Diocesan Synods Hijacked

News: Commentary
by Fr. Paul John Kalchik  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 2, 2022   

Synodal flimflam

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The U.S. bishops' release of its much-anticipated synthesis of common themes raised among Catholics has been fraught with controversy.

National Synthesis of the People of God

Its fulsome title National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Diocesan Phase of the 2021–2023 Synod promised widespread inclusion of what Catholics on the ground are saying.

Indeed, the document was purported to be a synopsis of what was discussed by Catholics in the various dioceses across the United States at pre-synod meetings. After a careful reading, it is evident the document is not what its title suggests — an inclusive gathering of honest and authentic comments from Catholics across the nation.

As a priest who has participated in many such diocesan synods in the past, I can attest the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB's) synopsis hijacks what U.S. Catholics actually think and merely puts forth what the liberal bishops wanted to hear. As a man from Chicago, I know flimflam when I see it, and I suspect some flimflam is going on with the USCCB findings. 

USCCB's Synopsis

Let's take a look at how it is written. In a section called "Enhancing Communion & Participation," important theological terms are loosely defined and used out of context. Take this sentence as an example: "The hope for a welcoming Church expressed itself clearly with the desire to accompany with authenticity LGBTQ+ persons and their families."

Human beings are male or female. The Bible says, "God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). Genesis does not say God created a spectrum of genders or a variety of sexual orientations.

News Report: Demands of God's People?

Documents representing Church teaching must adhere to Church teaching and not use terms at odds with Holy Scripture.

Granted, a person may suffer from same-sex attraction, but his sexual desires and tendencies have nothing to do with what constitutes his personhood. God made male and female; He did not make LGBTQ+. 

What I learned almost 40 years ago, when I earned my first degree in psychology and began working in the field, is relevant to my point. At that time, it was common for health-care workers and clinicians to use insensitive, dehumanizing terms to refer to the people they cared for. 

For example, people who had Down syndrome were referred to as "mongoloids." People who suffered from paralysis of one sort or another were referred to as "handicapped," and people suffering from various forms of mental illness were often referred to in disrespectful terms such as "schizo." 

Thankfully, in the early '80s, in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, these sorts of monikers were phased out. Society came to realize that someone with a disability was first and foremost a person.

God made male and female; He did not make LGBTQ+. 

One blessing from the Americans with Disabilities Act becoming law was paid TV commercials promoting the new nomenclature. Clinicians, doctors and the public were shamed into putting aside these pejorative, dehumanizing terms.

In light of this history, calling anyone an "LGBTQ+ person" is a big step backward. To refer to a person by their sexual confusion is just wrong. From a metaphysical standpoint, a person made in God's image is much more than his disorder.  By the way, the catechism calls homosexuality a "disorder." 

In the same section, another sentence reads: "In order to become a more welcoming Church, there is a deep need for ongoing discernment of the whole Church on how best to accompany our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters."

Terms like "ongoing discernment," often used nowadays by prelates of the Church of Nice, lack concrete meaning. What does "ongoing discernment" really mean?

In addition, saccharine terms like "more welcoming" and "how best to accompany" lack the potency of the mercy offered by Our Savior Jesus Christ for those who repent.

News Report: Young People Protest Synodal Process

Another problematic phrase to add to the pile is "LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters." No document issued by Church authorities should give credence, even in passing, to this errant conception. 

Brush aside all sweet-sounding trappings and the sentence is a prime example of virtue signaling. Yes, as a Church we should welcome all people — but into a right relationship with Christ.

To be open and welcoming is a great virtue. Recall how the Patriarch Abraham welcomed strangers. But people in an obstinate state of sin are not welcome willy-nilly into full communion with the Body of Christ — or into Heaven. They are asked to repent.

 Cdl. Francis George 

Further, people engaged in a so-called gay marriage cannot be given the Blessed Sacrament when they present themselves for reception of the Sacrament. As a priest who has ministered in Chicago for all of his priesthood, I have refused the Holy Sacrament to numerous people who clearly demonstrated by their demeanor, dress or mannerisms that they were not predisposed to receive the Blessed Sacrament.

Before "gay marriage" was ratified in Illinois, individuals wearing rainbow sashes who presented themselves for Holy Communion were refused the Holy Sacrament. Cardinal Francis George instructed priests not to distribute the Blessed Sacrament to anyone sporting a rainbow sash.

In another passage in the "Enhancing Communion & Participation" section, the bishops claim young people are saying:

Youth who participated in synodal sessions, however, stressed that they should not be seen and spoken of mostly as the future of the Church, but should be recognized for their importance now and given a significant voice in the present. They want to be both seen and heard and included more in Church life, especially by participating meaningfully in parish and diocesan councils and ministries.

Youth being "given a significant voice in the present" sounds nice. So does "participating meaningfully in parish and diocesan councils and ministries." But young people, unversed and uncatechized in Church teaching, being "given a voice" or "participating meaningfully in diocesan councils and ministries" is a dangerous thing for the Church.

Young people need to be taught the precepts of the Faith, instructed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and prepared for the reception of the Church's Sacraments before they take the helm of Peter's Barque. 

Rethink This ‘Fraud’

Adults teach the young how to live and behave as adults. Anything less than this is nonfunctional and sure to bring about a quick end to a successful, productive future. 

This synopsis published by the USCCB, claiming to record what U.S. Catholics think, is a fraud. I hope our U.S. bishops rethink forwarding this document to Rome for the upcoming synod. It does not come close to portraying what normal everyday Catholics think or the Faith they profess.

No gathering of men — even the USCCB — has the power to change the truth.

For those who are worried about the effects of the document, let it be made clear: A report like this cannot change, even by one jot, the dogmas of our Faith. Truth, as documented in Sacred Scripture and as reflected in our Church's dogmas, is absolute and unchanging. Truth is like God Himself — unchanging, perfect and eternal. No gathering of men — even the USCCB — has the power to change the truth.

I make this prediction: This synopsis, poorly written, with impenetrable paragraphs, will have a very short shelf life. Within a year, two at most, all the paper on which this document is printed will have been recycled. 

Whatever the case, most U.S. Catholics are onto the fraud.

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