How Christocentric and Spirit-filled are the synodal machinations?

Synodal promoters have now gone beyond pastoral aims, making theological claims about how the results of the synodal process are indicative of the movement of the Holy Spirit and are therefore a true expression of the sensus fidelium.

An image on the website of the Diocese of Raleigh encourages Catholics in eastern North Carolina to take part in an online survey.(CNS photo/Diocese of Raleigh)

While in Rome some years back, I was wandering about aimlessly somewhere in Trastevere and I stumbled into a church (I don’t remember which one) and saw the flickering of light at a votive candle stand. I decided to light a candle for a prayer intention. But as I approached the stand, I let out a groan of annoyed disappointment and stopped abruptly. The dancing lights were not those of candles but of electric lights designed to imitate candles right down to the shape of the tiny bulb which was in the form of a small “flame”.

It reminded me of when I was a kid at Christmas time when my parents put up a fake cardboard fireplace next to the artificial tree and at the bottom there was a small light bulb behind a fake cardboard cut-out of a flame that gave off the illusion of fire via some magic of electrical engineering. And, even in my youth, I remember thinking, as I did that day in Trastevere, “This is really stupid!”

In reality, however, those electric votive lights in Trastevere were more than stupid. They were an expression of a different sacramental order than that of the Church. They were simulations of a sacramental and as such mere simulacrums of the reality of fire, which is the true sacramental since it is one of those deeply symbolic “elementals” of creation along with wood, stone, wind, food, and water. This is why, traditionally, churches and their altars are built of wood and stone, and the matter of the sacraments comes from wheat, grapes, water, and natural oils. Space precludes here a lengthy analysis of the sacramental difference between things that are grounded in natural elements which are then “transposed” by human agency into things like wine and bread, and things which are purely synthetic and which are designed to imitate natural elements rather than to transpose them into a higher register. Here I can only assert that this is a true distinction and hope that the reader can intuit the insight I am driving at here.

The Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann in his masterful book For the Life of the World relentlessly hammers away at this same reality and links the very teleology of creation to its true vocation as the mediating vehicle (sacrament) of God’s presence. For example, he inverts the normal manner in which we think of the waters of baptism where the usual tack is to say that since water sustains biological life, it is an apt symbol for the impartation of divine life. He affirms instead that God created water first and foremost with baptism in view, which is why God also decreed that water would also sustain biological life. The theological ordering is to view creation and bodiliness precisely through the lens of the Incarnation as its very reason for existing rather than viewing “nature” as some kind of neutral substrate pressed into service in order to symbolize an Incarnation which is viewed as a kind of “add on” to the whole affair.

This is also true on a broader theological scale beyond the seven sacraments and the various sacramentals that flow from them and constitute the deep logic of the Christian faith. God comes to us, paradoxically, most immediately and directly, in and through various mediations, with the Incarnation of God in a particular human being as the preeminent example and the ground for all other mediations. The words of Scripture mediate this Incarnation in a privileged way. And the Church as the body of Christ, through sacrament, magisterial office, and the witness of her saints, provides the only proper mediation for the Incarnation and the scriptural witness to it.

The genius of Vatican II was that it took all of these truths and deepened them via a Christological concentration precisely to drive home the point that there is only one metric for truth in Christianity — and that metric is Christ. Therefore, the true conciliar hermeneutic for retrieving the Tradition is the logic of mediation, now properly ordered, with Christ as its only “filter” and which involves a Christological reading of Scripture and Tradition as the only authentic way that the Church can think. And for the Church to think in any other way than Christologically constitutes an idolatry and a sure token of faithlessness.

Furthermore, all true “reform” and all construals of “aggiornamento” that depart from this Christocentric mediation come from a different spirit than the Holy Spirit and must be judged negatively and rejected tout court.

The philosopher David C. Schindler, in an excellent article on “Mediation” as the defining theo-logic of Christianity, makes all of these points with his typical clarity and brilliance. He states that any theological path that departs from the logic of a Christocentric mediation is nothing less than the repudiation of Christianity as such:

To go right to the heart of the matter, the “logic” of Christianity in person … is the unique Mediator between God and man… Note that God does not communicate his presence thus in a (merely) immediate way as pure God, but only through the mediation of the flesh of human nature.

