions of dollars to “green-energy-grifters” so that their corporate managers can become “nouveau-riche.”
And apparently, nothing else is really intended, since the world’s leading polluters (such as “the Catholic-social-justice-leader” the Chinese Communist State) are the world’s leading manufacturers of the solar panels. Nothing, that is, except bleeding our own country dry, and lining the pockets of the grifters in the WEF and Davis cult.
Perhaps you may hold that “climate change” is a worthy crusade, but the question is, on what basis?
Managing a Catholic Worker Farm like the Chapps is not exactly an example or unfettered and uncaring capitalism! As for “sins of omission” concerning poverty, migrants, war, etc., even Pope Francis says he is continuing the work of Pope BXVI and Sts. John XXIII, Paul VI and JPII. Pope Francis is not the first Pope to care about the poor!
Pope Francis is different from previous Vicars of Christ because he is using Synods to foist his private opinions upon the Catholic Church to change the Traditional practices of Christ. Pope Francis is threatening the connection with previous Popes by insisting on heteropraxy regarding power, the priesthood, women in the Church, and sexuality.
Nicely summarized and therefore very helpful.
It is not the Church that is obsessed with sexual sins, it is rather the world. The Church need not marry Herself to the world or the spirit of the age…we know the widow She will become if She does.
Exactly right, Kate.
Very helpful, thank you.
A true Apostolic testimony. Praise God!
This was in response to brineyman’s post of August 31, 9.05pm
“… we have offered everyone the opportunity to participate; we have taken into account everyone’s needs and suggestions. We want to contribute together to build the Church where everyone feels at home, where no one is excluded. That word of the Gospel that is so important: everyone. Everyone, everyone:”
Kamala Harris could not have said it better.
The enemy must be watched very carefully for, unless we do, we will be caught unawares. Notice what they do and dont be beguiled by all they say. Satan is the craftiest of adversaries but the Holy Spirit is perfectly wise and of perfect counsel.
Attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass frequently – even daily; receive Holy Communion frequently; go to weekly Confession; seek the counsel of a holy priest; and, spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Lastly, study the faith by reading Scripture, the Catechism and the Early Church Fathers and be prepared as St. Peter instructed to give a defense of your faith. And, remember that faith and your family are of pre-eminent importance and spending eternity with God in the divinized life He promised is our sole goal in life.
Dear Deacon Peitler, Thank you so much for writing so specifically that we are heading toward the beatific vision in which God’s love and generosity will surpass our deepest desires. I often make my immediate prayer, “Souls, Souls, Souls!” So, I’m 84 and over 60 years a convert; surely others can begin this now, at whatever ages they are, even children, especially children! It is the positive that can and does attract people to Jesus. Thank you again.
With the way things are going it looks like the Synod will be a case history on how human tradition is created to nullify God’s commandments like the Pharisees did with Corban in Mark 7. Separating practice from teaching is what the Pharisees were accused of by Christ in His woes in Matthew 23.
Good, insightful point, dear ‘GregB’
It’s true that many who attend the Latin Mass are looking for a “transcendent” liturgical experience that is not “boring and uninspirIng,” and I have no doubt that they are finding it. However, as someone old enough to remember when the Latin Mass was the only Mass around, I can assure you that it too can be boring and uninspiring. A priest friend of mine once quipped that the Novus Ordo was the best thing to happen to the TLM. Without it, the Latin Mass would most likely have remained as banal as it often was “back in the day.”
I totally agree with you Ken. It was very difficult to teuly understand what was going on during the Mass when the priest blocked our view and we didn’t speak the language. Mysterious, yes, but totally lacking in understanding the true meaning of the sacrifice of the Mass.
Do you or Ken realize that you could then, like you can now, follow the Mass with a Missal (used by laypeople). All the adults had one. Even when I was a teenager, I used to go to Mass before school on my own. And I used my dad’s Latin Mass Missal (latin on one side, english on the other). You can follow every single thing the priest is doing. Is that so hard to do? I vastly prefer the TLM to a clown mass, pachamama mass or many other aberrations that the novus ordo has birthed.
Nicely put, dear ‘Sparkletina’.
My own childhood Holy Masses were similar.
Further though: Holy Mass is a participatory not an observational activity. We will always receive from our Holy Masses, of whatever sort, as much as we put into them.
The main reason Australians are staying away in droves is that far too many have never come alive in The Holy Spirit – they remain observers, not participants.
“Open the eyes of our hearts LORD, Open the eyes of our hearts. We need to see You high & lifted up, Jesus! Pour out Your power & love as we sing Holy! Holy! Holy!”
Instead of the current pope fostering an expectation of radical moral regress, in the hope of attracting bigger congregations, he’d be far better to focus on teaching every Catholic how to unembarrassedly sing & praise & worship Christ with all their hearts. When we worship like that at Holy Mass, God sees FAITH, and delights to pour down blessings on us. THAT is never boring!!!
Ever in the amazing grace of the love of Christ; blessings from marty
The old aphorism remains true: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
A Catholic with weak faith would likely find the Mass of any order to be banal. What concerns me is one group criticizing another group of Catholic based on which rite the other prefers. Which song lyrics express the more contentious sentiment: “I like coffee, I like tea,” by the Ink Spots or the Beatles lyrics: “You say yes, I say no. You say goodbye, I say hello”?
I find myself grinding my bicuspids when I hear or read the phrase “Novus Ordo Catholic.” I’m not a Novus Ordo Catholic. I’m a Catholic. Period. And furthermore, at 70, I’ve most likely been one since before the person using the phrase was born!
It’s mighty blasphemous to say that the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our salvation – whether in NO or Usus antiquior – is “boring”. I can only conclude that you have no understanding at all of what the sacred action of the Mass conveys. To treat the Mass as entertainment for our delight is incredible.
