Amid the flurry of reactions to the Vatican's recent Synod on the Family, one article stands out. In an opinion piece at the Daily Caller, John Zmirak gives a grave, honest account of the Synod's concluding statement, and of what we can expect from the Ordinary Synod that is scheduled to bring the chaos to a conclusion in 2015.
Zmirak first points out the obvious tension between traditional Catholic morality on the one hand, and the overarching message of the recent Synod's statement on the other:
He goes on to point out what is at stake in next year's synod if it "ends up approving the radical proposals that are before it" - the very legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church's claim to authority:
What really struck me in Zmirak's piece was his somber observation that, when it comes to the cultural impact of the Synod, "the damage is already done." I was disturbed when the "discussion document" that the Synod produced midway through its meetings was hailed by the American LGBTQ Taskforce as a "step in the right direction in tone," though it failed to promise "fundamental change" in Church doctrine, presumably the ultimate LGBTQ goal.
Of the millions of Catholics in the world today, only a small, solid percentage have remained faithful and continued to conduct themselves according to the Church's traditions. That the Vatican seems to be in dialogue with those who wish to fundamentally change Church doctrine shows a deliberate and, from my perspective, harsh decision to abandon the embattled faithful in favor of those who have learned to avoid trouble by conforming with the progressive social tide. In other words, faithful Catholics will more or less have to shepherd themselves.
In reaction to the Synod, I have taken a big step back from the institutional Catholic Church. While I'm grateful for the Church's sacraments, I have reason to be unsure how much I can obey its current leaders. I doubt I'm alone.
Read John Zmirak's full article HERE.
Over at Crisis Magazine, William Kilpatrick makes an important observation regarding the phenomenon of young Western men joining Islamist terror organizations: "For many a young man, the certainty that there are seventy-two high-bosomed maidens waiting for him on the other side is reason enough to risk the sacrifice of life and limb."
But if this explanation accounts for the attraction of young men to Islamist extremism, it doesn't say much about those who have inherited and held Islam as their traditional faith for centuries. ...Or does it?
What can we say of a religion whose martyrs died for nothing more than what the average 16-year-old from California wants to do next time his parents go on vacation? What does the Muslim concept of ultimate beatitude say about Islam?
I can't imagine the answers to those questions would be very flattering to Muslim faith. But now that the radical ISIS is threatening to knock down the door of civilization, it seems as good a time as any to ask these questions about the religion that motivates them. One thing is certain: It's no longer enough to merely condemn "religious violence" without acknowledging the nature of the enemy, as so many Western leaders have been doing. Kilpatrick continues:
It would take courage to seek to undermine our enemies in this way. And courage is exactly what we need from our religious and political leaders. As William Kilpatrick writes, "For our own survival, we need to rethink the idea that the other person’s deeply held beliefs can never be questioned. The Islamists’ touching faith in the Stepford brides seems like a good place to start."
Read the rest of William Kilpatrick's piece here.