Friday, November 20, 2015

Cardinal Sarah’s Synod: Who was Pope when Athanasius was Bishop?

The recent Synod on the Family will eventually be recognized as an event of supreme importance. The Synod revealed fault lines between Bishops faithful to Jesus Christ, and those whose faith has become distorted through a prism of ideology. That ideology is a heresy of the dying West. It primarily, though not exclusively, infects certain bishops and cardinals from Europe and the Americas.

For a Synod on the Family, the focus of these clergy on divorce (not to mention homosexuality) is both odd and suggestive. I’ll suggest that their concern about divorce is a case of psychological projection: the infected bishops are projecting their unconscious, not-even-to-be-considered fear that they, leaders of the Church, the bride of Christ, have already divorced their bridegroom.

They are masking their feelings of guilt at dumping Jesus Christ by professing concern for laity who have divorced their spouses. Their putative effort to bring these members of the laity “back into the church” indicates a suppressed, un-faceable desire to bring themselves back into communion. But to clearly articulate this reality would bring it into conscious awareness, and would be too painful. Hence the incoherence of focusing on divorce in a Synod on the Family.

The Synod included another event of supreme importance that has been noted by many—the emergence of the sub-Saharan African Church. There is a stark contrast between the incoherence of the infected bishops and the simple and assured clarity of the African bishops. A number of examples could be given, but one will suffice for this article: the masterful Intervention of Cardinal Robert Sarah.

First, Cardinal Sarah noted the infection had reached the highest levels of the Church. Excerpt:

“I say frankly that in the previous Synod, on various issues one sensed the temptation to yield to the mentality of the secularized world and individualistic West. Recognizing the so-called ‘realities of life’ as a locus theologicus means giving up hope in the transforming power of faith and the Gospel. The Gospel that once transformed cultures is now in danger of being transformed by them. Furthermore, some of the procedures used did not seem aimed at enriching discussion and communion as much as they did to promote a way of seeing typical of certain fringe groups of the wealthiest churches. This is contrary to a poor Church, a joyously evangelical and prophetic sign of contradiction to worldliness.”

His Eminence also insisted on a ‘Discernment of History and Spirits.’ He then discerned: 

“A second hope: that the Synod honor its historic mission and not limit itself to speaking only about certain pastoral issues (such as the possible communion for divorced and remarried) but help the Holy Father to enunciate clearly truths and real guidance on a global level. For there are new challenges with respect to the synod celebrated in 1980. A theological discernment enables us to see in our time two unexpected threats (almost like two “apocalyptic beasts”) located on opposite poles: on the one hand, the idolatry of Western freedom; on the other, Islamic fundamentalism: atheistic secularism versus religious fanaticism. To use a slogan, we find ourselves between “gender ideology and ISIS”. Islamic massacres and libertarian demands regularly contend for the front page of the newspapers. (Let us remember what happened last June 26!). From these two radicalizations arise the two major threats to the family: its subjectivist disintegration in the secularized West through quick and easy divorce, abortion, homosexual unions, euthanasia etc. (cf. Gender theory, the ‘Femen’, the LGBT lobby, IPPF …). On the other hand, the pseudo-family of ideologized Islam which legitimizes polygamy, female subservience, sexual slavery, child marriage etc.

Several clues enable us to intuit the same demonic origin of these two movements. Unlike the Spirit of Truth that promotes communion in the distinction (perichoresis), these encourage confusion (homo-gamy) or subordination (poly-gamy). Furthermore, they demand a universal and totalitarian rule, are violently intolerant, destroyers of families, society and the Church, and are openly Christianophobic.”

Cardinal Sarah then insisted that the duty of the Church is first and always fidelity to her bridegroom, Jesus Christ, which in the context of a Synod on the Family means not to make room for divorce, about which Christ has already uttered the last word, but rather to “Proclaim and serve the beauty of Monogamy and the Family’:

“Faced with these two deadly and unprecedented challenges (‘homo-gamy’ and ‘poly-gamy’) the Church must promote a true ‘epiphany of the Family.’ To this both the Pope (as spokesman of the Church) may contribute, and individual Bishops and Pastors of the Christian flock: that is, ‘the Church of God, which he has obtained with his own blood’ (Acts: 20:28).

We must proclaim the truth without fear, i.e. the Plan of God, which is monogamy in conjugal love open to life. Bearing in mind the historical situation just recalled, it is urgent that the Church, at its summit, definitively declare the will of the Creator for marriage. How many people of good will and common sense would join in this luminous act of courage carried out by the Church!

Together with a strong and clear Word of the Supreme Magisterium, Pastors have the mission of helping our contemporaries to discover the beauty of the Christian family. To do this, it must first promote all that represents a true Christian Initiation of adults, for the marriage crisis is essentially a crisis of God, but also a crisis of faith, and this is an infantile Christian initiation. Then we must discern those realities that the Holy Spirit is already raising up to reveal the Truth of the Family as an intimate communion in diversity (man and woman) that is generous in the gift of life. We bishops have the urgent duty to recognize and promote the charisms, movements, and ecclesial realities in which the Family is truly revealed, this prodigy of harmony, love of life and hope in Eternity, this cradle of faith and school charity…”

On October 15, 2014, Zenit published an interview in which Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leader of the divorced faction, who said that the African Cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do” and questioned whether they were listened to outside of Africa. It turns out His Eminence was expressing more a wish than an observation. 

The First Council of Nicaea, in 325 AD, was another Church event of supreme importance. Yet who, outside of a church historian, can even recall the name of the Pope at the time of the Nicaea? The pivotal figure at Nicaea was not the then-Pope, but Bishop Athanasius. And any Catholic with even a slight knowledge of the faith, not to mention people outside the faith, knows of Athanasius. Hos Holiness Pope Francis called the Synod on the Family. But a thousand years from now it may well be remembered as Cardinal Sarah’s Synod.