“To treat the Mass as entertainment for our delight is incredible.” Perhaps here you have gotten to the crux of the matter. At the heart of the “my mass is better than your mass” argument may be a failure to understand that there is an invisible splendor to every valid mass which may either be well-represented by or obscured by the outward splendor or drabness of the proceedings. When I hear about this or that traditional parish thriving–bringing in young families who want to partake of the sense of reverence evident in the 1962 mass–I often say to myself, “I’m glad to hear that. But I wonder where these people would go, and what they would do if they were deprived of mass according to their preferred format–that is, deprived of the ability to witness a visual demonstration of the sense of the sacred and reverent. Would they stop going to mass entirely?” If so, then they indeed have “no understanding at all of what the sacred action of the Mass conveys.” If the outward perception of the sacred is all that attracts them, then their devotion is superficial and ultimately unreal. Hopefully, they would instead (if the TLM were not available) seek out a reverent and respectful celebration of mass according to the Novus Ordo. If, however, the only other mass open to them would be one somewhat lacking in reverence and propriety (though not in validity), would they realize that they still needed to go to that one to fulfill their Sunday obligation, thus demonstrating their faith and understanding in the invisible splendor of the mass? I would hope so. Perhaps the pope’s recent crackdown on the TLM might only be a way of testing the depth and sincerity of these young peoples’ desire for the sacred. Will they pass the test?
Eloquently stated. I actually had in mind Eastern Rite liturgies as well as Orthodox Church liturgies. They would appear strange and inomprehensible to most of us here. Yet understanding the very action of Sacred Litugy should put us in awe.
As an aside, I find nothing commendable about Francis’ suppression of Latin liturgies. I happen to think the man us a bully.
Attendance at Mass every Sunday and Holy Day (of Obligation) is a Church law or precept.
So how does a church awash in immorality reconcile its giving of unjust and uncharitable regulations (such as TC) with St. Paul’s words in Galatians 5? St. Paul says, in effect, that the fruit of the Spirit is love. Love does not need a law as love is not under the law.
How much respect do the faithful owe church leaders who promulgate unjust laws? Is the Book of Maccabees useless? Is the Mass of the Ages of so little value to church leaders today? If so, exactly why?
Finally, how do we reconcile Francis’ TC with Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum?
“So how does a church awash in immorality reconcile its giving of unjust and uncharitable regulations (such as TC) with St. Paul’s words in Galatians 5? St. Paul says, in effect, that the fruit of the Spirit is love. Love does not need a law as love is not under the law.” Well, as I understand, St. Paul was referring to the new law of love under Christ as having superseded the old Mosaic law which defined what was owed to God and each other in strict justice. And the new sacraments rendered obsolete the old rituals. Many Jewish converts did not understand that the old ways of worship were now eclipsed by the new–that Gentile converts were not required to become observant Jews before transitioning into Christians. This all has nothing to do with liturgical laws prescribed by the church. They fall under Christ’s giving of the power to bind and loose to the Holy Father. “How much respect do the faithful owe church leaders who promulgate unjust laws?” I suspect you mean unfair, mean-spirited, ill-advised and just plain stupid liturgical regulations. If they are nonetheless lawful, we owe them total respect and obedience, even though we may not like it. “Finally, how do we reconcile Francis’ TC with Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum?” You don’t. The one was mean to repeal the other. Francis had just as much right to do that as Benedict had to issue the original order.
@ Larry Northon
When talking about the early Church we need to remember that Christ established a New and Everlasting Covenant upon which the Church was founded. The early Church was in a time where the relationship between the Old and New Covenants was being discerned. The Council of Jerusalem was part of this process of discernment. The Catholic Church does have Jewish roots. Dr. Brant Pitre has done a lot of work in showing the Jewish roots of the faith. The Old Testament is in the Bible for a reason, and is quoted in the New Testament. Christ’s coming and the coming of a new covenant were predicted in the Old Testament. Christ was able to give an exegesis of the Scriptures pertaining to Him in His encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. This encounter was in the form of the Mass with the Liturgy of the Word followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
With the way some people are talking and acting it could make one wonder if an attempt is being made to displace Christ’s New and Everlasting Covenant with a new man-centered faith. The Old Covenant was one sworn between God and the Israelite people, and the New Covenant was enacted by Christ, the Son of God, the Living Word. With the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost all the Persons of the Trinity were given in full to the Church. To me that is why the New Testament warns about the coming of false prophets and wolves.
Well said Deacon. People forget that the mass is a sacrifice offered to God for our sins, not a play put on for our entertainment.
Exactly, Nick.
Gotta love the title! I too may well add it. Indeed I have!
Just FYI, I had to look up “Potemkin”.
Potemkin Synod. I like it.
“But apparently, in the synodal Church, the legal principle of double jeopardy does not seem to apply.” Neither does the philosophical principle of non-contradiction which is why the Potemkin facade of Bergoglio’s counterfeit Synod is erected on an earthquake fault line bigger than the San Andreas Fault.
As Alcuin said, “And do not listen to those who keep saying, ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God’, because the tumult of the crowd is always close to madness.”
I can state this with absolute certainty. I don’t want to be responsible for my own salvation because I will screw it up. That’s why I want a Church, established by Jesus Christ, that I can rely upon to set me straight.
A Church that is asking me what I think is a Church that’s of no use to me. I already know what I think; and I know that I’m likely to be wrong.
Dear Steven Medina,
Today, yours is the same heart cry as that of a vast number of ordinary Catholics.
Of course, none of us can effect our escape from the profane yokes of the flesh. the world, and the devil. But, equally true, there is no organization on earth that can save us! For countless millennia religions have proselytized people of every culture with false promises. Please recall the words of our LORD Jesus Christ: “All those who came before Me were thieves and robbers!” (John 10:8)
In Matthew 11:11, Jesus teaches that John the Baptist is greater than all the godly characters we read about in The Old Testament. He then emphasizes that each of us (born again into God’s household, by our loving obedience to Him, God’s Only Begotten Son) are greater than John, and thus greater than all pre-Christian and non-Christian religious figureheads.
This preeminently vital Christian truth has been firmly held and faithfully communicated by the Catholic Church for over 1900 years. The Church has, often at deadly risk, evangelistically, led millions of men, women, & children to eternal salvation by convincing them of the Good News of Eternal Life in Christ Jesus.
Sadly, doctrinally-corrupting theologies & philosophies, plus worldly-immoralities, have in recent years infested many Catholic clergy, leading them to despise and denigrate the Good News of our salvation through loving and obeying Jesus Christ. Now, in these later days, the Pope and his circle have fallen. And WHAT a fall!
As Saint Paul instructs in Galatians 1: “Those who are preaching a different Good News are to be eternally condemned.”
Does that mean we Catholics are all done for? NO!
As in every sort of catastrophe, we will indeed be done for if we don’t respond with intelligence and hard work.