Schindler further says that this mediation is now definitive and normative since it is divinely willed and is the very form and substance of Revelation as such. And this divinely sanctioned normativity extends to the concrete matter of the sacraments themselves, to the mediating words of Scripture, and to the mediation of the Church as Christ’s body extended in time.

This is why the Church insists – indeed demands – that the matter of the sacraments cannot be tinkered with. Furthermore, if I may be allowed to extrapolate on the point, that far from being a pharisaical insistence on “the rules of men” over the needs of the people, this demand for sacramental, scriptural, and doctrinal integrity is the only true faithfulness to the logic of the Incarnation. And to begin where I started, Schindler even references the “horror” of electric candles:

In her wisdom, the Church insists … that the candles used in the celebration of Mass be at least 51 percent beeswax. We see expressed here the sacraments’ rootedness in the natural world; once again, grace is mediated by nature. Purely synthetic materials are not permitted in the confection of the sacraments, nor – if one can imagine the horror – the artificial lights of imitation candles.

But the ethos of the modern world is precisely synthetic and grounded in a false imitation. Ancient mimesis sought to emulate in the microcosmic world of man the “music of the spheres” and to align the human realm with the divine. But modern imitation is Titanistic insofar as it begins and ends with a repudiation of the normativity of the formal structures of existence and thus seeks to make everything plastic and fungible in the interests of “control and domination”.

Ironically, as Jennifer Newsome Martin points out in a fine article on Charles Péguy, it is precisely because modernity desires control that all of its emphases upon historicity, subjectivity, change, and flux amounts to nothing more than the denial of the normativity of the organic – of the form of life as such. And the elevation of a static view of the world to dominance as humanity imposes its libido dominandi on absolutely everything. But as Martin observes, Péguy thought otherwise, and presciently noted that only Christianity, with its incarnational logic, can properly preserve the normativity of the organic form of things and, therefore; it alone can preserve an authentic notion of change as organic growth.

All the foregoing has implications for how we approach the concept of the development of doctrine and how this notion is being applied in the current agitations surrounding synodality.

Specifically, there is a lot of emphasis being placed by the promoters of the synodal process on “listening” to the people of God in order to better assess the pastoral needs of the Church. That is fair enough, in and of itself, and thoroughly unobjectionable. Indeed, if that is the true goal of the process, then it is praiseworthy, and I wish it well.

However, the synodal promoters have now gone beyond this pastoral aim to making theological claims about how the results of the process are indicative of the movement of the Holy Spirit and are therefore a true expression of the sensus fidelium. For example, papal biographer Austen Ivereigh has written that the listening sessions are the “greatest-ever exercise” in ecclesial listening and consultation in the history of the Church (really?!) and therefore to cast suspicion on their results is tantamount to an insult against the Holy Spirit and the sensus fidelium.

That is a big claim. And I doubt it is true.

And when one further notes that what is being highlighted in the curated summarizations of the listening sessions is a call for women priests, contraception, acceptance of homosexual relations, and so on, one begins to suspect that the game’s afoot. It appears that what is being attempted is an end-run around the normativity of the normal mediations of the Tradition. Nowhere do we find in Ivereigh and others an acknowledgement of the possibility that what is being expressed in the listening sessions is not the Holy Spirit but rather the spirit of the times.

Is that perhaps because the results that are coming in are the ones desired by the synodal organizers? There are significant numbers of the faithful who are more traditional and desire free access to the old Mass. Is the Holy Spirit not speaking through them, too? But synodal promoters do not affirm those opinions of the faithful and only seem to see the Holy Spirit at work when it confirms their antecedent progressive theological biases.

More importantly, and in line with the main theme of this essay – “mediation” – for me the deepest problem with the synodal path as it has been spelled-out by its promoters is the thoroughly unCatholic nature of its concept of the development of doctrine. It seems closer to the modern liberal mantra of “God is doing a new thing” than it does to a proper theological sense of how development actually works in the Catholic Tradition.

The line coming from Ivereigh, Hollerich, Marx, and others is the theological equivalent therefore of those electric candles in Trastevere rather than the true fire of the Tradition. And if the movement of the Holy Spirit is now to be conflated with the mélange of ill-assorted opinions on hot-button issues expressed haphazardly by the 1% of Catholics who have participated in the process, then what we are seeing is the expression of a new theological concept of how God comes to his Church. That is, immediately in the inner “illumination” of a handful of private believers, the opinions of whom the Church must now collate and uncritically digest as movements of the Spirit, and which threatens to overturn the true inner logic of Christianity as a Christologically-mediated Revelation, as well as all of the related ecclesial mediations of that Revelation.

The synodal promoters of course deny all of this. But astute observers who understand the buzzwords of theologically progressive rhetoric are rightly raising red flags. This is how I interpret the recent interview given by Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the former prefect of the CDF, who offered up the shocking observation that what is going on is nothing short of a hostile takeover of the Church, seeking to impose a non-Christian ideology of change and development on the Church’s traditional understanding of those realities. And that traditional understanding is the theological path of normative mediation – in Incarnation, Scripture, doctrine, Sacrament and sanctity.

So how does the average Catholic fight back? We can begin by asking our pastors to unplug those damn electric candles. And to tell them that we need the beeswax of the Gospel and not the synthetic simulacrums of modernity.


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About Larry Chapp 30 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".

51 Comments

  1. I find myself grounding myself in the Bible more and more. While Catholics should always do this, I am doing so because I’m finding it very hard to trust what comes from Rome these days…Rome seems entirely political and agenda driven. So where can I turn for sound advice that is absolutely guaranteed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit? The Bible. I know the dangers of personally interpreting the Bible on one’s own, but life is short and I don’t have time to pour over dubious Synodal documents. I’d rather spend my time in God’s Word! Rome needs to understand that if it undermines its own teachings from the past, then it undermines its own authority to teach anything now or in the future.

    • Holy Scripture is a gift from God to the Catholic Church! Some passages will take several readings, together with prayerful meditation to gain understanding. A good Bible Commentary is a great aid and a pastor who loves the word of God is of major benefit too! The late Fulton Sheen’s sermons are an ode to God and worth “Googling”!

      You are not alone in your view point, we need God’s strength to stand tall and be of benefit to our fellow sojourner.

      Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

      Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

      Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

      John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

      John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

      2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

      Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

      Blessings as you enjoy the word of the God of all creation.

    • I am with you Andrew. The Pope wants to hear from you, but I no longer want to hear from the.Pope. After years of thinking,hoping otherwise, I have grown to believe most people are pro abortion and fully on board with the woke bandwagon. All I can do to maintain my sanity is withdraw to a quiet place. I take my Mass readings, I love CWR but I am withdrawing to protect myself because it has got too crazy to comprehend

    • Andrew: Your quandary regarding personal interpretation is easily resolved. First, check online for relevant Biblical Resources that aid interpretation from a solidly Catholic perspective by sound theologians. For instance, see super biblical scholar Scott Hahn’s personal website and a companion website known as the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

      Next, check Ignatius Press resources for books on biblical interpretation and study from, again, a solidly Catholic perspective that does not oppose Church teaching in any way, but presents it with clarity and wisdom.

      There are many other sound resources to aid reading the bible, so seek them out.

      There is no need nor is it particularly wise to rely on personal interpretation when so many valuable and faithful resources are readily available, easy to access and obtain, and which can enrich your reading of the Bible.

      Go for it!

  2. And just like that, Larry Chap swings once again to the other extreme. If Ivereigh is all he quotes, and then brings Mueller to his side of the issue, then it is obvious Chapp does not know what true prayerful discernment is, which is one that exposes the links between the signs of the times and the breath of the Spirit.

    • Yes, Tony, which is what he did and you missed somehow – artificial signs of the times and an artificial breath of the spirit are not God’s reality, so get rid of them and give us God’s sign of the times and God’s Breath of the Holy Spirit, these are the reality, the artificial ones, they belong to satan’s signs and breath…blessings, Father

    • What “other extreme” is the author pushing to, according to you? An “extreme” away from your own opinions and too close to being authentically Christocentric and True HOLY Spirit inspired? The True Holy Spirit,like the Bible, the True Saints, the Authentic Magisterium, etc. is a heaven-built Cathedral of Absolute Consistency in the Truth, Jesus Himself.

      External forms may vary but Jesus Absolute Truth is the Holy of Holies. Holy Absolute Consistency in Truth is hated by those who prefer to falsely sanctify and worship on their knees at the outhouse of their own multi-faceted lusts and sins through “updating” of Doctrine. That is not Authentic Catholic or from the True HOLY Spirit.

