Synod Fun!

Synod Fun! October 12, 2015

Sherry Weddell passes on the following:

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has written a rollicking, witty, and thought-provoking description of the first week at the Synod on the Family. He wrote it primarily for Australian Catholics but I think that Catholics from across the English speaking world would enjoy it!

A sample of rollicking:

“There was a cry of jubilation on Saturday afternoon when he said we could have a 10-minute break before we moved from the three-minute speeches into the so-called free discussion. But he told us that there would be no coffee. Boos ensued. One bishop suggested (sotto voce) that if we couldn’t have a coffee someone should open the grog-cupboard. That would have made the free discussion really interesting.”

Thought-provoking:

“During the free discussion, I decided to speak. I tried to say that during the Synod discussions and those preceding there was a sense at times that it’s a matter of all or nothing – that we have two options: either to abandon the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family or to leave things exactly as they are, saying and doing what we’ve said and done for a long time. I suggested that neither of these was a real option. We weren’t going to abandon Church teaching; but it was unthinkable that we would simply say and do what we’ve always said and done. Why bother with the time, energy and expense of two Synods and all that’s gone with them if nothing whatsoever is going to change? The impression at times is that there’s really no space between the two extremes, when in fact there’s a huge space – space for all kinds of pastoral creativity. We need, I said, to expand our vision of possibility, think laterally, outside the square. That’s the task of this Synod and the real challenge to our corporate apostolic imagination: neither to abandon Church teaching or to leave things untouched, but to explore the vast territory that lies between iconoclasm and immobilism – and to do so in a way that’s practical at the point of both language and action.”

Since I’m perfectly confident the Church is not going to change anything essential in her teaching (cuz she’s indefectible) I have paid no and will pay not attention to the breathless hysterical panic emanating from the folks who are wasting time worrying that she will, that Francis is the Great Enemy of the Faith and that God has anointed them to stop The Worst Pope Since Alexander VI by squealing in comboxes or on nutjob blogs.

I will, however, occasionally note when something actually interesting or productive comes out of the Synod. All this, to repeat, is just the Church chewing stuff over. What will matter and have teeth is when the pope actually writes his teaching document in a year or so. Remain calm.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • But what are you perfectly confident of in practice? The people who are worried are not worried that the Pope will decree that sacramental marriages can be dissoved. They are worried that the Pope will allow divorced and remarried people who have not had a juridical annulment for their first marriage to go to communion while living as husband and wife in the second marriage. Are you perfectly confident that the Pope will not allow this?

  • John L Chiogna

    Please read this. Some of the Synod fathers have some concerns

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1351154?eng=y&refresh_ce

  • Re_Actor

    Since I’m perfectly confident the Church is not going to change anything essential in her teaching (cuz she’s indefectible) I have paid no and will pay not attention to the breathless hysterical panic emanating from the folks who are wasting time worrying that she will, that Francis is the Great Enemy of the Faith and that God has anointed them to stop The Worst Pope Since Alexander VI by squealing in comboxes or on nutjob blogs.

    Those nattering nabobs of negativism would do better to direct their fire at the real threat facing the Church today — the surging hordes of geocentrists.

    • Stu

      Indeed. I don’t understand all the attention paid to geocentrism no matter whether for or against. What a waste of time and resources.

      • Alma Peregrina

        Those guys make us look bad. They fuel the prejudice that christians in general and catholics in particular are against science.

        Is it less of a waste of time and resources to call Francis the worst pope since Alexander VI, therefore fuelling even further the notion that he is going to change Church teaching?

        • Stu

          Yes, both of those guys make us look bad. So does “Pope Michael”. So do Catholic Bloggers who go into cyber rage. So does Nancy Pelosi. So do a whole litany of things. In fact, I do my own harm without any help from geocentrists.

          It would be great to see Catholic apologists address the pressing issues of our time instead of getting caught up in little sideshow issues. Islam, Modernism, Liberalism would all be better targets instead of things like geocentrism.

          • Alma Peregrina

            Catholic apologists in general and Mark in particular denounce Islam, Modernism and Liberalism all the time. If you take the time to count, you’ll see that posts about Geocentrism are quite scarce relatively to posts about other “Isms” from post-modernity.

            • Stu

              Denouncing is one thing. Writing an entire book on it is another thing. Catholic apologists were very focused over a decade ago in answering the error of protestantism and evangelicalism. For the most part, that battle has been fought and won at least intellectually. It would be great to see them do the same with the actual issues pressing right now. Geocentrism isn’t it.

          • chezami

            I appreciate that, through it all, you always take time out of your busy schedule to tell me what’s wrong with me though.

            • Stu

              Are you somehow above criticism? As a public figure who routinely blogs his own thoughts about what is wrong with others, are you off limits?

              I hope you also appreciate the times that I have taken time out of my “busy schedule” to defend you on other blogs, recommended your books to others, read articles here on your blog (which amounts to “clicks” by which your advertisers compensate you) and most importantly devoted some of those earnings from my “busy schedule” to buy your books.

              But there is nothing wrong with you Mark. Your style is perfect. Don’t change a thing, ever.

              • chezami

                Yes. Clearly, I meant I was above criticism. You have once again detected my flaws. Thank you for your dedicated vigilance in pointing them out.

                • Reader Yesterday

                  Perhaps you meant to say “thank you.”
                  After all, he does admit that you, a shining star in the bloggy firmament, have brought joy into his hum-drum life.

      • Joseph

        It’s the same reason the media is focusing on The Donald, to characterise the side superficially opposing Hillary as nuts. The geocentrists in the Church are used as caricatures of fundamentalist anti-science Catholics for the media who loves to use them as an example to paint Catholic teachings on pelvic issues and morals in general as unreasonable, unscientific, illogical, religious garbage. There’s a reason for elevating the *fringes* and giving them a platform.

  • Daniel G. Fink

    No chance of significant participants desiring at least to nuance settled doctrine and label it a “development”, perhaps?

    http://americamagazine.org/issue/avoiding-absolutism

  • CradleRevert

    Of course the Church isn’t going to change her timeless teaching. That isn’t really what’s at issue here.

    The big problem is that we appear to be having another “Humanae Vitae” moment…where in the end the Church will ultimately uphold her teaching, but the manipulated control of information and the subtle (or not-so-subtle) apostasy of many clerics will ultimately give the impression to the world that either the Church DID change her teaching or that the teaching can be ignored.

    • W. Randolph Steele

      In the United States, it IS, already. There is a “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” mindset in many areas of the U.S. and unless someone knows for sure a couples real status NOBODY is going to know. De Jure no Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics without an annulment. De Facto, there is.

  • [Since I’m perfectly confident the Church is not going to change anything essential in her teaching (cuz she’s indefectible) ]

    Yes, but my fear is that while Church teaching won’t change, confusion and poor pastoral practice will result. After the council of Nicea many bishops who were teaching Arianism went back home and continued teaching it. Generations lived and died before Arianism was gone.

    I find it interesting that Weddell speaks of this all or nothing fallacy. If I might, you kind of suggest one yourself: “Changing doctrine or everything is fine and dandy.”

    As you point out doctrine will not change. But there is still space to fear that the results of this Synod will bring negative effects in other ways. “in fact there’s a huge space – space for all kinds of pastoral creativity.” -Weddell, this article.

    At least 13 Cardinals are afraid of that: http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1351154?eng=y&refresh_ce

    When Cdl. Sarah is worried, I am too.

    • Alma Peregrina

      “Yes, but my fear is that while Church teaching won’t change, confusion and poor pastoral practice will result. After the council of Nicea many bishops who were teaching Arianism went back home and continued teaching it. Generations lived and died before Arianism was gone.”

      Information today spreads much faster. Yes, there are media distortions, but those would appear with synod or not.

  • Re_Actor

    “… during the Synod discussions and those preceding there was a sense … that we have two options: either to abandon the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family or to leave things exactly as they are …”

    So abandoning the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family is considered by some synod fathers as an “option”. Good to know.

    “We weren’t going to abandon Church teaching …”

    Whew.

    “… but it was unthinkable that we would simply say and do what we’ve always said and done. Why bother with the time, energy and expense of two Synods and all that’s gone with them if nothing whatsoever is going to change?”

    Well quite.

    https://youtu.be/3Ps85649fWk

    “… there’s a huge space – space for all kinds of pastoral creativity.”

    Uh-oh.

  • Stu

    If there is even a document from the Pope on this. Both Synods have been an absolute CF.

  • johnnysc

    A space for pastoral creativity?

    Uh oh…..In my field we had a saying…..k.i.s.s……keep it simple stupid.

    “Neither do I condemn you (compassion); go, and do not sin again (conversion).”

  • Cypressclimber

    It is grimly amusing to see you define “success” so carefully: according to you, the synod (and the pope’s policy) will only be a failure if that which is impossible, happens!

    Many of us see many other ways this synod, and this Hagan-lio-ology, may go go off the rails.

  • Dan13

    I guess this policy didn’t last the day . . .

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    This just in: Pope Disallows Coffee; Is Java Moral? New Synod on the Cup o’ Joe; Is Starbucks the True AntiChrist?

  • Ronald King

    Why isn’t there a synod on stopping violence in the world? That is the greatest threat to humanity.

    • Alma Peregrina

      If you look it up, nowadays the kind of violence that victimizes most human beings is abortion. And that problem is inextricably linked to how we view family.

      • Ronald King

        Wrong. Abortion is the result of violence

        • Alma Peregrina

          Wrong. Abortion is sometimes the result of violence. But abortion always results in violence.

          • Ronald King

            Wrong. You’re only seeing fragments and not the whole.

            • Alma Peregrina

              Either way, thank you for proving my point. You’re completely indiferent to violence exerted on the unborn child by abortion. Just like a vast portion of our society.

              Which just shows how this synod is important.

              Other kinds of violence, the ones you talk about, are very important as well. But at least for those there is widespread concern and awareness from vasts sectors of society, Church included. They don’t need a synod.

              • Ronald King

                Violence must be seen in its many different and insidious forms in order to understand how abortion is the result of violence. Your interpretation that I avoid or am indifferent to violence exerted on the unborn child is absolutely delusional. That is a lie and it is a form of violence. If you cannot understand that then you cannot understand what I am writing.

                • Alma Peregrina

                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/9100838/Pregnant-women-have-asked-for-terminations-because-they-did-not-want-their-holidays-spoilt.html

                  And don’t tell me I’m delusional for posting this. I’ve seen this happen during my residentship.

                  • Ronald King

                    I stated you were delusional if you thought that I was indifferent to the violence of abortion. What you referenced above in the article is hideous I am talking about the violence that is all around us every day of our lives every second of those days and how we have grown numb to violence and as a consequence we have grown numb to the sanctity of life as a result we seek comfort and pleasure to avoid the unwanted intrusion of anything that disturbs us . However you would have to see for yourself how violence is the core cause of abortion.

                    • Alma Peregrina

                      I’ve mistaken you for a pro-choicer, and I apologize, but your comments were too vague to allow other interpretations.

                      I still think your definition of violence is too broad, though. It can mean anything, and therefore be blamed for anything. Violence numbs us to the sanctity of life? Indeed… but the prime factor that numbs us to the sanctity of life, in any form, pre or post-birth, is Original Sin.

            • Alma Peregrina

              Wrong.

              You say that abortion is (always) the result of violence. I don’t deny that abortion *may* be the result of violence. But I also acknowledge that there is a vast array of reasons why women can (and do) choose abortion.

              You also focus exclusively on violence exerted on women that choose abortion, but you methodically ignore that abortion, by definition, exerts violence on the unborn child.

              In short, you’re focusing only on the woman and even then only on a fraction of women. You’re seeing only fragments, and not the whole.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I’ve always found it fascinating, now as throughout Her history, to watch the very human activity of the church, confused, contentious, yet clutching the Truth as if Her very hands were nailed to it. Taking the long view, there is no cause for alarm; and the short view is full of the vagaries and vitality of human existence. GKC is of course right, the unpardonable sin is to be bored.