Northjersey.com’s report on the results of synodal discussions in New Jersey reveals the fault lines among those who self-identify as Catholics and have been willing to take part in the synodal process. The headline is revealing: ‘Too harsh’ and ‘out of step’: Survey finds NJ Catholics want a more inclusive church’. The story is somewhat more complex than that, but the emphasis in the discussions and in the headline are predictable.
I have a theory about all this, though it may be colored by my personal dislike of “meetings”, which seem to me to be about the most inefficient use of time imaginable. But especially in the case of the synodal discussions, it has been obvious from the first that they would become a sounding board for Catholics who no longer have (or perhaps never had) a serious commitment to the teachings of Jesus Christ. One of the grave problems with the democratization of Just About Everything over the past few hundred years—a problem, by the way, that is built directly into Protestant forms of Christianity—is that many people think religion ought to be just like everything else—malleable in accordance with the desires of those who wish to participate in it.
We live in an era in which people actually believe that consciences formed by the larger secular culture are capable of offering intelligent insights into how the Catholic Church needs to change—and particularly how it needs to be less “judgmental” and how it is “out of step”. Nine times out of ten—not always I admit, but nine times out of ten—this will be the opinion of those who: (a) Do not agree that Catholic doctrine comes ultimately from Jesus Christ, the incarnate God; and (b) Do agree that it is “unloving” of the Church to insist that those who claim membership should be willing to take advantage of her ministry to overcome their erroneous beliefs and habitual sins….
It ought not to surprise us that a great deal of the discussion will be spiritually puerile and even faithless. The synodal effort will be effective only insofar as those whose vocations have put them into leadership positions in the Church can distinguish between comments which call the Church to accommodate herself more to cultural norms—to become less “harsh” and “out of step”—and comments that recall the Church to a sense of courageous and uncompromising mission, which ought to be the defining spiritual, psychological and sociological mark of all those who have been baptized into Jesus Christ….
We need not look farther than the Book of Revelation to learn what Our Lord thinks of all this. In chapters 2 and 3, the Son of Man sends clear messages to the “seven churches” which represent the fullness of the one Church:
- To the Church in Ephesus: “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (2:4)
- To the Church in Smyrna: “You will be tested. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (2:10)
- To the Church in Pergamum: “You have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam;…also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolatians. Therefore repent.” (2:14-16)
- To the Church in Thyatira: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.” (2:20).
- To the Church in Sardis: “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die.” (3:1-2)
- To the Church in Philadelphia: “Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (3:8)
- To the Church in Laodicea: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (3:15-16)
He who speaks these words to the Church is “the first and the last, who died and came to life” (2:8) and “the holy one, the true one…who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens” (3:7).
The Church must respond to synodal discussions with a recognition of which observations are part of the problem and which are part of the solution. We must make no mistake: Synodality is first and foremost about the Church, at every level, finding her “way together” with Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
The above comes from an August 16 posting by Jeff Mirus on Catholic Culture.org
In other words, not all opinions are equal. Some opinions have no value at all. So why is it that the bulk of synod participants have been those whose opinions should be given no consideration whatsoever?
He is commenting on what was written in a secular newpaper. What are they going to focus on?
If you click the link, scroll down to each indvidual diocese and there is a link to their reports,
Self-identify as Catholics? What?
Thank you for the article but I think most dioceses are finished with the opinion collection.
Participation is low so if you do still get the opportunity to participate, please do.
It appears that the Diocese of San Diego’s listening phase goes through October of this year.
You still can participate.
Already did so. (No idea why you have 3 downvotes,, btw!)
1)They don’t like the Synod?
2)They don’t like the Diocese of San Diego?
3)They don’t want to participate?
4)They downvote everything that doesn’t criticize what they don’t like?
And thank you for participating.
Synod report reveals a hunger for Jesus and concern for the Church Diocese of Paterson NJ headline
The threat of polarization within the Church: The participants were divided into two
main groups: those pushing for change and those with traditional views who want more
clarity on Church teachings.
From synod report from Diocese of Metuchen
Those are the two “groups” most motivated to participate. Most people did not participate.
If I said there was polarization in the Church, most of my Church attending relatives would not have a clue what I was talking about because it is not in the parishes. It is on the Internet. They would not know about the synod. I talked about the synod to a relative who works for the Church and they did not know what I was talking about.