      • Invoking the name of the Holy Spirit with regard to this Synod and its members is a sin against the Holy Spirit and a blasphemy.

    • Well, perhaps even the electric candle can’t “hold a candle” to the expansive Big Lie of which it is a part…

      After all, somewhat like an electric candle, each of us is only a hologram projected by the footloose and ambulatory (“walking together”!) mood of the times. For example, each slated to be switched either on or off by the self-appointed illuminati and the technology of, say, abortion or physician-assisted suicide— or, in the middle (so to speak), by transgender ideology.

      If Chapp were really swinging from one extreme to another, he would complain:

      –that the historic Church itself and as a whole, is being reduced to only a hologram projected by the kaleidoscope Zeitgeist; that, the Church is not centered on Christ at all, but is being conjured from the smoke signals of interloper clerics who still might signal the permanent truths, but only as passing flatulence in the wind that blows; that only contradictions (“paradigm shifts”!) are to be expected from a God so inscrutable that He cannot be mediated, and will never be self-disclosing (the singular event of the Incarnation); but that under a disconnected Holy Spirit, the Church is more of a pagan-like oracle capable of conveniently contradictory meanings—in this sense, even convergent with Islam and the Qur’an with its mutually contradictory and “abrogated” meanings (for example) of jihad.

      Is Chapp being “extreme,” as you charge, when he insists that the apostolic Church of Christ should always point to Christ? Or maybe that an unbroken compass will always point north?

    • It seems that many Catholics who are not looking for a female priesthood or for changes in the nature of marriage have not participated in the process. I participated and found myself in a very small minority while I have many practicing Catholic friends who did not participate. Perhaps part of the Synod report could include percentages of participation in each diocese. In this time of great uncertainty someone who speaks to us clearly as does Archbishop Cordileone is a blessing.

    • So exercising what one believes to be “discernment” is never phony, self-serving, and delusional? That sounds like a phony, self-serving, and delusional understanding of discernment.

  3. Bishops and Cardinals who are self-identified members of their spokesman Austin Ivereigh calls “Team Francis” do as Jesus declared, they “shepherd themselves.”

    Their lives have culminated in what Fr. Robert Imbelli has described: the new-church-that-they-shepherd has long ago “decapitated” Christ, and they offer themselves as “the new head” of the-new-church-that-they-shepherd.

    As Jesus spoke of them, they are apart from him.

    “I am the vine, you are the branches. Aprt from me you can do nothing.”

    Thus, they are as Jesus declared: “apart from me.”

    They live in a false church of their own construction, built on the sand of their own ridiculous assertions of office and obedience.

    They disobey and subvert scripture and tradition, which have the only divine authority, and having rejected the divine authority, they offer the only thing they have left…the face they see in the mirror.

    They have publicly and privately worked their entire lives to dismiss and subvert the commands of The Son of God.

    They have their reward: their very own new church, apart from Jesus Christ.

  4. Thanks so much for this insightful commentary.

    Today’s Lectionary reading is from 2 John. There the Holy Spirit directs us not to welcome but rather to ignore and oppose false teachers who go ahead and do not bring or abide in the teaching of Christ.

    My background is the corporate world and corporate boards in which a business version of the synodal process would be tagged investor fraud.

  5. Equating the Holy Spirit with this goofy Synodal process reminds me of the recent CCP National Congress’ claims of their proceedings being pure democracy in action. Except the Holy Spirit is real and will put end any attempt to corrupt the teachings of Jesus Christ.

  6. Might we recall that “the ‘greatest-ever exercise’ in ecclesial listening” actually occurred at Pentecost when, instead of some fraction of 1%, a full 100% of those present were listening truly?

    And as for Chapp’s overall message, back when one could still find in the West a Jesuit who was also Catholic, one such penned the same message to me way back in 1974 (!):
    “Say some prayers that an Ignatian retreat I am giving here Holy Thursday through Holy Saturday floods many with inestimable graces so that we can produce a few needed saints here in Spokane. We will need them to tide us over during the approaching terrible days when the devils masquerade in theological clothing and call it divinity” (s. Gerard G. Steckler, S.J., about a retreat which, we read recently in an author interview on CWR, ignited the young Fr. Spitzer, S.J.).

