Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vatican II part 2: Is there a Liberal Catholic agenda in the Family Synod?

I read the full-text of the midterm report on the Family Synod, and I can't help but notice that the report oozes with Liberal Catholic Theology. What the Liberals are doing in the Synod is reminiscent of what happened during Vatican II: pay lip service to traditional Catholic doctrine, but at the same time undermine it by diluting definitions and introducing numerous options.  The dissenters to the Liberal agenda were then marginalized.  In the Synod, all we hear are the reforms on the meaning of the family as espoused by the laity who gave their presentations in the Synod.  Where are the interventions of the bishops?  Why were they not published?
The texts of speeches at the family synod should be released publicly, the Vatican’s doctrinal chief has said. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told Salt and Light: “These interventions should be published as before. All Christians have the right to be informed about [the] intervention of their bishops.” (Catholic Herald)

Not surprisingly, the Family Synod's framework midterm report is Lumen Gentium in Vatican II:
In considering the principle of gradualness in the divine salvific plan, one asks what possibilities are given to married couples who experience the failure of their marriage, or rather how it is possible to offer them Christ’s help through the ministry of the Church. In this respect, a significant hermeneutic key comes from the teaching of Vatican Council II, which, while it affirms that “although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure … these elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity” (Lumen Gentium, 8). In this light, the value and consistency of natural marriage must first be emphasized. Some ask whether the sacramental fullness of marriage does not exclude the possibility of recognizing positive elements even the imperfect forms that may be found outside this nuptial situation, which are in any case ordered in relation to it. The doctrine of levels of communion, formulated by Vatican Council II, confirms the vision of a structured way of participating in the Mysterium Ecclesiae by baptized persons. (Catholid Herald)
Vatican II never claimed to be a dogmatic council, so it did not hurl anathemas to those who do not abide by the Catholic doctrine.  Rather, Vatican II was only a pastoral council.  In the Council's desire for ecumenism with the other religions, the Council, for pastoral reasons, recognized that there are truths and elements of sanctification in other religions.  Nevertheless, the Council affirms that the Church remains as the pillar of truth:
This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, (12*) which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd,(74) and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority,(75) which He erected for all ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth".(76) This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him,(13*) although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity. (Lumen Gentium)
The only problem is that Liberals used this paragraph not to evangelize non-Catholics.  Instead of focusing on the truth found in other religions and using these truths to draw non-Catholics into the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church, the Liberals made no distinctions between truths and falsehood in other religions, but simply grafted them into the Catholic Church, especially in Her Liturgy.  If somebody can change the Liturgy of the Church, then they can change Her doctrines, too, because the Liturgy developed from Council of Trent was in response to the attacks of the Protestantism.  Indeed, as Elrond tells us regarding the betrayal of Saruman the Wise:
It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill.  But such falls and betrayals, alas, have happened before. (The Council of Elrond, Lord of the Rings, p. 265)
The result is a catastrophe: the churches were emptied out of parishioners.  Because there is nothing left special about the mass: any priest can change the words of consecration and even improvise the whole mass from words to rubrics and you are not sure anymore if it is the same Catholic mass that you are going to.

And now we come again to the Family Synod.  The frame work is the same as that of Lumen Gentium.  But instead of the Catholic Faith, we have the Catholic Family.  And instead of other religions, we have other forms of family life--divorced, cohabiting, and homosexual.

The Third Part of the Family Synod Midterm Report is divided into different sections:

