Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Nobody, not even my mother, knew what my father’s personal relationship with God was. But of the Old Gentleman’s opinion of organized religion, there was no doubt. In my younger day, he would go on periodic tears about its backwardness and blindness, and almost invariably end up sneering about theology being nothing more than “sitting around arguing about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.” (In the end, he became a regular attendee at the little Episcopal chapel on the island where he and the Mothe spent their final years, and even served on the vestry. I tweaked him about this once and he just mumbled something about “being social”. Uh, huh.)

Anyhoo, I recall a conversation we had one day in the early 80’s. Pope St. John Paul II had just restated the Church’s stance on what are delicately termed “reproductive freedoms” and was getting savaged for it by the press. After listening to a radio nooz report, the Old Gentleman said, “The Pope needs to get with the times!”

Now Ol’ Robbo was only in high school at the time and was not exactly a regular church-goer, and it would be another 25-odd years before I myself swam the Tiber, but even then I thought this was wrong.

“Surely,” I said, “the Pope’s responsibility is to protect the orthodox teachings of the Church from fads and fashions, and to take a mighty close look at anything calling itself ‘reform’ or ‘transformation’ or ‘going forward’ to make sure that there isn’t a wolf lurking under such sheep’s clothing.” (I didn’t put it exactly in those words, but that was the sense of it.)

The Old Gentleman waived my point away dismissively.

I bring this up in light of this Synody Synod of Synodicious Synoditiness which has just opened up in Rome, because I’m hearing and reading those buzzwords again and cannot dismiss all of it as a simple matter of poor translation or media wish-casting. Too many people whose opinions I respect, including my own Padre, are signaling either openly or otherwise that trouble is coming, possibly really big trouble, and that it’s coming not from outside HMC but from within.

As near as I can tell, the push seems to be to take the Church post-modern, to eliminate as much of the antiquated icky-poo as possible, and to start over at Year One worshiping the “god” inside each of us, meaning ourselves. (Did I get that right?) And even if the Synodic Synod of Synodical Synodipity produces only modest change in and of itself, there are plenty of those who eagerly will run with the “spirit” of the thing to cause all sorts of damage and mischief, much as was done in the case of Vatican II.

I was talking with my old pal Father M (who used to blog over at Pater Paterium), not about this Synodiffic Synod of Synodical Synodapalooza, but about the general direction of things under Father Bergoglio. He counseled patience, saying, “a fat pope is always followed by a thin pope”. (Where do I mail in my vote for Cardinal Sarah?) I also remind myself that Jesus specifically promised to Peter that not even the gates of hell would prevail against the Church.

Since it’s all out of my hands anyway, I suppose all I can do is pray, sit tight, and see what happens.