About 25 years ago, I was on a Northbound train returning from Bavaria to the Eifel, just south of Cologne. On it was a group of +70-year-old German men, all dressed like gangstas, complete with colorful tracksuits, numerous gold chains, flat-brimmed lids cocked to the side or on backward, and sporting expensive sneakers that would have been the envy of every hoodlum in da ‘hood — had these gentlemen ever stepped foot there.

The spectacle of these biological adults in denial of their age, dignity, and impending mortality was a sight to behold. Setting down the book I was reading – it was difficult to read with their loud banter – I had no choice but to listen to them. Using adolescent street slang while speaking about their female conquests, nights spent dancing at the club, etc., they completed the picture I was so struck with upon boarding the train. Perhaps more striking than the contrast of their wrinkles and gray hair beneath their rapper outfits was their inescapable rural German dialect attempting to mimic inner-city American thugs.

For some reason this image I had done my best to forget was regurgitated when I saw this video:

Where to begin?

Ever since Vatican 2 we’ve seen a neurotic element in the Church obsessed with itself – not the Church per se, but themselves, under the guise of the Church. They are forever talking about themselves, inquiring after themselves, singing about themselves, making felt banners about themselves, and now holding synods about themselves.

One of the common features I’ve seen in the many mentally unsound people who come to me seeking help is an obsession with the self and an inability to assess one’s place in reality.

Listening to these improperly attired geriatrics speak about themselves as “young” – as if that were of itself a positive quality, reveals something of this neurosis.

One of the persons interviewed for this propaganda video said, the Church is a listening Church, therefore the Holy Spirit is listening. Does anyone question whether or not the Holy Spirit has auditory faculties? I don’t think it was meant in this way; rather it was meant in the sense of learning, changing, and adapting.

So now, as these poor deluded old people who have spent their lives obsessing with themselves near their own demise, they tell us they have something to teach God.

I was struck this last Sunday (The XVII Sunday after Pentecost) by the Epistle and Gospel juxtaposition. Paul speaks about the Church, ekklesia, those who have been called out of the world by divine initiative, while the Jews “came together”. The verb used was a form of synaxis, coming together by human initiative in order to “test” Christ. Matthew uses the word peiratzon 6 times. It means to test, tempt, put on trial, and always has a demonic use in his Gospel – the first of which is the testing of Christ in the desert. In other words, they formed a sort of anti-church, coming together to test, tempt, and ultimately put God on trial.

Those who claim the Church has to learn from the world, the Holy Spirit has to learn, to listen, and adapt – or else… – seem hellbent on coming together to form their own anti-church.

Something demonic is afoot.

Of course, if the Church is going to have a synod, I pray that it be carried out in a way that gives God glory, reflects on His most Holy Will, and proposes to carry it out to the glory of His Holy Name and for the salvation of souls. If it is a mere human initiative manipulated by the Evil One, I pray that He squash it.

— Fr. Ermatinger