A familiar tale and the end of a tale.

The Synod on Synodality: the Catholic Church heading down a well-worn and familiar path.

Read below the words of Hugh Hunter, a former Anglican, now a Catholic, who in the pages of Crisis Magazine writes about the late Cardinal Pell’s attack on Pope Francis’s Synod on Synodality, drawing some appalling parallels between the Synod and the sad history of the Anglican Church.

Hunter posts a link to a Vatican-issued document summarizing what has transpired thus far in the Synod. He suggests the late Cardinal Pell’s scathing critique of the Synod, which he called a “toxic nightmare,” published in The Spectator just after his death, was his last gift to the Catholic Church. Perhaps so, and though this writer believes it is likely too little, too late, it’s well worth reading both the Cardinal’s and Hunter’s critiques in their entirety.

Before considering Hunter’s going over of the depressing content of the Pope’s summary, let’s have a look at the way the its presented. It begins thus, with scripture.

Crayon, digital crayon, as if it were a children’s book. The Pope’s recurring theme is the “big tent.” (there are digital crayon rendering of tents throughout, for example, this one.

Francis’s point is the Church is a tent that should be greatly enlarged so as include people of all walks of life, the unbaptized, atheists, heterodox, you name it, without the Church making any efforts to bring them and their beliefs into accord with Catholic teachings. Essentially, it’s: “Whatever you think is okay, no demands from us, perish the thought. No one is excluded.”

Hunter writes:

This idea for filling the pews will be familiar, Pell wrote, to ex-Anglicans. As a convert from Anglicanism myself, I can tell you that he’s right. I remember it growing up, because I watched it play out in almost every church I attended. We were going to show everyone that they would be accepted at church. No longer would we be gatekeepers! And so we threw open the doors…and no one came. 

Of course, they didn’t, why should they have? If zero demands were made of them, what were these potentials possibly to gain?

Hunter continues.

And then we started second guessing. Maybe we were gatekeepers after all. Was the music too old-fashioned? Was the language of the liturgy too hard? Were the homilies too serious? Were teachings on suicide or divorce or abortion or homosexuality putting people off? Were we leaving out popular victim groups that we could shoehorn into the faith? 

The mere fact that someone could identify a potential hindrance became a reason to abolish the thing or leave it, to quote Pell, “parked in a pluralist limbo where some choose to redefine sins downwards and most agree to differ respectfully.” Soon the churches of my youth would find they had compromised on so many things that they had changed beyond recognition, except in one respect: they were still empty. 

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905.

Hunter continues.

We’re trying to build a tent big enough to accommodate everybody. But the pluralist says you don’t need to pick a tent. No matter what tent you pick, we all end up at the same place. Come and go between tents as much as you like. Sample Wicca, try astrology, it really doesn’t matter. You don’t even need a tent. You are fine where you are. 

Hugh Hunter witnessed the all-but-demise of the Episcopal Church. So did I. Pope Francis is leading the Holy Catholic Church to the same dismal fate, but I refuse to witness the rerun. I have had enough. I am off–East.


Published by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.

Founder of the London Tatler, Bickerstaff removed West to found the Taos Tatler.

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