Rebuilding After the Earthquake




In pastoral terms, the document published today by the Synod of Bishops represents an earthquake, the “big one” that hit after months of smaller tremors.

John Thavis, A Pastoral Earthquake at the Synod


A guest post by commenter John of Any Other Name:

I’m not sure rebuilding is entirely necessary.  It is clear that there are challenges facing the Church, notably from the inside.  However, I stumbled across Dave Armstrong’s thoughts on the Synod (prior to the actual beginning of it) and the media controversy surrounding Cardinal Kasper and other topics.  Dave writes at length, but I find these excerpts as a good summary for my point:

Cardinal Kasper seems to have some liberal views. I agree. All theological errors come from Germany and England and The Netherlands (+ the US). No surprise there. It was the same at Vatican II with Dollinger (who denied papal infallibility and was excommunicated). Ho hum. ZZZzzzz (-_-) .

One day all the chronic worriers and complainers will have to stop worrying about the pope and the Church: stop acting like they have no faith that God guides and protects her.


What I’m saying are these things:

    1. There have always been serious problems in the Church. It’s nothing new, and is as old as Judas, the ancient Corinthians, Galatians, and seven churches of Revelation.

    2. Anyone (whatever one bishop or a hundred say) who seeks will find, and it’s now easier than ever (with the Internet) to locate orthodox Catholic teaching. Somehow in the 4th century, laypeople by the millions knew what was orthodox teaching, despite the widespread heresy of Arianism taught by many bishops. Most of them couldn’t even read.

    3. One overcomes the darkness by lighting a candle (by teaching, by prayer, by example, etc.), not merely complaining about the darkness.

    4. Thus, if someone (like you) is worried about souls, then go out and take action (and this action includes prayer) to help those souls. I do it by teaching and apologetics. I’m doing something about it. People come into the Church and become more confident, informed Catholics as a result of my work. I show my concern by what I do with my life, by what I do for a living as my vocation. What are you and others who are so concerned, doing about it?

This was a good bit of fresh air for me to read prior to the start of the Synod, especially reminding me of the bottom line: have faith in Christ’s promise regarding the Church vs. the gates of Hell.  I was doing well until the so-called ‘earthquake’ hit.

My wife reminded me of Athanasius contra mundum, which was related to the Arian heresy Dave noted…which then lead me to ask: “Who is our Athanasius?”

There appear to be several.  Cardinal Pell, Cardinal Napier and Archbishop Gadecki joined Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Muller in publicly speaking about the Relatio.  Summaries of their comments are here:

Even Father Longenecker waded in and isn’t backing down from critique:

More important is that when the Synod leadership was going to keep the small group discussions from the public (unlike the apparently unprecedented move of publicizing the Relatio on Monday), Cardinal Pell and many other Synod Fathers protested.

Apparently, Card. Pell was the first one to rise up against Card. Baldisseri. When Baldisseri made the announcement, Card. Pell took the floor and said that the reports had to be published and that they were tired of the manipulation.

From that point, the bishops also rose up. When Baldisseri repeated his position, he was effectively shouted down.

At that point, Card. Baldisseri turned to the Pope and got the nod to publish.

I’m not ready to give in to serene calm, but this was welcome news.  I’ve taken two additional points-of-view to heart, and perhaps they can also help the readership of The American Catholic as well.

First, some wise words from Father Z:

After looking at my email and some comments in the queue I am compelled to say…

    Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.

1 Peter 5:8

Everyone… CALM DOWN.

There is a serious Satanic attack going on within the Church right now.  The sharpening division itself is a sign of the same.

That said, think of your spiritual weapons.

You can fast and offer mortifications.

You can say the Rosary.   Is there a more powerful prayer than a Rosary sincerely recited?


Now more than ever we need reverent celebrations of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Fathers, start preaching about confession, the Rosary, and – for the love of all that’s holy – start learning the Extraordinary Form.

It’s time to get onto a war footing.

And second:

While the Church’s leaders receive God’s guidance in a special way, they can make mistakes — even serious ones.

For that reason, the Code of Canon Law provides that “the Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.”

It goes on to provide that “according to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors” (Canon 212 §2-3).

Write to or talk with your priest and bishop…I’ve done so before about different issues, but I can’t see anything more immediately pressing than this year we have coming ahead.  This also ties back to Dave’s point about the role of the laity during the prevalence of Arianism.  I’m also going to add the prayer to St. Michael to my daily Rosary after reading this:

More to explorer


  1. Great words of wisdom.
    Move on and on this mission Sunday let us praise “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to Him now and to the day of eternity!” (2Pt.3:8)


  2. The events, for me, simply confirmed that my decision to cease attending mass, is the correct decision.

    There will be no good, ultimately, coming from the debacle we just witnessed, indirectly. It will have the same effect as a decision against nullity. The adultery goes on and all the devastation with it. Its a matter of individual conscience and the Church must be sensitive to the needs of the poor soul!

    I would rather be in Hell, if God does not send Francis there on the express!

  3. Definitely we need our spiritual warrior St. Michael. This month we observed the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, now known as Our Lady of the Rosary, and anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. A decisive sea battle which prevented the Med from becoming a Moslem lake and thus saved Christian Europe. Mary has interceded multiple times for victories in both physical and spiritual battles in response to the recitation of the Rosary.
    I found the commentary from Dave, Fr. Z and Don to be somewhat comforting and to make me resolve not to get spun up over rumors or a working paper which distract me from prayer. Satan is at work. Karl, for many of us our faith is being put to the test. We all need the graces from the Eucharist in the Mass and Reconciliation. Please return.

  4. There was a news report yesterday, that ISIS has directed their
    members to attack Rome and to kill Catholics. The report
    further stated ISIS has called for the death of American Catholics
    in America.

