“Hijacking” of Extraordinary Synod on the Family compared to “Hijacking” of Vatican II

I have seen a number of references that liberals were attempting to hijack the Synod on the Family, in a way similar to how they “hijacked Vatican II”.

For reference, here is the draft version of the Relatio.  Please, read the whole thing 🙂

One example is this National Catholic Register article – Evidence Emerges for an Engineered Synod.  From the article (with some surrounding paragraphs, so that I don’t take it out of context):

In his interview with the Register published yesterday, Cardinal Burke said what is being presented to the media does not tally with what’s happening in the assembly. “What is coming out does not reflect the reality, in my judgment,” he said. “I am speaking very openly about it because I think it is my moral obligation.” And he added people “are pushing the agenda” of Cardinal Kasper and his proposal for the divorced and civilly remarried.

Some have said this synod reminds them of the methods used to hijack the Second Vatican Council. Veteran Vatican watchers say such engineering is unprecedented in the modern Church.

Perhaps given the reported shenanigans, and what is at stake, the best answer is to pray. Earlier today, Voice of the Family – an international coalition of pro-life groups – drew attention to the fact that Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics, the archbishop of the Latvian capital Riga, is making an “urgent call” for prayer for the outcome of the synod.

Note:  The National Catholic Register itself is not saying Vatican II was hijacked.  It is saying “some have said”.

I have seen other comparisons as well.

I did notice with the wording of the Relatio draft document caused the questions that many ask in Vatican II documents – What exactly does this mean?  For example, the following paragraphs from the draft Relatio:

50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

The bolded text are some of those “What exactly does this mean?” passages.  For example, was this text saying that homosexuals, because of their orientation, have special gifts and qualities?  All people have gifts and qualities that can/could be given to the Church, but having temptations to mortal sin (or practicing mortal sin) are not the cause of gifts and qualities.  Yet the text can be understood that the homosexual orientation itself provides those gifts and qualities.

Also, what does accepting and valuing their sexual orientation mean?  You cannot accept sin.  You accept the sinner, but hate the sin.  Now, Mark Shea, over at Catholic and Enjoying It, argues that we need to value their temptation because in struggling against it, in mastering it, it can bring them closer to God.  At least as I understand Shea.  Here is his text, with some other paragraphs for context (note, Shea’s style is a bit sarcastic, and often insulting – he attacks people a lot):

“But… but,” the Reactionary cries, “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation???!!!!” Uh, yes. That’s right. You may remember that ours is the paradoxical faith that says weird stuff like “O happy fault! O necessary sin of Adam which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” We have an apostle who accepts and values his thorn in the flesh and martyrs who accept and value the chance to be roasted on griddles and be crucified for the sake of the Name. A homosexual orientation is, recall, a form of temptation, not a form of sin. The technical term is concupiscence. Here is what the Catechism says about concupiscence:

Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence “is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.” Indeed, “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

We accept those we love who have other forms of temptation. We even learn to see that, as they strive to live faithfully to Christ, their particular forms of temptation can be part of what God uses to make them into saints, as Paul’s thorn in the flesh taught him to rely on grace. In short, we come to value everything about them, warts and all–because of love.

Well, okay, I can see what Mr. Shea is saying.  But the text does not spell that out.

If someone asked if I accepted homosexuality, I would say ‘no’.  I do not accept sin, and I feel bad for those who struggle against the temptation.  Also, I do not “accept” the temptation to theft, adultery, or any other sin.  I recognize, for the chaste person struggling against same-sex attraction, that they have a cross to bear.  But I do not believe that is what the text was saying.

Now, for the homosexual lobby, what they often are trying to drum into us is that we not just “tolerate” their lifestyles, but accept them.  We must value that lifestyle.  Acceptance and tolerance are two different things.  And society is being pushed to accept homosexuality, to accept a sinful lifestyle as legitimate.

I trust Mark Shea’s honesty in the way he interpreted the text (I disagree with him a lot, but he is an honest man).  But the fact that it can be interpreted in multiple ways MAKES IT BAD TEXT.  Period.  And personally, considering who is pushing it, I think my interpretation is probably the more accurate one.  I think you have to tie yourself in a pretzel to interpret it Mr. Shea’s way, particularly considering the way modern language and culture interprets it (just look at the reaction of the press).

Okay, so what’s all this got to do with Vatican II?  Some people have been arguing that the ambiguous text of the draft relatio, and the shenanigans of trying to manipulate the Synod for a particular end without real debate or agreement, is reminiscent of Vatican II, of how the original schemas were thrown out, how the original schemas used clear (and concise!) language, and of how the final Vatican II documents used a language that could be interpreted in multiple ways (the “right” to hold a false religion, or not, getting rid of Latin in the Mass or keeping it front and center, valuing and using Gregorian Chant, or tossing it out the window in favor of modern music, etc)

Check out the Original Vatican II Schemas, and compare their clarity to the final Vatican II documents.  Read them both!  Always read the documents!  Yes, it takes a lot of time, particularly the Vatican II documents 🙂

The text itself can be interpreted in multiple ways – one of the accusations against Vatican II documents, such as Dignitatis Humanae.  The document (DH) can be interpreted in a purely orthodox way – that people have a duty to seek out the true religion, but must not be coerced since that is not a valid conversion.  Or in a totally different way – that people have a right to believe whatever they want, true or false, and that society must respect a person’s “religious liberty”.

Note, many in the Church accept and believe in religious liberty.  But it goes against the rest of Church teaching, such as (and I have linked to this before), Mirari Vos.  From the text:

13. Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism”[16] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,”[17] and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.“[18] Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me.”[19] A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?”[20]

14. This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error,” as Augustine was wont to say.[21] When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly “the bottomless pit”[22] is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws — in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty.

Again, read the whole thing.  Mirari Vos is not long.

Also look at the Syllabus of Errors, numbers 15 – 18 (note these are errors – Pius IX is against these):


15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.

16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. — Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.

17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. — Encyclical “Noscitis,” Dec. 8, 1849.

That’s enough citations for now, as this post is getting long.  The point is, evil seeps in often through obscure language that can be interpreted in multiple ways, as opposed to clear and concise language.

At any rate, if “liberals” or “revolutionaries” were trying to “hijack” the Synod, in a way that many believe they hijacked the Second Vatican Council, they did not succeed.  Back in the 1960’s, information was very much limited by a very liberal press.  There is an alternative press now – blogs and Twitter and whatnot – the “Social Media”, and it is not so easy for liberals to pull these things off by controlling information flow anymore.

God Bless, Average Catholic

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