There is increasing talk about “synodality” and average weather conditions. Now it is an exceptionally cringe and lazy joke, of the kind seen on the eccentric and less frequented corners of the internet, to remark that synodality begins with syn.
Bad, but not, as we have seen, inapt.
It may, at first, appear odd that synodality was chosen as the word to mask doomed attempts to change dogma in the Church, because synod means nothing more than meeting. That makes synodality mean something like meetingly, and so (the other one we hear) the synodal path means the way of the endless meeting.
It only later becomes clear that, because of its infinite flexibility, it is an ideal motte-and-bailey of a word.
For instance, suppose a German bishop whispers to you, “Would you like to venture down the synodal path with me?” You either do, or you raise your hand to smack him upside the head. It’s then he retreats to a simpler meaning of the word and says, “Whoa there, big fella! I only meant we should meet and talk about this odd desire.” In or out: the word works.
Synodality and its cousins, then, allows its hearer to swap in whatever meaning he finds most comforting, which affords its speaker an opportunity to see how far he can push things.
With all that in mind, let’s examine what the man in charge of the Vatican said recently. “There is no going back on the process of synodality,” he said.
Now “the process of synodality” could mean something banal, like continuing the recent spate of interminable soul-draining stultifying time-eating unread-report-generating meetings. Or it could mean, to those of a certain bent, the continuing dismantling of all that is True and Beautiful.
In this most current case, “synodal process” was applied to the climate. Not in any metaphorical sense: he meant the weather. Doubtless the cold and brutal winter we are still living with (as I write, the temperature is a fine and breezy 36 F in mid April) will, after the data is suitably processed by Science, be announced to have been part of “One Of The Hottest Years On Record”. But never mind that.
The man in charge said it is a sin—not syn—to “not take care of the climate”. And that not taking care of the climate is a “form of paganism.” This is most curious.
Specifically, it is reported he said, in response to a priest’s questions of how minor variations in the earths pseudo-mean artificially defined mean temperature could be tied to evangelization:
“[N]ot taking care of the climate is a sin against the gift of God that is creation.”
“In my opinion, this is a form of paganism: it is using those things that the Lord has given us for his glory and praise as if they were idols,” he continued.
“I think not caring for creation is like idolizing it, reducing it to an idol, detaching it from the gift of creation. In. [sic] this sense, caring for the communal home is already ‘evangelization’.”
Perhaps the most charitable reading of this is that the speaker, like many in rulership positions, defers too readily to Experts. Experts have decreed that we only have a short time left to save the earth from a climate “catastrophe.” They say that a small increase in a weirdly defined global temperature composite is an “existential threat”, which is clearly false.
Too, they have been saying these things since at least 1971—regular readers will recognize this is one of my favorite radio clips from WLS in 1971:
At this late date, there’s little excuse taking Expert’s word for anything. In any subject. But especially “climate” Experts, given how poor a track record they have.
Even ignoring that, it’s difficult to understand how treating the “climate” with indifference, acting as if, as it were, like the air we breathe, is a form of “paganism.”
Rather, worshiping the weather, treating man like he is not part of creation, that he is, instead, a cancer upon face of the earth, is as pagan as it gets.
Even if you don’t believe that, there is nothing any person can do to worship the climate. Nothing beyond the quelling the ordinary sins of greed and envy and inuring yourself to material discomfort, which are always good ideas.
How hitting the streets and warning people about a possible few tenths of a degree increase in some arbitrarily defined temperature at some far future date aids evangelization is a complete mystery, though.
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.