    Meanwhile the leaders of our church are arguing that the church
    must ignore the teachings of the church for the modern world’s moral
    universe concerning homosexuality, divorce, contraception and abortion,
    which will bring forth a new and radically reformed Catholic Church for
    the modern world.

    Pray hard my friends. Ask for the Holy Mother’s protection.

  5. “I show my concern by what I do with my life, by what I do for a living as my vocation. What are you and others who are so concerned, doing about it? ”

    I, like many others “who are so concerned”, am doing what I can with my life to reach out to people and encourage them and myself in the True Faith. Persuasive Church officials are working against that.

    There is a serious Satanic attack going on within the Church right now”
    Ok. I’m calm, in that I trust God – it’s people who are threatening my family, my kids and grandkids that I am Not relaxed about. Vigilance. It seems that the Not Calm response of Cardinal Pell and others “saved the day”. I am glad they weren’t calmly going back to their room and saying their rosary, but spoke with strength first.

  6. If my comments came across as nothing more than “say your Rosary, Everything Is Awesome (Trademark Lego)”, then I’ve failed. Let me clarify…
    When the Synod met, there was very little I could do, once the news reports rolled in. My non-Catholic wife asked, after hearing my numerous editorial comments, “well, it’s not like you can send your bishop an email and have it matter before this thing ends, right?” She was right, to a point…but since this Synod was a “part 1” and there will be a year of reflection before “part 2”, I do have a window. We all do.
    And that’s my point: I need to be calm about the things I can’t affect…namely, how the discussion goes or what Cardinal Kasper et al says. Rather, there are things which I can do. Namely, I need to do the following:
    1. Ready my spiritual arsenal, as it were: prayer, fasting, etc. Add to it as necessary.
    2. Speak / write to my priest and / or my bishop. Imagine the number of people who advocate heterodoxy and how they may have written or acted. Contrast that with the number of orthodox Catholics who may have assumed they didn’t need to speak or act.
    3. After your comments, Anzlyne, I’d add the “spread the word to the rest of us in the trenches” notion. It was, I think, implicit in what I was trying to say but perhaps a call-out is needed.
    I’m not advocating a “head in the sand” approach, so to speak. However, I am asking the question of “If I’m pounding my fist into the dinner table in frustration, what more can I do?”
    My point exactly (and by extension, I think Dave Armstrong’s) is that when the Arian heresy had the grips on a significant number of Church leaders, the laity and Athanasius carried the day. So if we are writing our bishops or trying to educate our peers, then I claim we are doing the very same thing that happened some 1600 years ago when our Church was in an apparently similar crisis.
    And through it all, we must remember that Hell will not triumph against God’s Church. Do not read this as complacency but rather exhortation. I, myself, have sometimes thrown my hands up and asked: “Why bother?” But we need that exhortation to carry us on, as St. Paul would say, to finish the race.

  7. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like there’s a way. It seems like a dead end. With God we KNOW differently. He makes a way.

    Todays the memorial of St. Paul of the Cross. For Karl and all believers; “Conceal yourselves in Jesus crucified, and hope for nothing except that all men be thoroughly converted to His will.”

    We must be crucified in Christ if we are to be risen in Christ, and the scourging we feel now Karl is temporary. The day is filled with false testimony allegations and crucifixions. Rejoice and be glad!
    The Sunday morning is coming!

  8. I have not commented here for some time, but Karl, your post has moved me to do so. You make it sound like Satan has won. That is a lie the Devil would have us believe.

  9. Anzlyne: “I am glad they weren’t calmly going back to their room and saying their rosary, but spoke with strength first. ”
    It is the rosary that inspired and strengthened Cardinal Pell.

  10. Kevin: “I have not commented here for some time, but Karl, your post has moved me to do so. You make it sound like Satan has won. That is a lie the Devil would have us believe.”.
    Karl is using the Church as an excuse for not going to Mass, instead of rolling up his spiritual sleeves and letting God do the heavy lifting. Jesus said: “My food and my drink is to do the will of God.” Jesus wants Karl to meet Him at Mass. Even if the devil is sitting on the altar, Jesus Christ, the Real Presence takes precedence.

  11. Yes I am sure you are right Mary . ICardinal Pell is one who meditates on the Mysteries regularly no doubt. He is always “prayed up” and ready for battle, I am glad that he had the fortitude and insight to speak out. He is a leader. Many others who also say their prayers did not take the opportunity to lead the way he did. During the conclave I hoped for him

  12. I wouldn’t say this sounds like something from Team Lego, but the fact it took a revolt to turn the Synod back to orthodoxy shows there is a big problem, indeed. We should be reacting like we were nearly clipped by a high-speed train, and not waving around indefectibility like it is some kind of lucky rabbit’s foot.

    There is no reason to celebrate, much less to drop one’s guard–the battle is now on, in earnest. Those who attacked the Church’s teaching are not going to go away–they are going to redouble their efforts, with the assistance of a sympathetic media blitz. The battle will be fought at the local church level, too–which means we just got our draft notices.

  13. “God’s surprises,” “God is not afraid of new things!”, “newness” [cf. Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis Closing Mass of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family and Beatification of the Servant of God Paul VI, Sunday, 19 October 2014].

    The drumbeat continues. My last comment, apart from praying for our pastors now seems to have been overly optimistic and misplaced.

    @Donald R. McClarey seen your comment after @ Karl’s. Perhaps the more accurate way to put is is that Pope Francis is fixed on his purpose and proceeding undeterred, rushing headlong to where he is rushing to.

  14. another thought: Jesus laid in the darkness of the tomb for three days. If Karl can see his suffering as the dark night of the soul, entombed with Jesus, Karl will want to visit his and our Lord and Savior in the Real Presence at Mass.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: