Saturday, September 22, 2012

Synod For Evangelization? Or Remaking The Church In The Elitist Image Of Opus Dei

Oh good.  Opus Dei's Greg Burke will get to spin everything that comes out of the Synod for the New Evangelization.

The following article from Catholic News Service is another of those articles that just makes my day.  Looks like the Synod on the New Evangelization will be another one of Benedict's puppet shows:

Pope appoints Archbishop Gomez, 35 others as synod members

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and 35 other cardinals, bishops and priests to serve as full members of the Synod of Bishops. (Oh good, Opus Dei.  I bet AB Gomez isn't the only one.)

The papal appointees, whose names were announced Tuesday, will join more than 200 other synod members who were elected by their national bishops' conference, serve as the head of a Vatican office or were elected by the Union of Superiors General, the organization for the heads of men's religious orders.
The synod is scheduled for Oct. 7-28 at the Vatican to explore the theme, "New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith." (Oh good, not one woman will be part of this synod.)

Twelve cardinals, including Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, and diocesan bishops from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe also were named synod members by the pope. (Oh good, Cardinal Pell will be there.  I'm sure anglo churches will have reason to rejoice in his presence.)

The prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, and the president of the Communion and Liberation movement, Fr. Julian Carron, were among the papal appointees, as were the superiors general of three religious orders of men: the Camillians, the Schonstatt Fathers and the Carmelites.
According to Vatican rules, only priests, bishops and cardinals can serve as full voting members of the synod, but the popes always have appointed laymen and laywomen to be among the synod's experts and auditors. That list is expected to be published shortly. (Oh good, the very head of Opus Dei will be there, and Communion and Liberation.  Where or where is the Legion of Christ representative and Kiko Arguello?)

U.S. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington was appointed by Pope Benedict to serve as the synod's recording secretary, a key role that involves presenting a broad overview of the topics to be discussed and then summarizing hundreds of speeches by synod members in preparation for the synod's work in small groups to develop proposals and recommendations for Pope Benedict. (Oh good, Cardinal Wuerl will be there, as recording secretary no less. I'm sure he will have a back stabbing knife or two with him, if only to use to excise personally offensive passages in any document.)

The synod members elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are: Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky.; and Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., originally elected as an alternate, also will participate instead of Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment. (Oh good, Cardinal Dolan, AB Kurtz, and AB Garcia-Siller--more Opus Dei sympathizers. Unfortunately for them, the token 'centrist' alternate will also be going.)


It looks to me like the Synod for the New Evangelization will be convened not to celebrate Vatican II, but to put the final nail in it's coffin and to celebrate the final take over of the Vatican by Opus Dei.  Nothing like substituting Catholic elitism for evangelization.  This is indeed something to rejoice in if you are convinced that killing most of what's left of the Church in the West is a good thing.  No question that Pope Benedict and his predecessor have had that goal in mind for the last forty five years.  Better for the Church to take it's marching orders from Opus Dei and Communion and Liberation than leave it up to that agent of religious chaos, the Holy Spirit.  No self respecting wealthy conservative could ever let the mooching rabble dictate God's policies for God's people.  Can't be lettin' the takers destroy the Church of the makers.  Been this way since Constantine.

So much for the teachings of Jesus Christ this Church is supposed to be about.  Much better for a money  and power obsessed right wing church to follow the teachings of Escriva.  No wonder this has all pegged my sarcasm meter.


  1. I agree that there has been disproportionate influence from wealthy conservatives over the past 45 years. I understand that their ability to make large donations gets them access and the cost of running front organizations is cheap at their levels.

    What I don't get is their motivation. What do they get out of a clericalized liturgy using antique English? What do they get out of hierarchical rather than collegial leadership?

    1. As far as the liturgy, they get the symbolic reinforcement of an elite hierarchical social system. In other words, the Latin Mass reinforces their own opinion of their own station in life. They identify with the priest, not their fellow pew potatoes.

