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Every synod here in Rome under Francis always introduces a whole new vocabulary, new terms and new themes that result in loads of confusion — meaning no one has the slightest idea what they actually mean.
Depending on who is reading them or listening to them, they could mean a hundred different things. These terms seem to be deliberately left ambiguous.
If you are trying to upset the established order, ambiguity is a very helpful dynamic.
For example, in today's press conference, elastic terms popped up everywhere: space for disciples; authentic expressions; a Church that is not closed; a Church that learns from the people of the forest; synodal listening; a Church that is not self-referential; and of course the overarching "New Pathways."
These terms have no actual meaning on their own. They need to be given their meaning, and this is where the danger of this synod lies. The confusion is rampant in this kind of vocabulary.
But there is an explanation for this and it's actually pretty simple — eye-opening in fact.
Pope Francis was having a conversation with some intimates a while back, and one of them made the observation that some of the vocabulary is confusing and needed some clarity.
The Pope's response revealed a lot.
He said, "I want the confusion." Let us repeat that, the Pope said, "I want the confusion." That comment was so striking, it stirs fear in the soul — great concern.
But it has the benefit of framing this entire papacy and all its actions. The self-contradictions, the refusal to respond to the dubia and so forth. The question people ask is: Why? Why would the Pope want confusion?
The answer to that question may be hidden in the philosophy of some South Americans who greatly influenced the future pope — men like Juan Carlos Scannone, who developed what he called a "theology of the people," as well as a poet Rubén Darío. Not to be left out from the influencers list would the liberation theology proponent Gustavo Gutiérrez.
Collectively, these philosophers maintain that in order to upend the established order, confusion must be promoted.
Then the confusion will promote a type of conflict, and from that conflict, a new reality will be ushered in.
This raises another set of ideas. If the Pope is encouraging confusion so that a new reality is born, is this new reality something he already imagines and, his in mind, is a goal? Or is it that something just develops and wherever the chips fall, they fall, and then we deal with that new reality as it presents itself?
For example, after the opening Mass at St. Peter's, a group of Indians from the Amazon unfurled a banner celebrating Mother Earth. They got rushed away quickly by Vatican guards, but not before having made a statement.
The theology of Mother Earth raises creation to a divine status. It's why Mother Earth is worshipped. That's paganism.
Whatever is going on and meant by all this, it's clear that at least some are concluding that Mother Earth has some kind of equal or parallel footing with the Catholic Church, that the two can somehow by synthesized.
That would create an entirely new religion.
This became evident in today's press conference when a question was asked about the meaning or symbolism of the naked pregnant woman statute which was presented to the Pope at the pagan-worshipping, tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens Friday.
A reporter asked the panel what was the meaning of the statue, what is represented by it. Was it the Virgin Mary? Was it Mother Earth? What was it?
The answer provided no clarity — not much of a surprise. The answer was, bottom line, it has different meanings to different people — fair enough, that's true. But that is a problem.
Catholicism is distinguished by its clarity: 2,000 years of clear thought.
And while no human vocabulary can capture all the mystery of the Faith and divine revelation, it can rule out propositions opposed to it. It can point to contradictions and logical flaws that must never be allowed.
The work of theology is more of a work of negation than positive assertion. It leaves us to ponder the mystery of what's left after all that is untrue has been filtered out.
Mother Earth worship cannot logically stand beside along with Catholicism. The two are opposed.
If Mother Earth is "divine" and to be worshipped, which it most certainly is in Amazonian cultures, then the created Mother Earth is on equal footing with the uncreated God.
That is heresy in that it denies the meaning of the divinity itself. It is these dangers in this Amazon Synod that have the faithful deeply concerned about all the ambiguous talk and expressions and vocabulary.
In its very conception, its way of expressing itself, it is anti-Catholic — not just non-Catholic, but anti-Catholic.
There is no such thing, no divine mandate, that the Church be so much of a listening Church that it listens to paganism and heresy.