In pastoral terms, the document published today by the Synod of Bishops represents an earthquake, the “big one” that hit after months of smaller tremors.
John Thavis, A Pastoral Earthquake at the Synod
A guest post by commenter John of Any Other Name:
I’m not sure rebuilding is entirely necessary. It is clear that there are challenges facing the Church, notably from the inside. However, I stumbled across Dave Armstrong’s thoughts on the Synod (prior to the actual beginning of it) and the media controversy surrounding Cardinal Kasper and other topics. Dave writes at length, but I find these excerpts as a good summary for my point:
Cardinal Kasper seems to have some liberal views. I agree. All theological errors come from Germany and England and The Netherlands (+ the US). No surprise there. It was the same at Vatican II with Dollinger (who denied papal infallibility and was excommunicated). Ho hum. ZZZzzzz (-_-) .
One day all the chronic worriers and complainers will have to stop worrying about the pope and the Church: stop acting like they have no faith that God guides and protects her.
What I’m saying are these things:
1. There have always been serious problems in the Church. It’s nothing new, and is as old as Judas, the ancient Corinthians, Galatians, and seven churches of Revelation.
2. Anyone (whatever one bishop or a hundred say) who seeks will find, and it’s now easier than ever (with the Internet) to locate orthodox Catholic teaching. Somehow in the 4th century, laypeople by the millions knew what was orthodox teaching, despite the widespread heresy of Arianism taught by many bishops. Most of them couldn’t even read.
3. One overcomes the darkness by lighting a candle (by teaching, by prayer, by example, etc.), not merely complaining about the darkness.
4. Thus, if someone (like you) is worried about souls, then go out and take action (and this action includes prayer) to help those souls. I do it by teaching and apologetics. I’m doing something about it. People come into the Church and become more confident, informed Catholics as a result of my work. I show my concern by what I do with my life, by what I do for a living as my vocation. What are you and others who are so concerned, doing about it?
This was a good bit of fresh air for me to read prior to the start of the Synod, especially reminding me of the bottom line: have faith in Christ’s promise regarding the Church vs. the gates of Hell. I was doing well until the so-called ‘earthquake’ hit.
My wife reminded me of Athanasius contra mundum, which was related to the Arian heresy Dave noted…which then lead me to ask: “Who is our Athanasius?”
There appear to be several. Cardinal Pell, Cardinal Napier and Archbishop Gadecki joined Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Muller in publicly speaking about the Relatio. Summaries of their comments are here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/good-news-from-the-synod-of-bishops-12-things-to-know-and-share
Even Father Longenecker waded in and isn’t backing down from critique: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/advocacy-pope-light-synod-reply-rev-longenecker-3
More important is that when the Synod leadership was going to keep the small group discussions from the public (unlike the apparently unprecedented move of publicizing the Relatio on Monday), Cardinal Pell and many other Synod Fathers protested.
Apparently, Card. Pell was the first one to rise up against Card. Baldisseri. When Baldisseri made the announcement, Card. Pell took the floor and said that the reports had to be published and that they were tired of the manipulation.
From that point, the bishops also rose up. When Baldisseri repeated his position, he was effectively shouted down.
At that point, Card. Baldisseri turned to the Pope and got the nod to publish.
I’m not ready to give in to serene calm, but this was welcome news. I’ve taken two additional points-of-view to heart, and perhaps they can also help the readership of The American Catholic as well.
First, some wise words from Father Z:
After looking at my email and some comments in the queue I am compelled to say…
Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Everyone… CALM DOWN.
There is a serious Satanic attack going on within the Church right now. The sharpening division itself is a sign of the same.
That said, think of your spiritual weapons.
You can fast and offer mortifications.
You can say the Rosary. Is there a more powerful prayer than a Rosary sincerely recited?
You can GO TO CONFESSION.
Now more than ever we need reverent celebrations of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
Fathers, start preaching about confession, the Rosary, and – for the love of all that’s holy – start learning the Extraordinary Form.
It’s time to get onto a war footing.
While the Church’s leaders receive God’s guidance in a special way, they can make mistakes — even serious ones.
For that reason, the Code of Canon Law provides that “the Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.”
It goes on to provide that “according to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors” (Canon 212 §2-3).
Write to or talk with your priest and bishop…I’ve done so before about different issues, but I can’t see anything more immediately pressing than this year we have coming ahead. This also ties back to Dave’s point about the role of the laity during the prevalence of Arianism. I’m also going to add the prayer to St. Michael to my daily Rosary after reading this: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/10/13-october/