Cardinal on charges of rigged synods: “There was no maneuvering!”

Cardinal on charges of rigged synods: “There was no maneuvering!”

John Allen and Claire Giangravé – Mar 3, 2018

[“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”; hat-tip to Canon212: “‘There was no maneuvering!’ – FrancisBoss Cd. Baldisseri defends his rigged, anti-Catholic synod of sacrilege”]

After the first synod, that drama led to a book with the deliberately provocative title, The Rigging of a Vatican Synod: An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, written by Rome-based journalist Edward Pentin.

Yet the man behind the scenes at both events, Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, appointed by Francis in 2013 to run these gatherings of bishops from around the world, insisted to Crux that conspiracy theories about the synod are sound and fury signifying nothing.

“I can say, as clearly as possible, that there was no maneuvering. Please!” he said, his voice rising and becoming more emphatic with every word. “I want to say this with as much force as I can: There was no maneuver, please!”

“Unfortunately, there’s a group of people who say that, but there’s nothing to it,” Baldisseri said, whose formal title is Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.

“If there had been a maneuver, we wouldn’t be where we are,” he said. “It’s a point of fact that this never happened … never, never!”

Asked if he could assure the public that conclusions from the upcoming Synod of Bishops on youth and discernment in October have not yet been determined, Baldisseri was emphatic.

“No, nothing at all [has been determined]!” he said.

“There has to be absolute liberty of discussion, certainly,” Baldisseri said. “The pope has said that clearly. Naturally, the Holy Father convoked these two synods on the family, and he left the greatest space possible for an ample discussion.”

In September 2013, Baldisseri struck many Vatican-watchers as a somewhat curious choice to take over the top job at the synod office, since he’s a career Vatican diplomat who’d never attended a synod. He told Crux, however, that’s what Francis liked about his background.

“I told the Holy Father, ‘You’re giving me a job in which I don’t know the dynamics of the thing’,” he said. “I knew about the synod, of course. I was an apostolic nuncio for my whole life, and doing that job means lots of contacts with Rome, the Holy See, and the local episcopacy, and lots of documents pass back and forth. However, I never was able to participate personally in a synod.”

“The pope said, ‘That’s exactly why I chose you … let’s start over!’” Baldisseri recalled.

According to the 77-year-native of Italy’s Tuscany region, who’s served in Vatican embassies in such diverse settings as Guatemala, Haiti, Paraguay, India and Brazil, Francis wanted to offer a new “impulse” to the Synod of Bishops.

“The synod as an institution is now more than 50 years old, and it’s become for the Holy Father a fundamental instrument of evangelization,” Baldisseri said. “He’s interested in synodality at all levels, in collegiality among the bishops and also in other arenas, such as religious institutes. It’s about participation by the people, the People of God.”

Baldisseri said that emphasis on participation is part of a broader ambition to, essentially, turn the Church upside down.

“There’s the idea in Evangelii Gaudium that up to now, the Church could be represented as a pyramid,” he said. “Today’s it’s an inverted pyramid. The idea is that the top part is placed at the base, and vice-versa.”

“It’s taking the People of God seriously, involving them directly, in order to walk together. It’s not that this didn’t happen in the past, of course, but the approach is different. That’s why the pope is always saying to go to the peripheries, because it means going out to where the people are,” Baldisseri said.

“You can’t just expect that the people are going to come to you in the Church,” he said. “The idea is to go out and be with the people, to listen to them.”

Baldisseri said that approach can induce anxiety.

“This impulse can make some people afraid, because the worry is that if I make myself too available, I’ll lose my identity,” he said. “I might put my faith at risk.”

Francis, he said, is determined that those fears must not “paralyze” the Church.

One new form of outreach for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on youth in October is an aggressive social media operation, including inviting young people from around the world to deliver input both to a pre-synodal gathering and, eventually, to the synod itself, using Facebook.

(As a footnote, 2018 thus marks the very first time Facebook has been a point of entry into a Synod of Bishops.)

Baldisseri said the idea is to try to meet young people where they are and speak in a language they understand.

