The Synod of the Family, Part Deux, has commenced. News and commentary about it will be clogging your Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Feedly links for the next decade, if you’re lucky it’s only that long. If you’re like me, you’re on synod overload, and want to avoid it as much as possible. I don’t blame you.
Short of completely avoiding social media, Catholic blogs, and Catholic news sites, and going on a 100% Internet fast, escaping any coverage of the synod will be darn near impossible. And most coverage will be spun according to the biases of the sources, and their particular axe to grind. So the question is – what sites will be offering honest, balanced coverage?
First of all, AoftheA will not be publishing commentary on the synod. Oh, I might provide commentary on the commentary – but I won’t be posting anything directly concerning the synod. I value my sanity.
Maybe the answer is to suggest whom to avoid. I have three suggestions.
#1 -The Mainstream Media. Obvious.
#2 – The National Catholic Reporter. Goes without saying. Because we all know – before the synod concludes, the NCReporter will have rewritten the catechism to fit their dissident proclivities, run same-sex marriage wedding banns, and declare divorce the eighth sacrament. They write stuff like that now, so all the synod does is provide additional incentive.
#3 – Nearly everybody Pewsitter links to. Unless you have to know about shadow synods, or rumored back room shenanigans, or how the synod will bring about the apocalypse, or who’s really orchestrating the rules changes, or how Pope Francis is dismantling Church doctrine, or whose anonymous source has the most honest-to-goodness truthy truth of what’s really happening at the Synod. Perhaps that’s entertainment to some degree, but wading into that Gnostic pool of crackpottery will lead to drowning in spiritual cynicism, and the next thing you know, you’re making reservations at the nearest catacomb and buying all the beeswax candles you can afford.
That just ain’t helpful.
A pervasive attitude is rising within certain corners of the Catholic blogosphere, where fears that Satan will destroy the Church stone by stone exceeds belief in the promise that the gates of Hell shall not prevail, and only bloggers can save us. Expressions like “Synod of Doom” – really? Hyperbole much?
Is everything awesome? Nope. Are forces conspiring to harm the Church? Yep. Are there individuals at the Synod desiring to change or undo Church doctrine? Yes, there are. Are there real concerns? Again, yes.
There’s no point in history during which none of those things were true. And yet – 2000 years later, we’re still here. How in the world did that happen without the grace and wisdom of Catholic bloggers that entire time? Tis a mystery.
Could the Church be damaged as a result of this synod? Well, sure – look at the fallout from Humanae Vitae to see the results of people willfully abandoning Church teaching. That was terrible. People who wanted contraception to be permitted got pissed off. I believe that many faithful will be strengthened as a result of this synod, because the synod won’t undo Church doctrine, and that people opposed to Church doctrine will similarly get pissed off, and do whatever the hell they want, regardless of what the Church says. Because, free will.The Church could be damaged as a result of the crackpottery, too. Sadly, it will be published. Whether you give them any attention – that’s entirely up to you. (Which is why there are no links – not gonna give them attention or credibility.) Again, free will. But if you read them, ask yourself : is your faith being strengthened? Are you leading others to Christ? Does reading them lead to an increase in virtue? Are the fruits of the Holy Spirit being nurtured or starved? Are you getting angry, or does it lead you to peace?
In other words, you have self-control. Just because some writers and bloggers have chosen to not exercise it, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.
While in my parish’s Adoration Chapel yesterday, I read this in “My Imitation of Christ” – from Bk III, Chapter 24.
“For what is to thee whether this man be such and such; or that man do or say this or the other. Thou art not to answer for others, but must give an account for thyself; why, therefore, dost thou meddle with them? Behold, I know every one and see all things that are done under the sun, and I know how it is with every one, what he thinks, what he would have and at what his intention aims. All things, therefore, are to be committed to Me; but as for thy part, keep thyself in good peace and let the busybody be as busy as he will. Whatsoever he shall do or say will come upon himself, because he cannot deceive Me…Be careful and watch in prayer and humble thyself in all things.”
So back to the original question – who’s going to provide honest, balanced coverage? Where’s the middle ground?
I don’t know. Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to wait til the Synod ends.
In the meantime, here are ten infinitely more efficacious suggestions:
1) Pray the rosary.
2) Read the Bible and other spiritual works.
3) Go to Adoration.
4) Play with your kids.
5) Do stuff with your spouse.
6) Attend to your job/vocation.
7) Fulfill the will of God.
8) Here’s a productive idea: Adopt-A-Synod-Father! (I got Bishop Peter John Haworth Doyle of Northamptom, England) If you get someone you don’t like, treat it like a cross, and you might receive extra grace!
9) Read the Crescat. She’s devoted October to contemplating the Rosary, complete with stunning art. It’s a wonderful antidote to crackpottery.
10) Those corporal works of mercy? Dust ’em off if need be, and see Christ in others.
The Synod runs to October 25. It might be a rough month – but that’s entirely up to you.
Image via Pixabay