Tuptim: What a great idea to stop at the Wood Grill before going home from your eye exam.
They sit down and order their drinks then go to the various food stations.
Topsy: I enjoy this place a lot. Most buffets are low quality but everything here is so fresh. I always have a hard time choosing from the wide variety.
Tuptim: (Laughing...) Yeah, it makes me think of "diversity," another one of those buzz words. I wonder if they practice integral ecology where they grow all the veggies. And we can celebrate all the cultures here because they have Mexican food, American, Chinese, Greek, Thai, you name it!
Topsy: Isn't that cultural appropriation? I'm surprised some righteous liberals aren't outside picketing with demands to remove all the ethnic dishes from the menu.
Tuptim: (In a conspiratorial tone...) Don't despair; someone is probably hatching a plan right now.
Topsy: Let's get on with the document. (Sighing...) Do you think we'll ever finish this marathon? It's depressing. I feel like I'm locked in a jail cell with a whole army of lunatics!
Tuptim: Or clowns! We could laugh if it weren't so seriously wicked! Somebody asked me what I think the main goal for the synod is based on the Instrumentum Laboris. I sat there with a dumb look on my face for a minute and then threw up my arms.
|Do you recognize any of these synod clowns?
Topsy: Hmph...I get that!
Tuptim: All I could say is, "Ummm.... there are lots of suggestions at the end of every chapter but the only things that keep coming up are to give the Church an "indigenous face" and practice "integral ecology" whatever that is.
Topsy: (Thoughtfully) Well...the truth is that the planners do have a goal. But they aren't open or transparent about it. Cardinal Mueller has them all pegged. He says they want to "turn the Church upside down. He recently released another letter...I have it here...somewhere...(She rummages in her bag.)... ten pages in fact, critiquing the working document. Ah...here it is. (Hands it to Tuptim.) One of the things he said is that if the Church presents herself to the world as a "religious lobby of the ecological movement" or a "relief agency for migrants" it will just result in her losing even more of her identity as the "Sacrament of Salvation." He pointed out that over 200,000 Catholics in Germany have left the faith because they the Church as just one more secular institution. Now whose fault is that?...Anyone?....Anyone?....Some churchmen, especially the German bishops, think that if the Church dresses up like the world, she'll suddenly be respectable and embraced by what Mueller calls the "left-wing, green mainstream."
Tuptim: And the world will hate her anyway. Have you seen anything Catholic in the synod working document?
Topsy: (Shaking her head...) Nope...and I think Cardinal Mueller would agree. Here...I can't read with my eyes dilated...you read the part I highlighted in yellow:
The so-called synodal path of the Church's establishment in Germany, however, aims at further secularization of the Church. Instead of a renewal in the spirit of the Gospel, with the help of catechesis, mission, pastoral care, mystagogy [a mystical explanation] of the Sacraments, one now relies on – and this has already been going on for a half a century now – other topics, hoping thereby to receive public approval of the western world and to please that way of thinking that holds a materialistic image of man.
|"We must obey God rather than men!"
Tuptim: So what are the "rigid positions" and the "real needs" of the people in the Amazon. Are they talking about "rigid" Church doctrine? Or a "rigid" moral code? Should personal conscience formed by generations of pagan culture be the arbiter of every decision? And what exactly are the "real needs" of the people. Do they need Jesus Christ at all? Or are Saul Alinsky and the liberation theologians their saviors? Part of the problem with the document is you never really what they're talking about! The content couldn't be more ambiguous.
Topsy: Isn't that the point? Keep everybody off balance!... Read the rest of what I highlighted in Cardinal Mueller's letter. And, by the way, he is very critical of the mess in Germany. You need to read the whole thing.
