Synod Meeting Follow-Up

Laudetur Iesus Christus!  I hope you all have enjoyed the pleasant weather this weekend with your families along with the proximate celebrations of the Feast of Corpus Christi, ordinations, and the secular observance of Father’s Day, honoring our fathers, most especially our priests who are our spiritual fathers. 

We have received a few inquiries wanting feedback about the Diocesan Synod meeting last week.  Attached is our full synod response (see below).  In addition, I will do my best to represent the day as fair as I can, but in short, the synod meeting was not good.  While we did not have much hope in the synod process at the Vatican level, our hope was that we would finally get to voice our spiritual needs to Bishop Jugis and some real fruit would emerge.  Unfortunately, this did not happen.

Our Bishop was present at the entire meeting, and he was subjected to a barrage of neo-Marxist and anti-Catholic masonic voices.  Some of the speakers at the event were so unhinged, it seemed as though they were reading from the Unabomber Manifesto.  As an example, our Bishop was accused of somehow being complicit in racism, which obligated him to support reparation payments for slavery and universal healthcare.  Additionally, that Bishop Jugis should allow those engaging in homosexual and transgendered lifestyles to be ordained to the priesthood and to have full decision-making roles in the Church.  It was shameful that the chancery allowed him to be subjected to such abuse.

The format of the Synod meeting was highly managed, giving organizers the ability to amplify certain voices and to suppress others.  It seemed that His Excellency came away from that meeting with a sharply skewed anti-Catholic perspective of the “spiritual needs” of his flock.  The inclusive and affirming language was laid down pretty thick.  I lost count of all the times I heard the words “accompany” and “equity” that we needed to “let ourselves be touched” (eww).  The term “unity” was used in regard to the coexistence of error alongside truth.  It was head spinning.  The language presented to Bishop Jugis that day reminded me of the Annibale Bugnini quote featured in the Second Episode of the Mass of Ages documentary, “… we must tread carefully and discretely.  Proposals must be formulated in such a way that much is said without seeming to say anything.   Let many things be said in embryo, and in this way, let the door remain open to post-conciliar deductions and applications.”

When organizers shared the format of the meeting, the potential for deceptive manipulation was immediately apparent.  At the Synod meeting there were roughly 10 tables, each with about 6 to 8 people.  Each of the people at the tables represented a different group (lay associations, diocesan ministries, and select parishes).  The table seating was strictly assigned, and reminders were given that switching tables was not allowed.  Also, at each table there was one person pre-designated to be a table moderator.  With this format, and these controls in place, organizers had full control of the discussion.

The daylong meeting would address the three synod questions in turn at each table with each representative taking turns to give an answer to each question with the table moderator taking notes.  Once everyone at the table was finished discussing the first question, the table moderators at each table would in turn stand up and “share the fruits of the discussion” with Bishop Jugis who was seated at a table at the front of the room.  After all the table moderators had shared their comments regarding the first question, the discussions would then proceed to the same format for questions two and three, respectively.

The deceptive manipulation of the overall synodal message was subtle but distinct.  Several of the table moderators when they rose to speak, they didn’t speak as if they were relaying varied opinions from the table in a dispassionate way, but rather they stood and gave what seemed to be a prepared speech advocating modernist ideology.  One moderator started by saying that her table had “several differences of opinion”, but then proceeded to give a one-sided hardcore modernist speech without any signs of division at all.  

There were some table moderators that tried to articulate a neo-conservative Catholic point of view, but these moderators felt a false duty to represent all sides, an ethic not shared by their modernist counterparts.  The resulting tug-of-war between modernism and the neo-conservative Catholic viewpoints was void of any discussion of traditional Church teaching.  They had no understanding that error does not have any right in the Church.  If a group feels a spiritual need towards sinful behavior or abandonment of the traditional doctrines of the Church, these are not spiritual needs.  Maybe they are demonic influences, but whatever they are, they do not have any right to be presented alongside the unchangeable doctrines of the Church.  Those poisonous voices should have been expelled from the meeting.

Let us call to mind the prophetic words of Pope Saint Pius X in his Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis:  

“We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.”

When the moderator at our table stood to summarize our table’s responses, our CLMC answers were watered down to the point of being meaningless.  For example, during one session, I shared directly from our CLMC synod respondents, frustration that we have written roughly a dozen letters to Bishop Jugis without any replies and that during chance meetings with the Bishop it appeared that he hadn’t seen our letters, leaving us with the feeling that someone at the Diocesan level is blocking our communications.   During our table moderator’s presentation to Bishop Jugis, the moderator reduced our frustration to a more benign, “lack of communication” in the diocesan office.

One additional frustration, within our table discussion, our well-meaning table moderator replied to me directly, saying that personal relationships really do matter when communicating with the diocese.  To which I replied that this is exactly the problem.  The feeling is that some in the chancery play favorites.  When it comes to a Community of more than 1,000 families writing to express legitimate spiritual needs, personal relationships should not matter at all.  These families have a duty to express their spiritual needs to their Bishop, and these families have a right to a clear response.

While it was difficult to sit through the entire meeting, there was one glimmer of hope.  During a break, I was able to have a brief conversation with Bishop Jugis.  I shared with His Excellency that while our full CLMC synod response was making its way through the process, there was one synod response that received overwhelming support — and further that it was time sensitive relating to the upcoming Eucharistic Congress.  He asked me to explain further.  I explained that our Community has a significant number of people who follow the First Saturday Devotion and this year the Eucharistic Congress falls on a First Saturday (August 6th).  This will cause our First Saturday Latin Mass to be cancelled at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Charlotte.  He was genuinely concerned and to my surprise he added that it would also disrupt the First Saturday Latin Masses at St. Elizabeth in Boone and St. John the Baptist in Tryon (it is amazing that he knew that off the top of his head).  

I implored that our Community is requesting that His Excellency assign one of the many priests at the Congress to provide our Community a Latin Mass on the Saturday of the Eucharistic Congress in one of the empty rooms of the Convention Center at a time of his choosing.  I offered that our Community would be happy to cover any added costs or manage any needed logistics.  I prepared a printed letter which outlined this request and with His Excellency’s permission, I presented this letter to him.  He accepted it and committed that he would forward the matter to Father Arnsparger who manages the Eucharistic Congress.  He did not commit to an answer, however, I do believe he will come to our aid in this matter.  Stay tuned.

Please pray for our Bishop that he will be strengthened in fortitude against the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church.

Blessed be His Holy Name,

Chris Lauer
Charlotte Latin Mass Community