Let every true Catholic turn to The New Testament (it is THE charter of our eternal life); and to the lives of the saints & martyrs; and to the magnificently authentic teaching of many past popes and holy men & women, nicely condensed for us in The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The current anti-Apostolic blight on so many of our clergy will be removed by God. Meanwhile, we faithful laity can speed that blessing by our loving faithfulness to Jesus Christ and to His Holy Spirit-anointed revelations in The New Testament.
It is through this faithfulness that King Jesus Christ will bring about His promises to be with us always and that the gates of hell will not triumph over His Church.
Dear Stephen Medina – in truth, it’s all good news, don’t you reckon?
In the blessedness of being one with Christ; love in our Lord from marty
Interesting that there is a distinction between rad-trads and glad-trads, because the latter can show up in sweatpants without feeling judged while the former, what, have cranky, judgy old ladies at the door? I see it all, in terms of dress at my Traditional parish, with no one paying attention. In the same way that very few Catholics really know about the synod taking place, very few trads know about the “vicious” among them (and would be just as repelled as anyone else). I think the bulk of the movement is “glad,” in nature, with a whiff of anxiety for concern over their place in the “big tent” (TM) in the near future.
Interesting that those who evangelise have been tarred as proselytisers by this pope, which seemingly includes those who crossed the globe and gave their lives for the Gospel. What is the difference between them and the promoters of this synod who cry, “Everyone, Everyone!” It has to do with the “product” on hand: a singular truth is bad, an amorphous welcome wagon is fine. Cultural imperialism is in the eye of the beholder.
Finally, interesting that he praised the very creators of Potemkin Villages last week—maybe there was more to his praise than we realise.
Analogy can be illuminating. A Potemkin Synod is well stated by Chapp. Analogy here is 18th century Field Marshall Russian Army Grigory Potemkin, who constructed fake villages in the Ukraine to impress Tsarina of All the Russias Catherine the Great.
Marshall Potemkin was behind the military coup that deposed the Tsar, replacing the Tsar with the Tsar’s wife Catherine, a Prussian Lutheran turned Russian Orthodox, and replacing the Tsar as Catherine’s lover.
Who then fits the analogy of Marshall Potemkin, if not his Holiness? Francis an adept, very skillful field marshall. Who then is the duped Catherine if not the unwitting Church at large? Largely clueless of the Synod and its machinations to promote its wicked agenda. Clever those Russians.
I have today ordered your book on Thomistic Morality. I followed much of your thought, but am, offended by your inclusion of Pope Francis as one of the bad guys. Ordained in 1975 and laicized in 1999, I was thrown out — I KNOW HOW THE ABORTED SOULS FEEL — and remain a nonthinking, nonfeeling, stain on the Corporal holding the Body, yet rejects thousands of others with their own experience of unchanging dogma. Dogma seems only to change when appropriately phrased. Roman Catholic Clergy cannot marry unless they were married first. Homosexuals cannot be an ordained priest unless they are Celibate first. Catholics cannot remarry unless the jury of priests declares they never really were married before. There was an old-fashioned church teaching that begs to be translated. The Seminary professor who taught me “ecclesiam supplans” shot himself in the head a few months ago because someone said he kissed a man.
Louis Pope Francis addresses human needs, compassion for the less fortunate of this world, the poor, migrants while abandoning the commandments [rules] that define charity, God’s infinite love, revealed by Christ. There is then that good dimension though overshadowed by abandonment of the exclusive dimension of divine love.
That love alone can reconcile us with ourselves, our failings, and with our suffering brothers. Without it there remains animosity. Unchanging doesn’t require polarization, rather what doesn’t change in God is what alone unites us in love for eachother. Whatever pain, obvious estrangement you suffer is resolved in a tolerant goodness, one that doesn’t condemn our weakness as we struggle to become like him. That struggle calls us to have courage and trust in Him alone. Paul the Apostle showed very human failings, doubts, anger, fears that he openly admits, saying that when I’m weak, I become stronger, because God’s power comes to rest upon me. And became more evident in him. Anomalously Divine goodness is revealed in our weakness. Our humility in acknowledging this weakness in repentance draws from him what this world cannot give, his supreme sweetness.
I share Larry Chapp’s concerns.
The Church establishment is in the hands of apostates, and the purpose of the election of the Pontiff Francis, as explicitly evidenced by his selected spokesmen and agents, is to formally “legislate” their apostasy, and create, worldwide, what Birgit Kelle of Germany has warned about: “a dirty schism.” By that Ms. Kelle means that the apostates, while themselves openly rejecting the authority of scripture snd tradition (meaning rejection of the real Jesus and the real Apostles), and attain office-holding power which is the only “authority” they respect, and they openly declare their apostasy, write it into “official Church teaching,” and then condemn to “internal exile” those who are faithful to Jesus and the apostolic faith.
Birgit Kelle has described it aptly, and her descriptions have been published here and in the National Catholic Register.
The “Synod on Synodality” is the bureaucratic performance art of “The Dirty Schism.”
It is, as warned by Fr. Robert Imbelli, the “Decapitated Body of Christ.”
I agree, Chris.
I just keep trying to imagine Jesus sitting down and asking the crowd to tell him what they didn’t like about his teachings.
Exactly, Karen. Those who argue for ‘subjective’ non-culpability as a mitigating factor in the commission of grave sin should support that assertion. Where did Jesus teach or demonstrate the same?
If “I think I did not sin, therefore I did not” becomes the standard for the morality of a sinful act, there is no purpose or reason for God, commandments, revelation, or A POPE.
And a true encapsulation of the PF Synod-on-Synodality theater.
Thank you, dear Karen Hall, for that pure distilled Wisdom!
The opposite thing happened in the book of Revelation. In the book of Revelation in the letters to the seven churches Christ gave rebukes to the churches. Only two churches didn’t receive rebukes. There was mention of removing a lampstand if there wasn’t repentance. The entire message to the church at Laodicea was particularly blunt. The Vatican and the German Church should take note.
Thanks again, dear ‘GreB’ for this true Catholic Christian teaching.
In the Scriptures you refer to, Christ in Glory gives straightforward warnings re:
a. pollution of Christian faith by faith in other things; b. acceptance of false teachers; c. sexual immorality; and d. flaccid faith that does not respond whole-heartedly to the Majesty of God & to the non-negotiable requirement to hear & obey God’s Only Begotten Son, our Eternal King, Jesus Christ.
