Sweet as cotton candy. An analysis of the new language of the Church

Sweet as cotton candy. An analysis of the new language of the Church

Sandro Magister
Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven)


[N.B. 1. Google translation (Will substitute a better one when and if it becomes available) 2. Video added]

The following note was released in German on a Swiss weekly on the agency and on-line Austrian Katolische Nachrichten:

And it is here also offer to the Italian public. The author, Joseph Gracia, is the spokesman for the media of the bishop of Chur, Vitus Huonder, but writes here in a personal capacity.

The diocese of Chur, in the canton of Grisons, visitors to Seventh Heaven already know the general vicar Martin Grichting, they could read the comment to report pre-synodal critic of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference:

> William Tell rebels against Rome. The report shocked the Swiss Bishops

But here Giuseppe Gracia, communication expert, analyzes the language used in the ” Final Report “of the synod of last October.



Joseph Gracia

Once the church documents were quite belligerent. They made from hard counterpoint to false prophets who caress the ears and lull the soul while it sinks into the abyss unaware. In the face of recurring dangers of the world, the Church loved to speak out, without the sentimental lyric that seems made for pupils of a special class. But now this has changed. Now the Church wants to take more seriously the current realities of life. He wants to use a new language that does not judge or exclude anyone.

It is the same document of the synod of bishops that gives us a practical demonstration. For example, the exhortation to repentance and sin no more into the background. Instead they speak rather of “growth”, our growth. There is talk of “maturation”, our maturation. The church prefers to “accompany” in the process of maturation, rather than blame. He wants to help us kindly to “discern”.

This mode of expression has an excellent reputation in the prevailing climate in the Church. Heaven and hell? Better to speak of “images of reconciliation and fear.” Good and evil? Sin objective? No, better to speak of a “progressive realization” of the ideal. It is a politically correct language that should not scare unnecessarily lambs. But the Church really take us seriously when engaging in this kind of linguistic turn? We consider us modern men and enlightened?

Immanuel Kant, the Enlightenment meant “the escape of man immaturity that he himself had set.” And today, many are considered mature and enlightened. But this psychological reality has already reached the Church? Probably not, if you prefer expressions such as “growth” and “maturation”. Because if one is in the growth phase it is not yet an adult. And only the immaturity needs maturation.

Of course we all have to somehow grow and mature. But then this also applies to men of the church hierarchy. But these do not seem to consider themselves at the same level with us, because they already know precisely which way we still have to mature. In essence, the Church tells us with his new language: “We help you grow up and mature. So adult and mature as we already are, your pastors.”

But can you really talk like that, if you really understood postmodernism and if you are looking for new ways to a proclamation of the Gospel that is appropriate to our time? The Church wants more openness to the world and more closeness to the realities of life. But this candy ministry that the Church now gives us can not hide the fact that it does not take seriously the contemporary man.

It happens rather than talk to him with condescension “from above.” Perhaps this is inevitable when it announces a divine truth of the human being that is larger and so is always “from above.” But then, the Church should say so openly, instead of playing – or pretend play – who knows everything. Who wants to be taken seriously if it does not achieve this objective acts as the teacher of a special class, but only if he takes seriously the other. Must understand self-awareness and self-understanding of the Enlightenment contemporaries.

The Enlightenment of today do not feel particularly guilty. I am not desperate for a form of mercy that the Church would have refused for so long if he does not want simply to be left alone, l`individuo modern expects from the Church nothing but a kind moral approval for the his lifestyle and the rules considered good by the predominant culture.

Most people I know are considered critical of religion, fairly well informed and quite independent, not some immature students with the need to grow. The soft therapy universal and non-judgmental “special education” are not signs of a growing knowledge of the reality, that the Church would now finally reached No signs of an opening, but rather of infantilism. There seems to want to hold your hand like children, so that we can grow and mature. Pure paternalism.

The old Church policy that was about it more honest. With his words clear, he took us seriously. In the Old Testament, in the book of Deuteronomy, we read in Chapter 30, 19: “I take to witness against you the heaven and the earth: I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that you and your descendants. ”

This is not paternalism. Instead, we are taken seriously, placed before a clear alternative: blessing or curse, life or death. We are treated like responsible people, we’re in front of a choice. We attributed the maturity necessary to be able to discern between good and evil, as Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 5, 37 proclaiming: “Let your speech be yes, yes, no, no. The more is from the evil one . ”

When a synod in Rome, with more than 270 bishops and cardinals and after weeks of hard work, over a period of two years, it has finally its consensus document, it is understandable that it can deepen the understanding of all the issues and present them in a particularly clear.

But after deploying large scale and worldwide two surveys concerning marriage and the family, with the help of which you wanted to hear the opinion of the people of God, it is really disappointing that the main purpose of the synod has been missed .

He wanted to better understand the reality of life in which many families live today, in which love, work and struggle. He wanted to better understand the modernity, in order to better respond to these realities. Instead, two hundred years after Kant, we fell back to before the Enlightenment of self and of self-understanding, to be released instead under paternalistic protection, in a way that Jesus never accepted. What a pity!

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