Well, just like I predicted last month, that nasty, hateful, blog machine is now in full tilt, and daily reports are coming in on the Internet about the Synod that was supposed to be so secretive. Between bishops who are blogging themselves, and Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists or ones with connections to those who can be at Rome, there is some new secret of who said what coming out every day, with bishop against bishop, cardinal against cardinal.
If you are like me, one of those few Catholics who care about his Faith to stay informed of Church politics, its TRUE teachings, and such, you are likely feeling as if every corner seems to be doom and gloom, and we all might as well find some bunkers, acquire all sorts of provisions and means of self defense like those "preppers," and re-emerge from our bunkers triumphant and to usher in a new era for the Church, right????
Honestly, we should all just stop, I repeat, STOP! Now breathe in, and breath out. Repeat the process at least two more times, because three = Holy Trinity. Now let's continue.
Based on what we have seen from the Synod, we all should probably be in a panic because our Church is giving way to the route of other Christian Sects, those not in union with Holy Mother Church. In some sects, such as certain parts of Anglicanism, United, Episcopalian, etc. sexual mores have been lowered, female "bishops" have been allowed, etc. Particularly, some issues have been brought up, with GREAT encouragement from bishops and spokesmen from my neck of the woods in Canada (specifically, Quebec and Toronto), which are not boding well for the reputation of the Church, or looking like another assault on Christ's priesthood/Holy Orders.
So let me give you a much BETTER, and less bile and hate filled evaluation of what is going on here with my blogging opinions for Synod 2015 so far, to help you gain a better hold of reality, as well as so that you are aided in NOT falling to spiritual despair.
General: That Dark, Nasty Blog-o-sphere with its Radicals Misinterpreting Traditionalism.
Let's start off by saying this much: these Individuals have an axe to grind with the Church, are NOT directly reporting from the Synod, and if one evaluates the bulk of their work, can discern that they cannot be trusted in spiritually guiding the lay faithful, whether they be cleric or disgruntled layperson (cause some of these bloggers are women too!). We need to remind ourselves, just WHERE the Lord is Found, and that He loves us so Much, and wants us to join Him in Heaven, that he would not give us a faulty man-made Church made of sand. Otherwise, why would Holy Mother Church give us One, HOLY, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
From scripture in 1 Kings 19:11-12: "... the Lord was not in the wind; ... the Lord was not in the earthquake ... the Lord was not in the fire; ... he was found in the breeze.
And one of the BIG ONES for Catholics, in explaining the Church, MATTHEW 16:18! ``And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.``
With these two passages, this reminds us that,
1) Our Lord is not present where there is a bulwark of sin, destruction, and acts not becoming of the Love of the Lord, who is all GOOD. The Lord is not found, for example, in those who speak of heresy. The Lord is not found in those who steal from others. The Lord is not found in those who lie, especially who lie purposely to destroy another's livelihood or character. The Lord is not found in those who slander, detract, or spread malicious gossip, as Pope Francis as declared gossip the work of the Devil!.
2) While the Church does not guarantee that specific people will not abuse his Church's institutional or finite means of existence in our world, for personal power or gain, he will definitely NOT allow them to ravage Christ's Gospel and declare outright the opposite, nor that the Church will depart from the world before the End of Time.
When one is bombarded with the amount of social media and messages describing that which is good in humanity, is it no wonder we lose Hope? All this "noise" from our smartphones and electronic devices including computers, drowns our ability to listen to the Lord, and mainly shows us dark and despairing things, even from our own brothers and sisters of Christ. Look above again at the passage from 1 Kings. The Lord was found in the gentle and quiet breeze.
Therefore, we all need a reality check and to be careful, just how much of this Synod news we receive online. Francis Phillips, in this editorial in the Fr-Z acclaimed Catholic Herald of Britain, rightfully describes how the online coverage of the Synod, can actually cause one to lose their Faith, if followed intently. Here I have picked out the most important statements of his editorial piece:
`` .... [Edward] Short writes: “Mgr Ronald Knox, ... once advised that ‘he who travels in the barque of St Peter had better not look too closely into the engine room’ .... I had a glimpse of this cast of mind yesterday myself. Talking to ... [my] friend, a devoted, lifelong Catholic, [he] replied: “Don’t talk to me about the person you just mentioned [Pope Francis]. I have a lot of issues with him.” I wasn’t able to stay to hear what these “issues” were, but I can guess them; they are constantly raised – often in highly intemperate language – in the blogs of those who describe themselves as traditional Catholics ... if we fix our eyes on the “engine room”, the Vatican, we might well begin to drown in our sorrows. There is only one sure remedy. Blogger Fr Dwight Longenecker stated it in his own vigorous fashion on Tuesday, in his blog for Patheos, where he advises: “To be sure, the Church seems to be under threat – undermined by corruption and heresy within and attacked by persecution and infidels without. Read your history. When was it otherwise? … Love the Body of Christ but go beyond the Church to Jesus Christ himself for he is your true goal, your destiny and your desire.”
I realize that it is frustrating that Pope Francis set up the Synod in such a way as to be not transparent to the Church, and further that he may forego the usual protocol of releasing a summary Apostolic Exhortation at the end of the Synod. However, we must agree that in light of the article from Phillips, there is a point to NOT pay too much attention to the talking heads at Rome. Knowing that many of our shepherds are not acting as the best role models of Church leadership, why keep knocking ourselves down when they repeat the same behavior? Instead, how about we pay more attention to our local Church and parishes, serving, and fighting when absolutely necessary, at the grassroots level, to restore our Church leadership, and perhaps inspire our pastors to become those desired men, eligible for the bishop's chairs when they retire or die?
Further, we could give the benefit of the doubt to Francis. Perhaps he has become clever and adaptive to the media and wants to prevent fiascoes of two kinds:
- The first would be intra-Church, where in posting documents and the like, the angry RMT bloggers would come out in full force, further undermining his Papacy and bombarding other bishops with hate mail (regardless of the correctness of people's points).
- The second fiasco to prevent would be worldwide, in fact, perhaps avoiding repeating history itself in order to stop further division and moral disobedience. Back when Pope Paul VI released Humanae Vitae, which DID deal with the family, specifically the procreative aspect of it being assaulted by chemical contraception and abortion, the world revolted when he did, and needless to say, bishops' collegiality aided the world in rejecting Church teaching on those areas of sexuality.
In short .... stop accusing the Holy Father of manipulation and purposeful damnation of the Church! He is not an insurgent bent on destroying the Church, and his personal history from bring just a lowly priest in Buenos Aires, up to his cardinal-ship before being elected, says he bucked much of the "trend" of the day, to the extend he was ostracized by his own order, the Jesuits.
Specific Bitter Points: The Women Deacons Issue
Ok, so being Canadian, I have to be somewhat concerned about this, as a bishop from Quebec, Paul-Andre Durocher, former Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops head, made this, and it got leaked in public by press and media. Of course, the RMTs are having brain aneurysms over this, so much so a number of people took to the bishop's post and attacked him, almost as if he had said something heretical.
Now, my take on this, being Canadian AND trying to aid you in cooling your jets and not losing hope in the Church:
- The format of the Synodal arguments or "speeches" from participants, is limited to 3 minutes per prelate. They absolutely CANNOT lay out in 3 minutes their detailed plan about what they mean in what they say. To spill out exactly what they are meaning, those bishops would need a 40 minute lecture, with detailed diagrams and plans and the like.
- The media, depending on the source and their theological-political slant, will either ruthlessly damn +Durocher, or praise his intervention. You cannot blindly trust media, especially that of personal conjecture, of which all blogs mainly are.
- Only +Durocher can truly explain himself what he meant by Female "deacons." His 3 minute speech did NOT say whether they were equated to the level of the Male Diaconate which is formally part of the Major Orders, or Holy Orders of the Church, Therefore we cannot directly accuse him of such an understanding, unless he discloses this personally and it is on the record.
- In a way, as to admission of women to any form of Holy Orders, in the Priesthood, NOT THE DIACONATE, has been dealt with, and is closed, by John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 4. However, there has not been a major document dealing with women and the diaconate. In fact, Vatican II in Apostolicam Actuositatem, 9, acknowledges the greater role women are playing in Church ministry.
- Apparently in some of the rites, and even one specific order of Nuns in the Church`s history, there is some existence of the Deaconness, as touched by Deacon Greg Kandra in this article with weblinks at the Deacon`s Bench. However, there was no kind of sacramental/ordinatorial equivalency of those Deaconesses to the male diaconate in service at the altar.
- Already I say, there is a foundation in a practical sense for Women Deacons in the modern, 21st Century Church. Women today, have taken leadership of MANY of the roles of the normal parish and ministry life, such as head catechists, pastoral associates, lead youth ministers, etc. With the major and only increasing problems present in society, there is likely even a bigger need for women in the Church. With a general, natural strength of emotional and social complexity and understanding, allowing for better nurturing, they could become major players in crisis or spiritual-educational types of ministry, requiring pastoral counselling, catechesis, and/or evangelization (though NOT at the level of the priest in certain ways e.g. exorcism and demonic possession, sacramental ...)
- HOWEVER, it is pretty much close and shut, that any sacramental or holy orders level ministry, the Church will NOT grant to women Deacons.
- Finally ... +Durocher is only one voice among the Church on this issue. I say, Women in the Church truly deserved its own Synod in the future, particularly focusing on their role in the constantly shifting culture of the world in the 21st Century Church, and yes, Women Deacons should be discussed, with a template formulated for their exact role in the Church, the appropriate liturgical procedure for conferring the role on them, etc. In other words, lets leave it to a future Pope to iron out the nitty gritty details.
Close to Home: ++Collins and Toronto
Well, I say that we should hold our horses here in the Archdiocese of Toronto, because our main man, His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins, has NOT spoken yet with his 3 minute intervention. I say that we wait and see what he says, or at least a more full summary of his speech, becomes laid out in the open. We can use this as a better gage, at least here in Toronto, to see just where leadership in the Church locally will go. As to what it will contain, He has given reporters a "sneak peek" of the content and direction of his homily, but of course, individual threads do not make a whole rug. Regardless, he might be speaking in the next few days, if he is already releasing previews.
People, relax. Don't believe everything the talking heads say, be they in Rome, or in their domiciles spewing out their internal, spiritual turmoil onto online word vomit. Keep Calm, and continue being an Orthodox Catholic.
Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.
P.S. Go Blue Jays! Thanks Archdiocese of Toronto!