It seems these crystal-clear Divine ordinances to all Catholics are not part of the bedtime reading of our current pope or his favored intimates . . ?
Let’s hope & pray for the remnant of genuinely Catholic Episcopes to still insist: “God is Great & must be heard & greatly respected, loved, & always obeyed!”
Trusting in the anointing of The Holy Spirit of God; love& blessings from marty
Similar to “woke” which has become a catch-all scare concept in American culture and politics, “synodality” has been turned into a similar version in the Church by reactionary, radical and right wing Catholics intended to frighten the faithful and mislead them away from and to disrespect and detest Pope Francis. At the baseline of this campaign is either a failure or resistance to understand what the Pope means by synodality. The synod on synodality is not a meeting about meetings as many extremist anti-Francis Catholics caricature and misrepresent. Synodality is a way of understanding the nature and mission of the Church. It is an ecclesiological profile of how the church lives out its vocation of being sent by Christ into the world. The synod is meant to be a forum of Catholics listening to the Holy Spirit and to one another in deepening its faithfulness to this mission. Synodality is rooted in Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium’s idea of the Church as a pilgrim people of God on a shared journey, a people teaching and learning from one another, a priestly people whose shared identity stems from their common baptism. The Church only becomes faithful to its calling when it is willing to both teach and be taught.
You should re-read the article. You totally missed the excellent points made. Either that or you simply didn’t want to consider them.
Touché…on your point…and tour pen name!
Your getting so worked up is not helpful to you or anyone else. But you show you fit a pattern.
Pope Francis purported to identify a certain widespread Pelagianism problem that he has not analyzed correctly on the one hand and on the other seeks to remedy it with Semi-Pelagian protagonists some of whom find opportunity to overlay and infuse their own determination to Modernism. This is in addition to his trying to answer everything at a universal or global level while ignoring different specific issues affecting different local communities – where “global” answers do not fit anyway. The trouble is that even if he could turn his attention to these subsidiary situations the “magisterial cohort” will invariably make things go worse there! An example is the new impetus given to Jansenists through his elevation of Pascal, suggesting the sublime where it is not apt. Instead of breaking down an entrenched Jansenism that Lefebvre so long ago brought to light; he in effect is propelling it.
Convolutions that are inimical to all meaningful or lasting apostolate of whatever description.
Getting his attention is not “attacking”.
I should say, WINNING his attention is not “attacking”!
Editor, I had posted this at 11:39am and I hope this time it can come in as a valid comment, thank you.
Elias Galy
SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 AT 11:39 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
On the theme of “fronts”, Rosicrucians are not merely “contemplatives”, they play tricks. Once you are aware of it you can see how it happens to others not just you. Parents have to warn their children about it.
One such individual who made himself present to me turned out to be a secret supporter of local Family Planning/Planned Parenthood. Another one is an activist for the local Unitarians. Some of them appear as beggars.
You might live in a place where they practice voodoo. In Orisha/Yoruba/Shango, the beggar is a type of vocation and he is renewed in spirit in the Rada. For Rosicrucians these are “kindred spirits”.
Lots of lying and deception. “Angels of light”. Or – “All is fair in love and war” and sometimes they will even say this.
Rosicrucian secrecies and tricks comprise one of the many reasons why it is impossible to have “fraternity” with them. Another is the “deep coexistence” that they guard among themselves for the sake of their own and their way.
I guess Francis needs all the apologists he can get. They’re now coming out of the woodwork.
Yes, to our “common baptism,” but then there’s the lost distinction between this and the also sacramental ordination of the Successors of the Apostles.
As for Vatican II, even the Council warned against the clericalization of the laity and the laicization of the clergy: “Though they differ from one another in essence [!] and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated” (n. 10).
Interrelated, but not conflated. The German Synodal Veg early rejected the motion to maintain the essential distinction, and this exploitable model now has been folded into the October 2023 Synod on Synodadrift…
Getting this lay/clerical “dialogue” right is an intricate challenge of prudent institutional architecture, and opinions can vary; but when the chosen focus-group approach—with bishops reduced to “facilitators”—is fatally flawed and then sadly adulterated, it should be obvious to any adults still in the room.
The Church is based on Christ’s New and Everlasting Covenant ratified in His Own Blood. In the same way marriage is based on a covenant created by the exchange of vows by the husband and the wife. Covenants are permanent and involve the exchange of persons. Being faithful to a covenant means keeping one’s vows, keeping one’s promises. By modernist concepts of virtually unlimited free agency covenants could be viewed as being backwards, and rigid and capable of being broken at will. Under these circumstances there can be no trust between people. A promise made one day can be broken the next day. The Cross of Christ, and the Covenant that it represents, then becomes disposable and an out of date historic relic to which we owe no loyalty.
Dear ‘GregB’, a very discerning observation that helps explain how too many clergy are treating their solemn ordination promises to God as disposable tissue-paper.
Our LORD Jesus Christ told His critics: “The reason you do not take Me seriously as Son of God, your Messiah, is because you do not take seriously The Eternal One-And-Only Father God, who has sent Me to you!”
Lack of understanding of the Magnitude, Holiness, Perfection, & Majesty of God causes lack of understanding of the all-encompassing import of our relationship with God. That’s a critically relevant failure in faith teaching by many Catholic-appointed catechists and theologians. Our people are losing their souls in droves through lack of proper faith education. Each one is going their own way.
The Apostolic author of Hebrew 10:29 gives us all solid instruction in this matter.
Always seeking to listen to & follow King Jesus Christ; love & blessings from marty
You are so right i.e. only 1-2% of Catholics responded….but why? Our pastor never mentioned the Synod nor the interest we might have had in responding!
So, yes, few responded; few heard of the offering to respond.
Actually, dear Dr Paul Ackerman, are you sure the Frankish mafia wanted more than a few?
A 20th-century Potemkin Village, or instead, a 7th-century Bedouin tent pitched on the shifting sands or Arabia?
About “rigid” morality rooted in the innate Natural Law…more than a transgression of some rigid and churchy rule or statute. Let’s take a look at Islam–which mouths parts of this original truth about ourselves, but then “abrogates” (like our “paradigm shift”!) a few points thought to be out of step (not “walking together”)….
Two cross-cultural (bridge-building!) observations:
FIRST, this from a keen late-19th-century observer of Islam:
“Sin is merely a transgression of statute. Falsehood, deception, robbery, murder have no moral quality whatever. They are entirely legitimate when used for the furtherance of the Moslem and even for the furtherance of individual advantage . . . the great mass of the Moslem community is utterly ignorant of what evangelical Christians understand by the sense of sin. Mistakes are to be atoned for by punishment, penance or remission of penalty; forgiveness in the Christian sense of the term is almost absolutely unknown” (Rev. Edwin Bliss, “Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities,” New York: M.J. Coghlan, 1896; more atrocities came later).
SECOND, This, too, about the rigid rut of wind-driven prophecy (and the absoluteness of progressive change), from Lawrence of Arabia and the trenches of World War I:
“The fringes [“periphery”!] of their deserts were strewn with broken faith . . . .The Arabs said there had been forty thousand prophets: we had record of at least some hundreds [or 124,000 according to Muslim scholar Mahmoud Ayoub, or now maybe with our “facilitator” bishops, the heard and herded synodalists?]”
“In the very outset, at the first meeting with them [the Bedouins], was found a universal clearness or hardness of belief, almost mathematical in its limitations, and repellent in its unsympathetic form [….] Sometimes inconsistencies seemed to possess them at once in joint sway; but they never compromised: they pursued the logic of several incompatible opinions to absurd ends [!], without perceiving the incongruity [ideological synodism versus Natural Law and, therefore, Veritatis Splendor?]” (T.E. Lawrence, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”).
Allah absent the Logos (and barely mentioned in the synodal Instrumentum Laborus): a very sectarian and “congregational theocracy” (the Muslim self-understanding); and now a ghost-writer theology for a “welcoming” (doormat) and morally “polyhedral” Church (the prophet Father Jiminy-Cricket Martin)?
Not only a Potemkin Village, but, also the progressive Islamicization of a de-sacramentalized Church?
One need look no further than WHO was chosen to participate even at the local level in this false synod and WHAT QUESTIONS were included in the initial surveys sent to parishioners to see that the fix was in from the beginning. There were no questions concerning the real problems in the Church, such as the fact that over 90% of the abuse crimes by those clergy who committed them were of a homosexual nature, or the dwindling numbers of Catholics who attend Mass regularly, or the lack of vocations. Then the Pope appoints those who would completely change Church doctrine to lead this fake synod. Yup the fix is in!
As long as we realize what they’re up to, we will know how we need to formulate our prayers to the Holy Spirit.
I am on the Pastoral council of our parish (Three Patrons, Derry, Ireland ) which has a baptized Catholic population of about 33,000 served by three churches . At the time of the parish-level consultation process on the synod we printed off 300 copies of Q+A type submission and asked anyone interested to fill one out and leave it in . We got not much more that 2 dozen replies . This is a completely unrepresentative self-selecting group of ”reformers’ who wish to Anglicanize the Catholic church .
Many of my Catholic friends did not participate at all. They were convinced a priori of the fait accompli outcome.
When has Francis demonstrate a pastoral FRA for the orthodox Catholic man of Main Street (USA)? Certainly he has invited many Catholic people into papal offices and has released photos of their smiling faces. Consider that hose folks primarily live in the peripheries of Third World Avenue. They are the believers and practitioners of heterodoxy– the gay, the drug-addled, seekers after change to biological identity, more interested in poverty than rights to life.
Who are the “Backwardists?” They are, in the US, the orthodox Catholic mentally ill, denizens of the hospitals’ back wards of Francis’ synodal church.
Suffering from chronic mental illness, we are not fit to be pictured, on display, or welcomed. We must be denigrated, ridiculed, insulted, and rejected.
If only applying the labels and locking us out of worship sites would effectively neutralize us! Francis needs a new course of learning, and we’re happy to offer lessons.
“denizens of the hospitals’ back wards of Francis’ synodal church” should have been
“denizens of the back wards of Francis’ synodal field hospital.”
As a former Episcopalian seminarian (all but ordained) what is going on in the Catholic Church during this pontificate is very similar. I believe it cannot stand. Popes come and go, but the Mystical Body of Christ and the teachings of Jesus in matters of faith, morality, and the reality of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory will prevail for anyone concerned about and seeking the truth. We don’t need a Synod to teach us about the works of corporal and spiritual mercy.
Everyone is included-everyone so one has to ask the Holy Father are unrepentant pedophile to be accepted and also given Holy Communion as his instructions to others state? Or will he admit that a repentant pedophile would be welcome AFTER they have been to confession! Then one has to ask the question if said pedophile had to go to confession to be accepted how is it that an adultereror,abortionist,polititian promoting abortion or active homosexual does not have to confess before receiving Holy Communion in his eyes?
Exactly. “Everyone” is a slogan that is being used deceptively.
Mr. Chapp’s piece is remarkable if for no other reason (and there are many others) than its mainstream author’s willingness to challenge directly and rebuke sharply this wretched pontificate. More like this one, please. The time for pretense and polite constructions has long since passed.
“More like this one, please. The time for pretense and polite constructions has long since passed.”
Yes, & Yes, & YES . . !
“Everyone! Everyone! Everyone!”
Really? Freemasons? Satanists? How about one of PF’s biggest bogey-men: unrepentant mafioso hit men? Didn’t he go to Calabria and excommunicate members of the mob in 2014? Quote from PF at an outdoor mass in Calabria, 2014: “Those who have gone along the evil ways, they are not with God, they are excommunicated.”
I admit that betraying traditional Church practice as a joyful amoralist is tempting.
All this pontificate asks is an oath to roll out Amoralist Laetitia heteropraxy, and I can get a couple of free Synodal vacations in Rome.
That’s a better deal than selling out St. Thomas More for Wales.
I hate to say it, but I do think you are missing the point completely. I think your level of discourse is the problem. You are operating on a level of abstraction that prevents you from seeing this clearly–not to mention a slight conspiracy mindset. On one level, the Church is inclusive of everyone. No one is at the door of the Church checking on our sexual orientation or marital status, no one is keeping us from going to Confession, etc. We need to take the discussion down one more level, that of flesh and blood individual human persons who have all sorts of baggage coming into the Church, people who have not seen the inside of a Church in years, people who are divorced, people who are gay and lonely, who have perhaps been living the gay lifestyle for a while now and are searching, perhaps struggling with addiction, or mental illness, etc. They walk into a Church of real people and a real pastor. What do they encounter? When they sit down for the first time in years, already feeling uncomfortable, feeling out of place, possibly even unworthy, what do they encounter? Do they encounter a priest who begins to speak on an abstract level regarding matters of dogma, morality, etc., complaining about the secular world, complaining about how bad things are in the world, perhaps talking about homosexuality in a way that this gay person cannot quite relate to at this time? Or do they encounter a very warm, welcoming and loving pastor who is genuinely happy to discover that these people are among us, a discovery made possible by his genuine love for people, his interest in people, his willingness to learn details about this and that person’s life, etc? If you read what these people involved in the Synod have been saying, you’ll see that the problem is precisely on this level, not the level of dogma. The responses that we are getting from the people do not at all have to do with Church teaching on homosexuality, divorce, re-marriage, etc. From what I’ve read, they all have to do with individual pastors who simply do not listen, who see the parish as their own little kingdom to which they can make all kinds of changes without consulting anyone in the parish, cancel this program, that program, this initiative which was working and bringing people together, change the decor of the Church without consulting anyone in the parish, who really have the attitude that your place (laity) is to pray, pay, and obey. You think it is about teaching and moral doctrine, but the people in the pews are telling us that it is about personal relationships. There are some good pastors, no doubt. But in my limited experience, they are few and far between.
You see, you have to ask yourself why Pope Francis believes this synod to be so important. You have asked this question, for sure, but you didn’t think about it long enough. Your experience and my experience are not representative samples of the Church throughout the world. Pope Francis has a heck of a lot of experience in another part of the world, a part that I have not lived in, I am not familiar with. He has seen things that we have not. We have to be aware of the limitations of our own perspective on things. The world is vast. If it is true that only 1 to 2% of Catholics have had any say in this Synod, I have to ask myself why that is the case. Our own diocese blocked it. A number of dioceses blocked it, did not promote it, did not see it as something worthy of pursuit. And that’s a big problem. Many bishops just don’t see that there is a need to listen. They don’t see because they operate on a different level of abstraction, and so they miss the concrete individual who is sitting in the pews for the first time in 30 years, or 50 years, who feels like a bucket of horse manure after that homily, and decides never to return. I met a Catholic prelate very recently who is young and utterly personable. I’ve never encountered such a prelate in all my years. He was genuinely interested in you, and he was the last person at this function to leave. He met with every single person and spent time talking to them, asking them about themselves, genuinely interested–you know when someone is feigning interest in you, and you know when someone is genuine. This was a genuinely holy man. But the previous prelates we had were nothing at all like this. They were more like princes. Nice people, but not too interested in people, at least not on a very profound level. You had a very real sense that they were not too interested in listening. Lots of “deaf ears” over the years. You are a theologian; you love theological problems, ideas, issues, etc. And that’s great. But this is a whole different can of worms. I’m not sure how many seminaries get this. We think we prepare our seminarians for pastoral life by getting them to take theology courses, history courses, philosophy courses, which might all be very good. But so few of them understand psychology, conflict resolution, mental illness, not to mention the fundamentals of management. They are prepared to give a talk, but not prepared to “have a talk”, which involves listening.
So many people on this forum do not think there is a problem, and it is very likely that the reason this is the case is that very few are listeners. The Church is very good at giving talks, lectures, dinners, luncheons, dessert, and another speaker to talk, and talk, and lecture, and pontificate, offer all the answers required to solve the world’s problems, etc. But when we begin to appreciate the utter complexity of the world we live in and the limitations of individual perspective and experience, we begin to appreciate the importance of really listening to others. Pope Francis is on the right track.
Again, I wish someone would listen to me when I beg for less cynicism and complaining, and more theologically inspiring articles that will fill me with hope and move me to love Christ more and to see him in my neighbor.
Am lost in your verbose pleading. Are we discussing Pollyanna or polyamory?
25 words or less would suffice.
Thank you for taking the time to write that, Thomas James. You highlighted real problems with real people. I’m not sure any synod would actually help in that regard, more likely such things would be addressed at the seminary level, or through prayer and fasting. The Church offers Christ to all—to heal those wounds, but the problem seems to be that many minimise how sin exacerbates the very human condition you describe. God bless you.
That we have “prelates” who do not care and do not listen is true enough. Most are careerists and swing with the wind. Sad, for sure, but hardly a reason to ignore the teachings of Christ. And honestly, the outcome of the synod was determined long before the “listening sessions” even dawned on anyone to make it part of the process. That whole process is insidiously cynical and deeply duplicitous.
I can’t thank you enough, for clearly saying what I have felt.
Yours truly is very sympathetic with the “pleading” of Thomas James. Really…The only problem is that dogma is not “abstract”…The Incarnation is a/the concrete reality, and not an abstract idea. The sacraments are concrete, not abstract.
What if over the past ten years Pope Francis, in even fewer words that Thomas James has offered, made his point coherently by simply pointing to St. Faustina regarding “mercy”; and, say, to Jean Pierre de Caussade regarding the concrete “sacrament of the present moment”?
In contrast with what is actually “abstract,” John Henry Newman offers what he calls the “illative sense” (in his “Grammar of Assent”):
“[‘the power of judging and concluding’ is] the perfection of virtue [!] of which I have called the illative sense, a use of the word ‘sense’ parallel to our use of it in ‘good sense,’ ‘common sense,” a ‘sense of beauty,’ etc….I do not want to be want to be converted by a smart [abstract] syllogism; if I am asked to convert others by it, I say plainly I do not care to overcome their reasons without touching their hearts.” And, “Many a man will live and die upon a dogma [!]: no man will be a martyr for a conclusion […] No one, I say, will die for [even] his own calculations: he dies for realities.”
No need, then, to undermine the “realities” of Natural Law now branded as “abstract” and confined to the new “periphery”! With Shakespeare, the fault is not in our (abstract?) stars, but in orphaning the nominalistic “concrete” from these known and revealed realities.
So, it’s hard to marry Fr. Jiminy-Cricket Martin or Archbishop Fernandez with Newman’s non-contradictory “good sense,” “common sense,” or “sense of beauty.”
“Everyone! Everyone! Everyone!” Except, there’s that pesky Bible to contend with. Those Scriptures are enough to make a synodalist grind his teeth.
Jesus – MT 10:14-15   “Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.  Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Jesus – MT 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Jesus – LK 10:10-12 “Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
St. Paul – ROM 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.