“In the first place, it was born because Pope Francis today wants to use a language that’s adequate for evangelization, because language is fundamental,” he said. “In Evangelii Gaudium [a 2013 apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis], there’s a section on the homily and how it should be done today, and it makes the point that the language and the means of transmitting the Word of God have to be adequate.”

“Obviously, one of those means today is social media,” Baldiserri said. “Even the pope himself is on Twitter.”

The synod chief conceded that some find the whole world of social media puzzling and even alarming, but argued that pretending it doesn’t exist won’t do the trick either.

“This phenomenon is new, it has to be studied and considered to be able to interpret this new world,” he said.

“When we talk about hashtags, or WhatsApp, or tweets, or Youtube, we’re talking about a different world from that of adults, that’s a fact. We’ll often complain that youth today are constantly using their telephones and live in a virtual world,” he said.

“That’s true, it’s true, but what do we do? Do we try to take them away, to put up barriers? It doesn’t work,” he said.

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7 comments on “Cardinal on charges of rigged synods: “There was no maneuvering!”

  1. Another mother lode of comedy gold, dropped right in our laps! I don’t even know where to begin. Oh, wait! I’ll have to scramble up into the attic to find that old TV Guide with “Dick Clark Interviews Jimmy Swaggert and Dr. Joyce Brothers”.
    I just knew it would come in handy some day…

    • Your first two sentences: Exactly what I was thinking.
      Well, I’ll just begin at the beginning, as I see it.
      “If there had been a maneuver, we wouldn’t be where we are,”
      Hey, Baldy, we hear you.
      Because in the Liberal Lexicon, ‘maneuver’ means “dishonest, underhanded tactics of Traditionalists and other right wing obstructionists”.
      But OBVIOUSLY, when you ****** lying Liberals do it, it’s called proactive strategy of the People of God.
      Yeah, so if there had been a ‘maneuver’ you are absolutely right we wouldn’t be where we are — up **** Creek without a paddle.

    • I can’t find anything including Jimmy Swaggart, but here is a prank interview by Joyce Brothers with Morton Downey, Jr. – narrated by Dick Clark:
      Morton Downey Jr. Prank by Joyce Brothers with Dick Clark with Bill Boggs

  2. A Vatican department allegedly intercepted over a hundred copies of a new book written by five cardinals to prevent it being read by the majority of participants of a synod last October called by Pope Francis.

    “Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” a commercially successful book reaffirming Catholic teaching on marriage and the family, was mailed to all the synod fathers in the Paul VI Hall, where the meeting was taking place.

    Reliable and high level sources allege the head of secretariat of the synod of bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, ordered they be intercepted because they would “interfere with the synod.”

    Vatican Alleged to Have Intercepted Synod Book

  3. LOTI !!! How GREAT to see your post!
    I actually thought of you two evenings ago, wondering how you are. Don’t be a stranger here. I hope to see more posts from you, as you have the opportunity.

  4. Okay, next up…
    Asked if he could assure the public that conclusions from the upcoming Synod of Bishops on youth and discernment in October have not yet been determined, Baldisseri was emphatic.
    “No, nothing at all [has been determined]!” he said.
    Didja notice the brackets?
    That’s an editorial “clarification”; that’s the editor talking, not Baldiserri; the editor is *supplying* for Ol’ Baldi’s refusal to answer the question!
    All Baldi really said was: “No, nothing at all!”
    It’s an incomplete sentence. By saying “No, nothing at all”, Ol’ Baldi is *saying*…um…nothing at all.
    But he’s surely *thinking* something.
    The editor thinks Baldi’s thinking is that “nothing at all” refers to predetermined outcomes of the synod.
    Begging the Cardinal’s pardon, but if I were the editor, I’d be inclined to think he’s thinking this:
    “No, nothing at all [will I tell you about that]!”
    Of course, I’d have to contact the Cardinal to ask for a clarification.
    Think I’d get one?
    Speaking with a forked tongue; dealing in ambiguities, mental reservations, double entendres and half truths is instinctual and habitual for a Lib.

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