Tag Archives: Silly Synodality

“Cosmovisions?” Was ist das??

History teaches us how destructive a rampaging column of German tanks can be.  We’re also learning how dangerously destructive a rampaging gruppe of heterodox German cardinals can be as they prepare a blitzkrieg against the Faith at the upcoming Synod on the Amazon.  (Just ask Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen.  He boasted to reporters that the October Amazon Synod in Rome will lead to a “break” in the Church and that “nothing will be the same as it was.”)  

Thanks be to God that we have men like Gerhart Cardinal Müller.**  He stands for the Faith, and against his fellow Rhinelanders when it comes to some of the more nonsensical provisions in the Instrumentum Laboris ( IL, or “working document”) they’ve prepared in advance of the Synod.  

Here is Part Two of a three part breakdown of Cdl. Müller’s remarks as reported by Catholic News Agency in July.

Part Two: Inverted Hermeneutics and “Cosmovisions”

Part two of Gerhard Cardinal Müller’s On the Concept of Revelation as presented in the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod

  1. Upside-down Hermeneutics

Has the Church of Christ been put by her Founder, as though she was some kind of putty, into the hands of bishops and popes, so they may now – illuminated by the Holy Spirit – rebuild her, into an updated instrument with secular goals, too?

The structure of the text presents a radical U-turn from the hermeneutics of Catholic theology. The relationship between Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition on the one hand, and the Church’s Magisterium on the other, has been classically determined in such a way that Revelation is fully contained in Holy Scripture and Tradition, while it is the task of the Magisterium – united with the sense of the Faith of the whole People of God – to make authentic and infallible interpretations. Thus, Holy Scripture and Tradition are constitutive principles of knowledge for the Catholic Profession of Faith and its theological-academic reflection. The Magisterium, on the other hand, is merely active in an interpretative and regulative manner (Dei Verbum 8-10; 24).

In the case of the IL, however, the very opposite is the case. The whole line of thought revolves, in self-referential and circular ways, around the latest documents of Pope Francis’ Magisterium, furnished with a few references to John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Only little is quoted of Holy Scripture, and the Church Fathers barely at all, and then only in an illustrative manner, for the sake of supporting pre-formed convictions. Perhaps one wishes thereby to show a special loyalty to the Pope, or one thus believes oneself to be able to avoid the challenges of theological work when one constantly refers back to his well-known and often repeated keywords, which the authors call – in a pretty sloppy manner – “his mantra” (IL 25). This flattery is then being carried to its extreme when the authors also add – after declaring that “the active subjects of inculturation are the indigenous peoples themselves” (IL 122) – the following odd expression: “As Pope Francis has affirmed, ‘Grace supposes culture.’” As if he himself had discovered this axiom – which is of course a fundamental axiom of the Catholic Church herself.  In the original, it is Grace which presupposes Nature, just as Faith presupposes Reason (see Thomas Aquinas, S. th. I q.1 a.8).

Next to the confusing of the roles of Magisterium on the one side and of Holy Scripture on the other, the IL even goes so far as to claim that there are new sources of Revelation. IL 19 states: “Furthermore, we can say that the Amazon – or another indigenous or communal territory – is not only an ubi or a where (a geographical space), but also a quid or a what, a place of meaning for faith or the experience of God in history. Thus, territory is a theological place where faith is lived, and also a particular source of God’s revelation: epiphanic places where the reserve of life and wisdom for the planet is manifest, a life and wisdom that speaks of God.” If here a certain territory is being declared to be a “particular source of God’s Revelation,” then one has to state that this is a false teaching, inasmuch as for 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has infallibly taught that Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition are the only sources of Revelation and that no further Revelation can be added in the course of history. As Dei Verbum states, “we now await no further new public revelation” (4). Holy Scripture and Tradition are the only sources of Revelation, as Dei Verbum (7) explains: “This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face.” “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church.” (Dei Verbum 10).

Besides these striking statements and references, the organization Rete Ecclesiale Panamazzonica (REPAM) – which has been tasked with the preparation of the IL and which was founded for that very reason in 2014 – as well as their authors of the so-called Theologia india [Indian Theology] mostly quote themselves.

It is a closed group of absolutely like-minded people, as can easily be gleaned from the list of participants at pre-synodal meetings in Washington and Rome, and it includes a disproportionately large number of mostly German-speaking Europeans.

