Friday, 9 January 2015
A Disturbing Lineamenta for the 2015 Synod
Am I alone in feeling uncomfortable with the Lineamenta for the forthcoming Synod? The suggestion that we look for pastoral practices without reference to doctrine is one with which I feel very uncomfortable: how do we prevent souls falling away from the Truth which sets them free and into the grasp of the father of lies, if we do not take Truth into consideration when planning the pastoral care of souls?
I pray that the participants in the Synod take seriously the fact that practice must always follow doctrine and make it concrete in people’s lives, just as physicians take anatomy, physiology and the pathology of disease into consideration when planning medical intervention, or as engineers take the laws of physics into consideration when building bridges and other structures. Practice must always follow the known truth.
The idea that we can have a pastoral approach divorced from Doctrine is cunning of diabolical origin, and it is the more emotion-driven person who is likely to fall prey to Satan’s cunning. We need to be clear that only the devil can inspire us to say one thing and do another, because it is the devil who seeks to have Truth play no part in the formation of our soul and its concrete moral operations by our behaviours; only Satan could inspire us to play false to Truth by proclaiming it in word while living contrary to it in our deeds. Such duplicity is not of God, who is not a God of disorder (1 Cor.14v33). It cannot be anything other than traitorous to Truth to live contrary to Truth.
Many emotion-driven persons will want to take up the Lineamenta’s idea, simply because they see pastoral care as not hurting anyone’s feelings. They are dangerously wrong. Genuine Pastoral Care does not mean abandoning the Gospel to label as ‘families’ the socially-engineered/socially-constructed living arrangements of today, but helping people to experience their dignity and value by our support of them in the effort to overcome disordered desires and leave behind irregular lifestyles, much like a physician helps the patient to feel valued by assisting them in overcoming alcohol or tobacco addiction.
If the Synod chooses a pastoral path unrelated to doctrine doctrine it chooses the path of duplicity. To avoid this false concept of mercy must be exposed at the Synod by its members: it is no more merciful to the sinner to accept sinful acts than it is for the physician to affirm damaging behaviours. Indeed it is the opposite of mercy, designed only so the cleric can feel better about himself as one who does not judge others or see himself as imposing lifestyle changes -God forbid a physician should decide he will not prescribe difficult lifestyle changes for his or her patients who engage in damaging behaviours.