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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Of Suckers and Synod

Well, now that the synod has safely receded into the past, we can take a look at how things went.

Point: The First
Just as predicted, the synod taught nothing that violated Catholic doctrine.

Michael Voris was the only Catholic media personality who had enough virtue to formally apologize for his part in creating the Catholic media firestorm. I applaud him for this and very much thank him.

The Catholic media trained the Catholics who read the synod's final document to use a "hermeneutic of suspicion." Doubt and discord now reign where we were supposed to have peace and joy. Catholic media won - Catholics lost.

Point: The Second
Everyone was upset that bishops were discussing scandalous issues in synod. Riddle me this: would you prefer the bishops ask each other, in synod, where they can discuss in relative silence and amongst themselves, the kind of questions that the secular world constantly asks? Or would you prefer that they don't touch on controversial issues among themselves, but simply be forced to react one at a time under the grilling of various news media personalities over the course of the coming years?

Synods are designed to bring up scandalous issues, to look at every issue with fresh eyes, because the world approaches Catholic issues with eyes of newborn ignorance. If the Church wants to talk to the people in the world, her bishops have to be ready to handle the world's questions. Where better to raise such questions and provide the necessary answers than inside a synod, where all the bishops can thresh out every concern, and every response?

(Update: For those who say Burke is a really humble guy who I have thoroughly mis-read, I submit this powerplay, revealed only after I wrote this piece. Burke is worse than Kaspar.)

Watching sausage being made rids the ignorant of their appetites, but butchers are happy to eat sausage because they understand the sausage-making process better than random passers-by, who are often startled to discover that actual animals are killed to create it. Same with doctrine/dogma. The ignorant are startled by the discussions, but the Catholic secure in Church doctrine is not perturbed by such discussions.

To be concise, I want people like Kasper and Burke in a synod, fighting over the words, bringing up absolutely scandalous ideas. That way, I'm sure the synod will not only get it right, but get it right in a way that the world is forced to regard with some importance.

Point: The Third
Everyone is happy to point out that Cardinal Kasper is a liar.  Nobody wants to point out that Cardinal Burke is ALSO a liar. Why the different treatment?

And before you complain, here is Burke advertising he's about to lie and disrespect the Pope to boot:
"Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that i’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it." 
And then he talks about his transfer, actually confirming what he himself says he is not free to talk about.  Sorry, but Burke is the worst of the two liars here. Kasper just skewered other cardinals, Burke actually used his interview to skewer the Pope's decision to replace him. Sure, he said nothing negative, but we are all meant to (a) be told about something he himself says he has no right to discuss and (b) be outraged by it.

Why else mention something that you know you aren't supposed to discuss? Buzzfeed even helped turn the knife with its next softball question:
BFN: You’re obviously a very well respected person. That must be disappointing.
CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service [editor's note: lovely humble-brag]. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it. On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…
Note the humble-brag. Note how Pope Francis has so sorely disappointed our illustrious cardinal! (how dare the Pope disappoint Burke?!?). And the outpouring of humility! Worthy of Padre Pio himself! He will accept whatever new work he is assigned (like he has a choice)! 

You can just imagine Padre Pio giving exactly the same kind of interview! Except, you can't, because Padre Pio would never have done such a thing. Burke should have simply refused to answer any of those questions about his employment and/or his move - that's between him and the Pope until such time as the Pope makes it public (as Burke himself witnesses). If he were truly humble, he need not have mentioned his humility. But he has to point it out, in case any of us missed it.

Worse, he backstabs the Pope during the synod, giving the interview when he knows full well how much discord has already been fomented by the Catholic media amongst "orthodox" Catholics. He starts the interview talking about the synod, but devotes fully one-third of it to how the Pope is mean and is going to move him from what he loves to do! Oh, the agony he is forced to endure!

The center third of the interview.
Not about the synod.
It's about his job prospects.
Seriously?

This isn't the act of an obedient cardinal, this is the act of a Kasper look-alike, a man with overweening ambition and a dagger that he needs to bury in somebody's back, and - look! - the Pope's back is right there! What a lovely target! And since I have pointed out how humble I am, no one will notice as I bury it to the hilt and have Buzzfeed help me twist the knife!

And it's so cleverly situated within the beginning and ending comments about the synod! Typical episcopal sandwich - start and end by complimenting a group, but the center takes huge, toothy bites out. Start and end by talking about the subject, but use the center to discuss what matters to you. The meat is in the middle. Nobody picks up on it. I've seen countless bishops and priest pull this rhetorical trick. Works all the time. 

Point: The Fourth
Some have complained Pope Francis raised questions during the synod, but then remained silent during the discussion, saying nothing for virtually the entire synod.

Yes, that's right, he did. 
So?

This is a common tactic amongst the ordained. How many of you know priests who will post something on Facebook that generates a huge discussion which the priests themselves then take no subsequent part in? I know several who do that. They do it in parish life as well, raising an issue, then walking away as the lay people wrangle over it.

It gives the ordained man a chance to see who lies on which side of the spectrum, where his powerbase lies, without committing himself one way or the other. It also emphasizes the priest's authority over the lay people, as they realize that they cannot resolve the problem until the priest makes a decision. The lay people are left yearning for priestly authority and direction, made to feel it's lack. 

I really don't know an ordained man who hasn't pulled that trick at one time or another as at least a way to pull rank on a lay person and make the lay person feel helpless.

Pope just did that to the bishops. Big deal. Insofar as any bishop complains about it, that bishop is a hypocrite. It's the Pope's advantage, he holds an authoritative position and he could afford to get away with it. It's a way of putting every bishop in the synod in his place. You can tell which bishops didn't like the reminder of papal authority by making a list of the ones who complained about the tactic. Same goes for lay people. Notice the complainers were mostly the "orthodox". Hmmm....

Summary conclusion
1) Synod did precisely what any Catholic expected it would do: reiterate Catholic doctrine.
2) Synod did this by discussing every aspect of the doctrine, even the unpalatable aspects.
3) Both the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are sinners, but "orthodox" Catholics don't like anyone to point that out about "their" guys.
4) What a shock to discover the buck stops with the Pope.

I feel like an orthodox Catholic after Vatican II - amazed and depressed that so many of my fellow "orthodox" Catholics are so easily taken in by a feckless media and equally feckless cardinals, both of whom are out to gain advantage at the expense of the laity. But, as the saying goes, they never give a sucker an even break.

The only way to avoid the result is to stop being a sucker and start putting a little faith in the Church.

4 comments:

BenYachov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BenYachov said...


1. There is no comparison or equivalence between Kasper & Burke here. Kasper told a reporter X and then denied saying X till the reporter in question produced a Tape that showed he said X. Burke said an un-official source told him he was to be transferred but he has received no official orders. That is merely a true statement unless you can prove no such conversation took place. You can argue over the prudence of Burke’s words or question his loyalty for sounding off without an official word on the table but I submit you cannot coherently call him a liar.

2. Bruke’s acceptance of his transfer and stated belief that he believes God will bless him for obedience is an example to his Radtrad and so called “conservative” defenders who see this solely in the fog of naked church politics. Those idiots seem to really believe if Burke becomes the patron of the Knights of Malta that somehow liberals will change Church doctrine without Burke there to stop them. You and I know that is lunch meat. The Holy Spirit will stop them and they don’t need the good Cardinal Burke.

3. If Burke is seen as criticizing Francis here (Bishop Tobin is another one) I have no problem with that. The problem with the refuse and resist crowd among the Trads is that their citation of Paul rebuking Peter doesn’t take into account Paul was a fellow Bishop & not a layman. Burke like Francis is a fellow bishop and not some idiot lay “conservative” blogger. He has aright to critize here. As even Voris said if Francis needs correction for anything wrong he might be doing he has Benedict, the Cardinals and the Bishops he doesn’t need some blogger who he isn’t going to read anyway or even know about leading other Catholics to doubt the Pope. Francis is free to take correction from Burke or tell him know he is out of line or ignore him.

That is my take.

Let the games begi

BenYachov said...

Sorry about the bad grammar but distractions distractions.........

BenYachov said...

>For those who say Burke is a really humble guy who I have thoroughly mis-read, I submit this powerplay, revealed only after I wrote this piece. Burke is worse than Kaspar.

You said Burke was a liar Steve? This latest example even if interpreted in the worst possible light & worst possible way doesn't vindicate your original accusation buddy.

I don't know if Burke is humble or not & I couldn't give a rat's backside. As the great man said "Who am I too judge?"

Wither he is worst or better than Kasper? I couldn't tell ya.

But Burke is clearly better then the "Conservative" and "traditional" Catholic media that is in hyper hysterical mode & with the Liberal reducing this whole process to a base political fight.