Disturbing news has come to light recently. It seems that at the supposedly "open" meeting of bishops in preparation for this year's Synod on Marriage and the Family was not as open as Pope Francis had indicated. It has been revealed that Vatican officials took deliberate steps to ensure that the bishops at the preliminary meeting for the Synod would not receive a book, which strongly supported the perennial teaching of the Church on marriage.
Sadly, this is nothing new. Over fifty years ago, the deliberations of Vatican II, which was allegedly totally open to the Holy Spirit, were restricted by the Metz agreement, which guaranteed to the Soviets that Communism would not be condemned at the Council. Later, when a number of bishops presented a document on Communism for discussion, that document was mysteriously misplaced and forgotten, courtesy Vatican bureaucrats. This same group of bureaucrats seems to have also ensured that the Third Secret of Fatima, which was entrusted to the pope to be revealed in the year 1960, was kept secret.
Even when it was finally revealed over three decades later, the portion of it that included an insightful interpretation by Sr. Lucia was not included with it. It is tragic that some highly placed Church leaders seem hell-bent on ensuring that Church praxis continues to promote both the world's addiction to hubris and the diabolically deceptive belief that everyone will come to eternal salvation.
It is no wonder that pastoral ministry has in many ways degenerated - from the compassionate yet diligent promotion of the salvation of souls to acting as a sort of activity director of the good ship "Salvation". Since there is always a "market" for new excuses to justify old sins, such Church leaders have embraced the idea that Church teaching must "evolve" so as to make their "Gospel" more acceptable - both to the thinking of progressive secularists and to "ascendant" popularity of perverted perspectives on human sexuality and marriage. They have thus been seduced into embracing a manipulative Madison Avenue approach to evangelization, rather than trust in the graciousness of God, revealed to us through the painfully awkward, yet ever-transformative mystery of Christ crucified.
As a result, there is a serious danger that the some of the powers-that-be at the upcoming Synod will again seek to stifle the voice of the Holy Spirit. They will seek to detour the Church from recognizing the mystery of evil, wherein our sins actually inflict, even now, serious and painful wounds on Christ - both in His sufferings in Jerusalem two thousand years ago and in His Mystical Body today. They will seek to redirect the thoughts of people away from sincere repentance and reparation. Instead, urging souls to ignore how grievously sexual sin actually offends and torments Christ, they will seek to promote a co-dependent "compassion." In this way, the people would be allowed to become more comfortable in their perversions - and even feel free to abuse and desecrate the Eucharistic Christ, and thereby seal their fate for all eternity (cf., I Cor 11:28-29).
The core reality that needs to be stressed at the Synod is that humanity is sacred, not merely functional. Each of us, and humanity as a whole, are called by God to sanctify all of Creation through an ever-deepening intimacy with Christ crucified. Following the ancient teaching, "Love is our origin, love is our life and love is our destiny," the Synod must reaffirm that each human being has a right to be conceived in the sacred covenantal context of holy marriage, to be nurtured and formed in that sacred context and to come to fulfillment in the covenantal love of Christ for His Bride, the Church.
Authentic human happiness is found through docility to the Holy Spirit, not by the appeasement of happy hormones. Any capitulation to evil for the sake of expediency ultimately would put us in communion with the high priest, Caiaphas, who asserted that short-sighted expediency was more important than the integrity of truth (Jn 11:49-50). May the ordained high priests of our own age not make the same error.
Spero columnist Rev. Thomas Collins is a Catholic priest in the service of the people of Virginia.