This group is immune to serious objections, because such objections could only be based on monolithic doctrinalism and dogmatism, or ritualism (IL 38; 110; 138), as well as on clericalism incapable of dialogue (IL 110), and on the rigid way of thinking of the pharisees and on the pride of reason of the scribes. To argue with such people would just be a loss of time and a wasted effort.

Not all of them have direct experience with South America, and are only invited because they toe the official line and determine the agenda at the synodal process of the German bishops’ conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics currently underway (i.e. abolishing celibacy, [ordaining] women to the priesthood and promoting them to key positions of power so as to tackle clericalism and fundamentalism, conforming Catholic sexual morality to gender ideology and an appreciation for homosexual practices) that is simultaneously taking place.

I myself have been active in the pastoral and theological field in Peru and other countries for 15 consecutive years, always for two to three months on end. It was mainly in South American parishes and seminaries, and thus I do not now judge with a purely Eurocentric perspective, as some would like to tell me in a reproachful manner.

Every Catholic will agree with one important intention of the IL, namely that the peoples of the Amazon may not remain the object of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the object of forces solely dedicated to profit and power at the expense of the happiness and dignity of other people. It is clear in Church, society, and state that the people who are living there – especially our Catholic brothers and sisters – are equal and free agents in their lives and work, their Faith and their morality, and this in our common responsibility before God. But how can this be achieved?

  1. The Point of Departure is God’s Revelation in Christ Jesus

Without doubt, the proclamation of the Gospel is a dialogue which corresponds to the Word (=Logos) of God addressed to us – as well as our response to it by the free gift of obedience to the Faith (cf. Dei Verbum 5). Because this mission comes from Christ the God-Man and because He passed His Mission on from the Father onto His Apostles, the seeming tensions between a dogmatic approach “from above” versus a pedagogical-pastoral approach “from below” are rendered pointless, unless one were to reject the “divine-human-principle of pastoral ministry” (Franz Xaver Arnold).

However it is man to whom Jesus addresses the universal missionary mandate (Matthew 28:19), “the universal and sole mediator of salvation between God and all mankind” (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:4 seq.), and man can reflect, by way of reason, upon the meaning of life, from birth to death, a life shaken by the existential crises of human existence, and he sets in life and death his hope in God, the origin and goal of all being.

A cosmovision with its myths and the ritual magic of Mother “Nature,” or its sacrifices to “gods” and spirits which scare the wits out of us, or lure us on with false promises, cannot be an adequate approach for the coming of the Triune God in His Word and His Holy Spirit. Much less can the approach be a scientific-positivistic worldview of a liberal bourgeoisie which accepts from Christianity only a comfortable remnant of moral values and civil-religious rituals.

In all seriousness, in the formation of future pastors and theologians, shall the knowledge of classical and modern philosophy, of the Church Fathers, of modern theology, of the Councils now be replaced with the Amazonian cosmovision and the wisdom of the ancestors with their myths and rituals?

Should the expression “cosmovision” merely mean that all created things are interdependent, it would be a mere commonplace. Due to the substantial unity of body and soul, man stands at the intersection of the fabric of spirit and matter. But the contemplation of the cosmos is only the occasion for the glorification of God and His wonderful work in nature and history. The cosmos, however, is not to be adored like God, but only the Creator Himself. We do not fall on our knees before the enormous power of nature and before “all kingdoms of the world and their splendor” (Matthew 4:8), but only before God, “for it is written, the Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10) It is thus that Jesus rejected the diabolical seducer in the desert.

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The full text of Cdl. Müller’s remarks can be found here:  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-cardinal-muellers-analysis-on-the-working-document-of-the-amazon-synod-78441 

**Editor’s Note:  You’ll see the good Cardinal’s name spelled both as “Mueller” and “Müller.”  In this article, we’ve gone with the umlauts.  You just can’t get enough umlauts when you’re talking about Germans, ist das nicht wahr?  🙂  

 

 

The Amazon Flows Into the Tiber?? Cardinal Mueller analyzes the Amazon Synod’s working document

The upcoming Amazon Synod is going to be a big deal. That’s not just some hokey blogger going by the odd moniker “CCM” jabbering (though he is, most admittedly, prone to jabber). According to Katholische.de, the official website of the German Catholic Bishops, Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, the ordinary of Germany’s Essen diocese, told reporters that the October Synod in Rome will lead to a “break” in the Church and that “nothing will be the same as it was.” Not all Germans are in agreement as to the benefits to be realized from the synod. As you might expect Gerhard Cardinal Mueller has a considerably different opinion.  

Cardinal Mueller’s analysis (from a Catholic News Agency article dated 16 July 2019) is divided into three parts, which we’ll promulgate over the next couple of weeks. The full text of Cdl. Mueller’s remarks can be found here:   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-cardinal-muellers-analysis-on-the-working-document-of-the-amazon-synod-78441  

Part One: Methodology and Ambivalence

On the Concept of Revelation as presented in the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller

  1. On the method of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL)

Nobody would question the goodwill of all those involved in the preparation and implementation of the synod for the Church in the Amazon, nor their intention of doing everything possible to promote the Catholic Faith among the inhabitants of this vast region and its fascinating landscape.

The Amazon region is to serve for the Church and for the world “as a pars pro toto, as a paradigm, as a hope for the whole world.” (IL 37) The very wording of these terms of reference suggest the notion of an “integral” development of all of humankind at home on the one Earth, for which the Church now declares herself responsible. This notion appears again and again in the text of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL). The document is divided into three parts: 1) The Voice of the Amazon; 2) Integral Ecology: The Cry of the Earth and of the Poor; 3) A Prophetic Church in the Amazon: Challenges and Hope. These three parts are put forward following a pattern also applied in Liberation theology: Seeing the situation – judging in light of the Gospels – acting to achieve better living conditions.

  1. Ambivalently defined terms and goals

As is so often the case when texts are produced as a team effort, by groups of people with a similar mindset contributing, there are many tiresome redundancies. If one were strictly to take out all the repetitions, the text could easily be cut down to half the length or less.

The main problem however is not quantitative, is not the excessive length. Rather, it is the fact that the key terms are not clearly defined and then excessively deployed: what is meant by a synodal path, by integral development, what is meant by a Samaritan, missionary, synodal, open Church? By a Church reaching out, the Church of the Poor, the Church of the Amazon, and other such terms? Is this Church something different from the People of God, or is she to be understood merely as the hierarchy of Pope and Bishops, or is she a part of it, or does she stand on the opposite side of the people? Is the term People of God to be understood sociologically or theologically? Or is she not, rather, the community of faithful, who, together with their shepherds, are on the pilgrimage unto eternal life? Is it the bishops who should hear the cry of the people, or is it God Who, just as He once did it with Moses during Israel’s slavery in Egypt, now tells the successors of the Apostles to lead the faithful out of sin and apart from the godlessness of secularist naturalism and immanentism unto his salvation in God’s Word and in the Sacraments of the Church?

 

 

Cardinal Sarah on Catholic Doctrine

Excerpts from address given by Robert Cardinal Sarah at Église Saint François-Xavier in Paris, May 25, 2019, just hours after he visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris following the catastrophic fire which nearly destroyed it.

And then, dear friends, what else does our cathedral need? It needs solid pillars to support the vaults. What are these pillars? What foundation is needed to support the graceful slenderness of the Gothic rib-vaults? The Catholic doctrine we have received from the apostles is the only solid foundation we can find.

If everyone defends his own opinion, theological hypotheses, novelties, or a pastoral approach that contradicts the demands of the Gospel and the perennial Magisterium of the Church, then division will spread everywhere.

I am wounded when I see so many pastors selling off Catholic doctrine and sowing division among the faithful. We owe the Christian people a clear teaching, firm and stable. How can we allow bishops and episcopal conferences to contradict one another? Where confusion reigns, God cannot dwell! For God is Light and Truth.

Unity of faith assumes the unity of the magisterium across space and time. When we are confronted with a new teaching, it must always be interpreted in continuity with the teaching that preceded. If we introduce ruptures and revolutions, we destroy the unity that governs the holy Church across the ages. This does not mean that we are condemned to a theological fixism. But all evolution must lead to a better understanding and deepening of the past. The hermeneutic of reform in continuity that Benedict XVI so clearly taught is a condition sine qua non of unity. Those who loudly proclaim change and rupture are false prophets! They are not seeking the good of the flock. They are mercenaries let in by deceit into the sheepfold!

Our unity is forged around the truth of Catholic doctrine and the moral teaching of the Church. There are no other means. To try to win media approval at the price of the truth is to do Judas’ work! Do not fear! What greater gift is there for humanity than the truth of the Gospel? What more precious treasure than the light of the Gospel and the Wisdom of God, who is Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:24)?

Some Christians seem to want to deprive themselves of this light and wisdom. They limit themselves to looking at the world with secular eyes. Why? Is it the wish to be accepted by the world? The wish to be like the world?

I wonder whether, deep down, this attitude masks a fearful refusal to listen to what Jesus himself told us: “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world.” What an honor, but also what a responsibility! What a duty! To renounce being the salt of the earth is to condemn the world to remain bland and tasteless. To renounce being the light of the world is to condemn it to darkness and abandon it to the shadows of its rebellion against God! We must not let this happen!

(https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/06/21/cardinal-sarah-we-must-rebuild-the-cathedral-we-do-not-need-to-invent-a-new-church/)

Cardinal Sarah on Priestly Celibacy

Since the issue of priestly celibacy is going to be one of the “hot button” topics addressed at the upcoming Synod on the Amazon, it might be informative to hear what a prominent African prelate has to say on the matter.

Robert Cardinal Sarah

What Cardinal Sarah has to say on the topic of priestly celibacy is certainly worth hearing…but will he be heard at the Amazon Synod?

Here are some excerpts from address given by Robert Cardinal Sarah at Église Saint  François-Xavier in Paris, May 25, 2019, just hours after he visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris following the catastrophic fire which nearly destroyed it. The link to the entire article can be found at the bottom.

I often hear it said that priestly celibacy is only a question of historical discipline. I firmly believe that this is false. As we said above, celibacy reveals the very essence of Christian priesthood, namely the perfect configuration and total identification of the priest with Christ, High Priest of the New Covenant and of the good things to come (Heb 9:11). In this sense, the priest is not only an alter Christus, another Christ, he is truly ipse Christus, Christ himself. By the Eucharistic consecration, he is totally configured to Christ, he is so to speak “transubstantiated,” transformed, changed into Christ. And because Christ and the Apostles lived in perfect chastity and celibacy as a sign of their total and absolute gift to the Father, it is thus fundamental today as well to see celibacy as a vital necessity for the Church. To speak of it as a secondary reality is hurtful to all the priests of the world!

I am deeply persuaded that the relativization of the law of priestly celibacy will reduce the priesthood to a simple function. But priesthood is not a function but a state. To be a priest is not first and foremost to do something, but to be something. It is to be Christ; it is to be the extension of the presence of Christ among men. Christ is truly the Church’s spouse. He loved the Church and gave himself up for her “in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish” (Ep 5:25-27). The priest for his part gives himself as Christ was given for the whole Church. Celibacy manifests this gift, and is its concrete and vital sign. Celibacy is the seal of the Cross on our priestly life! It is the cry of the  priestly soul proclaiming its love for the Father and its total gift of self to the Church!

The desire to relativize celibacy leads to scorning this radical gift that so many faithful priests have lived since the day of their ordination. I want to shout with so many of my fellow priests my profound suffering in the face of this scorn for priestly celibacy! Of course, there can be weakness in this domain. But he who falls rises immediately and pursues his way following Christ with more fidelity and determination.

Read the entire article here–> https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/06/21/cardinal-sarah-we-must-rebuild-the-cathedral-we-do-not-need-to-invent-a-new-church/

 

Blowgun Blowback on the Amazon Synod

In an earlier video, CCM contributor Hank Igitur offered a startlingly effective solution to the priest shortage in the Amazon Basin.  If the hierarchy adopted his revolutionary idea,** there might not even be a need to have the Amazon Synod in the first place!

Well, as you might imagine, there has been considerable feedback on this radical idea.  In this latest video, Hank recaps some of the more interesting comments he’s received!

**The radical idea:  send missionaries.  I know!  Crazy, right?

 

That Amazin’ Amazon Synod!