If you asked my relatives about women priests they would “sure, why not?” They do not know it is “not authorized by Christ.” This is was declared 28 years ago and JPII said not to talk about it anymore. So, we did not talk about it. It needs to be re-taught now. They are not bad Catholics, they just don’t know.
The fallen, sinful, secular world is ruled by Satan, the Prince of Darkness. The baptized Christian leaves the world for Christ, and seeks to evangelize the fallen world, for Christ– and by His help, establish His Kingdom here on earth. We must leave all, for Christ– or we cannot be His followers. From the late 19th century, all through the 20th century, the Western world has been discarding Christianity for the secular world, and for “Modernism” and science, questioning the authority and truth of the Bible and Christian belief. It has uplifted the “everyday secular man in the street” to a false position of “equal” knowledge and power, to spiritual and intellectual leaders, who used to lead and guide society. It has “dumbed down” and secularized our language, beliefs, and way of life, to accommodate this false, secular concept. God is no longer worshipped, nor sought. We have lost our way, and entered into a Godless, ignorant, sinful Dark Age.
Survey says! (Ding! Ding! Ding!) Most early followers of Jesus didn’t believe the Eucharist is the Body of Christ. (John 6:66)
Survey says! (Ding! Ding! Ding!) Most Jews think the prophets are too extreme.
Survey says! (Ding! Ding! Ding!) Most in Jerusalem think John the Baptist is crazy the way he eats and dresses and should never have brought up the king’s sexual immorality.
Survey says! (Ding! Ding! Ding!) In the beginning, God didn’t make them male and female.
That pretty much settles it then.
You should have to pass a Catholic literacy and proficiency test, and maybe a lifestyle check, in order to qualify to give an opinion. Divorced and remarried civilly? Sorry, your opinion doesn’t count. Gay married? Nope. You want women’s ordination? Move along. What does the pope really hope to accomplish. It’s going to boil down to some people want the church to change doctrines to allow gay sex and marriage, contraception, abortion, female priests, divorce. Others oppose all those things. We already know that. And we already know who the real Catholics are. Waste of time.
Just you just have no understanding of it. I think most of the diocese didn’t either.
The Catholic church’s synods are looking to what people desire in this life for their own comfort, security, control, power based on their life experience. Some Protestant pastors are looking at what holds people back from a deeper relationship with God based on the Bible: believers’ desire for comfort is the idolization of “control or security” (56%), other common idols are “money” (55%), “approval” (51%), “success” (49%), “social influence” (46%), “political power” (39%), and “sex or romantic love” (32%), according to the study.. Catholic pastors often seem to be gray and gay. They control the process, possibly with a predetermined document, while voices of younger faithful clergy and faithful participants are silenced or ignored. The gray and gay narrative is what is being reported and promoted from synods to include sinful behavior and non biblical teachings, directing people away from God toward worldly views and idols.
Being “gray”, myself, I do rather resent being tossed into the basket with the progs .
This Synod thing is nothing other than a 2nd Vatican Council by the Laity.
Nonsense. That’s not what a council is. Bishops meet at a council. Not laymen.
That’s right. When it’s all said and done, the Church leaders will shove their liberal agenda down our throats and tell us the synod said that was what we wanted. Ever wonder why they’re banning the Traditional Latin Mass?
They’re banning the TLM because Sacrosanctum Concilium mandated a general restoration of the liturgy, and in response to that Pope Paul VI approved and promulgated the Novus Ordo Missae.
No it is not but that is a really good idea…
Not in terms of the false narrative that Vatican II changed the church but in terms of all the laity actually reviewing the entire faith.
Most would learn a lot.
The Church is only slightly more competent and less corrupt than government, and clergy aren’t much more trustworthy than politicians.
Ouch! Yet, you’re right, most politicians and clergy have not proven themselves transparent (honest) and trustworthy, And, I hope you’re right about competence. Look at the pathetically weak response to Proposition 1. People are asking why their parishes aren’t getting them resources that the California Catholic Conference has indicated are available and should be available through every diocese and parish. There seems to be much more enthusiasm for speaking and acting about race, climate, wages, housing, recycling and some other issues. But, now, the next two months, is the only time we have to prevent baby-killing from being made part of our state constitution! Lord, have mercy!