Progressive Discovery: Not even a progressive-friendly pope is shielded from angry traditionalists - and there's a lot of them
I remember when John McCain was running for president, and it came out that Palin's daughter had gone and gotten pregnant. The expectation from liberals (were they even 'progressives' back then?) was that this would absolutely sink Palin among the religious right. Why, they despise sex with a passion, particularly underage sex! How could they ever be expected to tolerate this mother of a harlot?
The result was their being perplexed when the response from the right was largely 'That's unfortunate, it's a mistake, we wish her well. Palin is great!'
I think something similar went on here, maybe even with the Pope himself. There was this idea that the Pope - certainly the Pope and a synod - could change everything. Gay marriage for all! Abortion is no longer a sin, nay, it's a sacrament! Divorced lesbians getting married after their mutual abortions, blessed by the new female priest! There was that energy in the air for a great moment of triumph.
Besides, what can traditionalists do? Revolt? Against the Pope, who as we all know, can do no wrong according to Church teaching because that's actually the doctrine of infallibility and not some weird mockery of it? Pshaw.
Well, it turns out the traditionalists can say that changing Church teaching on the progressive hot button issues is heresy, and nothing says 'schism' like heresy. Even if cardinals or even a pope have a hand in declaring it.
The conservatives came to near open revolt over this sort of thing, once they started to suspect - not without reason - that they were walking into a rigged synod. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways (and I do believe the Holy Spirit's at work here), but much to the chagrin of modern sensibilities, sometimes it works through threats.
Vague wishy-washiness is a progressive Hail Mary, and it's been heavily muted by the synod itself
Let's be blunt: progressives only rely on vague, open-to-interpretation documents when they absolutely can't get anything else. They'd sanctify anal sex and condemn "homophobia" / "any criticism of sexual proclivities whatsoever" in canon law if they thought they could get away with it. So when they're forced to talk about respecting Church teaching while attempting to meet the diversity and cultural sensibilities of the areas they're ministering to, while that's still a case of progressive subterfuge - it's also a desperate one.
It's a situation they're forced into, not a place they want to be.
Do not get me wrong. Subterfuge and intentionally wonky interpretations of Church teaching is bad. They're threats, and Inquisitor Crude says these things should be suppressed. But it's also nothing new. Oh, liberal clergy are going to skirt around doing the good and moral thing and look for any technicality that lets them do everything from hang an idiotic rainbow flag in their church to give communion to the local feminist abortionist?
There's a name for that: 'The current state of affairs.' The fact that they added some convoluted flaky pastoral-talk doesn't change that.
And keep in mind, there was a price paid for maintaining that status quo: formal synodal rejection of the that idea marriage can be dissolved, that gay marriage or even same-sex sexual relationships are moral or on par with actual marriages, and more. I know some people think that progressives are happy to pay lip service to those kinds of things even while not believing them, but if you think that, you're a decade out of date. To say 'Gay marriage is immoral and the Church cannot accept it' is not something you can wink and nudge while saying, and have the modern progressive tolerate you. It's a great way to be considered an enemy who, given the opportunity, they will destroy so as to make an example out of. (Unless you're a suitably brown muslim, in which case even your gang rapes will get downplayed.)
It's a bit like the Jubilee forgiveness of abortions. Some traditionalists are aghast, thinking it's a kind of Papal move to make pro-abortionists happy. Even if that were right, it's pointless. Forgive a feminist for having an abortion and she'll be outraged that you dare claimed that what she did was at all a sin to begin with. These maniacs are not the fringe; they are the forefront now. And vague wishy-washiness can't pacify maniacs.
Now, what it can do is confuse otherwise well-meaning and sincere people. Big problem, that. But again - that's not new.
It's made progressive cardinals look ineffective, and traditionalist cardinals into heroes
Progressives looked at the synod as a potential watershed moment that could see, if not total victory, then at least major and explicit advancement on their issues of choice. They walked away with vague pastoral talk and the very teachings they despise being formally reinforced, even if that reinforcement is insincere for some.
Traditionalists, meanwhile, not only managed to emerge apparently triumphant, but now knowing which cardinals are progressive, which are wishy-washy, and which are nigh heroic. Burke, the African cardinals, and more come to mind in the latter case.
Now, more than ever, traditionalists have a better idea of which cardinals they can count on, and which they have to watch closely. Whether this will translate into action is another question, but juxtaposing this with the weakening of the taboo traditionalists sometimes have regarding criticizing high rank clergy, and hey - the potential for interesting things to happen is there.
And that's my summary for the moment.