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The MacGuffin: why the final document is irrelevant

What do we expect of the final document?
– Flowery orthodox statements securing a large majority of bishops.

– Just enough weaselly stuff to give the Pope his opening.


In fiction, a MacGuffin is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot.

[So, did everyone enjoy a nice WUWTS holiday yesterday? I found a walnut tree and brought home about five pounds. Pat Archbold spent most of the day in a tree. Not making it up. And while he was up there waiting for some hapless and doubtless adorably cute woodland creature to come into his sights, he texted this to us. It is what I’ve more or less been telling everyone who imagines that “the good guys won the Synod! Yaaay!” It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. HJMW]


Everybody is talking about the final document of the Synod.  We didn’t even know if we would have one, but now we know there will be a vote [happening as I edit Pat’s piece…stay tuned HJMW].  This is a chance for – the Africans!… the Poles! …the Latvians!… name the latest group of bishops – to save us!!

Sorry folks.  They want you to be focused on the final document.  They NEED you to be focused on the final document.  But i have news for you, the final doc is the MacGUFFIN.  It is simply a plot device meant to move the story forward, but ultimately it is unimportant.  It is a distraction meant to cover the sleight of hand.

What do I expect of the final document?  Well, it will make flowery orthodox statements securing a large majority of bishops.  Of course, with just enough weaselly stuff to give the Pope his opening.

They are not fools, they aren’t going to really fight over the document.  Maybe they will put in an offending paragraph or two, intended to be voted out, so that everybody will cheer their favorite orthodox Bishop. Hooray!! We are saved!

And then the Pope will give his closing remarks (or even in a post synodal exhortation months down the line) in which the he will do only what he needs to do (nuanced they’ll say) to open the door to the heretical episcopal conferences. They will do the rest and the Vatican will do nothing to stop them.

All the while we will be barraged with stories about how all this worry was for nothing! and how the Holy Spirit saved us! as we knew He would all along!!  They will mock the faithful traditionalists and praise the closing document as the mostest orthodoxest document evah!!

And then, one day a few months from now, we will find institutionalized and approved sacrilege occurring daily in dioceses all over the world and oh, by the way, you better get on board with the new mercy.

Or else.



37 thoughts on “The MacGuffin: why the final document is irrelevant”

  1. Sure as 123 says:

    You’re a pope worshipper, you know nothing about Jesus. Now go sit at the children’s table.

  2. David W says:

    He also added the conservative bishops to the synod, so I suspect you may be a wee bit biased in your own assessment of the Pope.

    At any rate you missed the point of the original post of mine. The point was—if one believes that the Pope can teach error in the ordinary magisterium, they clearly do not believe about the Church what the Church claims herself to be.

    Archibold, in his claiming that the Pope intends to weasel in policies, effectively makes a claim about the nature of authority in the Church that contradicts the teaching of the Church. He is saying it will happen. My point is that it will not happen, but a person who thinks it will has missed the point about what Church authority means.

  3. barnabus jonus says:

    Again you fail to show were Archbold has accused the pope of formally teaching error. Be careful of who is guilty of slander here. I judge this pope by his actions, and the blatant stacking the deck with progressive bishops does indeed show bad will on his part, but convincing the lickspittles of this is usually a waste of time.

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  6. barnabus jonus says:

    How is that the same thing? We’ve had popes of bad will in the past.

  7. St Donatus says:

    This whole messy thing is part of the reason why I came back to the Catholic Church. Sounds crazy doesn’t it but think about it.
    1. We know that humans are sinners and that is why Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price. Bishops are humans, thus lead by sinful tendencies.
    2. We see bishops who are supposedly excellent administrators and rulers. Any good administrator or ruler knows that you promote the techniques that are successful and abandon those that aren’t. Yet, for the last 50 years they have been doing just the opposite, abandoning those techniques that have proven greatly successful for about 2000 years and successful today in traditional parishes and orders in performing Christs great commission of drawing people to the truth (such as the rock solid truth so Catholics know what is right and what is wrong, truly reverent sacraments and rites such as Tridentine Mass, traditional baptism, confirmation, confession, etc, beautiful churches). At the same they abandon these, they are promoting wishy-washy beliefs, building warehouses for Churches, promoting priests to bishop who are dismall failures in their parish or diocese, trying to shut down more traditional parishes, the tradtions that Catholics have depended on through thick and thin are now concidered ‘superstition’, removing many practices that helped Catholics stay close to God and learn discipline such as fasting, holy day obligation, promotion of the rosary, adoration of God. Instead they are promoting adoration of ourselves and our opinions (conscience).
    If the Church were just some worldly institution like a company or corporation, it would have closed down but it is supported by the God, so despite this, the Church continues to grow in areas where this modernist heresy hasn’t been fully implemented.
    3. There have been several heresies in Church history that were devastating to the Church, yet it continues to survive and grow. Despite bad popes, nations attacking and killing it’s adherents, Islamic war and assault, genocide against parts of the Church, etc, all those who apposed the Church are now gone (except for Islam).

