October 14, 2023 Column Father De Celles News

Israel at War. Please pray for America’s staunch ally, Israel, attacked by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, which is controlled by one of America’s greatest foes, Iran (of “death to America” fame). The barbaric attacks and atrocities against innocent civilians, including the grotesque torture and murder of children and infants, leave us speechless.

May the Good Lord send His Holy Angels to protect Israel and help them to defend themselves against these savages.

                 And may He also protect and keep safe all Americans who are or will be sent into the middle of this conflict, especially our military folks, particularly members of our parish and their families and friends.

And may He grant eternal rest to all those who died in his grace in these attacks.

And finally, may the Lord Jesus grant conversion and repentance to all who do such evil things.

Synod News. Did you read about these events at the Synod?

Cardinal Zen. From The Pillar, October 4, 2023: “In a letter dated Sept. 21… the 91-year old emeritus Bishop of Hong Kong told the bishops and cardinals that he is ‘confounded’ by what he sees as a reinvention of the Biblical concept of synodality by the event’s organizers, in a bid to promote teaching contrary to the faith…

“‘Because of what I am going to say, I can easily be accused of ‘conspiracy theory,’ but I see clearly a whole plan of manipulation,’ the cardinal said. 

“‘They [the synodal organizers] begin by saying we must listen to all. Little by little they make us understand that among the ‘all’ are those whom we have ‘excluded.’ Finally, we understand what they mean are people who opt for a sexual morality different from that of Catholic tradition.’

“‘Often they claim not to have an agenda,’ Zen wrote. ‘This is truly an offense to our intelligence. Anybody can see which conclusions they are aiming at.’ 

“In the six-page text, Zen also expressed his ‘even greater confusion and worry’ at what he perceives to be concerted effort to use the synod to establish democracy in place of the Church’s sacramental hierarchy, as the means of establishing doctrine.

“The cardinal admitted a ‘malicious suspicion’ that the synodal process, originally announced to conclude after a single session in Rome this October, was extended by an extra year because ‘organizers, not sure to be able to reach during this session their goals, are opting for more time to maneuver.’

“…Zen wrote in his letter that synodal organizers ‘speak of ‘conversations in the spirit’ as if it were a magic formula.’ 

“He added that while participants have been invited to ‘expect ‘surprises’ from the Spirit,’ that language seems to be cover for a predetermined outcome in the synod.

“‘Evidently they are already informed which surprises to expect,’ Zen wrote.

“Zen argued that an emphasis on ‘conversation’ in small groups — as opposed to ‘discussion’ and debate among the synodal body as a whole — is a deliberate ploy to prevent open debate over controversial agendas to change Church teaching, which he believes will be operative among some synod organizers and participants.

“In a passage of the letter likely to spark controversy, Zen described the synodal secretariat staff as ‘very efficient at the art of manipulation,’ and urged participants ‘not to obey them’ when ‘they tell you to go and pray, interrupting the sessions of the Synod.’

“‘Tell them that it is ridiculous to think that the Holy Spirit is waiting for these your prayers offered at the last moment…Before the Synod, you and your faithful must have already accumulated a mountain of prayers, as Pope John XXIII did before Vatican II.’

“Zen also strongly criticized Pope Francis’ decision to invite lay attendees to the synod and to grant them the status of full voting members of the synodal body, a move which he argued undermines the Synod of Bishops as it was conceived following Vatican Council II.

“‘The decision radically changes the nature of the Synod, which Pope Paul VI had intended as an instrument of episcopal collegiality….To give the vote to lay people could appear to mean that respect is shown for the sensus fidelium, but are they sure that these lay people who have been invited are fideles [faithful Catholics]?…’As a matter of fact…these lay people have not been elected by the Christian people.’

“…Accepting that the letter’s eventual publication could expose him to criticism, Zen told the cardinals and bishops that ‘old as I am, I have nothing to gain and to lose. I will be happy to have done what I feel is my duty.’”

Metropolitan Job. From Catholic News Agency, Rome Newsroom, Oct 9, 2023:

“Speaking to the Synod on Synodality on Monday, an Eastern Orthodox bishop said the definition of synodality of the October assembly ‘differs greatly’ from the Orthodox understanding.

“Metropolitan Job of Pisidia referenced the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicea in 325, and quoted from the Apostolic Canons, a fourth-century Christian text on the government and discipline of the early Christian Church. Drawing from this text, he said, ‘a synod is a deliberative meeting of bishops, not a consultative clergy-laity assembly.

“‘In light of this, we could say that the understanding of synodality in the Orthodox Church differs greatly from the definition of synodality given by your present assembly of the Synod of Bishops,’ he added. The current synod now underway at the Vatican is the first of its kind to include laypeople as full voting members.

“Metropolitan Job, the Eastern Orthodox bishop of Pisidia …is attending the Synod on Synodality as a fraternal delegate…without the right to vote.”

Remembering. This is an excerpt from an excellent article, “The Work of Remembering,” by Francis X. Maier, from the Catholic Thing, October 11, 2023:

“We need a renewal of our faith, but how do we get it? A few years ago, I asked a friend, Rabbi Mark Gottlieb, how Jews had managed to survive so much persecution over the centuries. He answered me with one word: zakhor. That’s the Hebrew word for ‘remember.’ Jewish memory is, and always has been, the guardian of Jewish identity, renewal, and community.

“And of course that makes perfect sense: A man with amnesia is a man without a memory. And a man without a memory is a man without identity, a man doomed to be defined and dominated by others. So it is for the individual human being; so it is for peoples, nations, and communities; and so it is for the Christian Church.

“We live in a time that encourages us to forget the past; to live only for ourselves; to swim in a permanent, present tense of distractions and appetites. But we’re not powerless. We’re never powerless, as Scripture teaches us again and again.

“So if we want to turn the world right side up; if we want a more humane and godly future, we need to start by recovering who we are and why we’re here. That requires the work of remembering; going back to the Word of God and the arduously learned wisdom of our Catholic teachings and tradition….”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles