14 October 2014

The Synod

I read the document which recently emerged from Rome with increasing disbelief. 'Is this some sort of joke?' I wondered. I checked in my diary that the date was not April 1.

What has reassured me is the uproar among the Synod Fathers which followed its publication. One friend has described the Synod as a latrocinium. I think this is quite the wrong end of the stick. I don't think it is 'disloyal' for a Catholic to say that the Holy Father was very poorly advised by those who suggested to him some of the names to be involved in spinning the Synod's deliberations to the world. And also by those ... probably the same lot ... who put into his head the idea of making the thing secret. But they have been unable to get away with it. Powerful heads are well above the parapet. The first sign of the impending storm was when Cardinal Mueller made robustly and publicly clear his disagreement with the policy of secrecy. Cardinal Mueller is an able and acute man. He has realised that the Holy Father's appeal to the Synod Fathers to speak with parrhesia is a factor that can apply in more than one direction. And he is, like Miss Jean Brodie, in his prime. I do not think it will be easy for the malign interests in Rome to sideline him as their fathers did the ailing Cardinal Ottaviani. I will be surprised if heterodox plotters succeed in their attempted coup in the way that those earlier plotters did during the Sessio prima of the Council.

I do not think that 'going to the SSPX' is a surefooted option ecclesiologically. What does the Society say about itself? That it is a canonically erected society within the Catholic Church with a certain very important charisma. It does not even claim to be some sort of separate, more 'pure' Church than the Church herself. By its own constitution, none of its bishops possesses or claims to possess episcopal jurisdiction. 'Going to the SSPX' doesn't put you into a comfortable refuge guaranteeing total security behind some sort of Starwars shield which will protect you from incoming missiles. It simply gives your enemies the opportunity of claiming that you always were schismatically inclined. In other words, it blunts your witness.

Catholics have a canonical right to make their concerns known to their pastors, especially to their bishops.

The Sovereign Pontiff himself would wish you to express yourself with parrhesia.



9 comments:

Romulus said...

To borrow the words of Evelyn Waugh, “a very naughty and very successful practical joke”.

Mulier Fortis said...

Excellent post, Father H - as always!

Mike Cliffson said...

fr
could we have your erudite take on parrhesia as a technical term?
Should you have already done so
in an earlier post write me off as alzheimic.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Mike: Sorry to be obscure; I'm not using the word in an erudite way but simply meaning "Speaking the plain truth, boldly without fear or favour". Quite often in the New Testament; for example: Acts 2:29; 4:13; 4:29; 4:31; 28:31. I think it's more often used in some other modern languages than it is in English, but I'm not an expert.

Damask Rose said...

Dear Fr Hunwicke

Thank you for elaborating on the SSPX here. I must admit I began contemplating joining them.

If I do not want to follow the current reigning Pontiff, does that mean I'm sede? I am worried about this.

GOR said...

Predictably, the secular media homed in on three paragraphs (50-52 out of a total of 58…) and those are what made the headlines. Predictably, because – don’t you know – SSA is the most important concern in today’s world.

Forget about the scandals of abortion, the martyrdom of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, Ebola, etc. what matters is what the MSM, Hollywood and the glitterati feel is most important – emphasis on ‘feel’.

Unfortunately, some bishops appear to ‘feel’ the same way.

I wonder why…?

√Čamonn said...

I first found it in Fides et Ratio, the Encyclical on Faith and Reason of Saint John Paul II, #48. I, lacking any Greek learning, confused it with parousia until the late Fr James McEvoy set me straight!

Joshua said...

In the spirit of parrhesia, that Athenian virtue much praised in the Athenian assembly, the Ecclesia:

1. To receive Communion in a state of unabsolved, unrepented mortal sin is sacrilege - and itself another mortal sin.
2. Ways of ending up in such a state include remaining in a sexual relationship with any person who is not one's spouse.
3. A validly contracted Christian marriage endures till "death do us part", so that one may not enter into another marriage while both spouses remain alive.
2. To die in mortal sin is to merit hell.
3. One of the ways of sharing in another's sin is by giving evil counsel.

I suspect even Cardinals know these basic facts.

123 said...

Given the lack of communion discipline in the RCC, one would question how seriously the church believes that "To receive Communion in a state of unabsolved, unrepented mortal sin is sacrilege". Mind you, this is true of the Orthodox, as well. There are a variety of small Protestant denominations that defend the sanctity of Communion from those unprepared far better than the churches one would expect to treat them in far higher regard.

I get the sense that people are arguing from differing sets of first principles that they each, perhaps mistakenly, have assumed are the 'real' teaching and practice of the RCC. While painful, I think it is healthy for these differences to be aired and confronted.