  • Introduction: Proclaiming the Gospel Today in Various Contexts
  • Guiding Couples on the Path in Preparation for Marriage
  • Accompanying the Early Years of Married Life
  • Positive Aspects of Civil Unions and Cohabitation
  • Welcoming Homosexual Persons
  • The Transmission of Life and the Challenges of Declining Birthrate
  • The Challenge of Education and the Role of the Family in Evangelization
The sections on Civil Unions, Cohabitation and Homosexual Persons is the most problematic.  Just like in Lumen Gentium, the Synod focuses on the positive aspects of civil unions, cohabitation, and homosexual persons, hoping that pastors may use these to invite the couples in these states to the fullness of sacramental life.  But as the historical lessons from the application of Lumen Gentium would teach us, this approach would not bear good fruit, but would only dilute the meaning of Catholic marriage.  In the end, if we follow this path outlined by the midterm report, the marriage as we know it shall cease, and just like in the liturgy, there will be many options: heterosexual marriage, homosexual marriage, divorced marriages, annulled marriages, cohabitations, etc.  Once the definition of marriage is diluted even in the Church itself, it would become more and more difficult to fight the pro-life battle.  Indeed, why should Filipinos still offer resistance to Divorce and Same Sex Marriage Bills in the Philippine Congress and Senate when the Church itself diluted its definition of marriage?  

The fall of Gondor is not due to the armies of the Dark Lord, but because Numenorians give birth to few babies:
Pippin gazed in growing wonder at the great stone city, vaster and more splendid than anything that he had dreamed of; greater and stronger than Isengard, and far more beautiful.  Yet it was in truth falling year aby year into decay; and already it lacked half the men that could have dwelt at ease there.  In every street they passed some great house or court over twhose doors and arched gates were carved many fair letters of strange and ancient shapes: names Pippin guessed of great men and kindreds that had once dwelt there; and yet now they were silent, and no footsteps rang on their wide pavements, nor voice was heard in their halls, nor any face looked out from door or empty window. (Minas Tirith, Lord of the Rings, p. 752)
Death was ever present, because the Numenoreans still, as they had in their old kingdom, and so lost it, hungered after endless life unchanging.  Kings made tombs more splendid than houses of the living, and counted old names in the rolls of their descent dearer than the names of sons.  Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry; in secret chambers withered men compounded strong elixirs, or in high cold towers asked questions of the stars.  And the last king of the line of Anarion has no heir. (The Window in the West, Lord of the Rings, p. 678)
 The crisis of marriage is due to the crisis of Faith.  The crisis of Faith is due to failure in Catechesis.  The Synod on the Family should be a synod on how to proclaim the traditional family once again as an ideal to be strived for, no matter how difficult.  And to do this, pastors must not shy of proclaiming the Gospel even those in irregular families--the divorced, cohabiting, and in homosexual relationships.  To be merciful is not to condone the sin, but rather to describe it for what it is: a sin--an offense against God and man that can only be remedied by the Sacrament of Confession.  Indeed, a terrible burden is laid on priests and bishops: to be prophet.  As the book of Ezekiel tells us, a prophet is a watchman:
You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. 8 If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he (the wicked man) shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. 9 But if you warn the wicked man, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself. (Ez 33:7-11)
In this Family Synod, let us pray that may God grant the Synod Fathers to truly fulfill their duties as watchmen.
12 Inch Holy Family Jesus Mary Joseph Religious Figurine Decoration
12 Inch Holy Family Jesus Mary Joseph Religious Figurine Decoration
The Great Dissent: John Henry Newman and the Liberal Heresy
The Great Dissent: John Henry Newman and the Liberal Heresy
The War against Catholicism: Liberalism and the Anti-Catholic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany)
The War against Catholicism: Liberalism and the Anti-Catholic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany)
Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue
Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue. Here Cardinal Kasper summarises the results of the Catholic Church's official dialogues with Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican and Methodist Churches over forty years, sets out a blueprint for 'consensus and convergence', and sets out a map for the way forward for ecumenism. 
Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church
Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church. In this volume five Cardinals of the Church, and four other scholars, respond to the call issued by Cardinal Walter Kasper for the Church to harmonize "fidelity and mercy in its pastoral practice with civilly remarried, divorced people".
Liturgical Time Bombs In Vatican II: Destruction of the Faith through Changes in Catholic Worship
Liturgical Time Bombs In Vatican II: Destruction of the Faith through Changes in Catholic Worship
Watchmen
Watchmen. Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the Hugo Award-winning story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings.