Action Alert!

The Spirit is A-Movin in the pre-Synod Process

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky ( bio - articles - email ) | May 15, 2023

When asked how many people work in the Vatican, Pope John XXIII famously quipped, “About half of them.” A wise man once remarked that we shouldn’t presume malice when incompetence provides a sufficient explanation. We can say the same about much of the Church’s bureaucracy. Some are incompetent, but others are evil. Sometimes the actors find common ground and issue a Church document that is both incompetent and evil.

The latest example is the USCCB’s document on the Synod on Synodality. The USCCB’s office of Justice, Peace, and Human Development recently released this tongue twister: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission North American Final Document for the Continental Stage of the 2021-2024 Synod.

According to the tedium of the report justifying its existence, “…931 delegates and 146 bishops from Canada and the United States were appointed to participate in one of these twelve assemblies to share their reflections and responses to the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) issued by the Holy See’s General Secretariat of the Synod in October 2022. Those reflections were brought together by the North American Writing Team to create the Final Document.”

Out of the gate, the authors address us as “Sisters and Brothers,” and thus signal their unctuous sensitivity to some women who aren’t happy unless they take precedence over, well, standard English. Women, who, as we are to believe, have been ‘buked and scorned in the Church forever, and “the Spirit” is coming to the rescue with women priests.

The authors and participants frequently blame the Holy Spirit for their folly. Here are a few quotes on how the “Spirit is A-Movin” (as blue-haired ladies and aging nuns in pantsuits remember from that old Carey Landry Hootenanny Mass tune):

  • “The Holy Spirit is moving in this process and giving us a common spirit of mission worldwide!”
  • “The Holy Spirit is at work! This is only the beginning; we don’t know where the Holy Spirit is taking us.”
  • “People would start with pains and resentments, but at the end of the process the Holy Spirit had opened people up.”
  • “There was a lot of participation and diversity, yet there was still lots of convergence. The Spirit is at work.”
  • “Maybe we need to admit that we’re stuck here and that we don’t exactly know where we’re going, but it’s okay because we’re following the Holy Spirit! We must allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead to guide us to where we are meant to go!”

Among the hallmarks of platitudinous self-seriousness is the invention of new words and phrases that sound smart but cleverly leave the definitions open-ended, allowing for evil interpretations.

Here is a list of select words and phrases used by the authors. Since we are ill-educated slack-jawed yokels, the definitions added here will help us understand their meaning in plain English.

  • “Deepening of the discernment”: Getting in touch with my heretical inner child.
  • “Grace-filled experience”: Wasting time at meetings.
  • “Continue into the future”: As opposed to continuing backward into the past and rediscovering the TLM.
  • “Embrace synodality”: It’s an LGBTQ+ thing.
  • “Local listening and discernment”: No need for Scriptures and Tradition.
  • “Continental Debrief”: Wow, we’re almost Global!
  • “Provide feedback”: Whine.
  • “Synodal journey”: Going to hell in a handbasket.
  • “Trust in the process”: So don’t argue with me.
  • “Ongoing work”: Devising new ways of wrecking the Church.
  • “Margins of our communities, society, and Church”: Gay bathhouses, drag queen shows, etc.
  • “Not easily interpreted but palpably felt”: Devoid of reason.
  • “Echo their own joys, yearnings, laments, and dreams for the Church”: Who needs the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church?
  • “Much to learn”: Reversing orthodox Catholic moral theology will take more time.
  • “Build a more listening and discerning Church”: Stop thinking.
  • “Cultivate the fruits of the Spirit”: Deny Catholic doctrine.
  • “Dignity and responsibilities of our common baptism”: The right and duty to ridicule Church teaching.
  • “Profound joy and enthusiasm”: Violating the Sixth Commandment alone and with others.
  • “Resistance, suspicion, and anxiety aroused in some”: Agitated believing Catholics.
  • “Communal discernment”: Groupthink.
  • “To share, to listen, and to be together”: Gossip, with the Church paying for wine and cheese.
  • “Real fruit of the synodal process”: Expecting the gates of hell to prevail.
  • “People starting with pains and resentments”: Like spoiled children.
  • “Equal split among delegates between women and men (50.2% / 49.8%, respectively)”: Within the margin of error, women are people, too.
  • “The Spirit is at work”: Manipulating faithful Catholics to pay for this monumental waste of time.
  • “Prayerful manner in spiritual conversation”: Faithful Catholics must avoid profanities when reading Synodal documents.
  • “Spiritual Conversation Model”: Methods to muzzle and isolate faithful Catholics.
  • “Listening circles”: Sinful pleasures in group settings.
  • “Fully co-responsible Church”: A Church with more than two sexes.
  • “Hopes and prayers for the upcoming assemblies”: That a meteor doesn’t strike.

Evil proposals also pop up in this painfully absurd document: “‘We have come a long way, but we deplore the fact that women cannot invest themselves fully’… While clarity is still needed around exactly what a fully co-responsible Church looks like, delegates proposed the examination of a variety of aspects of Church life, including decision-making roles, leadership, and ordination.”

The rude sexual references in the preceding lexicon may seem uncomfortably out of place until we consider how the authors give prominence to the LGBTQ+ agenda: “There is a need to differentiate between the importance of teaching and the need to welcome those into the Church, especially as it relates to our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.” Any ecclesiastical document that uses “LGBTQ+” without correction (there is no such thing as a “transgendered” person, for example) is wicked.

Let us pray that the Synod on Synodality represents the grand finale of the death throes of elderly and irrelevant post-Vatican-II dissidents. The Spirit is A-Movin. Younger generations will see a smaller doctrinally muscular Church (as Joseph Ratzinger predicted long ago) and the collapse of a vapid—and evil—bloated bureaucracy having too much money and time for useless meetings.

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: kdrotar16365 - May. 17, 2023 9:08 AM ET USA

    Thank you, Father, for taking the time to read this horrible document and interpreting it--so others don't have to. Makes you wonder how many bishops (especially ordinaries) would actually publicly attach their signature to it. But more importantly and telling, and one can wish it would happen, will any of them come out and condemn it?

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 16, 2023 10:40 PM ET USA

    My sympathy and gratitude to you for having made the effort to produce this and hold onto your sanity

  • Posted by: grateful1 - May. 16, 2023 7:50 PM ET USA

    I'm surprised by the blatant non-inclusiveness of the phrase "our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters." Someone in the Vatican's Office of Newspeak overlooked the non-binary. For SHAME!!!

  • Posted by: KeithBuckner - May. 16, 2023 3:51 PM ET USA

    This hilarious and apt article is reminiscent of Diogenes!

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 15, 2023 10:36 PM ET USA

    Funniest thing (and most ironic) that you have written in a long time (or ever). Really knee-slapping, but only because it is so on the mark.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - May. 15, 2023 8:19 PM ET USA

    Amen to this. Now, get ready for the slings and arrows. The post-Vatican dissidents are desperate to quash all vestiges of traditional Catholic faith, before their time is up.