Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Syncretism ... or why OECTA is killing the baby to salvage some dirty bathwater

Syncretism is the amalgamation of differing ideas or political movements. It has been a very popular tactic amongst certain advocacy groups. During the Viet Nam war era it was common for groups protesting the war to attach their own pet agenda to the common antiwar agenda in piggy back fashion. Such groups hoped that by riding on the coattails of a more popular movement, their own pet cause could gain traction. One of the problems with this approach was that it was ultimately divisive. Diverse groups could agree in opposing the war but often their pet agendas were mutually exclusive.

Fast forward to the present day. Everyone agrees that bullying in schools is a serious problem that deserves attention. Some activists have seen an opportunity to advance their own particular agenda by piggy backing it on common concerns about bullying. This has been wildly successful. Not only have these activists completely co-opted the anti-bullying agenda but they have succeeded in poisoning the well. Their opponents have largely ceased advancing their own concerns about bullying and their own message in fear of being associated with the new agenda.  They have abandoned the high ground and are beating a rather ignoble retreat.

Why are secular organizations like OECTA so wildly successful? It is because they have adopted this syncretistic strategy. They take something good which is entirely in accord with Catholic teaching and piggy back other ideas which are rather dubious or even opposed to the Church's teaching. The resulting mixture benefits from it's association with the truth and people swallow it whole. Why do they do this? Some are no doubt well intentioned but quite confused about Catholic teaching. There are others, I am sure, with far baser motives. The short answer is that they do it because they can.

There is no one there proclaiming the gospel and the teachings of the Church unequivocally. They have fled from the field in fear of being contaminated by heretical ideas and they sit in their upper rooms unwilling to venture forth. They have abandoned the battlefield... the school and marketplace... to the enemy. 

I am reminded of Archbishop Pocock and his reaction to the inclusion of pro-abortion agencies in the United Way.  Rather than simply walk away and yield the ground to these agencies, he initiated Share Life as a continuing funding source for Catholic Charities.

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