Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What do Kasper's first-world elitism and the Democratic Party's anti-Catholicism have in common?

A reader has sent me the following remarkable observations, which I consider well-worth your time:
Here is a piece that needs considering by North American Catholics: Matthew Schmitz, "Africans Criticize Cardinal Kasper's Remarks" (First Things, October 21, 2014).

Not because I think Cardinal Kasper is racist. I don't. His comments don't seem race-driven, but theology-driven. He appears to feel that people who believe in "old school" Catholicism are well-intentioned but essentially colonial rubes.

Before everyone shrieks at his hateful comments, perhaps we shold check our indignation slightly. His views are exactly those of the Democratic Party, the President, the Vice President, Hilary Clinton, and most of the Supreme Court. These people are not anti-African. They are anti-Catholic. I wonder: does that bother people remotely as much as the idea that someone could be racially prejudiced?

I have extensive interactions with Historically Black Colleges and Universities in my professional life, and I witness what looks like a growing fissure between those holding older, sacred loyalties and newer, more progressive and secular loyalties in that community. Especially with Obama and Oprah as exemplars, there is a real spiritual battle going on for the soul of African-American culture. I sense that if we do not strongly support our African brethren in their defense of orthodoxy, we are in danger of loosing the faithful remnant in the African-American church. Kasper's comments reflect nothing but what is becoming across-the-board the rapidly accepted wisdom in the secular arena. He might as well be a spokesperson for Obamacare on this point as for the Catholic Church. "We can't let Third World prohibitions based on centuries-old fears dictate our modern approaches." His beliefs may not equal Modernism, but when Hell is seen as a remote and figurative possibility, when mortal sin is blurred with superstitious taboos, when law is opposed to mercy, the tilt is certainly in that direction.

As a fascinating aside to this conversation, here is a review of a recent book related to African Christianity. It is authored by Thomas C. Oden, a name familiar to many Catholics as editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Sacred Scripture (IVP). Oden credits on Joseph Ratzinger as among those names who helped him along his path to rediscovering orthodox Christiantity: the review is by Christopher A. Beetham, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [Emphasis all mine -- PP]
[Hat tip to JM]

Archbishop Bruno Forte

A reader with his wits about him sent me a link to an impressively detailed article today on Archbishop Bruno Forte and his background influence. Forte, you may recall, was the principal (some say singular) initiative behind the controverted passages in the mid-term Relato of the recent Synod in Rome. Forte insists that there were others involved. Be that as it may be, it's clear he was the mastermind and ringleader of the revisionist.

The article is "Aude Sapere 006 - Meet Archbishop Bruno Forte" (October 21, 2014), complete with podcast and full transcript.

Just a few surprising highlights: he is a brilliant and widely-read scholar, he is multi-lingual, he is slippery as an eel, he has a book in English, Face to Face with Jesus: Reflections for a Disciple, with a Foreword by none other than Scott Hahn; he was an associate of Karl Rahner, Von Balthasar, Walter Kasper, and Josef Ratzinger in Tübingen; he was a protege of Kasper and the future Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Maria Martini.

The reader should be alerted to the fact that the author of the website on which this article and podcast appears, Athanasius Contra Mundum, is a Catholic Traditionalist; the content is also very thorough and highly informative. If you want to get a true fix on this prelate, read and learn. He's not what some may think from a superficial acquaintance.

[Hat tip to L.S.]

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Positive role of faithful Catholic clergy, laity, & media in the Synod

Discerning the Church

Our undercover correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep it's secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, writes:
John Thayer Jenson over at Called to Communion posted this fine comment:
I remember saying to my wife once, when [we] were in via, that I had felt my life as a Christian, which only started when I was 27, had been like a man walking through a fog – occasionally glimpsing some Shape appearing through the mists, and then disappearing – and wanting to know more about It – then one day things cleared more than usual and I realised that what I had seen all along was the Catholic Church.
It made me think of David Mills recent piece in NOR, "The Whole House" (New Oxford Review, October, 2014):
Some Catholics speak of sharing their faith with others as if being a Catholic were secondary and relatively unimportant, as if by being or becoming any sort of Christian a person has arrived home. I’ve heard this from Catholics of all sorts, often in reaction to something I’ve written on apologetics. Catholics have told me they would not even think about discussing Catholicism with their evangelical friends, whose faith they believe to be complete as is. I have been told twice, once by a very conservative priest, to beware of “Catholic chauvinism” because I’d suggested that, all things considered, being a Catholic is better than not being a Catholic. A goodly number of Catholics have disparaged even the idea of arguing for the Church, explaining that Catholics should witness by the way we live and that arguments will only drive people away. Some have even suggested that the Church “forbids us to proselytize,” defining the word very broadly.

