Synod14: cowardice, contradiction, and blasphemy

Yes, I’ve read it, and it’s even more horrible than Instrumentum Laboris.

In a document about the “positive values” of fornicational and sodomitical cohabitation, it’s not surprising that they couldn’t find any quotes from Scripture to back them up.  Amusingly enough, one of the few scriptural citations is actually a blasphemous misreading:

41.        Each damaged family first of all should be listened to with respect and love, becoming companions on the journey as Christ did with the disciples of the road to Emmaus. In a particular way the words of Pope Francis apply in these situations: «The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this “art of accompaniment”, which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Es 3,5).

Here’s Exodus Chapter 3, verse 5.  (In case you haven’t guessed, it’s not about divorcees.)

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Moving on to the main substance of this wretched document, the Synod Fathers wish to affirm the Kasperite heresy that subjective experience is the ultimate norm unto which all doctrine must submit.  The key is seen by analogy to Nostra Aetate:

17.        In considering the principle of gradualness in the divine salvific plan, one asks what possibilities are given to married couples who experience the failure of their marriage, or rather how it is possible to offer them Christ’s help through the ministry of the Church. In this respect, a significant hermeneutic key comes from the teaching of Vatican Council II, which, while it affirms that “although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure … these elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity” (Lumen Gentium, 8).

     18.        In this light, the value and consistency of natural marriage must first be emphasized. Some ask whether the sacramental fullness of marriage does not exclude the possibility of recognizing positive elements even the imperfect forms that may be found outside this nuptial situation, which are in any case ordered in relation to it.

(Sins are, by the way, always “ordered in relation” to the good against which they offend.)

20.        Realizing the need, therefore, for spiritual discernment with regard to cohabitation, civil marriages and divorced and remarried persons, it is the task of the Church to recognize those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries. Following the expansive gaze of Christ, whose light illuminates every man (cf. Jn 1,9; cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns respectfully to those who participate in her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating the positive values they contain rather than their limitations and shortcomings.

The “principle of gradualness” doesn’t apply across the board, though.  The Synod Fathers feel that clearer denunciations of capitalism may be in order:

   33.        In the same way, the necessity was underlined for an evangelization that denounces clearly the cultural, social and economic factors, for example, the excessive room given to market logic, that prevents an authentic family life, leading to discrimination, poverty, exclusion, and violence. For this reason a dialog and cooperation has to be developed with the social structures, and lay people who are involved in cultural and socio-political fields should be encouraged.

I’m not sure how one dialogs with a social structure, but whatever.  The point is, if we’re supposed to be looking to the good side of fornication, adultery, and perversion, shouldn’t we be forced to look at the good side of “market logic”?

And boy, do they go all out looking on the good side:

     46.        In the same way the situation of the divorced who have remarried demands a careful discernment and an accompaniment full of respect, avoiding any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against. For the Christian community looking after them is not a weakening of its faith and its testimony to the indissolubility of marriage, but rather it expresses precisely its charity in its caring.

So even communicating the teaching of Jesus Christ in these matters is now forbidden, because it certainly does discriminate between valid marriages and adulterous pretences to such.

Welcoming homosexual persons

     50.        Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

     51.        The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

     52.        Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

Words fail.

As a last point, I notice that the idea of natural law pertaining to marriage seems to be dismissed from the Church’s consciousness in the very act of invoking it:

     18.        In this light, the value and consistency of natural marriage must first be emphasized. Some ask whether the sacramental fullness of marriage does not exclude the possibility of recognizing positive elements even the imperfect forms that may be found outside this nuptial situation, which are in any case ordered in relation to it.

On the one hand, we have “the sacramental fullness of marriage”, on the other hand we have what people are actually doing.  However, doesn’t marriage by its nature, even apart from revelation, have some “value and consistency”?  The document itself just says that it does.  And yet, isn’t it this very “consistency” of natural marriage that allows us to denounce divorce, fornication, contraception, and sodomy as conclusions of natural law?  Yet, what the Synod Fathers mean to invoke by the “value of natural marriage” is the refusal to forthrightly condemn these aberrations.  They implicitly accept that, from a pure nature perspective (although I’m sure these Nouvelle Theologie fans would be horrified to hear that that’s what they’re taking), any pseudo-stable arrangement under which children are cared for is fine.

13 Responses

  1. Good grief this is depressing.

  2. I don’t think these arrogant self-congratulatory men have any idea how discouraging this is to those of us who have leaned on the Church’s steadfastness for years in order to do the right thing when the right thing is hard to do. Patting themselves on the back for their ‘mercy’ is the new self-flagellation.

    Maybe they just don’t care about people who actually struggle to do what is right, with the help of grace and the sacraments. For us there is no mercy, other than to join the people who don’t care about right and wrong and just do what is easiest.

  3. anonymous — just this morning I made the point, over at Catholic Answers Forum against someone insisting that the Synod cannot change doctrine (as if that were relevant!), that if continues on its present course it will mean that the ordinary faithful will be attacked in their attempts to oppose the world-historical evil that is the gay lobby not only by that lobby, but by other Catholics, too, who fasten on to every utterance from Rome as if it were a stone tablet handed down from Mt. Sinai.

