If only Pope Francis weren't running a Secret Synod, the Bear is certain we could be laughing as much as we are crying.
Any synod that has an elderly couple bragging about their 57-year sex life has to be rich. The Bear can see it now. Cut to a tight shot of the man's face (which wears a satisfied expression), as he says, "Ask your doctor if Cialis is right for you."
Alas, there is little humor in this sorry synod, and the Bear's pot of poison in which to dip his pen is running low.
Here is a quote from G.K. Chesterton, though.
Christianity is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities. ...The Church always seems to be behind the times, when it is really beyond the times; it is waiting till the last fad shall have seen its last summer. It keeps the key of a permanent virtue.
And the contrary sums up the synod. The Church is chasing after the world, not instructing it, not inspiring it, not encouraging it to be a better place. The "key of permanent virtue" turns out to be not so permanent after all. In a very real sense, the problems the synod is addressing are the fruits of the sharp rebellion against Humanae Vitae, which rebellion grew from the same rotten soil as Vatican II.
Sex is recreation. That is the motto and epitaph of the West, the Church not excluded. As the Aussie couple with the 57-year sex life -- 55 of it married -- boasted, "marriage is a sexual sacrament with its fullest expression in sexual intercourse." (Kids, don't worry: mom and dad will never embarrass you by publicly discussing their elder-sex, no matter how smokin'.)
Sex is recreation. And across the West the greatest demographic disaster in history -- greater than the Black Death -- is snuffing out an entire civilization. The priest who bemoans the lack of vocations is the same priest who "pastorally" encourages young couples to let their conscience be their guide when it comes to contraception. We have entire generations of priests who cannot grasp the simple math that it takes a bit over two children, on average, just to maintain a population. You want vocations? Lead us back to big, Catholic families. Because mom and dad (did the Bear mention they have a great sex life?) are unlikely to encourage their precious only child to become a priest.
Sex is recreation, and the only sacrament the world is willing to recognize. Real Presence? Medieval superstition! Sex? Now we're talking!
If the Church fathers were right to find features of the Christian era in the Old Testament, some pungent language from Ezekiel and Jeremiah comes to mind. Israel's unfaithfulness is described as prostitution. Now there's some sexual recreation! "But trusting in thy beauty, thou playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and thou hast prostituted thyself to every passenger, to be his." (Eze 16:15).
Pray that the Church does not play the harlot in this synod. Pray that she listens to the voice of her Bridegroom: "And it hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery." (Mt 5:31–32).
At the end of the sexy septuagenarian's talk (which also included an endorsement of homosexuality) the clerics clapped. Ironically, the frisky Aussies discerned the real issue behind the bishops' hand wringing. As Malcolm Muggeridge observed, "Sex is the mysticism of materialism and the only possible religion in a materialistic society."