‘N Syncretism

Every time I hear some new little statement from the “Pan-Amazonian Synod,” AKA Project Chaos, the hypocrisy is deafening.

First, a little history on the Jesuits in South America. In the 1700s, they actually built “reductions”, or missions, to protect the indigenous people from slavery, educated them, cared for them, taught them trades, etc. Maintaining the “indigenous culture” was not their focus. Teaching the indigenous to be self-sufficient, educated and, oh, Christian was their goal. Leaving them poor, enslaved and heathen was not. Due to political problems back in Spain and Portugal, though, they were overrun and driven out. Until then, they were THE missionary force in South America. All others paled in comparison.

These days, the Protestants are pretty much following the same model and kicking our collective Catholic behinds in missionary efforts. Catholicism there is in free fall and Protestantism on the rise. Meanwhile, the Jesuits there are so concerned about the indigenous culture that the Protestants are outscoring them on all points. My guess is some of them are even more Catholic than the Jesuits. Sigh.

So, when I hear quotes like this I want to say “Hold up!”

“If everything continues as it was, if we spend our days content that “this is the way things have always been done”, then the gift vanishes, smothered by the ashes of fear and concern for defending the status quo.” 

Of course, this is going to be used as the reason why we need women priests, married priests and a variety of things. “We can’t possibly continue with the way it’s being done, because that won’t bring people to a burning love for God!” But, again, wait! When it comes to indigenous culture, haven’t we’ve been told that we must respect the way it’s always been done in the Amazonian culture first and foremost? Anyone see the hypocrisy there?!?!?! Church tradition bad. Amazonian tradition good. Uh, hello! Does anyone believe in converting pagans anymore??? (Well, besides the Protestants?!) Nope, we’re going straight for the syncretism condemned in Ecclesium Suam.

Dangers

88. But the danger remains. Indeed, the worker in the apostolate is under constant fire. The desire to come together as brothers must not lead to a watering down or whittling away of truth. Our dialogue must not weaken our attachment to our faith. Our apostolate must not make vague compromises concerning the principles which regulate and govern the profession of the Christian faith both in theory and in practice.

An immoderate desire to make peace and sink differences at all costs (irenism and syncretism) is ultimately nothing more than skepticism about the power and content of the Word of God which we desire to preach. The effective apostle is the man who is completely faithful to Christ’s teaching. He alone can remain unaffected by the errors of the world around him, the man who lives his Christian life to the full.

Somehow looking like a member of the One True Church and bringing that faith to the indigenous people has now become proselytizing. It’s insane. Meanwhile, the non-Catholic groups that stole the supposedly old, broken down, Catholic model of looking like what you are, caring for people, educating them and bringing the faith to them while not engaging in syncretism are booming with conversions. Huh. Go figure. I’m sure if they had vocations, they’d be booming too.

Just as I was about to send this to One Mad Dad for editing, I ran across this piece from Fr. Longenecker. I thought it good. In it, he brings up Fr. Martin, SJ, who adheres to the epic failure that is the new Jesuit missionary tactic. I often think about the story Fr. Martin tells of his long time, same-sex “married” friend. All the “building of bridges” hasn’t brought this man out of the same-sex lifestyle. The outcome of the syncretism of his outreach has had the same outcome of the Jesuits’ modern-day missionaries. Sadly, all of these missionaries have ended up looking a lot more like the people they’re supposed to be bringing to the Faith than the other way around. Honestly, those of us trying to keep our kids Catholic know this is what happens. The more you try to look like the rest of society, the more you end up just like it, and it’s a huge tip-off to parents that it’s time to have some concern. There’s a difference between living in the world and being of the world. The Jesuits have lost that logic right along with the Faith. And this synod?  It’s definitely lost that sight, too.