Friday, August 19, 2022

Why the Vatican's survey on synodality is suspect

In anticipation of the vague "Synod on Synodality," various dioceses and Church outlets surveyed all walks of people, including lapse Catholics and non-Catholics. These survey results are to be sent to the bishops prior to the 2023 finale.

However, the content of the surveys brings the intent of the Synod into suspicion. For example, in multiple choice questions, the options offered lure the participant toward certain answers and issues. It gives the impression that certain issues are at the forefront of the participants' minds, when, if the questions had been left blank, the results would have likely been very different. One could say there is opinion-engineering taking place. 

For instance, in the survey promoted by Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, there is a question asking which activities are "urgent for the Church to address..." The available choices are finite and include such politicized issues as "women's equality," "accompaniment to LGTBI people," and "ecology and environmental sustainability."

This would be like asking, "Is John's tie red or blue?" when his tie may be an entirely different color or he isn't wearing a tie at all. In this way, the synod surveys exhibit logical fallacies. They contain a form of the False Dilemma Fallacy (where options offered do not include the correct answer) or the Suppressed Evidence Fallacy (where relevant options are absent from the question).

Professor Cody Cooper commented on the survey: "[W]hy aren’t Traditional Latin Mass-goers or married Catholics with big families listed among the marginalized groups?" The absence of TLM from the survey is consistent with Pope Francis' continual antagonism toward TLM attendees. The absence of big families from the survey is consistent with Vatican figures trying to justify contraception. You see how the survey's questions and answers are loaded and steer participants to think and not think of certain matters. In a way, the gameplan is out in the open.

Many of the surveys closed on August 15. It was not hard to predict from there how the data would be manipulated. On August 16, the National Catholic Reporter (which promotes anti-Catholic heretical views) brandished the headline: "In synod reports, US Catholics call for women's leadership, LGBTQ welcoming." 

Thus, right on cue, heterodox Catholics frame the survey results as "US Catholics" having endorsed modern identity politics, and not other theological issues that were absent from the survey. Anyone following those two contemporary "issues" knows that women's "leadership" is language often used to launder the quest for women's "ordination" while "LGBTQ welcoming" is a concept used to launder the quest to declassify homosexual behavior as intrinsicallly disordered or to endorse same-sex unions altogether.

As Wendell Hull wrote for Crisis Magazine: "The synod brings the laity, and—by invitation—the whole world, into the process with full knowledge. The 'synodal fathers' will claim that the changes were demanded by the people." (emphasis mine) If efforts are made at this synod to undermine longstanding teachings of the Magisterium, those actions may be disguised as some "loving" move to serve the needs of "modern" people or other such euphemisms.

Even if the survey were short answer or blank essay questions where participants had to generate answers of their own accord, what is the current Pontificate's intention in surveying people unfamiliar even with basic theology in making theological decisions? Unless they want to see how catechized the world is? How many respondents for women's "leadership" can exposit the theology of the priest as sacramental bridegroom in Christ's stead? Or how many respondents fond of gay "marriage" can provide an anthropological defense that substituting a man for a woman in a marriage arrangement leaves it the "same" as a male-female marriage? We have yet to hear those answers from supposedly learned theologians, much less the average lapsed Catholic. Hull analogized: "Would a baseball team gather geishas for ideas on how to hit and catch?"

I recently finished reading Dr. Peter Kwasniewski's book True Obedience in the Church. In it, he reviews the theological and historical basis for defying unjust orders issued by clergy, including the Pope, if necessary. It is an issue I've recently researched myself, including the concept of a child who is otherwise bound to obey his parents, to defy an immoral parental order (cf. CCC#2217). It may be especially wise in the coming months to delve into the lasting theology of Catholic Tradition, that one might authentically identify when a clergyman, even a bishop or Pope, is resisting the sacerdotal grace available to him through his office. 

St. John Chrysostom taught that we will not be able to excuse ourselves from following corrupt teaching, even if those orders come from thousands of priests:

But even if it were the reverse, and you had corrupt teachers plundering and grasping at every thing, not even so were their wickedness an apology for you. For the Lover of mankind and All-wise, the Only-Begotten Son of God, seeing all things, and knowing the chance that in so great length of time and in so vast a world there would be many corrupt priests … but if you disobey the things spoken, even though you should show ten thousand corrupt priests, this will not plead for you at all. Since Judas also was an apostle, but nevertheless this shall never be any apology for the sacrilegious and covetous. (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 21 on 1st Corinthians, ca. 395 AD)