Catholic News Agency is rejoicing in the outcome of the synod, namely, that sexual truths of the Bible will be upheld by a group of Catholic bishops at an exclusive (and sometimes lavish) party in Rome. I’m sorry to be Fr. Grumpy-the-Grump, and this is my last Jeremiah-bewail-session for awhile (before I’m positive and encouraging like KLOV) but I’d ask my readers to consider two things:
1) The bishops just announced that they’re not going to oppose God’s plan for marriage too much…and…we’re rejoicing? Yes, millions of the lay Catholic faithful just fasted or prayed for a month that a group of bishops not tamper with God’s Word at their non-doctrinally-binding get-together…and we.are.thrilled. These truly are the strangest days of the Catholic Church.
2) I say “too much” above because Catholic News Agency simply ignored ambiguous statements of the synod document like:
Therefore, while holding up a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that the responsibility regarding specific actions or decisions is not the same in every case. Pastoral discernment, while taking into account the rightly formed conscience of persons, should take these situations into account.
Who honestly believes that he or she lacks a “rightly formed conscience”? Conscience can sometimes trump Scripture and the Magisterium? That means conscience will always trump the Scriptures since concupiscience attracts us to the path-of-least-resistance in the moral life and we are all masters of our own deceipt. Including bishops. Including you. Including me. Divine Revelation is not a burden but a rescue from our perennial self-deceipt! These bishops overturn God’s law because they don’t know that God is good. I really believe that is what is at the core of all of this.
And we have more to brace for. The Wall Street Journal claims that the outcome of the Synod was still not progressive enough for Pope Francis’ “liberalizing agenda.” Unlike CNA, WSJ was honest in recognizing Pope Francis’ “irritation” with the faithful bishops. Indeed, in Pope Francis’ closing homily, he excoriated the faithful bishops for proceeding with “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings.”
Hide even behind the Church’s teachings? Last I checked “the Church’s teachings” were also Christ’s teachings, God-incarnate Who is “Love and Mercy Itself” as He self-identified to St. Faustina. If Pope Francis implies that his mercy is different from the Church’s mercy (read: Jesus’ mercy) then I actually believe Pope Francis’ implication, namely, that Pope Francis speaks differently from a Catholic Church of 2,000 years.
At the very least, we know that even the most-meticulous of Church historians could not find me another Pope in 2,000 years who would mock the faithful bishops of the world for “hiding behind Church teaching.” Most heretics over 2,000 years claimed they had the Church’s teaching. This is unprecedented vocabulary from a bishop, not to mention a Pope.
How did we get here?
First of all, any Christian leader who gains global popularity by telling a formerly-marginalized group that they can have Jesus without the cross will have unpleasant words for anyone who blocks their way to fame. I would be just as popular if I told people they could follow Jesus without carrying their daily cross, but instead I’ve had five parishes in five years.
But before all this, we can say that this is all a product of modernism, the synthesis of all heresies. What the ambiguity following Vatican II did to the vocation of the priesthood, the above statement in orange threatens to do to the vocation of marriage. I don’t care if the above statement in orange could be twisted to be semi-orthodox by a semi-faithful theologian. Another nine progressive theologians will use the above quote to place conscience above the Magisterium in granting access to Holy Communion to those in openly sinful lifestyles. Ok—I don’t know the ratio will be 1:9, but I do guarantee many will do this to justify the removal of souls from Christ’s teachings lived in ancient Christianity—souls that God wanted to live (not die) forever. And loss of souls is usually the outcome of vague theology. We don’t need heavy-handed theology, but we do need clear theology.
We’re all miserable sinners who need God’s mercy, love and grace, but if “conscience” can change the interior life of “pastoral discernment” (without a fine-tuned theological-qualification that will surely be omitted) then we’re finally at the point where the sheep-in-heat can lead a smily-shepherd right into the mouth of the Wolf.
People, get a grip. Pope Francis is not God. Pope Francis is not God. In the name of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis is not the Almighty, Holy God of the Universe Who has revealed Himself. No one can change God’s teachings found in the Bible and in the Catholic Church.
May the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary come soon.
Read More Blogs from Fr. David Nix Here