Synod aims to change Church teaching

The true purpose of the 2021-2023 synod is now very clear. But it takes some ability to read between the lines for that clarity to emerge.

If you haven’t read the USCCB yet Synthesis on the results of the Diocesan Phase of the Synod, it is quite a reading. The report states that “the document that follows is an attempt to synthesize and contextualize the common joys, hopes and wounds raised with the help of the Holy Spirit in the unfolding of the Synod.” But the report really focuses on the “wounds” and how progressives hope to “fix” those wounds.

For years, the left has been trying to convince everyone that those who aren’t on the left are racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant, homophobic, and don’t care about the planet we all live on. Minorities, women, illegal immigrants, gay people and even the planet itself are victims of white privilege, you know.

Also, they say, we need to celebrate “diversity” (instead of celebrating unity). This means that we must also accept those who embrace sin and want to live a sinful lifestyle. In fact, more than just accepting sin, we should celebrate such ways of life.

Unfortunately, as the synodal summary shows, much of this leftist propaganda has been and continues to infect the Church. And what better way to keep infecting the Church than to say “you need to hear our grievances”. And that’s exactly what the Synthesis is – a list of grievances presented by about one percent of American Catholics. This is anything but a representative sample of what Catholics in America think.

Francis the Dupe?

I have come to the defense of Pope Francis more than once (here, hereand herefor example), but at the same time, in any charity, he has shortcomings (like me, and almost everyone).

Chief among Francis’ faults, in my opinion, is a less than solid theological education. He also seems too affable. And in my experience, people who are too affable, who want to be liked, are often too susceptible to being influenced.

I tend to think those progressive cardinals who lobbied for his election like our pontiff knew about him. And I would bet it was the progressive cardinals, some of whom are now his advisers, who pushed for the synod.

It’s a sneaky and clever way to allow dissent to breed. And it smacks of something that the devil might be behind rather than the Holy Spirit at work in the Church.

The Church is “wounded”

The Synthesis says that the Church suffers from four wounds. And, of course, all those old white males (popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests) who led the Church for centuries are responsible for those wounds. This is one of the reasons why we need women priests, you don’t know!

Chief among these wounds are “the still-ongoing effects of the sexual abuse crisis”. Now there is a surprise. Who knew?

According to the Region III report, “the sexual abuse scandals and the Church leaders’ handling of the situation are seen as one of the main causes of a lack of trust and credibility on the part of of the faithful”.

I tend to think the most pious Catholics realize that the Church is made up of sinners. I know I am one. And yes, there are and have been priests, bishops and cardinals (and even popes) who also fall into the category of “sinners”.

But devout Catholics also know that the truths of God are immutable.

“Then Peter approached and asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother has sinned against me, how many times must I forgive him?’ Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22).

We must forgive priests and members of the Church hierarchy who have sinned. Healing can only come through forgiveness.

But the left is not ready to let this happen. The left doesn’t want people to forgive and it certainly doesn’t want people to forget. He does not want the Church to heal and grow. She wants the Church to remain wounded and dead. And the Synod is a wonderful opportunity for the left to lash out and continue to inflict wounds on the Church.

More injuries

The next wound is the “sense of community among the People of God” suffering “from the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic”. It seems that “a large number of the faithful have not yet returned to worship”. Wow, another news flash, this one from region 12.

I questioned the wisdom to close our churches during the Covid epidemic. But those on the left were determined to make the most of the “crises”. And they did. And many of our bishops gave in to fear. In hindsight, that probably didn’t show much wisdom.

So now we have to bring all those non-practicing Catholics back into the fold. And the left says the way to do that is for the church to become more open and welcoming. In other words (here it is), the teaching of the Church must change!

Wound number three “division at the local level” resulting from “the perception of a lack of unity among bishops in the United States, and even of some individual bishops with the Holy Father.”

Keep pushing and promoting the idea that the Church is divided. Divide and conquer. Say that the Church needs to listen more to dissenters who want the Church to change its teachings. She needs to listen and be more open-minded. But listening will not bring unity. And open-mindedness can easily turn into moral blindness. However, both will almost certainly lead to more dissent.

False impartiality

Fortunately, a semblance of impartiality had to be present in the summary for it to appear balanced and reasonable. Thus, the division on the liturgy was mentioned.

“The limited access to the 1962 Missal has been deplored; many felt that the differences in how to celebrate the liturgy”sometimes reach the level of animosity. People on either side of the issue said they felt judged by those who differed from them.”

Of course, there is a simple solution to this problem. Pope Francis just has to cancel Traditional custodians and let Sommerum Pontificum support. But the left-wing members of the Church hierarchy will not allow it. This would immediately heal one of the wounds.

Marginalization

And now we come to the big chunk. This, I think, is the whole interest of the Synod.

“Closely related to the wound of polarization is the wound of marginalization. Not only do those with this wound suffer, but their marginalization has become a source of outrage for others, especially some young people who perceive the Church as hypocritical and inconsistently acting with justice toward these diverse communities.

It seems that the Church has “marginalised” two groups of people. I feel a certain “shame” coming.

Group number one includes all “those who are marginalized and made vulnerable by their lack of social and/or economic power, such as immigrant communities; ethnic minorities; those who are undocumented; unborn children and their mothers; people experiencing poverty, homelessness or incarceration; people with disabilities or mental health issues; and people with various addictions. Women are also part of this group.

In truth, I really don’t see how the Church has marginalized all these people. In fact, in my view, the Church, individual congregations, and many ministries around the world are doing what they can to help these “marginalized” people. But that doesn’t fit the left’s narrative. One way or another, the Church is responsible for the marginalization of these people.

I’m going out on a branch here. The “solution” that will be proposed to de-marginalize group one will be women deacons and priests.

The second group “comprises those who are marginalized because the circumstances of their own lives are experienced as obstacles to full participation in the life of the Church. Among these are members of the LGBTQ+ community, people who have been divorced or remarried without a declaration of nullity, as well as people who have married civilly but who have never married in the Church.

Better patches

Undoubtedly, the solution to de-marginalizing Group Two will be changes in Church teaching. But there are simpler and better solutions.

It is members or the LGBTQ+ community who insist on living a life of sin, and divorcees who have “remarried without a declaration of nullity, as well as people who have married civilly” who have excluded themselves of “full participation in the life of the Church”.

Fortunately, however, all of these people can get out of the wide road and into the narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14). They can practice chastity, go to confession, obtain a declaration of nullity and/or marry in the Church. They can then take communion and otherwise participate more fully in the life of the Church. Problems solved.

But that’s not what the left wants. They will most certainly fight to the death to uphold attorney-client privilege, but many on the left think “Clergy-penitent privilege” is a bridge too far. Moreover, the real problem is the teachings of the Church on the morality and the sacrament of marriage. These lessons need to be updated and modernized. It does not matter that the teaching of the Church in both areas is the truths of God.

October 2023

As George Weigel wrote the other day at Catholic World Reportthe Synthesis is “a very disappointing document, not least because it focuses largely on what the 1% of American Catholics who participated in these ‘synodal’ discussions find fault with the Church — a list of grievances that , unsurprisingly, reflects both the progressive trend of the Catholic agenda in American Catholicism and some prevailing impressions (if wrong) about our local Church in Rome.

The final phase of the Synod – the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops – will take place in the Vatican a year from now, in October 2023. I suspect that it will be marked by a number of suggestions and proposals from progressives aimed at changing the teaching of the Church on morals, the sacrament of marriage, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will not allow the smoke of Satan to prevail in this final battle for dominion. But even if Satan is allowed to win the battle, do not be discouraged. Jesus Christ and his Church win in the end.

Martha J. Finley