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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Topsy and Tuptim Read the Working Document for the Pan-Amazon Synod: Introduction

Yes, there really are purple frogs!
Topsy and Tuptim meet at a local vineyard with notebooks, highlighters, and pens at the ready to study the Instrumentum Laboris for the Pan-Amazon Synod. Topsy orders a bottle of merlot at the counter and a plate of cheese and crackers and carries them to the table.

Topsy: Since you're a red wine girl you should enjoy this merlot and aren't the glasses cute with the purple toad? I wonder if they have purple toads in the Amazon? 

Tuptim: Funny you should say that. I've been studying up on the rain forest since I heard about the synod. They have all kinds of incredible species including poison dart frogs. I think the synod will bring its own version of poison to the faith and the poor people of the Amazon. (Rolling her eyes) After all, God wills different religions, even paganism presumably. But maybe I'm just being a pessimist. Let's take a look at the doc and see.

Topsy: I don't even like the title. The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for Integral Ecology. One of the German bishops, Overbeck, said at a private meeting in Rome that the synod will be “a point of no return” and that, after the synod, “nothing will be the same as it was”. Is that the new path? The German bishops are in de facto schism and the author of the working document favors women's ordination. I'd say this meeting is a revolution in the making. Throw out the faith of our fathers in favor of...hmm...what? Guess we'll have to walk the new path to find out where it goes.

Tuptim: Easy-peasy answer to that. It's the wide path to hell where we will find out if the saints who said the floor of hell is littered with bishops' miters are right. And what the heck is "integral ecology?" When I read about that in the pope's encyclical Laudato Si I figured he'd joined forces with the Occupy movement and the climate change folks. They're all talking about it. 

Topsy: Yup, but where's the concern over the impact on the environment from babies being murdered in abortion mills and dumped in the landfills? Or chemical contraceptives polluting our water supply? I bet the pope is a big fan of fellow Jesuit, Teilhard de Chardin. He was all in with we are connected to the Universe and are all evolving toward some omega point where we will be like cells in the body of the cosmic Christ.

Tuptim: Chardin was creepy. Did you ever read about his meeting with THE THING in the desert? It sounded like he met and welcomed a demon. 

Topsy: I've read a little Chardin, but he's just too far out. Every time I started to read his stuff my eyes started spinning and I couldn't focus. And I always felt like the people advancing his thought were playing intellectual pride games. But let's talk about the Introduction to the document.

Tuptim: I had to laugh to read the stuff about the Church "listening to the People of God." It sounds like a joke after all we've seen with the abuse crisis. The bishops talk about listening and transparency, but their actions speak volumes about secrecy and cover up.

Topsy: Now, now, Tuptim, don't be cynical.

Tuptim: Well, my take-away from the introduction is it's focus on the "synodal church." And since Cardinal Marx wants it, it must be bad. 

Topsy: I agree. Dissent groups have been calling for a decentralized church for decades where the laity play an equal role in defining doctrine... Using the word synodal is just spinning the vocabulary. Same wolf, new sheepskin.

Tuptim: I think you mean eliminating doctrine, not defining it. The pope's been doing a pretty good job of that for years. If he can't change the doctrine, he changes the practice which ultimately means nobody pays any attention to the doctrine any more even if it's still on the books. We've certainly seen that with contraception. 

Topsy: Did you catch the part in the introduction about a synodal Church that "begins by listening to the peoples and to the earth." In view of the fact that we live in times where the earth is often seen as more valuable than people, I find that language disconcerting. And please don't quote "Brother Sun and Sister Moon" to me. 

Tuptim: Well, we do have a responsibility to be good stewards of the earth and in many places we aren't doing a very good job. Shall we meet at my house tomorrow to study chapter one?

Topsy: Sounds like a plan!

To be continued....


  1. That is an amazing photograph of a frog.

  2. God has a sense of humor and a great sense of color as well.