Now that I have returned from Chartres, I will, as promised, start to outline my thinking about how best we prepare for the forthcoming Synod.
There is no doubt that we face a major crisis in the Church. Many German bishops have already declared that if they do not get the changes that they desire, they will disregard the Synod's conclusions and press on with their own agenda. They are also, apparently, already organising secretly to try to bring about the results they want. The situation is equally grave in most of Europe and North America. In the Vatican, Cardinal Burke has been sidelined and will not attend the Synod. Meanwhile a vicious and coordinated press attack has been launched on Cardinal Pell, in the hope of discrediting him before the Synod starts.
Here in the UK, we have few bishops who seem willing and able to offer the kind of leadership that we so desperately need; we also have people like ACTA - a small group who make a disproportionate amount of noise.
So it is my belief that the orthodox Catholic laity in the UK should be more vocal and more active in the run-up to the Synod. The recent letter to the Catholic Herald was a good start, but I am sure that there is more we can - and indeed should - do.
So over the next few days I will be outlining some ideas, and will be keen to hear from people whether they are supportive of them, what else we should do, and what people around the country are prepared to commit to. I think it will be important that we share our commitments, both to hearten each other and to stimulate each other into further action.
Above all, though, I think we need to start with SPES: Supplication and Penance for the Extraordinary Synod.
When we consider Our Lord's example, He frequently spent time in prayer and fasting prior to major undertakings. Given that He had no need to discipline His body via mortification, as it was not subject to concupiscence and was entirely untainted by sin, we have to understand that it was precisely to give us an example. So we would be rash not to follow it.
SPES is also, of course, the Latin for Hope, and is one of Our Lady's titles: Spes Nostra (cf for example, the Salve Regina).
So I invite all readers of this blog to pray and fast or offer other penance for the Synod, and for guidance on what we should do between now and then.
Equally, I invite anyone with any connections to the real pray-ers of the Church - contemplative orders - to contact them, and ask them to pray for us, the laity and for a successful outcome to the Synod.
As I mentioned, I will be posting suggestions over the next few days - and look forward to hearing what others propose to do, too. We must not allow anyone to think that ACTA for example, represent the typical views of British Catholics.
Sancta Maria, spes nostra: ora pro nobis.
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