... But the Catholic must still, when he can, tell his Protestant friends that they should complete their faith by entering the Catholic Church. They are in sight of home but are not home.

In the preface to Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis described the Church as a house with various rooms occupied by different traditions, including Catholicism. It’s not that good an image, even from his point of view, but it does give us one way of understanding our relation to our Protestant friends. Lewis would not have accepted this reimagining of his metaphor, but Catholics, who know that the Church isn’t merely one denomination among others, will know that the Catholic Church is the house, and the rooms are occupied by the various rites within the Church. To enter the house, one must be a member of the family. Friends may set up homes in the yard. They are within the pale, the relation the Church calls “real but imperfect communion.” Read more >>
[Hat tip to G.N.]

Helen Hull Hitchcock (August 19, 1939 - October 20, 2014) - RIP

Helen Hull Hitchcock was founding director of Women for Faith & Family and editor of its quarterly journal, Voices. She was also editor of the Adoremus Bulletin a monthly publication of Adoremus - Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, of which she co-founded. She is survived by her husband James Hitchcock, professor emeritus of history at St. Louis University and their four daughters and six grandchildren.

She has published many articles and essays in a wide range of Catholic journals, and is the author/editor of The Politics of Prayer: Feminist language and the worship of God, (Ignatius Press 1992), a collection of essays on issues involved in translation. She has contributed essays to several books, including Spiritual Journies, a book of "conversion stories" (Daughters of St. Paul).

She also lectured in the US and abroad, and has appeared frequently on radio and television, representing Catholic teaching on issues affecting Catholic women, families, and Catholic faith and worship.

New vocations video from the Archdiocese of Detroit

For the "philosophy" behind the particular new style and format of the video, see the article by Kathy Schiffer, "Saints and Seminarians: Detroit Archdiocese Launches Vocations Video With a Lively Beat" (Patheos, October 14, 2014).

The video is reportedly the brainchild of Father Tim Birne, priestly vocations director for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and the video was produced by Brian Meldrum, the creative seminarian who, together with some help from fellow-seminarians, produced the local hit, "Detroit - A Metaphysical City (Music Video)."

This latest vocation awareness project, “True Faith, True Fame," was reportedly inspired by a song on the radio. Fr. Tim explains:
“So the song started going through my brain, and I thought, ‘We can take what the secular culture offers, dress it up, and use it for our own purposes–just as the secular culture has often used the Christian themes of love, redemption, and triumph over evil.’”
Indeed. It will be interesting to see what message various audiences take away from the video. Packaging a message in a medium of image-spin and a bed of music is always a somewhat unpredictable business. "The medium is the message," as Catholic convert and communications theorist Marshall McLuhan used to say. Nevertheless, it is clearly an ambitious undertaking.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A wonderful new book on . . . Hobbits!

Jay Richards and Jonathan Witt, The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot(Ignatius Press, 2014), have apparently done a bang-up job on this new book on Tolkien's Hobbits.

So says our undercover researcher, Guy Noir, anyway, in his latest missive: "Yes, I know," he writes, "But it has to be better than the devolving series of films about Smaug!"

But wait! There's more! "See these pretty unusually full-throttle book blurbs where no one calls the authors by their first names! Thomas Howard calls it "glorious"! And the ever edgy Spengler likes it too."

Yes indeed. See for yourself!
"Beautifully written, this work gives fascinating insights into the realm of Middle-Earth. Moreover, it is a tour of the important issues of our world through Tolkien's eyes, including limited government, man's temptation to power, freedom, just war, socialism, distributism, localism, love, and death. These topics are woven seamlessly throughout, and you will leave the book with unforgettable impressions of these themes illustrated by Tolkien's imagery."
Art Lindsley, Vice President, The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

"J. R. R. Tolkien is one of the most widely read but arguably misunderstood of the twentieth century's literary geniuses. In this book, Witt and Richards lift the veil on Tolkien and reveal a political and, yes, economic thinker who constantly surprises readers and whose insights are even more valuable for our time than his own. Tolkien fans who read this book will never think about this great author the same way again."
Samuel Gregg, Research Director, Acton Institute Author, Becoming Europe

