What Whoopi Goldberg and Jimmy Savile have in common with the synodal way of thinking…

The world is full of so many disadvantaged people living on the margins.  High profile politicians, former US Presidents, billionaire globalists and their nepobabies, Hollywood stars, and celebrity LGBT activists.  All welcomed into the big tent by Pope Francis while Cardinal Zen shivers in the car park with the Latin mass goers. 

The latest marginalised face to receive a golden ticket to PopeWorld™ was rich, celebrity loudmouth Whoopi Goldberg who has waited years to thank Pope Francis for his message of inclusivity towards people who had never been excluded in the first place.  What Ms Goldberg is really thankful for is that there is now a Pope whose ambiguity allows people to indulge the perennial temptation to push God aside and place their own will at the centre;

“At the heart of all temptations” Pope Benedict XVI writes in Jesus of Nazareth “is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not superfluous and annoying in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives.  Constructing a world by our own lights without reference to God, building on our own foundation, refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and the material while setting God aside as an illusion; that is the temptation that threatens us in many varied forms. Moral posturing is part and parcel of temptation it does not invite us directly to do evil, no, that would be far too blatant, it pretends to show us a better way where we finally abandon our illusions and throw ourselves into the work of making the world a better place”

This elevating of charitable works, and so called compassion, above worship and holiness destabilises the right order and leads to the kind of incoherence we are witnessing in both the world and the Church today.  As Pope Francis wins plaudits from the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Clinton, Alex Soros and Fr James Martin for his stance on climate change, immigration, the death penalty and homosexuality, faithful members of the church are hung out to dry.  Victims of sexual abuse who have seen him shield abusers, the courageous Cardinal Zen who was refused half an hour with him, nuns who were viciously abused and bullied by his protected friend, Marko Rupnik, people with same sex attraction living in accordance with church teaching, Bishop Strickland facing pressure to resign and Nicaraguan Catholics who await a muscular response to their persecution. The very things that Pope Francis claims will bring unity are causing division. He either knows this and does it anyway or doesn’t know it and does it anyway.  Either way it doesn’t look good. As Donald DeMarco commented in Crisis Magazine last week “The Church is in a bad way when her pope alienates faithful Catholics while bonding with her detractors”

The German priest Alfred Delp who was executed by the nazis warned against the temptation to elevate political or material aims above God “…bread is important” he wrote “freedom is more important, but most important of all is unbroken fidelity and faithful adoration”.  Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that “When this ordering of goods is no longer respected but turned on its head the result is not justice or concern for human suffering the result is rather ruin and destruction”

The problem that Pope Francis claims to want to overcome with his synod on synodality is not and never has been the teachings of the catholic church, it has always been those who seek to refashion God and his church to suit their own worldview, who marvel not at God who ‘laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4) but marvel instead at the moral law within.  Paedophilia, abuse, bullying, backhanders, the raw exercise of power all occur when we turn away from Christ and His Church and turn instead towards our own sense of how things should be. What we need is more Job and less Kant, the very opposite of what the Synod on Synodality is offering. 

As we approach the 12th anniversary of the death of Jimmy Savile a number of programmes about him have been produced, including BBC drama ‘The reckoning’ which opens with Pope Francis henchman Cardinal Roche (who implemented the clampdown on the traditional liturgy) celebrating that it “is impossible to list all the charitable causes which jimmy supported and espoused”.  

A lot was made of Jimmy Saviles Catholic Faith and it is likely that people watching will use it to bash Catholicism. They will suggest it is proof that Catholicism is a wholly awful enterprise and any attempt to shake it up and make it fit for modern times, as Pope Francis is attempting to do, should be celebrated.

The problem is that Savile who was praised for his charitable works and courted the approval of those who the world tells us are important, has far more in common with a synodal way of thinking than with authentic Catholicism. Rather than elucidate the constant teaching of the Church, the Synod elevates poorly catechised voices in the laity who want the Church to change to suit them; voices calling for the ordination of woman, blessings for homosexual unions and receiving communion as a ‘right’ rather than a ‘gift’.

Savile, who sexually molested an 11-year-old girl whilst standing at the back of church during holy mass and who said“There are many sorts of Gods …theres my own god who is a God moulded to my own image insofar as he suits me.” Is not a man who accepts that Jesus Christ bought the right to set down the laws and limits for His Church with His own blood on the cross.  This was not a man who humbly fell on his knees before God and asked how he might change. He was a man who manipulated God to conveniently suit himself, rather than a man who recognised he must do the hard work of conforming to God and His Church.  Worse still he convinced a disordered world that he must be good if he runs marathons and raises money for charity, and they bought it. 

They bought it because they were the product of a world that told them the highest good was social justice, a world that, unanchored from truth, screams about climate change, human rights and open borders, a world in which worship of God and striving for holiness doesn’t feature. In such a world only the Church is in a position to reorder goods to guard against the inevitable failure of this approach.  It is something that Pope Benedict XVI tried to do but was eviscerated for as he wisely declared;  “We must make it clear that departure from Church teaching or silence about it in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral, only what is true can be ultimately pastoral.”

“Why can’t you see me?” were the words uttered by the girl violated by Jimmy Savile at the back of a Church. The uncomfortable answer is that they were falling over one another to say what a great man he was because of his social works. As Pope Francis wears his humble clothes and cheap black shoes, rides in a fiat not a limousine, praises celebrities and politicians who work tirelessly for social causes, those seeking rest in truth itself might well ask “Why can’t you see me?”