We all knew this Synod was going to be bad. I have warned people privately that it would be a watershed moment of Francis’ pontificate. Lately I’ve been given to creating similes to correctly encapsulate Francis, and this latest one I think is the most apt, as we shall see. “Francis is to the Church, what Yoko Ono was to the Beatles.”
It was clear from the beginning that this synod was rigged to produce the effect that Francis wanted. A source I have, who is actually in Rome, told me that the African Bishops as a block loudly protested many of the Synod proceedings, but were shut down Ottaviani style. There is little better that I could say than what Chris Ferrara has said on the Synod:
Let us call this Synod what it is: a secretive, manipulated, progressive-dominated cabal, led by septuagenarian and octogenarian diehards of the conciliar “renewal,” who are rushing to finish their “work”—so rudely interrupted by Pope Benedict—lest death release the Church from their clutches before they are quite done.
So where are we at now? Let’s look at what is a synod, what this document actually is, its contents and then consider where all this is going.
What the heck is a synod?
A Synod is a gathering of bishops to discuss matters of faith or discipline, which can range from advisory to being part of the ordinary magisterium, such as some early synods. They fall short of an ecumenical council in their substance, and their authority is more or less what a Pope chooses to give them. Historically it was an easy way to discuss difficulties without recourse to an ecumenical Council, which in the early Church were called by the emperor, or by the Pope who then pushed for the Emperor’s consent, as was the case with Pope St. Leo the Great, who pushed the Roman empress Pulcheria for an ecumenical council at Chalcedon. Since Vatican II, however, the Synod has been little more than a mini-council continuing Vatican II, where all the Bishops get together and pat themselves on the back for what a wonderful job they are doing in the Church [sic]. Michael Davies, I think, correctly described this process as the abandoning of the Ecclesia Docens (Teaching Church) for the Ecclesia loquens (talking Church).
Typically after a Synod, the Pope commissions a document to more or less summarize what took place, and then writes a post synodal exhoration, like Pope Benedict’s Charitas in Veritate.
What is the document making the headlines?
The current document which we are talking about is the Relatio post Disceptationem, literally, the report after the debate, although, per what Pope Francis declared prior to the Synod’s opening, the original is Italian rather than Latin, which leaves me reading with my dictionary since my Italian, though decent, is not pitch perfect. However, I have noticed that the Vatican translators have done a good job, showing that when a document is to their liking, they will happily and promptly translate, unlike in Benedict’s pontificate. It is not infallible, nor is it an official act of the magisterium. It does, however, reflect the Pope’s thinking, and constitutes the direction which he would like to go. Which, moreover, begs the question, how did a 6,000 word document get written by 6 men and get translated very well into multiple languages that quickly? Unless, as many analysts reckon, it was preplanned.
Liberal groups are hailing this document as a wonderful step forward, while conservative and pro-life groups, even the head of the Polish Bishop’s conference, have called this document a betrayal. These are strong words against the document from groups that normally eschew the slightest criticism of the Pope, and we shall see why.
The Relatio, declares:
From the moment that the order of creation is determined by orientation towards Christ, it becomes necessary to distinguish without separating the various levels through which God communicates the grace of the covenant to humanity. Through the law of gradualness (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 34), typical of divine pedagogy, this means interpreting the nuptial covenant in terms of continuity and novelty, in the order of creation and in that of redemption. (no. 13)
What is this “Gradualness”? It would appear, the Relatio is saying juxtaposing two entirely contrary things. Continuity, and Novelty, which do not go together, at least in the same respect. How can marriage be interpreted in terms of both continuity (i.e. faithfulness to God’s commands) and novelty (changing them to suit man?). One might argue it means dealing with new novelties, but the next paragraph makes it abundantly clear that they mean novelties to suit man.
Jesus Himself, referring to the primordial plan for the human couple, reaffirms the indissoluble union between man and woman, while understanding that “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning” (Mt 19,8). In this way, He shows how divine condescension always accompanies the path of humanity, directing it towards its new beginning, not without passing through the cross. (no 14., my emphasis)
Notice the demonic inversion. They take what, in the clear meaning of the Gospel, is a rebuke against the Pharisees, and they turn it into “understanding”. Tolerance. This is just an act of poisoning the well, for, they are positing as a starting point the “tolerant”, “non-judgmental” and “pastoral” Jesus, like unto that creature we call the average post Vatican II bishop (at least the ones who don’t get fired, or receive Apostolic Visitations!). Moreover, no. 13 above quotes John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, itself a document following a family synod. Let’s see what his notion of “Gradualness” is:
Married people too are called upon to progress unceasingly in their moral life, with the support of a sincere and active desire to gain ever better knowledge of the values enshrined in and fostered by the law of God. They must also be supported by an upright and generous willingness to embody these values in their concrete decisions. They cannot however look on the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future: they must consider it as a command of Christ the Lord to overcome difficulties with constancy. “And so what is known as ‘the law of gradualness’ or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with ‘gradualness of the law,’ as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations. In God’s plan, all husbands and wives are called in marriage to holiness, and this lofty vocation is fulfilled to the extent that the human person is able to respond to God’s command with serene confidence in God’s grace and in his or her own will.” (Familiaris Consortio, no. 34).
So you see, what the manipulators of this Synod have done, before we even get to the troubled sections on homosexuality, is to twist the previous teaching of John Paul II, to make it look like they have a saint in their camp. This is for the obvious reason that the goals outlined by the “Synod Party”, as I have called them, are explicitly contrary to John Paul II.
There is a lot of irony in this. It is Francis who canonized John Paul II, and now it is he and his regime who are discarding the late “sainted” Pontiff’s teaching, because it is inconvenient to the “new Gospel”. What was the point in canonizing JPII except to baptize his personalist and phenomenological writings? Well, that gets sticky as well. The point of canonizing JPII had nothing at all to do with the glory of the Church, or his sanctity, or any other consideration. It was purely a canonization of Vatican II, whose spirit, according to Cardinal Kasper, is alive and well at the Synod.
So the “official” Synod language has moved to gradations of following God’s commands. Just as was declared in the first week “We must not talk about living in sin, that is harsh language.” The teaching of John Paul II, on that rare occasion it was clear, namely on life and family issues, is cast aside for the emotive feeling of those who disobey Christ’s commands, amplified by the media presentation and the pet beliefs of the minority of cardinals handling these things.
What I want to do, however, is avoid the scandalous passages on homosexuality. There are numerous other websites doing that. Anyone with a clear sensus catholicus knows there is a great difference between treating homosexuals with respect in a civil and public sphere, and at the same time to welcome them into our homes and communities as though their behavior were perfectly acceptable in light of the Gospel.
The real problem is that no one is talking about the fact that the “homosexual identity” is a completely modern creation. People who engaged in homosexuality in antiquity, or the middle ages, or the renaissance, did not identify as “gay” or anything like it. They were often married (to women), and homosexual acts were something they engaged in on the side in limited circumstances. This is more or less how sodomy occurred, and its enforcement historically was sporadic based on how public the business became, not only in Europe, but even in Medieval Islamic societies. There was no such thing as a “gay identity”. The emergence of that said identity, apart from any question of the orientation (which the Catechism teaches in unity with the tradition are disordered) has been something totally different from how homosexual activity affected society in the past. The “identity” has arisen with an animus against western tradition, the institution of marriage and the Church.
What is clear about the “homosexual passages” of the Relatio, is that the man who wrote the document, Cardinal Edö, is scrambling to show how he didn’t write it, didn’t know anything about it! Maybe that’s true, but there is someone who did know something about it, and approved it, as he approved the 6 commissioners who wrote the document, that is Pope Francis himself. Anyone who would do anything but lay the blame for this debacle at the feet of the Pope is simply delusional. Those responsible for the Relatio, are canonically speaking modernists. They are actually trying to harm the Church. As some have noted, the purpose of the homosexual clauses are not to force them into the final document or make them binding somehow. The clear majority of the Synod will not allow it. What they want to do is wound the Church’s unity, and push the majority who are opposed to them on the defensive. This is exactly the tactic followed at Vatican II in the rejection of the preparatory schema. For, all opposition to those passages in the Relatio document (a novelty because usually you don’t release anything until the end) will be read in light of what already came out, and appear reactionary or damage control. The spirit of the world has already seen the first, and it will be treated as doctrine when it has as much weight as a fart during a sermon. (Sorry for being crass, but the analogy is nice given the contents of this document).
Moreover, not only will they put pressure on the Synod Fathers, but it will aid in overlooking the debate on communion for the divorced and remarried (i.e. those who, by the words of Christ Himself, are committing adultery), or to be used to force a concession on the matter. The fact is this synod is an act of manipulation, and a very obvious one at that.
Demonization of Africa
In any other context, the attack on Africa and Africans would be held as racist, unacceptable, immoral, etc. But when it is coming from the Cardinal patron of homosexual and the divorced and remarried, namely Kasper the friendly wolf, it is perfectly acceptable.
Indeed, in an interview today, Cardinal Kasper said:
Cardinal Kasper: The problem, as well, is that there are different problems of different continents and different cultures. Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.
ZENIT: But are African participants listened to in this regard?
Cardinal Kasper: No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].
ZENIT: They’re not listened to?
Cardinal Kasper: In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.
ZENIT: What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?
I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do. (Source)
If that is not one of the most arrogant and condescending remarks from a Churchman, I don’t know exactly what is. Further, it is proof that what the modernists most criticize they are the most guilty of. You have seen it in Francis, warning people not to be obsessed with themselves, then he goes out of his way to get a biography of himself published. He lashes out about not judging, and judges all the time! The modernists criticize the pre-Vatican II Church for being closed minded, unwilling to look at other opinions, and though this is false, it is exactly true of the modernists post-Vatican II. Why must the Africans “shut up”? Because they are more orthodox and faithful to the gospel, at the very least on these points.
The Francis regime and their manipulators knew that coming in. This is why the beginning of the Relatio declares:
Some cultural and religious contexts pose particular challenges. In African societies the practice of polygamy remains, along with, in some traditional contexts, the custom of “marriage in stages”. In other contexts the practice of “arranged marriages” persists. (Relation, no. 7)
Now, is that strictly true? Is it true amongst Christians in Africa? Here I know several people from Nigeria and Kenya, who are in a position to know about a lot of these issues. The fact is amongst Christians in Africa, this is a minority problem. Polygamy in particular, is more of a problem among the Muslims, since it is permitted by their religion. Many African cultures have a latent cultural Islam left over from the middle ages, even though they are pagan rather than Islamic.
Nevertheless, it is a preemptive strike against African bishops. You can’t tell us what to do, you have these problems! This should shatter the myth of openness and inclusion.
I could go on, but this has already exceeded what I intended, and it is probably wearisome. I have several other posts coming on these topics soon. To wrap it up however, it is worthwhile to revisit prophecy. Bishops will oppose Bishops, and Cardinals will oppose Cardinals. Here we are.