46 / CHRONICLESnJimmy Swaggart is a moral bully.nBut he’s an honest moral bully, upfront,ndisguising nothing. He is hisnown show, an anointed man of Godnand, not incidentally, an American.nAs such, he exercises both his duty as anpreacher and his rights as a citizen byntelling others what God thinks. Thenones who disagree, believing that Godndoesn’t talk to Jimmy only, or that Godndoesn’t talk to Jimmy at all, or thatnThe Pope andnthe Pressnby Joseph SchwartznWhen the Extraordinary Synod of thenRoman Catholic Church ended (Decembern1985), thousands of wordsnwere written about the event by religiousnjournalists of every variety. Moreninteresting, however, from a rhetoricalnpoint of view, was the pre-Synod journalism;nit provides an excellent illustrahonnof the not-uncommon attemptnof the press to formulate the agenda ofnpublic events, not merely to report ornto comment on them. In the UnitednStates, certain religious journals hopednto influence the agenda of the Synod,nand failing that, to prejudice theirnaudience against what the Synodnmight teach.nThe strategy is not new. If, forninstance, these journalists are warnednthat the new Canon Law will insist onnCatholic universities being Catholicnand not something else, they will bensure that before the Canons are promulgatednthey have published the reasonsnwhy they will not (cannot) worknin this country, heading the Vaticannoff at the pass, as it were. With respectnto the Extraordinary Synod, Americanand Commonweal, among others,nprovided excellent samples of this cowboynjournalism.nA number of bishops and a varietynGod doesn’t exist—these people,nbeing equally convinced of theirnrights, stand fast and return the force.nAn example of America coming backnon itself—to no real effect, but to nonharm, either.nThe people about to be affected arentrue believers, the Fundamentalistsnwho have set about doctoring the oldnreligious recipes—a little of this, andash of that—with a fervor. In theirnTYPEFACESnof clerical opinion-shapers share thenhope of creating an American CatholicnChurch v/ith much closer ties tonmodernism, to the contemporary secularnscene—a liberal Church whichnunderstands the nature of power andnwhich will devote itself, at least for anwhile, to the things of this world as itsnprimary end. While retaining a nostalgicntie to Rome, it will do things in thenAmerican way. The partisans of such annotion read the documents of VaticannII to have been a call for a horizontalnchurch, a confederation of localnchurches. Hence, The National CatholicnReporter printed a warning that thenSynod had better not turn back thenclock on Vatican II reforms. In Commonweal,nGregory Baum, the spokesmannfor liberal optimism, warned thenChurch to give up its “tragic, oppressive,nself-defeating bureaucratic centralism”nif it wanted to remain true ton”the decentralizing collegial tradition”naffirmed by Vatican II.nIn their attempt to influence thenagenda of the Synod, Catholic journalistsnbrought up two items morenthan any others: (I) the authority of thenUniversal Church must be substantivelynchanged because of the conceptnof collegiality; (2) episcopal conferencesnmust be recognized as having theologicalnstatus and juridical authority.nMsgr. George C. Higgins noted thenlinkage between these two conceptsnwhen writing in America that episco­nnncreativity, they might remind themselvesnof one thing: Jimmy Swaggartnnever has Pat Boone as a guest on hisnprograms. And agitated nonbelieversnmight do themselves a favor to learnnwhy such a fact has significance.nBut don’t hold your breath.n]anet Scott Barlow covers popularnculture from her home in Cincinnati,nOhio.npal conferences were a logical corollarynto the principle of collegiality,ncalling this one of the centra! issuesnthat needed “to be aired without hindrancenat the synod.” His views enjoyednthe protection of the large umbrellanof James M. Malone, presidentnof the National Conference of Bishops,nwho announced in America thatnhe was going to Rome to share withnthe Synod his “profound convictionnthat our experience . . . with an episcopalnconference has been on thenwhole a very positive one.” BishopnMalone also felt that a “communalnconcept of the church” is more innkeeping with “the needs and dispositionsnof the contemporary scene. Herncollegiality is central.”nThe attack on the authority of thenUniversal Church by Ladislas Orsy,nS.J., was more broadly based. Whilenhe did indeed feel that giving greaternscope and freedom to episcopal councilsnthe world over would be a step innthe right direction, the really progressiventhing would be to find a way tonrelease the energy of the people of Godnby opening their minds in a way thatnCanon Law does not now offer themnthe opportunity to do. New structuresnare needed to allow the laity to voicentheir insights, to protect them (fromnwhom?), and to involve the bishopsn”much more” in the government ofnthe Church. In his contribution,nAvery Dulles, S.J., described the sta-n