      But it basically comes down to fear and control. Religion is a powerful conditioner of children. Children raised in hierarchical patriarchal models of religion will obey before they think because emotion works faster in the brain than thought. It takes a long time to break that conditioning and a lot of effort. There's many payoffs for wealthy power brokers to support a Vatican I Church. Franco certainly benefited from Opus Dei.

      Just as aside, one of the more fascinating aspects of St Jose Escriva was his obsession with possessing a noble title. The machinations he went through to get his makes fascinating reading in to his real mindset.

    2. You do realize that Opus Dei is one of the more successful evangelizing organizations in the Church, especially with respect to non-Catholics and non-Christians, right?

      They're there because they know how to do apostolate, and most of the Church has long forgotten how. Saying "you're cool, I'm cool, we're all cool." to the grossly secular culture will NOT stem the tide of whole Catholic families leaving the Church. Authentic Catholic teaching will, and that is evidenced not only by their members (which is a tiny fraction of the people they have helped) but also by their non members of which the converts number probably three times as many if not more.

      I speak from experience, I am not a member, but a convert who owes much to Opus Dei's members, for showing me how joyful the Catholic faith is and how sweet Christian family life can be.

    3. Opus Dei has made a specialty of recruiting in wealthy and powerful circles. Their schools for business and media graduate degrees are know for their ability to get OD initiates into prestigious companies and political positions.

      I am well aware of the success OD has had with non catholic evangelization. I am also aware they have very little success with cradle Catholics who have left the Church and whose families were enculturated in pre Vatican II theology.

      There are a number of reasons OD does not appeal to cradle Catholics, and the new Evangelization will go exactly no where with Ex Catholics until some very difficult facts are honestly faced.

  2. Thanks, Tom, for your interesting questions:
    What I don't get is their motivation. What do they get out of a clericalized liturgy using antique English? What do they get out of hierarchical rather than collegial leadership?
    I can only speak to my very narrow experience growing up in the fifties in the Vatican I Church, where I saw lots of ceremonial titles for the members of the elite, perhaps it filled a need to feel like a member of the aristocracy. Further, I can remember that graduates of Catholic girls high schools were coveted by the businesses in town because they were considered very malleable and obedient to their bosses - though, of course, it wasn't spun that way to the girls themselves.

    1. I agree with you that there are more ceremonial titles than you can shake a stick at, and most of them are earned solely by donation levels. Papal knights and dames of this that and the other saint. This whole thing does seem to sell.

      As I wrote up above, I think 'elitism' is a huge piece of the new evangelization. I think that's why the so called 'new movements' are such a big part of it. It's no longer enough to be Catholic, one has to be an uber Catholic in order to earn one's way into the sacraments. It's all about Semper Fi Catholicism in which it's perfectly acceptable to tell the Catholic Lite to take their secularized selves over to the Episcopalians.

      Leaner, meaner, and elitist is real mantra of the New Evangelization.

  3. Instead of all the energy going into the "New Evangelizing" (of the West), I wish there could be some attention paid to re-evangelizing the Catholic oligarchy.

    I have just finished reading Jose Pagola's impressive "Jesus", a superb, scholarly analysis of the man, his life and his teaching in historical context. Going through it, I was constantly struck by the huge disparities between Jesus' ideas and methods, and those of Benedict and his lackies: if I didn't know better, I would almost think they had never heard about Jesus Christ and the Gospels.

    1. Terence, that's one of the books on my must read list. Pagola is another theologian on the Vatican's hit list. He even went the nihil obstat and imprimatur route. Didn't matter.

      Maybe you've hit on the reason--he makes it too obvious that Benedict and his boys have an entirely different notion of what Jesus was about than Jesus.

  4. Yes, Terence, you hit the nail on the head. What is clearly in order is a re-evangelization of clerical structure and the characters that are in place. This will not happen at this juncture and is why it is necessary for Heath Care Systems, Universities and Independent Catholic Churches to maintain and grow a structure to replace the iconoclastic deadness that is Rome.