As some of you may recall, prior to the first incarnation of Opus Publicum there was Ius Honorarium, which I wrote under the handle “Venuleius.” While that blog reflects a rather different period in my life, some of the contents may be of interest to my current readership. As such, I will be occasionally posting — unedited — pieces from my old blog with the caveat that some of them do not reflect views I currently wish to defend.
I promise that there is nothing (directly) related to the “Extraordinary Synod” this week.
As expected, I have engaged in well over a dozen “Synod Talk” threads, e-mail exchanges, and conversations. Because Michael Voris did not invite me to accompany him and Church Militant TV to Rome, I have no “inside information” to give. I don’t even have a compelling analysis to offer of what has been reported in the secular and Catholic media. There’s simply not enough time to read it. It may take months, perhaps even years, to know exactly what transpired at the “Extraordinary Synod on the Family,” including all of the events leading up to it. Perhaps Roberto de Mattei will pen The Extraordinary Synod: An Unwritten Story someday. For the moment, what I do know is that the Synod is not an “event” which can be dismissed lightly. Even if the conservatives “win the day” (whatever that means in this context), poison is flowing throughout the Corpus Mysticum. Doctrinal changes are off the table, but “practical reforms” in the name of “the pastoral” will remain in play indefinitely. As we have seen play out since the Second Vatican Council, a shift in praxis becomes a de facto shift in doctrine. We can scream “The doctrine still exists!” until we’re blue in the face, but that hardly means it matters.
Allow me to take a moment away from “Synod Talk” to wish all of you a blessed Feast of St. Gerhard Majella, a lay brother of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) and the patron saint of mothers and expectant mothers. While the General Roman Calendar assigns St. Hedwig to October 16, the Redemptorists traditionally celebrated this day as a II Class Feast for St. Gerard. Further information about the life of St. Gerard, along with special prayers and devotions to him, is available online here.
The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (Transalpine Redemptorists) on Papa Stronsay have relics of St. Gerard which they make available to mothers in distress or those who have difficulty conceiving. More information on how you can acquire a relic for yourself or a friend is available from the Sons’ website here.
Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has given us a new slogan for the “Extraordinary Synod on the Family.” In Italian, the Prefect’s words read, “Indegna, Vergognosa, Completamente Sbagliata.” Fr. John Hunwicke has furnished us with a Latin translation: Indigna, Inverecunda, Omnino Falsa.
Use one or use the other. Use them all. Every battle needs a cry. Ever banner needs a slogan. Remember dear Catholics: On the day of your Confirmation (Chrismation), the Holy Ghost came into your soul and made you soldiers of Jesus Christ. You must not be silent. You must not give way to indifference or despair. Pray for an end to this despicable Synod. Pray for good shepherds like Cardinal Mueller. And above all pray that the Pope recalls his duties as the heir of St. Peter and comes out on behalf of the Truth. He is the Vicar of Christ, not God’s oracle. It is his duty to defend the Church, not let the wolves run wild.
In certain corners of the Internet, along with the half-dozen geographic locales where they are still thought to exist, certain Orthodox Christians are smiling bright over the troubling “first fruits” of the Catholic Church’s ongoing “Extraordinary Synod on the Family.” (If you want to peek into the rotten basket, go here.) They’re smiling because right now it appears as if the Church is on the cusp of contradicting itself, of falling into the chasm which opened up at the First Vatican Council when the dogma of Papal Infallibility was solemnly defined. Nothing could be further from the truth — and they know it.
I know I wrote that I was not going to discuss the ongoing “Extraordinary Synod on the Family” — a promise which I found impossible to keep. At the time it seemed prudent, especially since, much to Cardinal Gerhard Mueller’s chagrin, the first rule of Synod Club is you don’t talk about Synod Club. (This rule does not apply to media outlets being leaked tainted liberal tidbits on a daily basis.) Now the mid-synod report is out and, well, I think, in the interest of trying to hold fast to my previous pledge of omerta, I’ll let the document speak for itself with some choice cuts. (H/T to Mr. Milco of Ursus Elisei for yanking some of these out.)
For Sunday, how about a lengthy block quote from Hilaire Belloc?
Incidentally, I may say that the position of the Papacy is misunderstood when it is regarded as a despotic authority acting capriciously. It is part and parcel of the Catholic Church, defining and guiding—not inventing—doctrines, and identified with the general life of Catholicism. Catholics act as they do, not because one individual has taken into his head to give them orders on a sudden, but because they are in tune with the whole spirit of the Catholic Church, of which the Pope is the central authority.
As an example of the misunderstanding, I may quote the attitude often taken by Non-Catholics towards the advice given by Leo XIII and subsequent Popes in the matter of Scholastic Philosophy. “Pius X,” we are told, “ordained that a philosophy which flourished in the thirteenth century should be the philosophy of the twentieth,” and this attitude is compared to that of an American fundamentalist denying the conclusions of geology. All that is out of focus. No such thing was ever “ordained.” Cardinal Mercier’s great revival of scholasticism at Louvain was approved and commended, and its study warmly supported. But no Catholic is bound to accept that particular system or its terms. I may say in passing that anyone who does adopt it seems to me wise, for it derives from Aristotle, the tutor of the human race, and it represents the highest intellectual effort ever made by man; nor is there conflict between it and evidence, nor any reason to believe that our own particularly muddled time with its disuse of reason is philosophically superior merely because it comes last. But scholasticism is only a human system of thought; it is not a revelation; and the idea that it could be thought equivalent to the Faith or that the Papacy was here imposing it as of Faith could only occur to one wholly unfamiliar with the ancient and abiding Religion of Christendom.
This week’s list of links is rather lengthy. Enjoy.
Somewhere in the world a Synod is taking place which has captured an uncomfortable amount of attention from the secular media. Since I promised not to comment on this Synod, I won’t. I will, however, express my extreme disappointment that this “event” is overshadowing the horror which is still unfolding for Christians in the Middle East. The Islamic State hasn’t called a ceasefire simply because a bunch old prelates in Rome are squabbling over how to circumvent settled dogma with specious reasoning. Some are still fretting that the Synod will lead to a rupture in the Catholic Church, maybe even a full-on schism. Would that be so bad? Yes, schism is always a tragedy, but it’s not without certain upsides. The departure of the Old Catholics in the 19th C., for instance, wounded the Church, but not deeply. Look at where the Old Catholics are today. But the Old Catholics were always an extreme minority; it’s not clear at this point who will go where and what their numbers shall be. That’s because it’s not clear yet who the Synod will shake out. Maybe, as some have predicted, it will just weaken the Church more, make her look even more unnecessary and foolish in the eyes of others, and limp onward toward further occasions for self-destruction in the name of “renewal.” Thankfully Catholic Answers and other neo-Catholic apologists will be on hand to explain it all away.