Last week, Cardinal Burke urged that the hot-button issues of communion for the re-married and homosexuality be dropped from the Synod. Kudos to him.
I think somebody should go one step further. Somebody should raise the specter of faithful bishops and cardinals making an early exit from next year’s Synod if the same type of machinations occur.
Here’s the deal. The bishops and cardinals are being summoned to a synod. Not a political convention. Not a heretic-fest. Not a hijacking. Not a dissent-a-palooza. Last October, we witnessed some serious manipulation and ill-will. It wasn’t as much a synod as an attempted coup by radical dissenters who tried to use the presence of so many prelates as a backdrop to provide legitimacy and a rubber stamp to a manifest error.
If a synod degenerates into something nefarious, if it ceases being a synod, then the requirement to say is questionable. One can also seriously question the wisdom for a faithful prelate of staying. If you stick around and vote down any heretical paragraphs, you still lose, as we saw in October.
1. By participating and voting, you legitimize the process.
2. Even if you vote down some paragraphs, they magically make their way into the final document regardless. So what’s the point?
3. The media still get two weeks of communal orgasm, broadcasting to the world all the errors put forth by the heretics while minimizing the faithful voices.
Where’s the upside to staying in such a circus?
To me it makes more sense to walk out, emphasizing that you’re still in communion with the Pope and the Church, but that the assembly you’re leaving is not. You explain that you don’t want to be associated with a manipulated and corrupt process. If you walk out en masse, the process falls apart. Any vote or document becomes illegitimate and meaningless. The manipulators who organized the process fall on the defensive, having no more time to worship +Kasper because they’re in full-time damage control. The media story ceases being about Kasperism and suddenly becomes about the shock and awe of seeing all these prelates leaving. Suddenly the media has no choice but to put a mike in front of the walkers to hear why they’re leaving. Now you have a platform and a captive audience. The whole narrative gets turned on its head.
The prospect of such a move could serve as a deterrent to the dissenters. Some courageous prelate needs to publicly plant that idea to keep the process more honest.
Would this constitute disobedience towards the Holy Father? I don’t think so. First of all, I don’t know if prelates are ordered to attend or merely invited. Second, as I said above, if the gathering ceases being a synod and is replaced with a Church revolution, then one could argue that it’s not merely acceptable to leave, but it might be a prelate’s duty.