Tuptim: (Nodding) I'm getting that message! (Continues reading):
In its essence, the synodal path is about
1. the change of the Sacrament of Holy Orders into a professional system of well-paid functionaries;
2. the passing of a politically perceived “power” from the bishops and priests on to a leadership of laymen, with the added clause that, if the qualifications are the same, women are themselves to be preferred. What is bothersome to them is
(3.) that Christian morality as it stems from the new life in Christ, which is now demeaned for its being “against the body” and, purportedly, not compatible with the standards of modern sexual science. The stumbling block since the Protestant Reformation and since the naturalism of the Enlightenment is
(4.), of course, priestly celibacy; as well as the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity, obedience) of the vowed consecrated life. In a Church which – as a mere human institution with purely secular goals – has abandoned her identity as the mediator of salvation in Christ, and who has lost all transcendental and eschatological reference to the Coming Lord, the freely chosen celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom (Mt. 19:12), or, in order to be able “to concern himself with the Lord's work” (1 Cor. 7:37) is perceived now as an embarrassment – like an alien element or a residual waste from which one has to be freed as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. At best, this celibacy might be granted to some exotic people as a masochistic form of an extremely autonomous self-determination.
|Cardinal Marx and Pope Francis
calling for a synodal Church
Topsy: (Nodding...) And pray that many clergy will join him. There's only a handful right now speaking out: Cardinal Brandmueller, Bishop Schneider, Bishop Eleganti, Msgr. Nicola Bux. A pathetically small group of courageous clergy and laymen are defending the faith agains this frontal assault! Chapter 3 really starts to get into the Twilight Zone stuff with talk about the "Creator Spirit" who's been nurturing the spirituality of the indigenous people over the centuries even before the proclamation of the Gospel. Read what I highlighted in pink. I used pink for the parts that alarmed me the most!
It [the proclamation of the gospel] presupposes respectful listening that does not impose formulations of faith expressed with other cultural referents that do not respond to their lived reality.I can see why you were alarmed. This sounds like a call to throw out the western Judeo-Christian ethic altogether. And what are "formulations of faith?" The Creed? The Ten Commandments? The Beatitudes? And what the heck is a "cultural referent?" Does the Mass need to be changed so it has an Amazonian face? And if everything needs to be specifically tailored for the Amazon, why not everywhere? After all, what's true for Catholics in the U.S. by their standards may not be true for Catholics in India or Japan or the African nations or Australia. What kind of face does the German Church that's planning this synod wear?
Topsy: Martin Luther's of course. Remember when Pope Francis went and celebrated the 500th anniversary of Luther's break with the Church. He claimed that Luther didn't want to divide the Church, he wanted to "reform" it. So is this a "Luther moment" using the Amazon to "re-form" the Church once again in Luther's image? The first time didn't turn out so well, despite all the pope's fulminating praise for the heretic. I keep waiting for Judas to be offered as a model. Hey, he just wanted a relevant Church that would re-form the world! Jesus just couldn't cut it!
Tuptim: (Pondering...) I think it's a Pontius Pilate moment. (Raising her finger as if to make a point...) What is truth? Pontius Pilate, call your synod office.
Topsy: Think about the idea of putting an Amazonian face on the Church. By extension does that mean the Church has to have a Japanese face in Japan? An Indian face in India? A Peruvian face in Peru? A Somalia face in Somalia. What exactly does that even mean? What happens to the signs of the Church being "One" and "Universal" with all this talk about inculturation? Shouldn't the Church be ABOVE culture with the family of God gathered under Christ's outstretched arms of the cross. We are united in Him and that should overshadow all our individual cultural differences.
|Sawdust carpet for Easter
Topsy: I think you mean weird! (Pausing...) But I'm not surprised she's not in the document. Remember this is the pope who made fun of spiritual bouquets. Do you think he even prays the rosary?
Tuptim: You know...I find this whole thing bizarre. The Church has always respected cultures. Many countries have their own religious traditions like the Dutch celebrating St. Nicholas' feast day by filling shoes with little gifts. And the Swedes have St. Lucy. Our parish Hispanic community decorates the sidewalks with elaborate sawdust carpets for Easter and the Corpus Christi procession. And I once went to a workshop to learn to make those beautiful Ukrainian Easter eggs. (Laughing...) I wasn't very good at it. Family and cultural traditions are like the rich colors of a tapestry with all of us working on our particular section to create a beautiful work of God.
