Thursday 1 January 2015

The Synod Must Remember Metanoia

The following report about preparation for the forth-coming Synod is disturbing because it’s lineamenta recommends duplicity: saying one thing and doing another, wherein lies a real but covert abandoning of the Gospel.

The questionnaire for 2015 instructs bishops’ conferences to “avoid, in their responses, a formulation of pastoral care based simply on an application of doctrine,” in favour of what it describes as Pope Francis’s call to “pastoral activity that is characterised by a ‘culture of encounter’ and capable of recognising the Lord’s gratuitous work, even outside customary models.” (see here)

The honest person would have to say that if the Synod does not provide pastoral provisions in line with Doctrine it will be less a case of “the white man speaking with forked tongue” as one of hypocrisy and duplicity: “We believe this to be true, but we don’t live according to that belief.” In which case truth may as well not exist, and yet it is only truth that sets us free; duplicity is a binding-work of the devil. As such the Synod simply cannot afford to evade formulations of pastoral care based on doctrine in order to favour “pastoral activity that is characterised by a ‘culture of encounter’”. The idea of ‘encounter’ is popular today but is so vague it is meaningless, especially in terms of preaching the Gospel of Christ to a fallen world. The encounter of the Gospel with sin and has only one aim: repentance: “Repent; for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk.1v15). Without this repentance, this metanoia, this change in lifestyle, there can be no possibility of putting into practice Vatican II’s Universal Call to holiness (cf. Lumen gentium 39, 40).

It is true that we are living in the ‘age of mercy’, but that age was inaugurated 2000 years ago when the Gospel was first preached. Today’s idea or presentation of mercy has, unfortunately, acquired a diabolical deformation: it has become ‘accepting the sin for the sake of the sinner’.  No more the forgiveness of God for past sins and a getting back on the right track: the “Go, and sin no more” of the Gospel (cf. Jn.5v14., 8v11). Rather, there is an abandonment of forgiveness in favour of distorted ‘mercy’ (which is not mercy at all but an abandoning of people to their sins –even an affirmation of them in their sin). Do today’s pastors think they have it right and that the Church has been wrong for 2000 years? If so, they have not simply lost their faith but demonstrate extreme arrogance, since they are seeking to allow behaviours that scripture and tradition both condemn as wrong.

Why is this distortion of mercy being peddled by so many today at all levels of the Church? I think there are several reasons; none of which bode well for the souls of the flock or of those who tout it. These reasons include, I suggest, the loss of Faith; fear of rejection by the world; misplaced compassion, the desire to be popular and the pride of being seen as ‘intellectually enlightened’.

Let us pray that the participants in the Synod demonstrate their faith in the Gospel by affirming and clarifying the pastoral provisions already present for those who are in occasions of sin (‘irregular situations’), be those situations a civil marriage after divorce; cohabitation; a homosexual pairing; or the use of artificial contraception. Let us pray the members of the Synod do not fall prey to the diabolical distortion of mercy that abandons forgiveness and metanoia; a trap into which they can easily fall by inviting persons in such irregular lifestyles to Holy Communion. Let us pray that the participants will clearly affirm that such folk remain members of the Church by Baptism and are still called to a life of prayer, to attendance at Mass, to participation in the social life of the parish, to active charity –and to union with the Heart of Christ by conversion of life. Christ’s mercy does not extend to unrepentant sin. We forget this at the cost of souls –our own and those of the flock.
Most Holy Trinity,
from whom all families take their origin and meaning,
we pray for the exaltation of our Holy Mother the Church:
and especially for the forthcoming Synod on the Family:
open minds and hearts to the Gospel of Christ;
and to the place of marriage & family in your plan for our salvation.
Help your holy Church,
and the world in which she lives,
to uphold the sanctity of human life from natural conception to natural death;
the rightfulness of natural marriage,
and to find grace-filled solutions to the breakdown of marriage and family life.
Seeking the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, of St Joseph her spouse,
of St Michael the Archangel and of all the angels and saints,
we make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen

We need to remember that mercy is not quite the same as forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act of mercy bringing reconciliation; forgiveness springs from a having a merciful disposition, which is why we must be careful when speaking of the ‘age of mercy’. We need to include metanoia as a required element in reconciliation for union with God. 


  1. Father,

    Catholics are bound by doctrine. Our actions, pastoral or otherwise, must be compatible with it. If we don’t accept that then we are not Catholic. No one has to be Catholic, after all!

    The second session of the Synod will be crucial.

    There are forces at work attempting to move the Church with the world, when it should be the Church which is trying to move the World *. This danger was identified by Leo XIII and warned about by every pope up to Pius XII. The danger is real and staring us in the face today, over a century later, thanks to St John XXIII, who in his naivety, called the Second Vatican Council giving these Relativists their opportunity.

    They will use every trick in the book to bring about a Catholic Metanoia. Their technique is already clear. Hold to doctrine officially, but change practise so that after a while that will become the new “doctrine”. Tactics used by National Socialism and Marxist Socialism, but without the coercion?

    Their ultimate target as Relativists is Truth, particularly belief in the Real Presence, something they have already made great strides towards. After all, how many in a post Vat II congregation nowadays could define the Real Presence, let alone care about it.

    But of course if you can get divorced and remarried receiving Holy Communion, then you are a long way towards your objective of dismissing the Real Presence.

    Mercy lies in being Truthful. Good Catholics and true must dig their heels in and insist that the Church give no ground on the critical matter at the second Synod Session.

    * Chesterton, not me!

  2. Thank you, Jacobi.
    You say 'they will use every trick in the book to bring about a Catholic metanoia' (change of mind); I agree. We really need the synod to experience matanoia (to return to the Gospel), so that it can call for the same from the world.
    God Bless.

  3. Well said, Fr. I think you are right to identify loss of faith as being at the heart of this matter - if indeed they had supernatural faith in the first place. I'm not sure that adherents of neo-modernism are actually capable of receiving the gift of faith without recanting their false ideology.

    Have the clergy in your diocese received the reflection document from the CBCEW regarding the coming synod? A couple of blogs have picked up on it and noted the scurrilous implications therein that those who are faithful to Catholic doctrine are Donatists!!! I would be interested to know your thoughts on it.

    Happy New Year.

    1. Dear Deacon,
      If the clergy have revived a reflection document, I have missed out. The implications of ignoring doctrine in pastoral practice is as much as nonsense as a physician ignoring anatomy and physiology in his/her treatment of disease pathologies.
      God Bless.

  4. I wish Catherine Benincasa’s words, as a Doctor of the Church, would be heeded by those in power in the Catholic Church, especially with respect to marriage and divorce:

    “Those who are in authority, I say, do evil when holy justice dies in them because of their selfish self-centeredness and their fear of incurring the displeasure of others! They see those under them sinning but it seems they pretend not to see and do not correct them.

    And if they do correct, they do it so feebly and halfheartedly that it is worthless, only a plaster over the vice. They are forever afraid of offending and making enemies and all this because of self-love. Sometimes it’s just that they would like to keep peace, and this, I tell you, is the worst cruelty one can inflict. If a sore is not cauterized or excised when necessary, but only ointment is applied, not only will it not heal, but it will infect the whole [body], often fatally.”

    Saint Catherine of Siena

    I must agree with the statement of Jacobi, above: Mercy lies in being truthful. But, I would add, that it must be complimentary, with justice, or truth is not sufficient; it is an illusion.


    1. Thank you Karl.
      A great quotation. Sadly, one wonders if the leaders of the Church will have the courage to call the world to metanoia; many seem obsessed with appearing 'enlightened' to the world around, and are seeking to secure it by adopting the ways of the world, and by language that hides the reality of sin (what we used to call 'living in sin' is now simply an 'reegaulr situation'). Many of the Churcgh's most senior shepherds appear to be in need of undergoing metanoia, and to require a return to the Gospel in their own lives and ministry. We must pray that the Holy Spirit gives them light and courage to do so, and strength to continue in the ways of the Gospel.
      God Bless.

  5. Since Vatican II, many bishops intoxicated with its spirit have engaged the Church in an arduous process of enculturation of taking on the characteristics of the prevailing culture, with great success. To get a concrete understanding of what I am saying, you only have to look at the Catholic Education system in a given country from kindergarten to university and see how these leaders have thwarted the Church's all important Evangelizing Mission. If an episcopal leader cannot get his priests to wear the proper clerical attire, how can he be expected to call a society and its culture to conversion and holiness? Besides, conversion like renewal always starts with the individual first. He has to proclaim from the rooftops what he himself first has lived and experienced in his heart. Just look at what the episcopal hirelings are doing to the Church in Germany without any Canonical consequences. This is scandalous to say the least.

  6. Thank you, Greg.
    Catholic education must be restored, but by whom? many educated over the last 50 years -clergy and laity- no longer know the Faith, only its malformation, which they think is the Faith. The fundamental problem is that the Church has been evangelised by the world, when it should have been the other way around. John XXIII wanted the Church to present the faith to the contemporary world in contemporary methods, not ditch the faith for contemporary ideologies -which is what happened.
    God Bless.

    1. Precisely Fr Dickson, I could not agree more. You are right on the money with many of your posts and responses to the comments. God Bless Fr Dickson.

  7. THE

    We are St. Joan,
    Philomena, Campion
    The Faith in its whole
    Is what we do champion.

    We are St. Margaret,
    Pearl of York
    Where the bowels of the Faith
    They tried to torque.

    We are Sir More,
    That's Thomas the Saint
    Whose reputation
    They could not taint.

    We are vocations
    Large families and kneeling
    Adoring His presence
    It's not just a feeling.

    We are descendents
    Of Tradition and beggin'
    To stop all the men
    Who are turning us pagan!

    We are the poor,
    Uneducated ones
    But in faith well-informed
    The heretic shuns.

    And when Synod says,
    “God’s Word, just ignore.”
    Since we are true Catholics
    We kneel and ADORE!!

    1. Thank you, Long-skirts.
      God stop all the men who are turning us pagan!
      God Bless.


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