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10 Things A Youth Synod Should Do; One Thing It Won’t

October 18, 2018 Frontpage No Comments


Pope Francis came forward with some unusually strong language regarding abortion, saying that the act was the equivalent of calling a hit man.
This marks the second time this month that Francis has chosen to offer pointed criticism of this generational genocide, the opposition to this “culture of death” having defined the pontificates of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
What is most amusing about the reaction from outlets such as the Associated Press is that they are simply gob-smacked that the Pope might actually be Catholic. Perhaps many of us are. The salient point here is that, for all his faults and mishandling, there are certain items that are truly nonnegotiable for Francis — and the right to life is one of them.
Of course, we should contrast this with the Magisterial parliament in Rome known as the Synod on Youth, where a group of men who have never been fathers will instruct those of us who are how to best inspire our sons to be good Catholics.
A short list, if I may:
First: Stop molesting our kids, and quit making excuses for those who do. This seems like a logical first step, I know…but it would be awfully nice for me to not have to wonder about such-and-such seminary grooming the future of the Church to be cabana boys in clerical garb.
Second: Quit telling us to believe one thing and then practice another in the world. The activities of Catholic Relief Services and the USCCB’s own Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) are simply mindboggling to the pew-sitting Catholic. Worse, no one in these organizations seems to care. Why?
Third: Quit telling us it is too hard to be holy. A good friend whose recent transition from gamer to gym rat reminds me that becoming healthy is simple…but it’s not easy. Good advice for anything.
Fourth: Defend babies the same way you defend trees. Planned Parenthood kills 3,000 babies every day. That is a 9/11 against the Body of Christ — every single day.
Fifth: Protect the Kingdom of God as if it were any other kingdom. Of course, we have been caving in on abortion for 40 plus years. Is it no small wonder why we never plucked the moral courage to defend the family? Marriage? Cast out sex abusers rather than promote them?
Sixth: Disband your youth programs. Seriously — you guys don’t get it. If we wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese on a Sunday, we would go there rather than to Sunday Mass. Do you want to really bring youth to your parish? Hold Eucharistic Adoration at 8 p.m. every Friday night.
Seventh: Smells and bells, not guitars and sandals. I get it, Jesus wore sandals. What Jesus did not do is strum around Galilee trying to sound like Bob Dylan. If Jesus had, the Romans might have had a case.
Eighth: Quit trying to make Christianity feel good. Pro-Tip: Jesus did not “feel good” on the cross. God doesn’t promise us that we will not suffer in this world. God does promise us that we will not be alone when we do suffer.
Ninth: Quit telling us not to be heroes. We live in a time of martyrs, and thank God that we do! The world is full of mediocrity, of distractions, of opportunities to amuse ourselves to death and chances to be torn apart by a secular inquisition for daring to stand apart. We don’t need priests and bishops making peace with this world. Challenge us to become who God wants us to be!
Tenth: Do not allow the secular religions to dominate our sacred ones. Feed the poor, clothe the naked, be persecuted for the sake of righteousness. The secret to bravery in a world full of cowards is right there in Matthew 25. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is adamant on this account: Be a Catholic before anything else, be that Democrat or Republican.
Of course, one doubts that this “Youth Synod” will do much more than produce a sociological document, since the Polish bishops have already criticized the draft documents as being too man-made and making scant notion of the methods instituted by Christ for the purposes of bringing about spiritual renewal: Baptism, Penance, and the Eucharist.
Yet for a generation of Catholics whose presence in the United States has been savaged by the legacy of Roe v. Wade, this failure to pinpoint the cheapening of human life makes every member of the “John Paul II Generation” throw their hands in the air in exasperation. How many more babies? How many more wrecked lives? How much longer must we live with the consequences of a world where one in three souls are destroyed by abortion? How much longer can we remain blind to the fact that if abortion is right, nothing is wrong?
Catholics are too often asked to be in the world and not of it, as we should be. We should by all means go into the darker places of the world, but as Catholics. We should work with the poor, the hungry, the naked, the sick and imprisoned — but as Catholics.
Christ Himself reminds us that merely performing the Beatitudes is not enough. We have to perform them for the very least of these. The Greek word used in Matt. 25 is elachiston, which is not just for the very smallest, but also for the very weakest — the most defenseless — among us.
How can this not be the preborn human person? Why are we ignoring the call?

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A Catholic bishop in Ireland — Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore — is setting up an exorcism ministry in response to some new age mysticism that seems to be in vogue, particular forms of Hinduism and reiki relaxation techniques.
One will leave the theological reckonings of techniques such as centering and emptying oneself to the cosmos to those best suited to explain their pitfalls. What is of note in Cullinan’s approach is his concern that sexual abuse — particularly those of our priests and bishops — stems from an otherworldly, satanic source.
What bothers me in this statement isn’t so much the fact that our bishops are beginning to see the smoke of Satan for what it is, but rather the fact that they see this influence among our religious and are apparently offering — not the Sacrament of Penance, which would be entirely appropriate — but the Rites of Exorcism as the only means of drawing out the poison. Both are needed.
Talk of exorcism in a postmodern world is probably a laughable thing to many. Of course, Catholics believe all sorts of incredible things, most notable of which is that a piece of bread and a cup of wine become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of God the Son.
Given this, it should be no small thing to consider that there is a host out there that desperately seeks to separate us from Him — be it scandal, lethargy, excuse, or a lackadaisical clergy.

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Questions? Comments? Brilliant thoughts? Please feel free to send any correspondence for First Teachers to Shaun Kenney, c/o First Teachers, 5289 Venable Road, Kents Store, VA 23084 — or if it is easier, simply send me an e-mail with First Teachers in the subject line to:

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