Topsy: The Church celebrates the rich variety of cultural traditions and practices around the world, but the document isn't talking about that. They're talking about changing the Church to accommodate cultural practices at odds with the faith, for example, Amazonian pagan spirituality which is pantheistic. The entire ecology thing smacks of Gaia worship and the occult. There is no "Mother Earth." The planet is not a person and the entire planet isn't worth one soul made in God's image and likeness!
|Ukrainian Easter Eggs
“we must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings....” (EG 167). Without this inculturation the liturgy can be reduced to a “museum piece” or “property of a select few” (EG 95)...An inculturated liturgy will also be a sounding board for the struggles and aspirations of the communities and a transforming impulse towards a “land without evil”.Topsy: Hmm...yes... I remember that part. Those quotes are from Francis' apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Guadium. It appears that he and his buddies have been planning this revolution ever since he became pope. Everything that's gone before was to prepare for this I think -- all of his writings and the two synods on the family and the youth synod.... What is that paragraph actually saying? What are the "new signs and symbols" we're supposed to discover? I immediately thought of the sacraments. Remember the Baltimore Catechism? "A sacrament is a sign instituted by Christ to give grace." So now the synod tells us we need "new" signs?
Tuptim: Hey, the feminsts would love it if we made abortion a new sacrament, a "sign" of respecting women's reproductive freedom.
Topsy: These guys don't seem to care as much about the babies being murdered as trees being cut down in the rainforest. But what's worse in that chapter is the call for a "new flesh to embody and communicate the word." That sounds like blasphemy to me. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. What's this "new flesh" the pope talks about? And what "word" will be communicated by the "new flesh?" It sure doesn't sound like Christ the Word!
They're both quiet for a minute reflecting.
Tuptim: It sounds diabolical. I'm starting to feel sick. That last part about a transforming impulse towards a "land without evil" sounds like Satan in the garden talking to Eve. I can almost hear the serpent hissing, "No Eve, you won't die. You will be like God and possess a 'land without evil.'" The suggestions for this chapter would be almost funny if they weren't so pathetic. The liturgy should adopt the indigenous people's music, dance, clothing, symbols, etc. When you consider that some of the indigenous people wear almost nothing, it presents a pretty odd picture to think of them dancing up the aisle "in communion with nature and the community."
Topsy: When I read that what came to my mind was the orgy porgy of Brave New World.
|Is this the new dress code for Mass in the Amazon?
Topsy: It was part of the control mechanism for keeping the people in line. They used the drug, Soma, and the Feelies which were basically porn films that people experienced physically while they watched. The "orgy-porgy" was a weekly mandatory meeting where twelve girls and twelve boys recited a chant in a very sexualized environment, with drums beating, and heat and dim red light and touching in a ritual dance that ended up in a literal orgy. In view of some of the sexual practices in the Amazon...well...(She shrugs.)
Tuptim: To be honest it sounds like what we're doing today with the pornography explosion, the drugs, and sexualizing kids even in the playpen. I guess lust is the universal sin.
Topsy: The brave new world conditioned people to think and act in certain ways. And I think the synod aims to do the same thing to create a brave new Church. It's the suggestions in this chapter that call for a change in the criteria for selecting and training ministers to celebrate the Eucharist and also call for adapting the Eucharistic ritual to the culture.
Tuptim: Wow! Yeah, let's have a different Mass for every culture around the world. Sounds like going back to the seventies with clown Masses, polka Masses, Mariachi Masses, theme Masses...Now we can have rainforest Masses.
Topsy: I remember one Christian Family Movement Mass that had banners from the Giving Tree all over the auditorium. None of the concelebrating priests wore vestments. They weren't even in clerics. They had on regular clothes and stoles. (She shudders...) Those were the bad old days.
Tuptim: Well, heck maybe the new ministers can loan their stoles to all the dancing natives who don't wear any clothes. And who needs ministers anyway? Just make it up as you go along. Think that's where we're going?
Topsy: I hope not, but I was at a Mass in Hampton Roads a number of years ago where the priest made up the Eucharistic prayer. And no insane thing coming out of the synod would surprise me. I think I've reached my limit on this nuttiness. Shall we put the next section on hold while we get dessert? We can talk about our grandkids for awhile!
Tuptim: (Brightening...) Great idea! I checked the desserts as we came in. They have a chocolate fountain! Let's go.
To be continued....