8 October 2014

Synodus Occulta

I am interested in exploring the ecclesiological significance of the current Synod. I invite comments from those better qualified in these matters than I am.

What puzzles me most is the fact that it is secret. I had always rather liked the idea (cf S Irenaeus) that Bishops in Synod are not clever individuals pooling their bright ideas, but Bishops with the charisma certum Veritatis bearing public witness to the authentic Teaching handed down by the succession of Bishops in their own Particular Church as part of the convergent witness of all the Churches; and that this is to be contrasted with the twaddle cooked up privately in Smoke Filled Rooms by Gnostic teachers with their alleged secret paradoseis. I don't mean that there's anything wrong with Bishops getting together privately and informally to share, off the record, their ideas about how to handle some crisis: but that, surely, is not a Synodus. Or is it?

Nor do I like the power that this secrecy gives to the Press and to the Vaticanologists. Because, whether the micromanagers like it or not, reports and spinning will happen. And not least when some bishop feels that the official report is, from the point of view of his contribution or opinion, unbalanced. Spilling the beans to the Press in such circumstances is, I believe, called 'briefing'.

I believe that B John Henry Newman's well-known remarks in the aftermath of Vatican I would naturally apply a fortiori to a mere Synod: manipulation of synodal process might detract from the Magisterial authenticity of what emerges.


Deacon Augustine said...

Fr., I have no "qualification" to speak of except perhaps too great a familiarity with the machinations of the devil.

However, having read the official communique of the first day's proceedings it is quite obvious that Kasperism is being given plenty of airtime in the bulletin, to the extent that it is "obvious" that there must be change. To what degree the new heresy of contradictory orthodoxy and orthopraxy is being opposed or not is anybody's guess.

But isn't that the point of holding it behind closed doors? It allows those who control the information flow to present whatever ideological bias they favour instead of the facts. Why would they want the truth to be exposed to the light of day?

Jn 3,19 "And this is the judgment: *because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.

20 For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved.

21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God."

GOR said...

It appears, Father. that Cardinal Muller agrees with you, as he has said that all interventions should be made public.

I agree that without having this there is the danger (certainty?) that some people will 'spin' the narrative to suit their particular views.

Frankly, as my pessimism grows with much that is happening in the Church today, I do not have great expectations for this Synod.