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Today this blog will continue to flog one of its rhetorical “dead horses”, since others are beginning to get in on the act. A favorite “dead horse” of this blog, as my loyal readers no doubt can attest to, is the concept of OBJECTIVE REALITY.
In the last post, I pointed out another post that appeared on the Rorate Caeli blog which I found to be of particular interest. This Rorate post is a response to the preparatory document, the infamous Lineamenta, on the Stealth Sex Synod on the Family, submitted by a priest in Denver, the Rev. James W. Jackson, FSSP. The post appeared on the Rorate Caeli blog and can be found here.
Before I get into the meat of the matter, I would like to start with a definition that loyal readers are very familiar with, and will be of use to understand the issue at hand:
Gibberish or gobbledygook refer to speech or other use of language that is nonsense, or that appears to be nonsense. It may include speech sounds that are not actual words, or forms such as language games or highly specialized jargon that seems non-sensical to outsiders. Gibberish should not be confused with literary nonsense such as that used in the poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.
The word gibberish is more commonly applied to speech, while gobbledygook (sometimes gobbledegook, gobbledigook or gobbledegoo) is more often applied to writing. “Officialese”, “legalese”, or “bureaucratese” are forms of gobbledygook. The related word jibber-jabber refers to rapid talk that is difficult to understand.
Now to the subject at hand. The first thing that struck me reading Fr. Jackson’s post was the following point: [emphasis added]
1. In the Preface the desire is expressed to “find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront.” I suggest concentrating on one or two difficulties, and trying to solve those.
For example, if the Universal Church tried to stop cohabitation of couples, and was at all successful, then many other problems would improve. This would mean a united effort, with at least the Pope and the bishops working together. But trying to address all the numerous problems outlined in the Relatio at the same, time is not realistic.
Yes, very wise words indeed. Providing that there is no HIDDEN AGENDA at work.
The concept of “reality” introduced by Fr. Jackson is key to this response document since this theme runs through the entire document in a “no nonsense” sort of way.
Furthermore, the priest actually came at this preparatory document in a very serious and well thought out manner. One can even use the term Thomistic. Here is one excerpt I found particularly prescient:
9. Beginning with #33, a list of solutions is proposed.
“Proclamation…in espousing values,” “…a more positive approach to the richness of various religious experiences,” and denunciations of poverty stemming from “market logic.”
I have no idea what these mean.
Neither did the pew sitters over the last 50 years, and that is why they stopped coming. But I digress…
Here is another example:
3. Many of the statements were too vague to understand.
For example, “…a reflection capable of reframing the great questions about the meaning of human existence, can be responsive to humanity’s most profound expectations.” I do not know what this means. And there seems to be little in the document about our obligation to be responsive to the expectations of the Lord.
The reason that the good father doesn’t know what the two above passages means is that these passages don’t mean anything. They are pure unadulterated gibberish.
Here is another example of gibberish:
2. The language of sin and redemption was missing from the documents.
Instead, we were treated to sentences like “The challenge for the Church is to assist couples in their emotive maturation and affective development.” This is an example of substituting sociology and psychology for the Word of God and the teaching of the Church, examples of which may be found throughout the document.
In point number 2. Father Jackson makes another prescient observation. However, a much, much larger point can be made. What Fr. Jackson has in essence described is the entire bankrupt philosophical underpinning, or rather the lack there of, that is neo-modernism.
Here I will drag out another hobby horse of this blog and flog it a bit. In another Rorate Caeli blog, John Lamont writes the following: (see here)
Neo-modernism, however, on a religious level is a purely negative thesis. (emphasis added) As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.
In point 2. of the response, Fr. Jackson hits on exactly this above issue. Since the neo-modernist religion has no “attractive force of its own” it needs to tap into other sources. In the case of Francis, he finds HIS “attractive forces “ in evangelical Pentecostalism (see here) while card. Reinhart “Bling” Marx finds HIS “attractive forces” in business theory and political philosophy (see here). The authors of the Lineamenta in turn reached into the grab bag of “sociology and psychology “ terminology to find their “attractive forces” since their neo-modernist “theology” cupboard is bare.
Where Fr. Jackson to investigate point 2. further, he might have uncovered that which Archbishop Hoser uncovered and explained in the following interview: (see here)
-[Interviewers] This is digital photo of the family – is how the Archbishop [Hoser] replied to the questionnaire circulated before the Synod of the family. What do you see in this picture?
– ABHH The survey had a universal range , it was a collective picture. Therein lies its great value, although it was a bit vague, since it was not performed with a sociological research methodology. Questions were open, and the answers were subjective views, some approximation of the positions. There is a lack of clarity, some problems were either undervalued or overvalued. This is how it was explained by the Secretary of the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri.
So what we are left with is not even a “an example of substituting sociology and psychology for the Word of God and the teaching of the Church” but rather “speech or other use of language that is nonsense, or that appears to be nonsense. It may include speech sounds that are not actual words, or forms such as language games or highly specialized jargon that seems non-sensical to outsiders.” And from what Fr. Jackson wrote and Archbishop Hoser published, it is evident that the “highly specialized jargon” lacks clarity at best and most likely is “non-sensical” to insiders as well.
And finally, we get to the most important part of the response, in this truely humble bloggers opinion, which can be found in point :
8. In the same paragraph we read “…the crisis of faith has led to a crisis in marriage and the family…”
I could not find a definition of this crisis of faith, nor what the causes of it are, in this document. Unless this is clarified, there will be business as usual, with no indication of how we can assess progress. The paragraph further states, “In the face of a strong faith, the imposition of certain cultural perspectives which weaken the family and marriage will cause no harm.” This too is undefined, and in my opinion, naive.
It is these words, i.e. “Unless this is clarified,[…] no indication of how we can assess progress” that are key.
The reason that this sentence is by far the most significant of the responses written by Fr. Jackson is that it demonstrates that it is beginning to dawn on the clergy of the Catholic Church in the West, that “objective” standards are needed to assess progress or the lack there of.
It has taken 50 years and the complete destruction of the Catholic Church in the West to finally begin to sound the clarion call that things must change. And what needs to change is that the Church as an institution has to revert back to a philosophy that is underpinned by natural law and objective reality. This is exactly the point that John Lamont was making in the above cited post.
Concluding, the implications of what Fr. Jackson is putting down on paper are quite revolutionary… in a non-“new springtime of the spirit of Vatican II” sort of way. With the introduction of objective standards to measure performance into the Universal Church, such as the ones that Archbishop Hoser has introduced in the Polish Episcopate Conference, it will be much harder for the
snake oil salesmen neo-modernist clerics to attain positions of prominence in the Catholic Church.
I will leave off this post with one hypothetical example. If bishops were assessed according to objective measurement criteria, what are the chances that a Archbishop Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, with a seminary of no more than 30 would be elevated to cardinal over someone like Bishop Livieres (see here) whose seminary had 230+ seminarians.
Snowballs chance in hell would be my off the cuff reply.