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Three Good Men Trapped in the New Paradigm

by Christopher A. Ferrara
October 16, 2015

Robert Royal is a fine Catholic gentlemen and a rightly respected Catholic journalist. Father Gerald Murray is a fine orthodox priest. Indeed, if every priest were like Father Murray, the Church would be in infinitely better shape. And Raymond Arroyo, the host of EWTN's The World Over, has been doing a masterful job of exposing the Modernist doubletalk of Cardinal Kasper and the rigging of the Phony Synod to favor it (as Pope Francis so clearly does).

Yet, during a recent installment of The World Over, in which Royal and Father Murray, reporting from Rome, rightly expressed alarm over the unfolding of Phony Synod 2015, both they and Mr. Arroyo did not seem to notice that their remarks were constrained by the New Paradigm of the Church. By this I mean that state of affairs in which one is expected to view as normal an endless tug-of-war between "conservatives" and "progressives" over "issues" which are, in fact, settled questions of doctrine and related traditional practice that should be beyond all debate.

Nowhere is the New Paradigm more at work than in the novelty of the Synod itself, created by Paul VI in 1965 to advance Vatican II's notion of "collegiality." The episode of The World Over begins with a statement by Cardinal Pell which takes the New Paradigm as a given: "What is really important, of course," said the Cardinal regarding the "synodal process," is that "both sides of the discussion are represented equally — in committees, in what is published, in reports…"

Both sides? Discussion? Both sides of what? Discussion of what? Committees and reports? Since when is the Catholic Church a kind of parliament in which one hopes that "both sides" will be "represented equally" in the legislative process? Answer: since Paul VI foisted the novelty of the Synod upon the Church. But no one during this broadcast seemed to notice the fundamental problem: the very existence of the Synod.

Following Pell's statement, Mr. Royal observed a "general nervousness here in Rome, by not only traditional Catholics in the room, but also by the progressives…" So, the Synod involves a "room" in which "traditional Catholics" contend with "progressives" over points of Catholic teaching. Hello! We have a problem here: the Synod.

Royal went on to say that after Cardinal Erdo's stirring defense of Catholic orthodoxy in his opening address to the Synod, Francis intervened personally the next day to assure both "thirteen cardinals who are of a more traditional character" and are concerned about the apparent rigging of the "synodal process" yet again, and the "progressives" who are concerned about Cardinal Erdo's entirely too orthodox address. Francis, said Royal, wanted to "assuage both the progressives and the more traditional wings…"

The "more traditional" wings? Are not all Catholic bishops and cardinals supposed to be entirely traditional? Are not "progressive" bishops and cardinals a threat to the Faith and thus not fit to gather with "more traditional" Catholics to discuss matters of doctrine and Church practice? Or are we now to accept the idea of a Church in which the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Republican and Democrat parties battle it out on the floor of Congress?

To Father Murray's credit, he declared forthrightly that "Cardinal Kasper's proposal is preposterous, it is an offense against the nature of marriage and it should not be further discussed…" But why was it opened to discussion in the first place? Solely because of the novelty of the Synod, invented by Paul VI only fifty years ago.

Father Murray, accepting the novelty without seeming to notice that it is at the heart of the debacle now unfolding in Rome, went on to criticize the semi-secrecy of the manner in which Phony Synod 2015 is being conducted: "This is all supposed to be about the culture of encounter and the faithful should have an opportunity to hear what their pastors say and then be able to discuss it among themselves…"

Discuss it among themselves? Discuss what? The progress of a "debate" between "progressives" and their "more traditional" opposition over Church teaching and practice, as if the faithful were discussing the latest news of infighting among their representatives in Washington?

The Synod, Fr. Murray continued, is "an opportunity for those who are going to defend Catholic orthodoxy to make their voices heard quite clearly… So the Synod gives an opportunity to say to the Pope and everyone listening, Catholic doctrine must be defended vigorously because otherwise many souls will be imperiled by false teaching."

Since when have Catholics had to "make their voices heard" by the Pope in defense of orthodoxy? Is it not the Pope who is supposed to make his voice heard in defense of orthodoxy?

The whole thing is absurd. Diabolically absurd. Raymond Arroyo came closest to the truth when he referred to the coven gathering in Rome as an "ecclesial shark tank" — a tank in which a few conservative fish are fighting for their lives.

But it is the very existence of the tank in which the sharks are swimming that is the problem here. At one and the same time the so-called "advisory body" of the Synod creates the impression among the faithful that Catholic doctrine is a fit matter for periodic debate and legislative updating, while allowing Francis to say — in the document his handpicked committee of ten has already written — that "the Synod has spoken" with the authority of "the Spirit" as a manifestation of the "God of surprises."

May God save us from the New Paradigm and restore to good order the Church that teaches peremptorily with the authority of Christ Himself. That restoration will have to involve abolition of the Synod, which has predictably degenerated into nothing but the devil's playground.