Archbishop Gądecki and the Synod of Doom
[In which Dorothy recounts one step in her slow march over to the Dark Side…
Join us, Dorothy! Join the Traddie snark brigade! Nothing any bishop does will ever scare you again!…HJMW]
If you will cast your minds back to October 2014, you may recall the pit of your stomach falling away and panic coursing through your veins as social media filled with the incredible news that, within the first week, the Synod of the Family had suggested communion for the divorced-and-remarried, posited the special gifts and talents of homosexuals (as homosexuals) and lobbied for a special, back-bending welcome for them (as homosexuals). I realize that this is all very zzzzz now, but that evening it was all shiny and new, like a Panzer division heading for Poland in September 1939.
You may also recall that there had been a media blackout, and we had never really been in this situation before, so we believed all we were told. Therefore, you may also remember despair. Mingled panic and hunger drove me out to the local supermarket – by local, I mean a mile away – but I do not remember the walk. We needed groceries, so I bought groceries. I needed strong drink, so I bought strong drink. My mind kept returning to Rome and the preliminary report and the bishops who had produced it.
As a Catholic, I have had some bad, bad moments and witnessed some shocking betrayals–but always from the dumber “peer ministers” and from priests. Oh, yes, of course, there were some nasty gay or covering-up-for-gay-priests scandals involving a bishop there, a Cardinal here. That, however, was about , sin–men behaving badly–not doctrine. Not doctrine.
The Borgias did everything else (we are told), but I never heard they messed with doctrine.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been six hours since my last confession.”
“Dear me, Cesare. What have you gotten up to in six hours?”
“I have beaten a servant within an inch of his life and had sex with my mistress.”
“Normal sex or bizarre?”
“Nevertheless, Cesare, those are very serious sins. Try to temper your hot blood with prayer. For your penance, walk around the church on your knees, while reciting the Lord’s Prayer 150 times.
“And tell your mother and Lucrezia I’ll be home in time for supper.”
Alexander VI was a colourful guy, but at no point did he come out and preach to the world that sexual sins were not really sins after all… and then pose for portraits with his mistress. Thus the average Catholic, who was an illiterate peasant toiling away in the fields singing local hymns in honour of the Mother of God, was neither as scandalized nor as unhappy as little Dorothy standing in the check-out queue at Tesco with a bottle of gin.
“Lord, to whom can we go?” I prayed. The Orthodox? What? To the Errors of the Greeks? No. The Ukrainians? Same bishops, same Rome. Copts? Same old Rome. Rome. Rome. Rome. Because ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia. I was stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck. There is only Rome, and Rome was a heretic.
I went home with the groceries and the bottle and poured myself a big old G & T before turning to the computer again. And then a miracle happened. A Polish miracle. This is how I imagine it happened:
“Ale bzdury!” shouted Archbishop Gądecki, reading the preliminary report. “This is rubbish. Absolute rubbish. Dangerous, anti-marriage, anti-Catholic rubbish. Who wrote this stuff?”
“Well, Your Grace, it would seem that his Grace Archbishop Forte…”
But Archbishop Gądecki had disappeared, gone in a swirl of black and purple as he marched to Vatican Radio. Flunkies bowed before him, and the staff in the “Eastern” European division fell to their knees and bopped their foreheads on the floor before pawing at his hands. Given the choice between being a Hollywood superstar and a Polish bishop, I’d pick Polish bishop, 24/7.
“Oh Your Grace! How happy we are that you are among us! Quick, quick, Michał! It is a bishop!”
“Oh happy day!”
“May I kiss Your Grace’s ring?”
Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss.
“Yes, yes, my children, but stop that now. How does this thing work? Turn it on at once.”
And soon thereafter your correspondent, drunk in front of her computer, learned that a Polish archbishop had slagged off the preliminary report and revealed that many–but many–of the bishops had hated it too. Reader, I burst into tears.
Tears coursing down my cheeks, I drunk-blogged my devotion to Archbishop Gądecki, the Polish Bishops Conference, Polish Catholicism, Poland, Polish, pierogies, polkas and the little old ladies who who listen to Radia Maryja in the public toilets while making sure the desperate throw 2 złoty into their tin dishes.
My husband, who was not drunk but had kept a cool head in this crisis, came in and made me take down my encomium, but it may have been something like:
I love you Archbishop Gądecki. May you live forever. May you become the next pope. May you be canonized by the one after you. May your lost family estates in the Ukraine be returned to you, if you actually had any. May I play a significant role in returning them to you. May your spiritual children number as the stars in the sky and the sands along the Baltic Sea.
It is no exaggeration to say that when I was feeling as miserable as a Catholic as I had in my whole life, my faith in the bishops shaken to the marrow, Archbishop Gądecki and his Vatican Radio interview restored my faith in the successors of the apostles. The Polish ones, at least. Or that Polish one.
One of the most aggravating things about the Church, which continues on and on and on, is a culture of secrecy and cover-up and outright lying to the poor people in the pews. Some priests and prelates quite obviously love this. They LOVE it. It gives them so much juicy and delicious POWER. I know something you don’t know! I know something you don’t know!
However, Archbishop Gądecki is obviously not of this ilk because he keeps on telling Poland what is going on at the Synod. Panamanian bishop thinks Moses more compassionate to married people than Our Lord Jesus Christ? Archbishop Gądecki thinks Poland should know. Someone is distributing pro-homosexual sex propaganda written by women theologians? Archbishop Gądecki thinks Poland should know that, too.
And why? Presumably because Archbishop Gądecki is the President of the Polish Bishops Conference, and he models himself on the Good Shepherd who thinks first of his sheep, and not of hanging out with the other shepherds and their hirelings, back-slapping and telling jokes while the sheep fall into ditches and are carried off by wolves.
So God bless Archbishop Gądecki, and may a team of Catholics begin simultaneously translating his blog into all the languages of the world.
HJMW: we offer below some soothing reading material that pairs well with G&Ts.