Thursday, October 30, 2014

Synodal Hijinks (The Aftermath)

I'm a little late coming with this, but it's probably a good thing because there has been more of a chance for the information to sink in, and I haven't really had the time to throw anything up on the subject anyway.

By now, pretty much everybody knows that this whole thing followed the Vatican II playbook. Tight media control. A warping of perception. Sly maneuvering of document drafts. All this was set up for the final declaration of victory and return home to re-interpret sacramental dogma to fit the whims of the Prince of This World.

Then reality hit. Bishops began complaining about the media spin. Cardinal Erdo disavowed the interim relatio. The dominoes fell from there. Cardinal Kaspar lost his mind and basically said that the African and Asian churches had to be limited in the whole synodal discussion (that's my charitable way to put it), then lied about saying it, then apologized when caught in his lie. Cardinal Pell's demanded publication of the "small group reports" was the biggest deal, and I encourage everyone to read the efforts from Cardinal Burke's group, as well as that of Cardinal Sarah (a huge thank you to Stomachosus for the translation) who I gain more and more respect for daily.

Since that time, we've had much wailing and gnashing of teeth about how this is a set-back for the "updating" of the Church," albeit only a temporary one. With that summary, I give you my thoughts on the biggest things to come out of this.

1. First, for all the hand-wringing about the final votes on some of the more controversial language, keep in mind that this was a cherry-picked crowd. If ever there was a field ripe for the planting of this crap crop, it was there at the Synod. And it still didn't work.

2. Cardinal Dolan came back with strength. Whether or not he might "go wobbly" under the glare of spotlights again is up for debate, but his comments this time around were a far cry from his applause of Michael Sam or his posture on the St. Patrick's Parade.

3. I am in wholesale agreement with fellow blogger Boniface at Unam Sanctam re: his point #7 on Cardinal Kaspar. Is he racist? I doubt it. This is the same type of attitude he's always had with people who have dared to disagree with him. Is he a jerk? I think so. But now, he can go back to the hole Pope Benedict had buried him in. His entire reputation has been blown to hell right where his theology belongs.

4. Given that Cardinal Kaspar spent this whole time talking about how tight he is with Pope Francis and how any disagreement with him is an attack on the Pope, I figure Pope Francis has some fences to mend with those same African and Asian churches that were smeared.

5. Given Point #4, I think the ripples from this are going to last all the way to the next conclave. No way are the Africans going to throw their votes to anyone who is going to put them in this kind of position again. Ditto for the Asians. These are prelates who have spent a lot of time and energy to combating the regularization of homosexuality and the difficulty of the Church's teaching on marriage. They aren't going to let the Catholic Church go the way of the Anglican Communion. They will be looking for someone speaking with clarity and prudence on these matters.

6. We've seen the Pope come out with some pretty strong verbiage in the last few days. I assume some of this is in response to the backlash from the Synod.

7. While much attention has been given to Cardinal Muller's role in all this, I am much more fascinated by what Cardinal Erdo was doing. In a lot of ways, it was his action with the relatio that definitively proved that there was funny business going on with the drafting. I wouldn't say it forced the other bishops' hand to rise up, but it was a big step in clearing the way for them. We'll probably know more depending on what happens to His Eminence going forward. If he's tagged as Cardinal Burke's roommate in Malta, that will be a clear sign. Regardless, I think Cardinal Erdo is important. If he can be a European counter-weight to guys like Cardinals Marx and Schonborn, that would be a huge deal.

8. Speaking of Cardinal Burke, I'm not sure people are really appreciating what has happened to him. The level of his proposed demotion is ridiculous. Really, that is probably an understatement. Consider every prelate you know who has been implicated in sexual abuse and cover-up. None of them got a gut-punch like this one.

9. As we alluded to in another post, the notion that any substantive reform of the Curia is actually happening or going to happen is a pipe dream. If anything, the wolves are going to dig themselves in deeper and continue their war against the orthodox. Malta is going to get awful crowded before this is all over. The bottom line, though is that it's pretty difficult to see guys like Cardinal Danneels and Sodano getting special treatment or an institution like the German church being so influential in promoting heresy just to secure its cash flow, while guys like Cardinal Burke or the FFI or whoever are essentially cast into exile. Sure, we might get some reforms of the Vatican Bank, but this is all window dressing while the rot spreads.

So that's the way I see it for now. Pray for our bishops. Fast. Do penance. The recipe hasn't changed.

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