St. Paul – 1 COR 5:1-2 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 
St. Paul – 1 COR 5 11-13   But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person.  For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within?  God will judge those outside. “Purge the evil person from your midst.”
St. Paul – 2 COR 6:14-16 Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Be′lial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?
St. Paul – EPH 5:6-8 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
St. Paul – 2 THES 3:14   If anyone does not obey our word as expressed in this letter, take note of this person not to associate with him, that he may be put to shame.
St. Paul – 2 TIM 3:1-5   But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days.  People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them.
St. Paul – TITUS 3: 10-11  After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned.
St. John – 2 JN 9-11  Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.
WOW You have done a lot of homework. I stopped reading at the 1 Corinthians statement, to look up the passage. I found about 15 versions at
I read them all. It seems so rare for one person to be able to tell me what a particular scripture means. Likewise, I find value in an organized attempt to listen to the body of Christ as it speaks to the Church. Excuse me, for now, as I go back to read all the other scriptures you quote, and again look up their various understandings.
One Saturday a few years back, I walked into a local store’s grocery section looking for apple sauce for my sick granddaughter. I was one of the first customers at 9 AM.
I went down to one of the food aisles, looking for the apple sauce. On this same aisle was a young man who approached me. He was in his early 30s, with long dark brown hair, facial hair, dark eyes, and an olive skin complexion. He was not Hispanic; the young man appeared more Middle Eastern. He was a bit shorter than me, so he was about 5 foot 8-9 inches (ca. 20 cm). I cannot remember the man’s manner of dress. I was in front of the young gentleman. He stared into my eyes with his piercing eyes and said, “I am looking for the salt and cannot find it anywhere. Can you help me find the salt?” I responded. “Yes, let me help you.” I turned and walked to the adjacent aisle. I wanted to help him find the salt. But I found myself in the frozen section. I immediately turned back to the aisle where the young man had been standing, and he had disappeared. Walking down each grocery aisle in the store, I tried to locate the man, as I wanted to help him find the salt. I had a sense of urgency to help.
At the time of my encounter, I had no second thoughts except to help the man find the salt. But I kept thinking about what he had said to me. I cannot tell you who this man was, but the words he said to me were etched in my mind and soul forever. Where are our prophets, where are our holy messengers on earth? Are you The Salt of the Earth or a credentialed cymbal of noise? Where is the truth that leads us to be his disciple? Are you rich in intellect, wealth, and possessions but when you ask what should I do to gain heaven you hold on to your earthly status and possessions? Be the Salt of the Earth and follow Him totally. Love Him with your hold being and your neighbor as yourself. As for me, I think there are a few things we can do to improve the faith of the world and I will tell you as a voice in the wilderness. Yes, I participated in one of the local parish synods and added my voice. Not sure where it went, God only knows.
Thank you, Eleno.
Thank you for your story, Elena. I think I might be able to help you understand the meaning of the conversation you had with the stranger in the store. I have been researching the relationship between the biological sciences and Scripture for over twenty years. I have discovered that the Bible contains 34 mysteries of advanced biological science hidden in Scripture in an Applied Sciences fashion.
Two of those mysteries are in Genesis. First: the word **dust** is a direct reference to DNA. Second: The word **salt** also refers to DNA. Each possesses a different connotation. Dust refers to the structure of DNA. Salt generally refers to the function of the genes within our pre- and post-fallen DNA. Consequently, Old Covenant contains seemingly contradictory connotations when not read in a unifying interpretation of the word. In short, the bad connotations refer to the function of our fallen biology. The good connotations refer to the function of Jesus’ DNA.
In the New Covenant, salt is always good unless it loses its flavor (i.e., the indwelling of the Holy Spirit via Baptism and the Eucharist). I think you might begin to see where I am going regarding your encounter. To get a more complete picture, you might want to read the four-part blog I wrote on Covenants of Salt in the Bible. Here is the link to Part One. Links to subsequent Parts are in each installment.,-the-dead-sea,-sodom—gomorrah,-and-ezekiel-s-dream–signposts-of-the–big-picture–of-scripture
God **may** have gifted you with a significant encounter with Jesus!
I came into the Catholic Church in 2006. Over the years I’ve been to quite a few different parishes. I’ve heard hundreds and hundreds of homilies. I’ve helped with RCIA in multiple parishes over these years. During this time I have not heard the word ‘homosexuality’ mentioned. Not once. I’ve heard allusions to marriage between a man and a woman, and calls to make sure anyone and everyone is always loved and embraced and welcomed. But that’s all. Yet to hear those Catholics who most passionately support Pope Francis (and sometimes, to hear Pope Francis), you’d think Fred Phelps is the patron saint of Catholicism. Any time someone bases their ideas on reality claims that I’m at pains to locate in the real world, I tend to get suspicious.
I fear this synod will have one clear and resounding message, “We want Barrabbas!”
Given that «right wing» is a rather vague and nebulous term employed in secular politics, what exactly is a «right wing Catholic»? A Catholicism too in tune with sacred tradition,, too orthodox, too timeless perhaps?
A great column. Without diminishing its insight and wisdom, I must at least quibble with the notion that Bergoglio is not “fully on board.” If that’s true why did he appoint Hollereich and Martin? Why is Marx still on the vaunted Council of Cardinals? Why did he make McElroy a cardinal, and the Portuguese auxiliary of WYD infamy a cardinal? It goes on and on. There is only one person who has the authority to make these appointments. He doesn’t deserve a break, wiggle room. He’s opened doors that he has never even tried to close again. No, the problem is him.
Well said, dear jpfhays.
Sadly, there is much more of the same or worse . . !
One lesson is that faithful Catholics now need to base their lives on Christ Jesus alone, as wonderfully revealed in the Apostolic witness of The New Testament.
Ever in the sufficiency of the love of God in Jesus; blessings from marty
We shouldn’t get too worried about any of this because we’re all going to Heaven one way or the other. Right Dr. Chapp?
Cheap shot, Brian. The implication that we ‘go to heaven’ on the basis of merit attained or worse, fortuitous timing, surely has had its day.
The idea that we don’t face eternal consequences for our decisions had its day long ago. Our Lord himself warned many were on the path to hell and St. Paul listed sins that would lead one to eternal damnation. Sorry, universalism never had its day and never will. Further, the idea that our cooperation and free choices don’t have consequences is having its day and it’s not working out.
Well said, dear Brian Walsh.
Today, in Australia, we celebrate the great martyrs of Christ – St Cornelius & St Cyprian. The Holy Gospel reading is from John 17. There we learn that Jesus saves but some still CHOOSE to be lost.
If the ordinary catholic in the pew doesn’t know or care about the synod on synodality maybe it’s because they’re smarter than we are. They probably believe that this too will pass and put it in God’s Hands. They have that old fashioned Faith that carried them through all their sorrows and joys and are looking to make it to Heaven one hail mary at a time! (or one Rosary ).
It won’t pass. We are going into the Final Trial. Only God’s purification.
If indeed this Synod ia rigged from the start and this is the pivotal moment of the Francis project, I don’t what could stop the progressives from getting their way barring an unexpected conclave. I’m not trying to black pill, or trying to say there isn’t hope, but what is stopping the complete reversal of Catholic sexual teaching?
The Holy Spirit will intervene. Our Lord Jesus promised the Spirit’s protection, and it’s happened before in Church history.
The Holy Spirit was promised by Our Lord Jesus to protect the Church from teaching error. He has intervened before in Church history.
Our Lady of Aktia already warned us in 1973: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises.”
Dear ‘Louis White’,
In a publication of the clarity, honesty, and informedness of Catholic World Report one does not often read a comment that aims to show the inspired texts of The New Testament are open to radically different interpretation, even such as to nullify God’s requirement for us all to obey them.
Am thinking you may not have realised that such an untruth indicates one’s rejection of the actual basis of Catholic Christianity (The Catechism of the Catholic Church is built on over 3,500 citations from The New Testament).
You say: “I found about 15 versions at I read them all. It seems so rare for one person to be able to tell me what a particular scripture means.”
Factcheck: You don’t give a single example, Louis, of where different, reputable translations of a verse are contradictory or confusing.
Plenty of the CWR community have the biblical exegetic skills needed to assist you, if you are in genuine puzzlement. Please say what the textual problem is.
The help you need is quite other, though, if you are simply saying you don’t like what God is saying to you in these verses. That is the position of Pope Francis and the anti-Apostolic coterie he has cultivated in Rome. The only medicine that can heal such self-afflicted injury is a sincere repentance and a humble admission: “In all things, not my will but God’s will be done!”
We are all holding our breath, praying & waiting for Pope Francis to get it . . .
Catholic Christian faith is inherently totally radical, demanding our everything in loving obedience to God’s utterly beautiful, supremely wise perfection.
The alternatives are set out very clearly in Romans 8:5-11.
Gratefully accept and do our best to obey God’s revealed New Covenant and live forever; or scorn what God has so kindly & self-sacrificially provided and thus inherit death.
Hoping this is of substantial help for you, dear Louis White.
Ever following The Lamb of God; love & blessings from marty
“Synodality” has a history, so I started digging.
Here’s my first report (the series will continue)
It’s all about politics. And the seeds were sown over half a century ago, in the Second Ordinary Synod, which met in Rome in the autumn of 1971. It is little-known today, but it constitutes a pivotal event in the course of the war on Catholic teaching.
The subjects to be addressed by the Second Synod were the “Ministerial Priesthood” and “Justice in the World.” The fundamental mission of the Catholic Church was the major target. Whatever the purposes invoked by the dissident bishops, their goal was to convert the Church into a weapon of worldly power and dominion.
The “Spirit of Vatican II” was in the air, and many found it irresistible.
We are told ad nauseam by the Synod propagandists that the Church needs to “listen” more to people from all those numerous groups labeled by Woke/Leftists as the “Marginalized” based on the offensively absurd notion that such people possess fonts of wisdom and insights that the Church desperately needs to become a more welcoming church…also according to the Woke narrative.
“Listen to homosexuals about sexual morality. Listen to gender dysphoric people. Listen to the divorced and remarried multiple times. Listen to women who have had multiple abortions. Listen to women about how they are ‘marginalized’ by not being priests. Listen to the poor who demand their ‘fair share’ of things. Listen to minorities who are ‘automatically oppressed’ by majorities, especially Western majorities. Listen to …………”
Listen, Listen, Listen to so many worldly people,…and when you do, you will indeed possess the ITCHING EARS that fulfill a prophecy of St. Paul:
“For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” (2 Tim 4:3-4)
What is really needed is for all those loudmouths who insist that the rest of us listen, listen, listen to simply shut up in order to do the most important kind of listening, which is listening to what the Lord has always told us and always will: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven.”
And of course the Lord has provided the sole blueprint for achieving Heaven that He did not put together by listening to a gaggle of worldly people who seek first their own pride-filled “empowerment.”
Key allies of Pope Francis leading the upcoming Synods think the Church is hurtful and we lose likes when the Catechism says:
“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
If people leave the Catholic Church because of Sacred Scripture and Tradition, that is not the same thing as excluding them. Popularity is not bad per se. But Christ never insisted on being liked, only loved. And sin is not love. Practices that seek to tolerate or bless sin do not love. Lies about love can never lead anyone away from sin to Christ and His Catholic Church.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” not the Age of Aquarius. The 1960s and 1970s are long gone, but many within the Church still are promoting its themes.
“Everyone, everyone, everyone.”
But how does this align with the sobering Parable of Wedding Feast when the “rigid” and “backwardist” King reprimanded and ejected from the Feast that guest who attended but decided not to bother about putting on THE WEDDING GARMENT?
Isn’t the meaning of this quite clear? Many within the Church hear this Gospel every year, some every three years. But do the organisers of the Synod agree with Christ’s teaching?
Good on yer, ‘Australia’. The Truth is plain.
The outer darkness welcomes all those who refuse to wear the wedding garment of joyful obedience to The Bridegroom Jesus Christ.
Let’s always pray they be given the grace of repentance, before it’s too late.
There is no freedom in sin. John 8:34. May we continue to be able to exercise out free will. Wisely. Pray for freedom and praise Him for His Grace, as we go through all this that is yet to come.
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“No one who murmurs receives the kingdom of heaven…”
Padre Pio and the Wounds of Christ
Bishop Strickland: ‘no communication from Rome’ following apostolic visitation
The upcoming Synod and the next pope

At the beginning of Pope Francis’ three-day trip to Bolivia—the second stop on his three-country tour of Latin America—the Pontiff was given an odd gift by Evo Morales, the country’s president: a crucifix in the […]
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