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Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Spirit of the Synod: A Plague on Both Your Houses! Featured

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The Spirit of the Synod: A Plague on Both Your Houses!
Editor's Note: Amended Version. Multiple Links Repaired. MJM 

Why the novusordoist “good guys” aren’t ever going to save the Church

October 24, 2015 - So, everyone is talking about what we come away with from the last three astounding weeks at the Synod. We are seeing the first of the wrap-up editorials. What are we to make of it all? The difficulty we are facing in trying to make sense of it all, however, is that we are not starting from true premises. We've got our facts wrong from the get-go, which as Aristotle helpfully told us, will not only make it impossible to come to a true conclusion, it will create larger and larger errors as we go along.

The narrative so far has been that the 
Synod, and the conflicts in the Church in general, have been between the JP2/B16 "conservative" bishops, and the Francis/Kasperite (Kung, Mahoney, Bernardin, etc) "liberal" crowd. This has been adopted and reinforced by the mainstream secular and Catholic media. Well intentioned believing Catholics have had it drilled into their brains since the pontificate of John Paul II that we can understand the Church as being divided between "good conservative bishops" and "bad liberal bishops." Added to this has been a mythology that the pope and "the Vatican" is on the conservative side of this.

This has recently been altered slightly by the narrative from the "liberal" faction, backed up  by the secular media, that Francis represents a profound change in this last rule, and that he and his "reform-minded" pals have been at war from day one with the "conservative" Vatican curia,  mostly appointed by John Paul II and Benedict, the "conservative" popes.

This new narrative has been loudly and desperately denied by what we must now call the "mainstream Catholic" media, who were once considered organs of the "conservative" party. News outlets like the National Catholic Register and EWTN are still widely regarded as being in this "conservative" camp, having come into prominence during the JPII/Benedict Long Interval. This appellation has stuck, and has been used to create such an oversimplified picture of the Church as to be, essentially, completely false. Since then, we have made slight adjustments as we have gone along. This or that bishop, whom we had thought was on "our" side turns out, shock! to be really a closeted liberal. But the whole basic "liberal vs. conservative" paradigm has been our working model. Trouble is, it's completely wrong.


We have used this basic, completely wrong framework to build an assessment of what is going on in Rome with the 
Synod and other key PR operations like the Pope's visits and "off the cuff" speeches and whatnot. This is where we get the concept of "the narrative". The other day John Allen wrote about the possible narrative take-homes of the Synod, he listed the most obvious stuff: "Synod's rigged" ... "new era of inclusive listening"... [insert unimaginative journalistic thing here] blah blah blabbity-blah...Which one is the true one? G'head. Guess...

The trouble is that the Synod has demonstrated before all the world that the entire framework is false. We have expended all our effort in the last 50 years trying to find and concretize this distinction between "good conservatives" and "bad liberals," and it has been demonstrated this month that it is all a mirage.

In reality, the arguments and outrages of the Synod aren't over doctrine or dogmas per se. The battle is over first principles. And what the Synod has demonstrated is that the distinctions between the "good" and "bad" bishops we have been making are essentially false ones. They really aren't different because they basically all accept the same first principles, or general premises: “The Church was bad, but thanks to Vatican II, we are now mature, and can face the modern world as part of it, with our heads held high at places like the UN, equal players in the international fields.”

All the Bishops essentially agree on this. All. Of. Them.

This is because in order to become a bishop in the last 50 years, this has been the only litmus test that counts. Their agreement on the positive developments in the Church since the Great and Glorious Council to End All Councils, is what makes them company men.

This basic agreement on the Everything’s Awesomeness of Vaticantwoism is the qualifying trait for the modern episcopate. This is why they all stuck it out to the end no matter how outrageous it all became. No matter that cardinals and bishops blasphemed and cursed the Lord for His idea of mercy being different from theirs. No matter that the Pope threatened and insulted them. 

Their disputes among themselves are about doctrine, which is regarded as simply a matter of debatable talking points to modern churchmen - this is why we had all those reports from the Synod Aula about how wonderfully they were all getting on, and how while they can disagree on this or that doctrine or pastoral practice, it was all one big happy club of old boys. We heard a great deal about the "unity" and the "gentlemen's agreement". They are on the same page on general principles.

This is why Cardinals Pell and Napier were at such pains to assure the faithful that they would never dream of opposing the Pope! It is why our hearts sank when Archbishop Chaput told us that “warring camps” simply don’t exist” among the bishops. They’re just telling the exact truth. 

And yes, that goes for every single bishop (and every wannabe) you can name who is supposed to be one of the “good guys. Which is why we have a Napier and a Chaput and a Pell, quite honestly, telling us that all the “concerns”of the 13 signatories had been adequately addressed. It was true. While cardinals and bishops blasphemed and denied the Faith, their “concerns” had been mainly procedural. As Pell himself said, “That’s all we want, for whatever the Synod says, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, to be represented.

“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.” Not the salvation of souls. Not the correction of 50 years of rampant neomodernist heresy. Not the ongoing slaughter of millions of innocents. But that the bishops were “represented” “fairly.” 

“The mood among the Synod fathers has been far friendlier than any commentators seem to imagine,” Chaput continued. “There are no ‘revolutionaries’ or ‘reactionaries’ in the Synod hall – only bishops sincerely trying to face sensitive issues and chart the right course for the Church in the light of the Gospel.” I’m sure he meant this to be comforting. 