    As if to belabor the point, I was promptly suspended by a CAF moderator.

  4. Sly… and slimy.

  5. I harbored no illusions that this Synod could only bring a new round of destruction- I think we all knew it would a year ago. It just proves how corrupt and worthless the current hierarchy is.

    Nevertheless, am I the only one worn out by the First Thingsesque “we must defend the family” rhetoric? The conservative notion of “family” is just as arbitrary and unrooted as that pushed by left-liberals. The Synod rightly pins the blame on market forces, which are the primary culprits for the breakdown. On the other hand, as E Michael Jones points out, their is a certain consistency between a social order dominated by financial capitalism and a society that celebrates homosexuality (or contraceptive sex generally) as a good thing. The prelates lack the courage or will to make such a point. Of course that opens a whole new set of questions. If this Pope is serious about social justice why doesn’t he come down hard on someone like Fr. Sirico in the same manner he’s come down on traditionalists? Any time would do.

    Some are saying that this Synod represents a repudiation of the “conservatism” of JPII. Leaving aside for a moment that most of the men at this Synod, including the Pope himself, were promoted and elevated under the last two “conservative” Pontificates, the argument has no currency. JPII’s Theology of Body was just as novel as this document and yet JPII’s thought is seen as the new gospel by neo-Catholics, over and above Scripture, the Fathers ect.

    Catholics are not Mormons, marriage is not eternal and it was not something particularly central to our faith at least historically. After all the most ideal marriage in history was a celibate one. A return to some form of monastic asceticism is really the only way forward. The Church began to lose this sense with Protestantism’s attack on celibate clergy and went too far to the other side. Similarly with the onset of modernity the family lost its importance as being primarily a social and economic unit and instead became a whittled down “partnership” based on mere sentiment. So-called “gay marriage” is just the logical out growth of this as well as cohabitation. Making the married life “attractive” through an advertising program or by simply telling people to get married young cannot overcome these stark social and economic realities.

  6. The marriage of St. Joseph and St. Mary was not “celibate” (this is a contradiction in terms) but rather continent, and you’ve never read St. John Chrysostom (and have a blind spot for St. Paul as well!) if you think marriage was historically unimportant to the faith.

  7. @Bonald – I think ISE is probably going to be proven correct, and in practice (which is what matters) the upper RCC hierarchy will throw marriage and family under the bus; on the (accurate) excuse/ reason that it is celibate religious life which is the bottom line.

    Then Catholics will find out what is their bottom line. My inference is that M&F is *your* bottom line, as a Christian; and not ascetic celibacy.

    What gives then?

    Then you will perhaps – and perhaps invisibly, in your heart – transfer allegiance.

  8. “They implicitly accept that, from a pure nature perspective (although I’m sure theseNouvelle Theologie fans would be horrified to hear that that’s what they’re taking)…”
    I would hope that the Synod steers well clear of the “natura pura” debate that was thrashed out threadbare about a century ago – the false notion of a “natural order,” governed by Natural Law, consisting of truths accessible to unaided human reason, as something that can be kept separate from the supernatural truths revealed in the Gospel.

    There is really nothing « Nouvelle » about this; Pascal, drawing on the thought of St Augustine, reminded us long ago that “man without faith cannot know the true good, nor justice” and “without Scripture, which has only Jesus Christ for its object, we know nothing and see only obscurity and confusion in God’s nature and ours” ; this, for the obvious reason that “we do not understand the glorious state of Adam, nor the nature of his sin, nor the transmission of it to us. These are matters which took place under conditions of a nature altogether different from our own, and which transcend our present understanding.”

  9. Well I’m glad that a fair number of the synod Fathers reacted about as violently to that document as I did, cf. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/10/magister-pitched-battle-on-mad-monday.html . It’s a bit easier to lean on the proverbial bulletproof vest of indefectibility when people shoot the bad guys, too, instead of just being a bullet sponge.

  10. There seems to be good grounds for gloom, but I took some comfort from this analysis of the Synod . Still, it is hard to see how one can be “welcoming” to a sinner while continuing to abominate his sin.

  11. I always enjoy reading Ita Scripta Est’s comments, and this discussion is no different. I admit to having (I think) some sense of what he speaks of by “First Thingsesque “we must defend the family” rhetoric,” and agree that it represents a disordered understanding of the family, inasmuch as I understand it, but I’m also trying to place this in the context of the alarm that I experience at the thought of what seems an imminent threat that I will be charged with a fresh-on-the-books crime of “intellectual terrorism” simply for teaching my children basic and intuitive morality – morality so basic and intuitive, that it should not need even to be taught, except we live in a society that actively fights against human intuition.

    The jury is out (if the case is even heard in the first place) on how important my perspective is on the whole thing, but I register it nonetheless as considering ISE’s concerns (though valid) as quite a ways down the list in importance in regard to the current synod.

  12. To look at the silver lining, this seems like a golden opportunity to call attention to a certain Frenchman who wrote on the subject of divorce…

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