  7. The synodal process bears absolutely no mark of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit were present, He would make Himself known as Holy scripture and Holy Living Tradition have taught.

    Where are the tongues of fire, roaring wind, descent of doves, voice of God’s approval from above? Where are pillars of salt or of fire? Where are the young (or old) men speaking prophecy in foreign tongues which the remnant faithful understand and translate for all? Where the healing of the sick, the destruction of the newly improved Sodoms and Gomorrahs? Where is His anointed seal of (disordered) implementations of Vatican II? Where are the 500,000 new converts added in one day? Where the peace, joy, fortitude, patience, kindness, goodness, long-suffering, humility, modesty, CONTINENCE and CHASTITY? Since about 1960, many members in the Church have been itching to redefine those final two or three. The fruits of the Synod and ‘spirit’ of VCII bear no resemblance to GOD’s Holy Spirit.

    Signs of the Holy Spirit are NO WHERE near Synodal’s scorched earth. Currently the Church and the world bear stripes of His chastisement because the world’s sins are so egregious they would pollute and flood the ocean if God were to allow them to overflow His bloody arm, the force and power of which now hold back the full realization of the justice such sin deserves. He is just and He is right, His mercy endures forever, but not to those who refuse, reject, or do not recognize Him and His gifts.

    Blessed be God and His Holy Name. Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.

    We have heard ad nauseum of the great spirit of Vatican II. Where was the good fruit of that presence then? Where is it now?

    No, the Holy Spirit is not in the disordered synodal ravings of Hollerich and his fiendish hierarchical friends. Their intimations suggest that the Roman Catholic Church of Christ lacks only one thing: Input by peripheral spirits to make it new, improved, and progressed in their image.

    False teaching is Hogwash. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in that.

    • Great points. Convicting people of their sins, moving them to repent, and calling them to submit to God’s authority and teaching is also an indication that the Holy Spirit is present. I don’t see any of that in the synodal process.

  8. “Machinations” seems a harsh and overly dramatic term for what appears to be an open, if not difficult process for some who might disagree with some of the talk. The Holy Spirit is able to work marvelously in many difficult circumstances with far worse leanings to unfaithfulness. So why not get involved, speak one’s mind, then step back and listen, then wait for the final result?

    • “‘Machinations’ seems a harsh and overly dramatic term…”

      That might have been a reasonable point … in 2015. After the last two Synods, “machinations” is both apt and accurate.

      “So why not get involved, speak one’s mind,…”

      Which is exactly what Dr. Chapp is doing here.

      • Well, we COULD speak our minds to diocese consultations, contact the Vatican, and then watch the current Vatican gang completely ignore everything said against their modern progress agenda….oh, wait!….we did that, already.

        As I stated below, it rather strange that all those talking of the will of the Holy Spirit cannot show anyone how to experience God, when last I checked, the Holy Spirit is God.

      • He would be doing so if he were involved in his own diocese’s synod. Synods don’t happen online.

        As for the point, it’s still reasonable. The last two synods were wholly orthodox. Troubling for some, perhaps, but well within bounds.

        • A synod, a gathering of the bishops (with or without the lay faithful) in and of itself is not out of bounds. Promulgating erroneous teaching after a synod and claiming it as new and improved doctrinal teaching is entirely another question, and that is a foul ball.

          • I’m unaware of any significant changes to Church teaching since 2015. I do think it stings in some quarters that some traditionalist Catholics perceive themselves at the hands of sanctions. I don’t think harm is done by allowing people with reasonable questions and proposals to present them to bishops. In the past, Catholic cancel culture was strong to get people thrown out of jobs and out of the order of bishops. No longer. And that is a good thing.

  9. As usual, Dr. Chapp provides insightful commentary on topics of great importance to the Church. I want to add some colloquial characterizations of the rhetoric from Hollerich, Marx, and others (including inside the Vatican) toward the synodal way. Generally speaking, polls, data, and statistics can be designed and interpreted to support any conclusion one wants to reach. There is another term for the above. It’s called **rationalization**. Fallen man has turned rationalization into an agenda-based science.

