The Synod is Over

The 2015 Synod of Bishops has concluded. Now begins the process of studying, understanding, implementing, or resisting the various provisions of its final document. Much of this will be in the form of “spin.” Modernists will cheer. “Conservatives” will defend the ever-changing status quo. Traditionalists will rant. And, true to their various positions, each will have cause to do so.

In our cursory read of the most controversial paragraphs of the closing document, it does seem that more than enough wiggle room for heteropraxy can be found in the text. We ask again, rhetorically, when three solemn definitions on no salvation outside the Church can be explained away by the revolutionaries and thus have their essential meaning dissolved, why cannot any area of faith, morals, or practice be similarly corroded?

An observation is in order regarding the polemics that are bound to continue regarding the Synod. In the pages of The Wanderer, a priest theologian made an objection to an article appearing earlier in that same paper. The major thrust of this theologian’s objection is that we cannot say that a given statement is “heretical” or “heterodox” merely because it says that Proposal X is worthy of being given deeper consideration, where Proposal X itself is heresy.

Strictly speaking, his reasoning is correct. However, what ought to be added in the interest of thoroughness is that, in addition to the note, “heretical,”among the labels attached to doubtful or heretical statements (“theological censures”) theologians and the Church herself have employed a host of “theological notes.” These include such descriptive labels as “proposition proximate to heresy,” “proposition savoring of or suspect of heresy,” “erroneous proposition,” “proposition badly expressed,” “proposition exciting scandal,” and “captious proposition,” the last of which Ludwig Ott describes as “reprehensible because of its intentional ambiguity.” (Sound familiar?)

The above list is not exhaustive. Popes have condemned errors with such notes as “false, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical…” (cf. Denz. 1451). There is also my personal favorite, “offensive to pious ears.”

Those with the habitus of theology can carefully weigh some of the Synod’s language in light of these notes.

For a look at the passages that will get the most attention, readers may consult Rorate Caeli’s translations and commentary: The Triumph of Ambiguity – The Synod Final Relatio’s most controversial passages: 69-71, 75, 84-86 (English translation).

John Vennari and Chris Ferrara offer the following brief commentary on the same passages:

  • Alyosha Karamazov

    “Traditionalists will rant.” I take it you had this in mind:

  • Hateful Troll
  • Father John Hunwicke makes an uncommon amount of sense, bluntly and charitably, and with such erudition that he’s untouchable:

    To his wise words, I add these: So much of the scandal attendant on all this is that the unspeakable is being looked upon with a calm indifference, and that our highest-ranking churchmen are employing the anti-Christian vocabulary of the world in speaking of it.

  • HRpuffinstuff

    When I consider the things discussed and promulgated during the “Synod”, I am reminded that the God of mercy, which the current (Lord, let it be short) occupant of the See of Rome invokes frequently, is also the God who rejected Cain’s offering, destroyed the world save for Noah and those on the ark, kept Moses from entering the Promised Land, struck down the one who attempted to steady the Ark of the Covenant as it tottered down the road, allowed the sinful offspring of David and Bathsheba to perish, and after persistent turning from Him, allowed Israel to enter captivity. Oh, and that business about Ananias and Sapphira . . .
    Our Lord is merciful of course, as we see in the incomparable sacrifice of our Lord for our sinfulness. But boy oh boy, he certainly brooked no squishiness on the Truth as the aforementioned examples illustrate. I was taught that Almighty God had two hands, one of Mercy, and one of Justice. To err on either side is a mistake. The current church prelates have gone all “squishy” on us, ignoring truth and justice in favor of blind “mercy”, to our collective peril. Mercy without Truth is no mercy at all. May the saving grace of Jesus Christ protect us from those who would water down the Truth. May Our Lady intercede on our behalf in this time of peril.

  • Alyosha Karamazov
  • John S

    I think that the so-called conservative attendees are guilty of being an accessory to sin by their silence. Silence is the accurate term here because a lot was left unsaid that needed to be said. I fear that the city of Rome will soon be burned to a crisp.