It wasn’t a betrayal to talk this way because they had never been the heroes of the traditional Catholic Faith the rather desperate American neo-conservative mainstream Catholic press and bloggers had wanted them to be.

Today we’re getting the first of the waves of editorials, mostly based on the accepted lib vs. con” narrative, and they’re all going to miss the point. (Well, except maybe Steve's.) The conclusion is going to be some variation on “The Synod has exposeddeep divisions in the Church,” and that’s true as far as it goes, but most of them will fail to correctly identify it. John-Henry Westen at LifeSite says that it’s the pope’s fault for allowing “heresy to be aired” at the Synod, without perhaps stopping to wonder how it was that these heretics had managed to rise so high in the first place. Others are no doubt going to blame the group of die-hard “conservatives” like Pell and the other 13 signatories for trying to derail the precious “Synodal process.” Certainly, that was what we’ve already heard from Cardinal Wuerl and his girls.

We now get to enjoy the tedium of watching news services compete to come up with something that all the other ones aren’t also saying. From CNS we have Cindy Wooden earnestly telling us that she’s got it: "The Deeper Synod question: How should Church relate to the wider world."   Very deep, yes, thanks Cindy.

A colleague of mine at What’s Up with the Synod wrote: “I believe I may have just developed a form of Tourette’s where, instead of cursing at inopportune times, I randomly yell ‘PASCENDI!’ at odd moments.”

Today we will no doubt have the bishops giving interviews after their vote, and I guarantee that the only thing we will hear from them is all about how wonderful it all was, how their disagreements were handled like gentlemen and were a valuable part of the Synodal process... how much they are all looking forward to the Pope's speech and (should he choose to produce one) his summation document... la la la la... we can't heeeaaar yoooooo!

This all sounds like rot to me and you because ... well…because it is. 1300 amendment recommendations to a final document, drafted -- without benefit of actually waiting to hear what the bishops said -- by the same group of manifest shysters and heretics who have been giving us the Synod’s documents for the last two years. If the bishops spent five minutes considering each amendment, that clocks out at 108 hours. Then we have the Synod Fathers falling all over themselves expressing their “deep appreciation and admiration for the drafting committee’s work in incorporating the work of the past three weeks into the working document...” And of course, the inevitable, shouts of "Yay! good guys won!   “ See? We told you everything was going to be fine! Trust the process! The bishops got this!”

But the reality is already being laid out for all the world to see. This Synod is intended as the beginning of a whole new Church. In fact, one of the bishops at a press conference in the last day or so said it pretty much right out loud. 

The final document is important, but even more important, the Pope has himself seen the Synodal experience, so he really knows what’s happening, and can do something with all that.”  [Anyone who now continues to claim that Francis can't know what’s being said and done in his name can be tarred and feathered without fear of sin.] Because the whole thing, from the first questionnaire, to the last preening, self congratulatory handshake in front of the cameras, has all been nothing more than Kabuki theatre.

The Traditionalist position is closely related to that old warning Aristotle made: start with one small error at the beginning and you will do nothing as you progress other than multiply, compound and enlarge that error. Well, that error at the beginning is as big as the Apenninerange.

Our gripe with the bishops at thSynod, both the “good” and the “bad,” is precisely on the level of first principles. It is Vaticantwoism --including the Novus Ordo Missae -- that has to be jettisoned before any correction can be made. Yes, the Church has to go back. If you have taken the wrong path at a fork in the road, the solution is not to keep going while vaguely hoping that the two paths might converge again some day.

The refusal to face up to this one underlying principle, and the consequent failure to understand the real nature of the problem, is what is creating all the painful confusion among good believing neocatholics when a “good” bishop does something “bad.”

When a Chaput tells a pro-life organization that he is completely in favour of giving rape victims the abortifacient “Morning after pill” in Catholic hospitals, the cries of shock and betrayal can be heard the world over. “Wah! We thought he was on our side!

This, if nothing else, is what I hope and pray the Synod has taught many people: while we can generally agree with the “good” bishops on some of the Church’s doctrines -- mainly those relating to sex -- our gripe with them is precisely on the level of first principles. And on those, ultimately, these “good conservatives” are of necessity on exactly the same page as the mad progressives. And, it must be said, against us, the faithful.

Taking this clarification of the paradigm, we can start to understand why so many of the “good conservatives” so obviously loathe the Traditionalists. They sense our fundamental opposition to where they stand on some very large ecclesiological and dogmatic issues.

So, I’m going to sum it up for all the editorialists out there trying to figure out why a Synod full of “good guys” who “rejected” the Kasper Programme in their “vote” on the final document, is STILL GOING TO GO FORWARD VERY BADLY. Even if the final document is a paragon of (what passes for) orthodoxy (in the post conciliar age).

Until now, we have all fallen into the habit of thinking of the episcopate as falling into two camps, and for what it’s worth, this has more or less been a useful model while examining the Novusordoist regime. The confusion comes in when we realise that this distinction fails to include the fact that they are all in the wrong camp together, and that being in that camp definitively precludes them from being any use at all in fighting the fight we are all in. They will continue to reject the only solution possible: restoration. 

I have said it for many years now: Novusordoism. Is. Not. Catholicism.

Trads know this.

Now the rest of the world does too.

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Last modified on Sunday, October 25, 2015
Hilary White

Our Italy correspondent is known throughout the English-speaking world as a champion of family and cultural issues. First introduced by our allies and friends at the incomparable, Miss White lives in Norcia, Italy.