    In the topic at hand, Marx et al. rationalize that a poll of only 1% of the Catholic population equates to ascertaining Divine Truth (per a highly vocal very small minority) as revealed by the Holy Spirit. But, frankly, the German episcopate does not have an excellent track record at arriving at — let alone following — Truth. So let’s look at recent examples from a historical perspective.

    1) False/Biological compassion often leads us to make false judgments. Science has shown that when we perform an act we believe to be good, even though it is not objectively good, our body produces hormones that reward us for the act. As a result of following those impulses, theological judgments can be reduced to emotional thought processes at the mercy of a human heart ruled by organic chemistry, not the spiritual soul. For example, for six years, the German bishops refused to accept John Paul II’s strong admonishment to their Catholic counseling organizations to stop issuing so-called Beratungsscheine (free counseling certificates). These certificates would thereby allow women in Germany to have a legal abortion.[1]. That sounds like false compassion to me.

    2) Many German Cardinals and Bishops who fought against Humanae Vitae (HV) are resorting to “science” to now battle against Church Doctrine relating to LGBTQ issues. Cardinal Karl Lehmann was a famous “neo-Modernist Dissenter” who vehemently opposed HV. At the time of HV’s dissemination, Lehmann was the President of the German Bishops’ Conference. He significantly shaped the Catholic Church in Germany. He argued in favor of the Church’s taking a more lenient attitude toward the use of contraceptives. His tenure as President of the German Bishops’ Conference helps us understand the German episcopate’s openness to even the most severe form of ABC — abortion (see #1 above).[2]

    Based on a letter written by Paul VI, it is clear he felt that the **crack** in the Church through which the smoke of Satan entered into the Church was the rejection of HV by the Episcopate.

    The latter example is quite grievous. In many of my writings, I have made the case that intentional (artificial)/inherent sterility destroys the likeness of God within man. Not the image, but the likeness (https://www.stossbooks.com/likeness-of-god-in-man.html#Likeness_of_God_in_Man).

    Endnotes:
    [1] Maike Hickson, “Cardinal Lehmann’s Memoirs: On His Humanae Vitae Dissent and the Conduct of Some Popes,” OnePeterFive, Inc., https://onepeterfive.com/cardinal-lehmanns-memoirs-humanae-vitae-dissent-conduct-popes/, March 14, 2018 (accessed 03/18/2022).
    [2] Ibid.

  10. Larry, I regret to inform you. Some prefer electric candles just as some prefer electric vehicles. No petroleum is involved in their use, so their consumption of clean energy is thoroughly moral. Francis’ “Laudato Si” claimed that pollution and use of fossil fuels was an affront to God’s good creation. “Every dollar invested in fossil fuels is a vote for suffering.” The Church hath spoken. Please reconsider why you ought not get those electric candles out of your parents’ attic, and get ’em goin’ to save the planet and to ease the pain of our suffering! (My tongue is stuck to my chaps. It has nothing to say about the use of fossil fuels in the production of electricity.)

    • electric candles are made of plastic which is made from petroleum, and which electricity is either produced mainly from fossil fuels or nuclear energy, that is, if you use electricity which continues to flow despite weather. However, if you are among those who gladly freezes or bakes during ice storms, rainy days, calm days, cloudy days and etc, less power to you, my friend……but it seems by your last parenthetical line that all which came before was sarcasm?

        • Maybe I should change my name to “racecar” or the awkward Napolean quote “able was I ere I saw Elba”, which might cause me to throughly read a post before commenting. I had already hit post before catching the parenthetic line at end and could only add the last line before it was approved by way of excuse.

    • Meiron, your quotation marks suggest that the statement “Every dollar invested in fossil fuels is a vote for suffering.” is in Laudato Si. I haven’t been able to find it there. Could you please advise which numbered paragraph it is in. Thanks.

      • Michael,
        The quotation with direct reference to Laudato Si may be an error. I will check and try to get back to you. I took the quote from a secondary source, so it could well be wrong. Thanks for letting me know.

        Reuters reports on the book, Journeying Towards Care for Our Common Home [which the Vatican described as a roadmap for implementing Laudato Si]. There the faithful are asked to be vigilant in monitoring organizations that extract resources from the environment. Catholics were to “shun companies that are harmful to human or social ecology, such as abortion and armaments, and to the environment, such as fossil fuels.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vatican-environment-idUSKBN23P1HI

  11. Dr. Chapp mentions Orthodox Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Coincidentally, in reading some Orthodox authors in recent months it has become apparent to me that the Orthodox place great importance on the active influence of the demonic in our lives. This is an area that many Catholics (including clergy) seem to shy away from, perhaps for fear that they will be regarded as superstitious, naive or even delusional. These days, demons are not routinely spoken of as important players in world or personal affairs. But the Orthodox don’t seem to be timid about warning that demons will try to gain influence over our daily decisions and actions. After all, doesn’t demonic influence ultimately manifest itself through individuals giving in to things like selfishness, deception and pride?
    It seems to me that throwing any important decision process open to a loosely defined, largely anonymous and unaccountable influence at the very least risks demonic involvement. Some might say it invites demonic involvement. Or are we now expected to dialogue even with demons? Would it be “rigid” to do otherwise? If so, I wonder if there is any sin left other than “rigidity.”

    “Bless me Father, for I have sinned…I was rigid 144 times, and that doesn’t even include just now when I rigidly walked into this confessional like the rigid Pharisee that I am!”

    • “Bless me Father, for I have sinned…I was rigid 144 times, and that doesn’t even include just now when I rigidly walked into this confessional like the rigid Pharisee that I am!”

      Thanks — I needed that laugh!!!

  12. Of all the folk who talk of being guided by the Holy Spirit, the majority or maybe even all, in this particular case, would hem and haw and blather when asked, “Have you ever concretely experienced God? If so, tell me what it is like, and show me how to do it myself.”

    Most people seeking to reduce the commandments check on any manner of greed are the ones most addicted to their own desires.

  13. There is as Chapp draws out of his Christological essay, association of the natural essence of things and purity. Purity and the divinity revealed in Christ in the flesh and blood, divinity and created substance. Flesh becomes bread becomes Christ the divine nature conferred through the visible, the tangible. Sweetness and fragrance found in bread, beeswax candles. Myrrh added to olive oil for chrism. As if they were created to spiritually convey Christ through our senses [Christ to Catherine of Siena The Dialogues when a person seeks the good of another with no expectation of acknowledgment or reward we have the fragrance of the rose].
    And is not that the entrance of the Father into world and soul in Christ. Listening apart from sacrament is listening to oneself, when emotive satisfaction displaces the fragrance of revelation.

  14. (1)
    The great Dr. Larry Chapp, in this article, writes of “The genius of Vatican II.”
    (2)
    With all my heart I beg you, Dr. Chapp, please reconsider that opinion. People listen to you.
    (3)
    The patient cannot never recover her strength and vitality until she stops taking the misguided medicine that she never needed.

  15. Cdl. Muller, Dutch Bishop Mutsaert, Swiss Bishop Eleganti, Phil Lawler, Canadian Fr. Raymond de Souza, Catholic Unscripted, the list goes on.
    Enough to persuade me that this S on S is a colossal waste of time and energy. And who, may I ask, is footing the bill for these multi junkets to Rome?

  16. Great talk, thank you. Although I take issue with all the dumping on electric candles. It is necessary for nursing homes and hospitals. the instructio after all calls for beeswax but does it says have anything about the kind of fire? Electricity is a kind of fire, as is evident in that it often gives rise to fire in Nature. The ancients used to call it “the fire from heaven.” And the symbolic meaning after all, of the candles, is light, not fire.

    • Sorry Father, but electric “candles” are tacky. I’d rather have none. Suck fakery has no place in an Incarnation, sacramental based religion.

    • I’m sorry Father, but I think you are wrong. Electricity is purely and simply electrons in motion at a particular wavelength. There is nothing combusting in electricity. Electricity can cause a **material** to combust, such as a candle wick, but the electricity itself is not and cannot be classified as fire.

  17. If “the Church is the People of God”, what’s wrong with listening to the Church?

    (Note, this quote appears multiple times in Ivereigh)

    So this synod too seems to go back to Vatican II – not the spirit, but the text itself.


    By the way, maybe surprisingly, the “lament” of the lack of the 1962 missal, from the USA synthesis, actually made it all the way to the Continental Synod Summary as well (See synod.va English PDF Paragraph 92, but also see Par 91). It’s easy to miss, but it’s there.

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