  8. St Donatus says:

    Good analogy. Think about it, why do people vote for progressives, because they give them free stuff and freedom to feel good about immorality as well, what do these bishops do, give the laity free stuff, (cheap grace) and freedom to feel good about immoratily.

  9. David W says:

    He’s claiming bad will on the part of the Pope:

    “What do I expect of the final document? Well, it will make flowery orthodox statements securing a large majority of bishops. Of course, with just enough weaselly stuff to give the Pope his opening.”

  10. barnabus jonus says:

    Where exactly is Archbold claiming that the pope is “formally” teaching error?

  11. @FMShyanguya says:

    Will it get better? Of course! We have the LORD’s word for it, and we are a people of hope. But I believe it will get worse before it gets better. [Cf. Our Lady’s Apparitions; Approved private revelations; what we have seen from the Pope and those around him; and what the Pope himself has told us that the role of the papacy needs changing …]

  12. David W says:

    So, if one believes all this, why remain a Catholic? I mean, once the Pope formally teaches error, it’s checkmate—the Church never was what she claimed to be. Moreover, if one *believes* that the Pope can teach error formally, then the Church cannot be what she claimed to be in the rebels’ eyes.

    Ultimately, one can either trust that God’s promises apply to this successor of Peter just as much as his predecessors, or one can choose not to trust God. I choose to believe Option #1

  13. Frank says:

    And toss some gratuitous insults at the bishops (and anyone else) who think the clear teachings of Scripture and Tradition actually mean what they say.
    I foresee tremendous growth for the SSPX. I hope they can come up with enough priests to meet the demand.

  14. Heartlander says:

    Kind of analogous to the way the “progressives” in the U.S. have dumbed down people so that so few even understand our constitutional system of government.

  15. Dale Price says:

    It’s important to the extent that it is ambiguous or permissive enough to let the modernists drive their agenda. Just like the Vatican II documents allowed them free reign. And, lo, so it is.

  16. Andy says:

    As sad and sick as this mess is, I got a chuckle at “the new mercy”.

  17. Dymphna says:

    Pat, this is very good. Agreed, totally. Will pass it on…

  18. reconverted idiot says:

    The revolution of the past 100 years, aka modernism, is a revolution of an intellectual elite, imbued with a worldly philosophy that they have raised to the level of ontological truth and from which, as an axiomatic basis, they proceed to deduce ‘reality’. That’s a distilled form of the long answer. The short answer is called “diabolical disorientation”.

  19. reconverted idiot says:

    Wow, I was pretty much raised on the the fodder of the greatest (b-movie) director ever, Alfred Hitchcock, so any reference to a MacGuffin already has me hooked. I totally agree.
    It seems that sitting under a tree all day has its benefits. No wonder Jonah had his own little chat with God under such circumstances, if only the heretics had undergone their own Ninevite conversion meanwhile. Oh well, I guess the only ones repenting are we, for clinging to optimism. Now, where did I put that sackcloth?

  20. Maggie says:

    They forget who triumphs in the end. And their accountability before God.

  21. Maggie says:

    Well, we would not want to focus on the world wide holocaust now would we? Or about the Christians being tortured and martyred in the middle east, Africa, and elsewhere. No, let talk about the small perversions and other disobedient ones and throw in climate change too while we are at it…

  22. Guest says:

    Check this out, Anne Catherine Emmerich Emmerich was a fellow kooky, oil-profit seeking, Neo-Pelagian, hermeneutic of conspiracy subscribing conspiracy theorist:

    “I always see these ‘Illuminati’ in a certain connection with the
    coming of Antichrist; for, by their secrets, by their injustice, they
    forward the accomplishment of that mystery of iniquity.”(Vol 1 p 405)

  23. standtall909 says:

    By the grace of God, we hopefully will be able to find a priest to hear our confessions, at least one that will confirm us in our sin and not one that will tell us nothing is really a sin.

  24. standtall909 says:

    Let’s face it, they interpret most of the Catholic laity as being ‘that stupid’. They’ve managed to dumb down a great majority since Vat ll, so now they are just putting the icing on the cake. They have silenced the masses and put them to sleep with their lack of teaching the faith, so now it’s time to finish the job. There aren’t enough of us left to do them any real damage.

  25. rkat says:

    “The final doc is the MacGUFFIN. It is simply a plot device meant to move the story forward, but ultimately it is unimportant.” Not only the “final doc”: most of our clerical class and the Vatican is a MacGuffin. We pay these people to shepherd us: when and where is that happening? Very occasionally at the parish level, but once you get to the level of bishops, even the orthodox ones are afraid of their own shadow. My takeaway from the synod is that anything short of clarity from the bishops is simply unacceptable. This state of affairs is unacceptable. Lefebvre was right.

  26. JohnCalla says:

    It’s not like bad trees are going to start producing good fruit, after all. The issue is that we have too many bad clergy even in high places, but that ultimately is due to the punishment alluded to by St. John Eudes, as Fr. Gruner used to frequently point out.

  27. PompousMaximus says:

    “Mostest orthodoxest document evah”…. #classicarchbold

    On that whole WUWTS holiday thing…… Not just you all but the whole edifice of trad blogdom seemed eerily quiet yesterday. I took a cue and focused on housework and a bit more prayer. Here’s to what the Church was…. remeber to poor some out for the homies… as they say.

  28. Netmilsmom says:

    So now what?
    Where are they going to put Christ’s Church?

  29. bigfred says:

    I found a walnut tree and brought home about five pounds.

    Good move. This effort might be kind of taxing on you, it’s good to get away outdoors sometimes.

    Here’s your article on abortion listed on pewsitter, let’s see if I can upload a screenshot:

  30. bigfred says:

    Sure, the bad guys will not ever stop. But even so, is it not a big partial victory that Francis didn’t get the rousing endorsement that he had planned upon when first inventing this synod? The endorsement that he would have used to force homo-ism from the top down?

  31. Karen Hall says:

    I really needed this, after reading Mark Brumley’s “All is Well!!!” post and the commenters admonishing us naysayers.

  32. Carolyn C says:

    I completely agree. They are telling people to wait for the final document as it will affirm doctrine. But we know the language will be ambiguous enough to allow various interpretations. This happened with Vatican II documents. This whole Synod is a sham as Chris Ferrarra accurately stated.This is an offense to Our Lord. The priests and bishops involved in these post meetings never speak of the Sacredness of the Body and Blood of Christ, salvation for sinners, the beauty of the Mystical Body of Christ. The whole focus is on pleasing man and accommodating man – not God. Our main concern should be reparations for this great offense to Our Lord. Yes, we should pray for these Bishops, but I find it increasingly difficult as they seem relentless in offending Our Lord (which of course should be our main concern). But they also offend our intelligence. Do they really think we are that stupid?

  33. Matt K says:

    You have to admit, it worked well for them in the ’60s. Why mess with such a successful strategy?

    But we have a successful strategy of our own too, and we have to employ it as a way of saying ‘thanks’ for any clarity we’ve been given is such confusing times. Confession, prayer, and penance (especially the hopelessly Medieval practice of fasting).

  34. Woody says:

    All we need to remember is the final docs from Vatican II. They are there in black and white. However, did the progressives heed those words? Nope, not even the popes. So beware. Buy yourself a copy of Denzinger and Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Stay thirsty for the Truth, not the fads.

  35. Aaron Baugher says:

    Yes. The final document — the whole Synod, really — exists to set a position which Francis can be portrayed as pulling back in the direction of orthodoxy. Five steps forward, one step back, look how he saved us from the radicals! Look at this hand; pay no attention to what I have in the other hand!

  36. Newtemplar says:

    The most revealing statement of this synod was made by Cardinal Marx. “Thank God we have the pope. We bishops do not have to decide.
    Church unity is not in danger. And once the pope has decided, we will
    abide by his decision.” This from the same man who months earlier had stated “We are not just a subsidiary of Rome,”. It is a mistake that many people have made, but to view this process as deliberative instead of consultative is incorrect. “Like all the preceding assemblies, the current synod remains at the
    discretion of Pope Francis. Canon 344 of the new Code is in fact very
    clear: the synod is a purely consultative organ, from which the pope can
    take away what he wants. Certainly, the influence of such a body is far
    from negligible, given the media and the prevailing democratic mindset
    that we know so well. But the law of the Church, remaining what it is,
    gives the Supreme Pontiff the means with which to make his own theology
    triumph”. Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize

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  39. Guest says:

    Jesus said two things: remarriage is adultery; that heaven and earth will pass away but his word will not. Whoever saying that this “discipline” can change with the times is evil or stupid or both. They have degrees and write books but why can’t they recognize this as a heresy?

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