Yep.  “Amazin'” is the only way to describe the plans afoot for the much-ballyhooed and disturbingly controversial Sinodo para a Amazonia.  Amazonia is a general term for the area encompassing the Amazon basin, which stretches over eight nations covering roughly a third of South America.  The Amazon Synod, planned for October 2019, is an ambitious attempt to address a wide variety of ecological, political, economic, and even religious challenges confronting the inhabitants of that critical–yet troubled–region of our planet.

The working document (Instrumentum Laboris in Latin) for the synod came out a few weeks ago, and it created quite a stir in what Catholic World Report describes as “certainly of the kitchen sink variety. It has all the bullet points: everything anyone could want, and more.”

The document is long. Translated from the Portuguese original, the Spanish version of The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and Integral Ecology comes in at twenty-two thousand words, give or take, footnotes included. It is articulated in three parts: of four, nine, and eight chapters, respectively, over one hundred forty-nine numbered paragraphs. The major divisions are: “The voice of Amazonia”; “Integral Ecology: The Cry of the Earth and of the Poor”; “A Prophetic Church in Amazonia: Challenges and Hopes.”

There is absolutely no doubt that Amazonia–both the region itself and more particularly its indigenous peoples–have been shamelessly and brutally exploited over the centuries.  That the Church should address such injustices seems to us here at CCM to be entirely proper.  But the working document frequently goes off in odd directions.  (So odd, in fact, that Walter Cardinal Brandmüller calls the working document for the Synod “heretical” and an “apostasy” from Divine Revelation.  

As William Kilpatrick says in an essay for Crisis Magazine:

The most ironic thing about this new venture into the primitive is that some of the prime movers are the leaders of the Catholic Church. Take the upcoming Amazon Synod. The working document for the Synod does makes some valid observations about the biological and climatological importance of the Amazonian region and about the exploitation of the Amazonian people. But when it comes to describing the peoples, the “Voice of the Amazon” sounds suspiciously like the voice of Rousseau—or better, the voice of Rousseau harmonized with the voice of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and elevated to the cosmic level.  Thus:

  • A fundamental aspect of the root of human sin is to detach oneself from nature… (99)
  • A cosmic dimension of experience (cosmovivencia) palpitates within the families. (75)
  • It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught these people throughout the centuries: faith in the God Father-Mother Creator; communion and harmony with the earth; solidarity with one’s companions … the living relationship with nature and “Mother Earth.” (121)

It’s a sort of 21st Century New Agey re-imagining of Rosseau’s “Noble Savage” construct.  Dwelling overlong on that romantic notion of indigenous peoples tempts one to see them as the teachers, the guardians of profound divine truths that Western civilization desperately needs to learn.  The idea that Catholicism is the legitimate guardian of the divine truths which lead people to eternal salvation has to take a bit of a back seat…at the very least it should zip its lip and listen attentively to “the ancient wisdom of the ancestors.

Another problem the synod will address is that of the priest shortage in Amazonia.  The most practical solution, according to many associated with synod preparation, is to ordain indigenous married elders, presumably using some sort of “fast track” seminary process.  Because these potential priests have wives (who themselves, one must allow, equally well-versed in the wisdom of their culture), these wives could be given some sort of official role in parish life as well…perhaps even as a sort of deaconess or something.

Something for everyone in the Instrumentum Laboris, to be sure!

Here at CCM, we’ll be watching developments closely.  I expect we’ll even have a dedicated section on our home page where our vast readership (all three dozen of you!) can easily keep abreast of each amazin’ twist and turn on the road to the Amazon Synod.

Here’s the Gameplan for the February Bishops Meeting…

Chalkboard depicting a complex football play.

The Vatican is developed the bad habit of pre-engineering the outcomes of its synods.  There are never any surprises; the outcomes are pre-determined to a degree that would warm the hearts of any Soviet Party Congress.

It’s not really being called a synod now.  It’s billed as a meeting of the heads of the various bishops’ conferences…sort of a closed door meeting of all the power broker-type bishops.  Who knows?  We’re not sure it even matters who the cooks are; the results are going to be cooked.  That’s how they roll in this pontificate.

Based on statements from the Vatican and its most prominent cheerleaders, we can pretty much guess just what that outcome will be.  You can bet that they’re already rehearsing their end zone liturgical dance routines to celebrate the outcome.

But…just to be sure, we nabbed a copy of the Vatican playbook.  Watch the video…

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