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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Topsy and Tuptim Meet at Chik-Fil-A to "Dialogue" on Chapter 4's "New Paths to Dialogue"

Synod Dialogue!
Topsy and Tuptim meet in the Chik-Fil-A parking lot and walk toward the building together.

Tuptim: Wow! It's great to see you again, Topsy. I missed you. How was the reunion?

Topsy: (laughing) I was only gone five days. The reunion was great! I met some of my husband's relatives for the first time and what a testimony to family! There must have been 200 people there! We were celebrating the reconnection with a young man given up for adoption 53 years ago! It meant a lot to me because my own mom was adopted and we never knew anything about her family. Those were the days when adoptions were closed. Maybe someday one of these DNA ancestry groups will bring a re-connection to my mom's family of origin. That would be exciting!

(They enter the building.)

Tuptim: I love Chik-Fil-A. It was a good idea to meet mid morning. They get really crowded at lunch time. I think the controversy and attack by the LGBTQ crowd just boosted their business. I never came much until after that. Now I'm a regular.

Topsy: The frozen lemonade and peach milkshakes are my favorites. In fact, I think I'll get the shake today. (They order at the counter and find a table spreading out their study materials and getting right down to chapter 4.)

Tuptim: My first thought as I read this is that the Vatican is stuck in the past. Chapter 4 on "dialogue" was like hopping on a train back to the 70s. A lot of it made me a rueful sort of way. From the first paragraph (35), it had all the earmarks of eco-goofy, politically correct blather about dialogue - dialogue - dialogue. (She reads):
Pope Francis puts to us the need to gaze anew so as to open avenues of dialogue that will help us escape the self-destructive path of the present socio-environmental crisis.[14] Referring to the Amazon peoples, the Pope considers that it is essential to carry out “an intercultural dialogue in which you yourselves will be ‘the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting your land are proposed’”.
Like he cares about "large projects affecting your land" when it comes to the invasions taking place all over the world. Southern California is a mess because of the millions coming in illegally over the border. Some of the hospitals have closed and the schools are totally overwhelmed and he does nothing but chide those who believe we have a right to defend our borders. (She continues reading.):
Environmental degradation: trash from the caravans of illegals litters the Arizona desert.
Is that respectful of Planet Earth?
Recognition and dialogue will be the best way to transform historical relationships marked by exclusion and discrimination” (Fr.PM). This local dialogue in which the Church wants to be involved is at the service of life and of the “future of our planet” (LS 14).
Topsy: I wish the pope was as concerned about the future of souls under his care as he is about the planet. The planet has no eternal destination. The souls of the people in the Amazon do. And the fact that the primary author of the working document doesn't mind letting those souls go without Baptism shows exactly how morally bankrupt the synod is!

Tuptim: I know what you mean. Of course, evangelization of a people begins with learning about them and understanding the reason behind their customs and practices. Did you ever see the film, The Mission? I've always remembered the scene where the missionary priest explains to the bishop that the reason the people kill some of their children is because they need to be able to pick them up and run when the slavers come. It doesn’t justify what they were doing, but puts it in context.

Topsy: That movie gave a real glimpse into the missionary life of service. Jeremy Irons was so good as the missionary priest, Fr. Gabriel. The scene near the beginning with him attracting the natives by playing his flute was so touching. And what courage and zeal to go out into the bush alone. The film portrayed the indigenous people with such respect and sensitivity. And the love they had for the priest. They really did see him as a father.

Tuptim: But the purpose of attracting them was to lead them to Christ. And that's exactly what Fr. Gabriel does -- so much so that many of the people are willing to face martyrdom at the end of the movie. I feel like the synod is just using the Amazonian people as a backdrop to promote liberation theology.

Jeremy Irons as Fr. Gabriel bringing Christ to the Amazonian people in The Mission

Topsy: Let's have a movie night. The Mission depicts Jesuit missionaries as they were meant to be not like the modern Jesuits. (Rolls her eyes...) Their idea of mission is indoctrinating students with filth like the V-Monologues and "gay" pride.

Tuptim: (Shaking her head...) Yup! Fr. James Martin should be an embarrassment to the order instead of a popular guru. But they've pretty much lost the faith. (Pausing...) Gives some insight into Pope Francis doesn't it. Most Jesuits today are social "justice" agitators who couldn't care less about spreading the gospel and bringing souls to Christ. They spend a lot of time and money undermining the faith in fact. Do you know a single Jesuit college that isn't spreading scandal?

Topsy: (Shaking her head.) No, It's really sad. My older brother was Jesuit educated back in the 50s when the order was faithful. He always talked fondly of his experience. Now....What a pathetic bunch! Well...let's move on. What did you think of chapter 37?

Tuptim: Sheesh! It was nothing but a bunch of bureaucratic gobbledygook! Listen....(Reading):  
Since his Incarnation, the encounter with Jesus Christ has always taken place within the ambit of a historical and eschatological dialogue of the heart. It occurs in the different settings of the plural and intertwined world of the Amazon. It encompasses political relations with States, social relations with communities, cultural relations with different ways of living, and ecological relations with nature and with oneself.
Now what the heck does that mean?

Topsy: I’ll tell you what it means. The author is a fraud and a con man, like the two “tailors” who made the emperor’s new clothes and talked so eloquently about the gorgeous threads and embroidery. He wants to sound smart and uses this kind of gibberish to cover up the real agenda which has nothing to do with spreading the faith. Think of all the simple saints: Therese of Liseux and her little way.... St. Jean Vianney who had difficulty learning Latin...St. Joseph of Cupertino who was considered a dunce, but levitated during Mass because He was so close to the heart of Jesus. What would they think of this nonsense? And then this...(continues reading):
Dialogue seeks interchange, consensus and communication, agreements and alliances, but without losing the underlying issue, that is, the concern for “a just, responsive and inclusive society” (EG 239). Therefore, dialogue always makes a preferential option for the poor, marginalized and excluded. The causes of justice and otherness are causes of the Kingdom of God. We do not defend “plans drawn up by a few for the few, or an enlightened or outspoken minority” (EG 239). Dialogue is about “agreeing to live together, a social and cultural pact” (EG 239). For this pact, the Amazon represents a pars pro toto, a part for the whole, a paradigm, a hope for the world. Dialogue is the method that must always be applied to achieve the good life [if buen vivir, then good living] for all. The great questions of humanity that arise in the Amazon will not find solutions through violence or imposition, but through dialogue and communication.
Tuptim: Who can disagree with the statement that answers aren't found in violence and imposition? But real missionary activity is about invitation and attraction through living the gospel. When did Jesus tell his disciples to go out and “dialogue” with the world. He told them to convert the world and baptize the souls in it. That doesn’t involve dialogue “to reach agreements and alliances” so much as conversations, meeting people where they are, reflecting the love of God, and inviting them to embrace the truth of God’s call. And then being patient enough to wait for the Holy Spirit to move.

Topsy: Exactly! Funny you should use that word “conversation.” I recently looked up its etymology. (Laughing...) My mom loved the dictionary. She used to study it and gave me such a curiosity and love for words. “Conversation” comes from the Latin, conversari, which means to abide with or live with. It connotes an intimacy with the other that goes far beyond “dialogue" which comes from the Greek dialogos which means an exchange of word meanings. Which reminds me of a comment a priest once made about the scriptural quote, “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” He said the literal translation is that the Word, Jesus,  “pitched his tent among us.” Think about that! Missionaries go to foreign lands to dwell among the people in an intimacy that respects them as souls made in the image and likeness of God. Think of Fr. Damien going to live among the lepers and building home for them? It was his love and example that converted so many. He sure didn't go to Molokai to engage in “dialogue” and “make alliances” with the local witch doctors. All this talk about dialogue is political language. The entire approach to the synod is wrong. It’s about politics and liberation theology!

Tuptim: It seems to me that chapter 4 introduced the idea of syncretism too -- that it doesn't make one iota of difference what religion you practice. All religions are pleasing to God and, like Pope Francis said awhile back, that it's God's will that many religions exist. What a scandalous statement! Listen...I found this really troubling. (Reads...):
Many of the obstacles to a dialogical evangelization and to being open to cultural otherness are historical in character and hidden behind certain petrified doctrines. Dialogue is a process of learning, facilitated by “openness to the transcendent” (EG 205) and hindered by ideologies.
Will the synod promote syncretism, the idea that all religions share the same truth?

What the heck is "dialogical evangelization" to begin with? And what is a "petrified doctrine?" That reminds me of all Pope Francis's nasty comments about those rigid pharisees who hold to the doctrine. And what does it mean to be "open to cultural otherness." Are Catholics supposed to be open to other religions different from what Christ preached even when "cultural otherness" includes things like human sacrifice or cannibalism? Have all the doctrines taught down through the millennia become so "petrified" they don't apply any more? And what does it mean to be "hindered by ideologies?" Seems to me some of the bishops are idealogues wedded to ideologies that oppose our faith. Anthony Esolen...

Topsy: Omigosh, I love his articles! Providence was nuts to let him go!

Tuptim: I agree. He had an article in Crisis Magazine a couple of years ago called Ideology is the Enemy of True Faith. I remembered it while I was reading chapter 4 and pulled it up. Here...I brought you a copy. I highlighted some of his comments on ideology. (Reads...):
...there can be no rest in ideology. Indeed the ideologue looks upon [contemplative] prayer as quaint and pointless at best, and at worst a waste of human potential, even a culpable refusal [by the Trappist monks of the Grand Chartreuse] to put their shoulders to the wheel of revolutionary change. The ideologue has no use—no use, for all things must be used—for what Christopher Lasch happily called the true and only heaven. The monk knows that no matter what political regime should come to power, this world, so beautiful and so bittersweet, will always be a world of sin and death; it will always be less of a home than a wayside inn. And if the inn’s sign is hanging from a broken nail, and the bed sheets are a little musty, and the roast beef is overdone, it does not matter too much, because he himself, he considers with a smile, stoops in the shoulder, and is a little musty and overdone too....
But the ideologue has no clear sense of the pilgrimage. He believes in progress, and the imperfections of the world offend him; they must be eliminated.
Topsy: It's ironic, isn't it. The document criticizes ideologies, but the liberal bishops are all idealogues promoting worldly solutions to everything. They align themselves with the green movement, the global warming fanatics.... And this chapter on dialogue is blather on steroids! (Pensively...) I like to read Socrates. He always started his dialogues by defining terms so everybody knew what they were talking about. Do people understand terms in the same way? If you don't know what everyone means by the words, you can't have a meaningful "dialogue." You just have babble! This synod might as well be meeting at the Tower of Babel with a document full of undefined terms strung together that make a lot of sound but signify nothing!

Tuptim: The chapter ends talking about "conversion" and a "renewed sense of mission" in the Amazon. But in view of everything that's gone before and the author's determination not to baptize anyone, what does he mean by conversion? Is he calling for our conversion to the religion practiced by Rousseau's "noble savage?" That didn't turn out well, since Rousseau's philosophy helped to generate the French Revolution's reign of terror. And does the "renewed sense of mission" mean embracing liberation theology which has been condemned by the Church? It seems to me that's where the synod is going. The document goes on and on about the socio-economic oppression of the people, environmental degradation, and so forth on and on. It implies the need for leftist social activism as a cure-all. There sure isn't much talk about spreading the teachings of the Church, the Church Jesus founded, in order to bring about Christ's reign -- none in fact that I can identify!

-- Fr. Damien de Veuster, apostle of Molokai --
This is what a real missionary looks like. "I make
 myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ."
Topsy: (Tapping on her smart phone...) Let's see....There's an interesting article on liberation theology at First Things. It talks about its errors including the presumption that man can fix the injustices of the world by teaming up with Marxist ideology. (Looking up...) I think there's a strong philosophical alliance between liberation theology and secular humanism, where God is kind of a bystander and it's the worldly movers and shakers who will transform society using human means. We don't need God anymore because we have evolved to a level where we are like gods ourselves. There sure isn't much in the first part of this document about the God of our fathers and the transformation of the world through implementing Christ's great mission. It's all about man's dialogue with man as if that will somehow change the world.

Tuptim: All you have to do is look at the bloody 20th century to see how that turned out! Well that's the end of part one. Shall we meet at the library later this week to discuss the next part?

Topsy: Sounds good to me!

To be continued....

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