So to summarize and perhaps expand just a bit on a little Twitter conversation, one thing that is especially interesting and dismaying to me about the Catholic conversation of recent weeks is how widely the uber-Catholics had to expand the circle of those who must be included among the bad guys, the ones who are not Catholic enough, those who have betrayed their faith and capitulated to the spirit of the world, in order to make their case that the discussion at the synod was evidence of the smoke of Satan in the Church .
I mean, think about it. For the Rorate Coeli and National Catholic Register narrative to be right, the people who are building a “false and dark church” are guys like
- Christoph Schonborn, the general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (chosen for that job by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger, you’ll recall)
- Walter Kasper, author of one of the most respected and cited christologies of the post-Vatican II era, and another distinguished work on trinitarian theology
- Donald Wuerl, author of The Teaching of Christ, probably one of the most popular and soundest of post-Vatican II catechisms published in English prior to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- And Bruno Forte, another highly regarded theologian — accomplished and sound enough that Pope John Paul II invited Forte to preach his Lenten retreat one year (that’s an invitation, we might note, that is sometimes taken by Vatican-watchers to be a subtle indication of who the current Pope thinks might be a good successor in his chair)
Every one of these guys were named bishops and then archbishops and then (with the exception of Forte) cardinals by Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
And these are our traitors? These are the people we are to believe are under the sway of the dictatorship of relativism? These are the ones who have, without a care, thrown the deposit of the faith under the bus in favor of a wishy-washy, modernistic, kumbayah alternative? Not a lone rogue element who went off the reservation, but of all of ’em. Seriously? (And don’t forget, at least half the synod fathers — a large group of distinguished pastors from around the world — seem to think that the conversation they want to have is worth having.) Because, after all, that was the criticism of JP2 and B16 all along, right: they were careless in paying attention to the doctrinal convictions of the men they named bishops and cardinals. Yeah.
Let me be clear: I have my own doubts about whether or not Kasper’s proposal for communion to the divorced and remarried is workable. I blogged about that here, on the first day of the Synod. But my response to this fact is to think, “Hm, this will be an interesting conversation among some extraordinary theological and pastoral leaders. It sure would be amazing if we could work out a way that people who are divorced and remarried could receive Communion in faithfulness to the Church’s tradition. Let’s see where this goes,” and to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance of their work.
It is not to sound the alarms and scream about traitors to the faith who are building a dark and false church, much less to suggest in public that the Pope (another guy to whom I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt!) is doing great harm to the Church by allowing the discussion to happen.
But that’s just me.