"This book is a 'drop everything and read it' book. Richards and Witt have opened up an often ignored aspect of Tolkien's work, namely the sense in which his myth bespeaks a political and economic order that stands in stark, even violent, contrast to the presiding power structures that dominate this unhappy globe. It should be made required reading in all courses in political philosophy. It's a glorious book."
Thomas Howard, Author, Dove Descending: A Journey into T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets"

"Witt and Richards do a brilliant job of rescuing Tolkien's literary legacy from the clutches of the cultural left. They reveal Tolkien as a profoundly Catholic thinker, with deep insights into the fundamental issue of religion, namely man's attempt to grapple with his own mortality. As a conservative’s companion to Tolkien, The Hobbit Party renews our appreciation of Tolkien’s contribution to literature and his profound impact on our culture."
David Goldman, Author, How Civilizations Die
Also interesting:

Tolken as a Soldier: Daniel Hannan, "Supposing him to be the gardener: Sam Gamgee, the Battle of the Somme and my Great Uncle Bill" (The Telegraph, April 28, 2014):
There’s a moment in the film version of The Lord of the Rings which doesn’t appear in the books, but which I find rather beautiful. Faramir, with a hint of repressed mirth, asks Samwise whether he is Frodo’s bodyguard. “I’m his gardener!” replies the little hobbit, in a manner which is supposed to be dignified, but which comes across as gnomic. When the hobbits later part ways with the Men of Minas Tirith, Faramir, now overcome with respect, tells Sam, “The Shire must truly be a great realm, Master Gamgee, where gardeners are held in high honour.”

Peter Jackson, the producer, was making overt what Tolkien had gently left as subtext. Sam, who is about to become the true hero of the story, has been dragged from a world of growth and fecundity into a blasted wasteland. Having previously tended to living things, he has been turned into the unlikeliest of soldiers.

... Tolkien was very clear that his books were not allegories. Still, his experiences as a lieutenant on the Western Front could hardly fail to suffuse them.... “My ‘Sam Gamgee’ is indeed a reflection of the English soldier,” Tolkien later admitted, “of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognised as so far superior to myself.”
[Hat tip to G.N.]

Roman retrospectives

In case you missed them, here are some of the more illuminating interviews over the last few days from the Synod in Rome:

Robert Royal has been consistently clear; and here he is interviewed by Raymond Arroyo of EWTN:

George Cardinal Pell proved to be a helpful voice in the crunch as well:

Robert Royal's final word is also worth a review if you haven't seen it; very good: "Opportunities Lost: A Synod Wrap-up" (The Catholic Thing, October 20, 2014): "[M]any opportunities," he says "were lost through bungling in this Extraordinary (in several senses) Synod. And the Holy Spirit certainly didn't intend that."

[Hat tip to JM]

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A pastor thinks we may be receiving Communion too often

Pastor of Assumption Grotto parish in Detroit, Fr. Eduard Perrone, offers an interesting and thoughtful counter to Pope St. Pius X's recommendation of frequent, even daily, Communion in his weekly parish newsletter, "A Pastor's Descant" (updated weekly) (Assumption Grotto News, October 19, 2014). He writes:
... I’ve begun to think that we generally may be receiving Communion too often. This opinion – radical, controversial and much against the grain – is a reversal of the thought of Pope Saint Pius X who, in his time, encouraged the frequent and even daily reception of Holy Communion. His motives then must be seen in the context of the times in which he lived. Times have changed, however, and men’s attitudes have changed as well. What I’m proposing for consideration is that we fast from frequent Holy Communion for a time in order to make us hunger and yearn for Christ. Analogous to this would be the dietary problem of many Americans today who are eating far too much and too often, and as a consequence have health problems. In a similar way, we’re overeating the Holy Eucharist, being unmindful of Christ’s Presence therein, and being poorly suited to receive Him. The result is spiritual illness – ironic to say so – and perhaps even, according to Saint Paul again, physical sickness as a consequence (cf. 1 Cor. 11:30).

Consider those who receive Communion without a thought to Who it is they’re receiving; or take someone who frequently sins and confesses and receives Communion but without having made a firm resolution to sin no more. Saint Paul had sharp words of reproach to those who receive the Eucharist, without examining themselves as to whether they are worthy of Communion or those who communicate without “recognizing the Body.” Perhaps we should stop what we’re doing so thoughtlessly, taking “time out” from receiving Communion, in order to recover our spiritual senses. For this, a fast, that is, a refraining from Holy Communion for a while might help us to become healthier, expanding our desire for receiving Christ, becoming hungry for Him. Making acts of Spiritual Communion, prayers of desire to receive the Holy Sacrament, is useful towards that end. Hours of adoration and visits to the Blessed Sacrament may also help stimulate an appetite for a devout reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Am I proposing a new Jansenism? I think not. We’re sorely in need of a greater awareness of the Inestimable Gift of the Eucharist and of the requisite worthiness to receive It. We’ve become gluttonous children of God who need to hunger for Him....
Related: Fr. Perrone interviewed by parishioner, Michael Voris, on the mode of receiving Communion.

Well, in terms of process, last night saw a clear reversal of the Synod in regards to transparency. In the final press briefing, those present were handed not only copies of the final amended translations of the Relatio, but copies of the Popes final address to the Synod. The Pope also required an up or down vote from the Synod fathers on each paragraph of the Relatio, a reportedly unprecedented move.

Pretty much as expected and predicted, the final upshot of the Synod -- formally anyway -- has been nothing particularly surprising: no new doctrine, no revisionism, no change in Church teaching, as the liberal press (and perhaps some liberal prelates) may have been hoping. (The fall-out from the drama of destabilizing ambiguities earlier last week may be another story, but that's another matter.) His Holiness has weighed in as Pope, whose duty, as he put it, is "that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church ... [and] reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ."

Granted, he did not once mention, let alone address, the controverted issues specifically, but rather listed a series of "temptations" to be avoided, among other things portraying the guidance of the Holy Spirit as steering between -- on the one hand, the temptation to hostile inflexibility, which he identified with today's "traditionalists" and "intellectuals," and, on the other hand, the temptation to "deceptive mercy" that treats the symptoms but neglects the radically-needed cure, which he identifies with "progressives and liberals."

One of my colleagues, thrilled after reading the Pope's closing address, suggested that perhaps he had listened to Cardinal Burke (who had called for a papal intervention). It goes without saying that some will see the Pope's address as falling somewhat short of the needed intervention, since it may too much appear that he continues to straddle the fence, like Rorate Caeli site that referenced it with the question: "Via Media or Laodicea? ..." Others, such as the radical French "progressive," Odon Vallet, sees the results of the Synod as a "resounding defeat" for Pope Francis and a "huge victory" for traditionalists, which will make it difficult for Francis to advance much beyond the present point "without risking schism." A BBC report carried the amusing headline: "Catholic synod: Pope Francis setback on gay policy"

Some fear that the unprecedented confusion permitted following the dramatic mid-term report of the Synod will carry over into a more permissive latitude in respect of the implementation of the Church teaching on faith and morals, especially on the issues of divorce and "re-marriage," and "same-sex" orientation. Whether the final upshot of the Synod, along with the Pope's remarks, will help to slow the progress of confusion on these issues or not, as Michael Voris suggests, remains to be seen.

Some interesting reading of related interest follows:
  • John-Henry Westen, "Pope Benedict’s private secretary speaks on Synod, divorce, same-sex relations" (LifeSiteNews, October 14, 2014).
  • David Warren, "Rock of Ages" (The Catholic Thing, October, 17, 2014): "Call them 'conservatives' or 'fundamentalists,' as you please. It is not the rock learned churchmen are defending. They are defending us – all liberals included – against being broken upon that rock."
  • Andrew Walker, "A Church in Exile: Hillsong Shifts on Homosexuality" (First Things, October 17, 2014): "This is, as I’ve written elsewhere, a gentrified fundamentalist withdrawal rooted in the belief that the foreignness of Christianity can’t overcome the tired intellectual patterns of cultural decay."
  • Damian Thompson, "Pope Francis, please don't turn into the Dalai Lama" (The Telegraph, May 26, 2014): "Perhaps His Holiness should take a look at the full list of 'great world leaders' honoured by CNN. They include Angelina Jolie and, God help us, Bono."

Extraordinary Community News: The Deposit of Faith, Exorcism, and News

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (October 19, 2014):
The Deposit of Faith

There has been a huge amount of press coverage of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in recent weeks. Secular media, Catholic media, and bloggers have been weighing in on their interpretation of the discussion of the Synod Fathers. This column will make no attempt to report or comment on the proceedings, however a relevant subject is to consider how the Church guards and treats its Deposit of Faith.

Holy Mother Church moves slowly and deliberately. The official pronouncements of the Church are written and vetted by appropriate Vatican dicasteries. Even personal responses to dubia (questions) submitted by the faithful are often reviewed by at least one other official besides the one writing the response. This careful process, which can seem frustrating at times because of the slow speed at which Rome seems to operate, is intended to ensure that casual and potentially inaccurate statements do not become perceived as official rulings.

Conversely, off-the-cuff comments by Vatican officials, up to and including the Pope, must not be seen as reflecting the official Church position on matters. This is the case even when comments seem to favor the sentiments of Traditional Catholics. For example, in 2008 the esteemed Dario Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos made a statement that Pope Benedict XVI wished for the Extraordinary Form to be offered in every parish of the world. His Eminence’s statement seemed a little extreme at the time; setting aside parish politics, what would happen in parishes which are only able to offer one Mass per week? Where one priest serves multiple parishes? Logistics could make such a possibility untenable. Yet the statement had been made by the then-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclésia Dei, the highest ranking authority in the Church on the matter of the Tridentine Mass. History has shown that it was more likely optimistic speculation rather than fact. Certainly if Pope Benedict really wished for such a thing to happen, he could have enacted legislation to make it so, though the wisdom of doing so would have been debatable.

For this reason, Catholics [as well as, perhaps, others] must be careful only to consider as official only those statements which are issued by the Magisterium, the official congregations and departments of the Holy See which speak in a formal capacity for the Pope in union with the Bishops. Press releases and interviews with Cardinals or even the Holy Father himself are not authentic teachings. This is a key way by which the Catholic Church guards its doctrine and laws, by providing a formal process by which official pronouncements are made. We should resist the temptation to be encouraged or discouraged by what are, in essence, merely discussions and speculations.

Book Review: An Exorcist Tells His Story

Fr. Gabriele Amorth served for many years as an Exorcist for the Diocese of Rome. The first of two books he has written as an account of his experiences, An Exorcist Tells His Story,is a valuable read for Catholics for several reasons which may not be evident from the title of the book. For those who harbor any doubts that Satan and his minions are real, Fr. Amorth’s personal experiences make it abundantly clear that demonic activity of various sorts, while relatively rare, does actually happen. Particularly when he relates any one of a number of stories of a demon who has possessed an individual, evidence such as the superhuman strength which can be exhibited by the possessed, or the knowledge which the demon, speaking through the possessed, has of situations and experiences that the possessed could not possibly know, leaves the reader with no doubts.

It is interesting to note that Fr. Amorth believes that the Extraordinary Form Ritual has a number of key advantages over the Ordinary Form Book of Blessings: First, he notes that the Rite of Exorcism had not yet [as of the date of publication of the book] been revised, thus he continued to employ the older form in Latin. [In 1999, the Church did issue an updated Rite, however the traditional form may still be used.] Second, he notes the advantages of the classic form of Baptism and blessing of Holy Water which involve exorcisms of the salt and water used. Why employ a reduced rite when the classic ones so effectively purge the dark forces?

The author is not shy in relaying his dismay at bishops who downplay the role of demons and who fail to provide sufficient exorcists for their diocese. A priest can only function as an exorcist at the delegation of his bishop, thus responsibility to provide this ministry rests solely with the episcopate.

Fr. Amorth emphasizes that living a prayerful and sacramental life is the surest defense against demonic influences. If one regularly avails oneself of Confession and Holy Communion, and makes prayer an integral part of one’s day, demonic possession will most likely not occur, as the devil targets those of weaker or no faith.

While the book contains a few graphic descriptions of exorcisms, it is not a horror story and will not cause nightmares. Rather, An Exorcist Tells His Story is more likely to serve as a boost to one’s faith, for in demonstrating that hell and its minions are real indeed, it likewise shows that in the majority of cases, demons flee when a Rite of the Church is used at an early enough stage of a person’s troubles. Rarely do we see the forces of good and evil facing off in such an exposed manner, with good clearly having the upper hand. We can rest assured that God, the Creator of the Universe, is infinitely more powerful than any of His creatures, even Satan, and gives us via His Church the means to triumph.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 10/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. John Cantius, Confessor)
  • Tue. 10/21 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for October 19, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to the metro Detroit and East Michigan area

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Roman drama updates and more

Sobrino on the Franciscan antinomian revolution

Oswald Sobrino's article, "If laws don't lead people to Jesus, they are obsolete, pope says" (CNS, October 13, 2014), was called to my attention recently by our correspondent, Guy Noir, who commented:
Here is this item from CNS, that I believe highlights the motivating note behind the current Franciscan efforts at 'reform.' Conservatives need to answer this, because it is the recurring accusation that conservatism = legalism, and that God is not a God of rules and regulations but love and grace.

My question in response would be, will looser Church 'laws" lead people to a proper understanding of and encounter with Jesus, or with their culturally-constructed and self-imagined Jesus? [PP: Reminds me of Freud's promotion of a more permissive society, arguing that looser mores would serve as a valve to relieve pent up animal inclinations. On the contrary, we have seen how feeding rather than starving such appetites causes them to grow and proliferate.]

The parable of the Rich Young Ruler seems instructive if we want to balance out this being bashed over the head with Gospel anecdotes. Jesus loved him, and sent him away. The call was to sacrifice. Somehow, it is popular to judge the rich, but not those who get ensnared in vice other than money. The question of the hour is, are the suggested reforms really merciful, or simply more democratic. Will they encourage the pursuit of holiness, or simply church attendance? I don't think the two are in the least bit synonymous. In fact, attending church can easily be its own form of 'keeping the law.'
Noir also said he was reminded of evangelical singer Amy Grant's comment upon her divorce, asking if it does not 100 percent sound like Pope Francis:
Grant recalls something a counselor told her. "He said, ‘Amy, God made marriage for people. He didn’t make people for marriage. He didn’t create this institution so He could just plug people into it. He provided this so that people could enjoy each other to the fullest.’ I say, if you have two people that are not thriving healthily in a situation, I say remove the marriage. Let them heal."
The trouble here, as Noir points out, is this: "People are not the most important thing. Nor is doctrine. They are equally important. People make doctrine matter, while doctrine, ideals, these show people their worth.... Seems like current interpretations discard the wisdom of tradition. And tradition, or a contrived 'masterpiece of perfect law,' doesn't seem like it is trapping anyone much these days anyway, at least not near my address.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Breaking: Cardinal Burke's stunning declaration

Confirms that the Pope ousted him, declares that the "Pope has done a lot of harm by not saying openly what his position is," and that the Synod was "designed to change Church's teaching" (RC, October 17, 2014):

Bruno Forte is evidently the front man for the revolutionary faction, but the orthodox counter-offensive weighed in on Thursday: "such a day had never happened before, not even at Vatican II" (RC, October 17, 2014).

What is noteworthy here is not that orthodox voices will prevail, but that they should meet with such opposition within their own ranks. One can hardly say this is unprecedented, given the long sweep of Church history, but it is certainly noteworthy, to put it mildly.

  • A measured response to the Interim Report of the synod by one of my colleagues at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Eduardo Echeverria, "The Synod’s Interim Report: Ambiguity and Misinterpretation" (Crisis Magazine, October 17, 2014).

  • In what might seem a brassy title, here's another interesting read by Rev. Dwight Longenecker, "Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod" (Crisis Magazine, October 14, 2014).
  • Artur Rosman, "Synod14: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again!" (Patheos, October 16, 2014):
    Even Damon Linker, the usually level-headed religion reporter for The Week and appreciative critic of the truly Machiavellian Catholic Neo-Cons, speculates about the Machiavellian (yes, that’s precisely his phrasing) intentions of Pope Francis to liberalize the Church:
    Francis would like to liberalize church doctrine on marriage, the family, and homosexuality, but he knows that he lacks the support and institutional power to do it. So he’s decided on a course of stealth reform that involves sowing seeds of future doctrinal change by undermining the enforcement of doctrine today. The hope would be that a generation or two from now, the gap between official doctrine and the behavior that’s informally accepted in Catholic parishes across the world would grow so vast that a global grassroots movement in favor of liberalizing change would rise up at long last to sweep aside the old, musty, already-ignored rules.

    If this is what Pope Francis is going for, I don’t blame conservatives for beginning to express serious misgivings. It’s a brilliant, clever, supremely Machiavellian strategy — one that promises to produce far-reaching reforms down the road while permitting the present pope both to claim plausible deniability (“I haven’t changed church doctrine!”) and to enjoy nearly constant effusive coverage in the secular press.

    What’s happening in Rome isn’t yet “revolutionary change.” But it just may be what eventually prepares the way for exactly that.
  • Sandro Magister, "The True Story of This Synod. Director, Performers, Assistants" (www.chiesa, October 17 2014).

  • And, yes, Jimmy Akin, whose title I just love: "Good news from the Synod of Bishops! 12 things to know and share" (Jimmy Akin, October 15, 2014).

  • Dale Price, "The whole world groaned and was amazed to find itself Episcopalian." (Dyspeptic Mutterings, October 13, 2014).

  • Dale Price, "Here's why the Synod will likely fail" (Dyspeptic Mutterings, October 15, 2014)

[Hat tip to JM for many of these links]