Starting with one Canadian bishop right out of the gate, the game was on with the relatively mild suggestion (the lightweight!) that women should be ordained as deacons. Since then, after a few rather sorry efforts by another Canadian, Fr. Tom Rosica – something about changing the Church’s language… ho hum… – we have gone all the way to the archbishop of Chicago – personally appointed to the US Church’s “second see” by Pope Francis, and subsequently personally invited by the same to the Synod – saying there ought to be a way for active and unrepentant sodomites to receive the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
But while the pelvic issues are getting all the press attention, a number of items have caught my eye in the last week that pertain more directly to the Faith itself.
The archbishop of Chicago’s spectacular dive for, perhaps, the deepest and most nausea-inducing depths of open heresy – as yet completely unremarked upon by the pope – has certainly received enormous media attention. It is, after all, just the sort of thing most of the mainstream secular media came to Rome for. And it definitely did up the ante.
But I would like to present another contender for the prize of “Lowest Any Modern Bishop of the Church has Yet Sunk” in his public hatred of the Holy Faith, specifically, his direct hatred of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The main difficulty faced by those who would push the Church to “tolerate” “second marriages,” as Cardinal Kasper put it, are the plain words of Christ in the Gospel. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity threw a divine spanner in the works by rather undiplomatically telling the Jews that it was for their “hardness of heart,” their failure in mercy, that Moses had allowed them to divorce, and that by His own divine authority, that was all off from now on. Staring right in the face of the claims of the German and Kasperite Synod group, is the plain black and white print of every Bible ever published: Jesus said the exact opposite of what they are proposing.
In fact, according to the Author of all facts, it is indissolubility that is the product of the mercy and love of God for us humans.
This Gordian Knot for the progressives was cut in spectacular style in the Synod’s first week by Panamanian Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan [See photo above], who simply proposed that the Church should drop Christ out of the consideration. Just ignore Him, since He was clearly no Moses.
Lacunza is one of the bishops given the “surprise” nod at the last consistory, reportedly because of his position on what the pope regards as the Church’s “peripheries,” precisely, in other words, because he was a nobody. But perhaps now this report of his incredible step forward – into the howling void of blasphemy – for the cause of Catholic acceptance of divorce, has earned him a proud place in the court of the Kasperites. It would also suggest that being geographically and politically peripheral wasn’t his only qualification for the red hat.
Though the orders from on high (the office of the Synod Secretariat) came down not to publish any interventions but his own, the intrepid head of the Polish Bishops, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, hadrecorded the Panamanian’s remarks for all the world to see:
“Moses drew near to the people and gave way,” Lacunza was reported as saying. “Likewise today, the ‘hardness of hearts’ opposes God’s plan [to allow divorce]. Could Peter not be merciful like Moses?”
This implicit but crystal clear denunciation of Our Lord for lacking mercy went almost completely unnoticed by the Catholic press, and totally unremarked by the secular media. It is possible that the Holy See Press Office understood its gravity, since Rorate Caeli reported that they had ordered it removed from the website of the Polish bishops. Before it was removed, however, Rorate published a copy of Cardinal Lacunza’s comment in French as it was reported originally by the Poles:
Card. José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán OAR (Panama), président de la Conférence épiscopale du Panama. Moïse donne le consentement au peuple, il cède. Aujourd’hui, la “dureté de cœur” s’oppose aux plans de Dieu. Est-ce que Pierre ne pourrait pas être aussi miséricordieux que Moïse ?
With this statement, thanks to Abp. Gądecki and the bloggers, all the Catholic world now knows that a hand-picked man, (yet another hand-picked man) at the Synod does not believe that Jesus Christ - the Son of God, the Word Made Flesh, who will come again to judge the living and the dead… yes, that Jesus Christ – had the authority to tell the Jews that they had been wrong about divorce.
Maybe Cardinal Lacunza was among those to whom Archbishop Henryk Hoser was referring when he commented in an interview that many of the Synod fathers appear to be completely ignorant of basic Catholic doctrine on the family. It can hardly be a surprise, one would think, if they are also ignorant of the Church’s basic dogmatic teaching on the nature of Christ. “The only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through whom all things were made…” Ring any bells?
Perhaps the reason this gained no attention was simply that those reporting on the Synod themselves know so little about the Faith that they were unable to recognise blasphemy when they hear it, and consequently do not know it to be a far more serious sin than mere sexual malfeasance. There’s a reason the sex-sins are sixth on the list and that whole blasphemy business takes up the first three.
This week also saw the launch of yet another lay petition addressed to the Synod fathers, this time asking them to leave the Synod if there appears to be no way to steer it in a Catholic direction. (Full disclosure: I was one of the “Synod Walkout” petition’s authors, together with a group of other concerned Catholic laymen, writers, journalists and theologians.) That petition surprised us with a very fast jump in support. Within nine hours of its publication it had passed the 1500 mark, and a day after that it had reached 2500, a surprisingly robust start out of the gate.
The call for a walkout grew out of fears that the Synod has been “rigged” from the start, and that it matters not one whit what the bishops say in their groups or statements.
As the text of the letter states:
“We have witnessed with profound sorrow the ongoing development of this crisis, beginning with last year’s extraordinary session in October, 2014, making it difficult to have confidence in the outcome of the Synod.
“The irregular changes to the rules governing the current synodal process practically assure that the existing Instrumentum Laboris will be largely adopted. This revised process also appears to reject openness, transparency, and collegiality, and the committee drafting the final document of the Synod seemingly rejects any substantive input from the Synod fathers. We note with regret that the highly visible and widely adopted filial appeals and open letters have not been acknowledged, and have produced no discernable amendment by the Synod organizers.
Several high-ranking Cardinals have brought concerns to the Pope, only to have them summarily dismissed as unworthy of consideration – with unfair accusations against those who are legitimately concerned that their voices will not be heard.”
Of course, the last refers to the big news of the whole week, the increasingly strange story of the “Letter of 13 cardinals.” The press treated it like a “conservative” revolt against the attempts by Francis to bring about a long-overdue reform in the Church… mainly because the press isn’t very imaginative. The “mainstream” Catholic press brushed it off, and some in the Italian press reported with typical glee that the Pope had torn a strip off the cardinal signatories, red with rage.
Shortly after this, the pope made his first direct intervention in the “synodal process” by denouncing the “hermeneutic of conspiracy,” an expression that has become prominent in Synod reporting since then.
Rorate carried a report by Antonio Socci that the letter had bluntly warned the pope of a complete disintegration of the governing structures of the Church should the Synod continue on its present course. “Communion to the divorced and remarried…if it were accepted… would make the entire doctrine on marriage and the sacraments collapse.”
This would result in a domino effect that would bring about “‘a collapse’ in other words - the end of the Church.”
Nevertheless, Socci reports, Cardinal Pell, one of the letter’s signatories, also assures us that the “Kasper-Bergoglio line is in the minority,” that nearly all the bishops at the Synod want to uphold the traditional faith… which would be fine if the Church were a democratic body and the Synod were deciding through voting which direction it should take.
But we have also been informed, by the pope himself, shortly after this whole kerfuffle, that whatever the bishops say or recommend, whatever is going to happen is totally, completely and exclusively up to him.
In this Vatican Radio report, it was widely understood that he was hinting of the possibility of a formal invocation of papal infallibility:
“Finally…the synodal process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, called upon to speak authoritatively [It. pronunciare] as ‘Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians’: not on the basis of his personal beliefs, but as the supreme witness of the Faith of the whole Church, the guarantor of the Church’s conformity with and obedience to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ and the Tradition of the Church.”
Now, just stop for a moment and think about these items one at a time:
· The pope has been acknowledged to have allied himself with a notorious heretic who has, with the support of an entire episcopal conference, been, for fifty years, bent on the obliteration of most Catholic moral teaching, and a goodish part of its teaching on ecclesiology.
· This pope has been warned by some of his highest ranking officials that the proposed direction, called “the Kasper-Bergoglio line,” will lead to the “end of the Church,” its complete disintegration into chaos and schism.
· This warning the pope shouted down privately and then rebuked publicly.
· A few days later the pope followed with a declaration of his grip on total, supreme power - the power, apparently, even to destroy the Church of which he is head – like a small boy declaring that he can break all his toys if he wants, because they are his and no one can stop him.
And what was Cardinal Pell’s response to our little petition? The one in which we suggested that things being in such a dire condition, that, teetering on the edge of catastrophe, we begged him and his fellow bishops to at least not be themselves complicit in the destruction of Holy Mother Church by history’s strangest pope and his chosen group of hand-picked heretics and blasphemers?
Peace in our time. The 13 Cardinals’ concerns have “substantially been addressed.”
John Allen reports that the good “conservative” Australian cardinal rejected any suggestion of a walkout, saying that he had received “reassurances,” from the Synod secretariat “that the final result ‘will faithfully present the views of the synod.’” They have been assured that the bishops will be allowed to vote on each paragraph of the Instrumentum Laboris.
Won’t that be nice?
“He also said that members of a drafting committee for the final document have vowed to be true to the content of the synod’s discussions, rather than using the text to promote their own views,” Allen continued.
“That’s all we want, for whatever the synod says, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, to be represented,” Pell said. “That’s in the long-term interest of everyone, because no matter how it might turn out, people want to feel that the bishops got to that situation fairly.”
Well, I’m sure we’re all terribly happy that the bishops feel they are going to get their money’s worth out of the whole charade, and when the schism gets underway, I’m sure we will all feel better that “the bishops got to that situation fairly.”
But I did rather hope that they might exercise themselves in the defence of the Faith and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, since “whatever the Synod says, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent” we, the remaining Catholic faithful, would like there to still be a Catholic Church by Christmas 2016.