Friday, August 25, 2023

Cardinal Burke sees ‘revolution at work’ in Synod process

The Synodal Process Is a Pandora's Box: 100 Questions & Answers - TFP

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has called it a “hostile takeover” of the Catholic Church. The late Cardinal George Pell termed it a “toxic nightmare”. 

Now, Cardinal Raymond Burke has written a foreword to a new book denouncing the Synod on Synodality as a “Pandora’s Box” that threatens to unleash grave harm on the Mystical Body of Christ.

The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box, co-authored by José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue, presents readers with a series of 100 questions and answers aimed at informing the general public about a debate they say has been “largely limited to insiders” despite its “potentially revolutionary impact.”

In his forward, Cardinal Burke, a former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, writes: “We are told that the Church which we profess, in communion with our ancestors in the faith from the time of the Apostles, to be One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, is now to be defined by synodality, a term which has no history in the doctrine of the Church and for which there is no reasonable definition.

“Synodality and its adjective, synodal, have become slogans behind which a revolution is at work to change radically the Church’s self-understanding, in accord with a contemporary ideology which denies much of what the Church has always taught and practiced,” he adds.

The American cardinal warns: “It is not a purely theoretical matter, for the ideology has already, for some years, been put into practice in the Church in Germany, spreading widely confusion and error and their fruit, division – indeed schism, to the grave harm of many souls. With the imminent Synod on Synodality, it is rightly to be feared that the same confusion and error and division will be visited upon the universal Church. In fact, it has already begun to happen through the preparation of the Synod at the local level.”

Announced by Pope Francis in 2021, the Synod on Synodality is being held in three phases: local, continental and universal. In October, the universal stage will begin with the sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will bring together 300 bishops and laity at the Vatican. A second assembly is to be held in 2024. Earlier this year, Pope Francis took the unprecedented step of granting equal voting rights to both episcopal and non-episcopal members.

Released on August 22 in eight languages, The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box clearly and concisely answers a whole host of questions surrounding the controversial event. 

Drawing on official Synod documents and a wide range of sources, topics include the nature of the Synod of Bishops and changes Pope Francis has introduced, the synodal process and whether organizers truly consulted the “People of God”, and the meaning of “synodality”, “listening”, and “inclusion”— repetitive slogans used at Synod press conferences.

The book also looks at what Synod promoters regard as the Church’s “main problem”, what their solution would mean for a hierarchical Church, and how it would affect the sacred liturgy. The authors then consider the highly controversial German Synodal Way and its potential ramifications for the universal Church. 

Specifically, they look at the push for Church democratization, the ordination of women, and what the “inclusion” of homosexuals in the Church means for its promoters. Finally, they examine reactions to synodality, whether a “Roman-style compromise” will be found, and what sort of Church would emerge if the synodal process were taken to its final consequences.

The book’s release comes amid growing pushback in the media. On August 14, the French daily Le Figaro ran a lengthy and stinging front-page article by respected journalist Jean-Marie Guénois, accusing the Vatican of moving forward without truly considering the spirituality of French Catholics.

“People think that the consultation that led to the preparatory document was biased, like a manoeuvre to reach conclusions written in advance,” one source told Guénois. According to the French Vaticanist, the Synod’s new working document, Instrumentum laboris, “has caused unprecedented turmoil among moderate priests and a good number of bishops. 

Hitherto uncritical, many are worried about Francis’ authoritarian and voluntarist assault on a reform they consider risky and confused. This new mistrust among moderates is global.”

Such turmoil and mistrust will not be assuaged by a revealing recent interview given by one of the new voting lay-members chosen by Pope Francis for the October Synod: Swiss laywoman Helena Jeppesen-Spuhler, who in June presented the working document at the Vatican. 

She openly admitted she is “for the ordination of women,” that she believes “the LGBTQIA+ issue must be taken very seriously” and that “it is our last chance!”

The synod organisers have insisted that no hidden agenda exists, but the reality of exactly such an agenda is beginning to topple out of this Pandora’s Box, along with so much else that Cardinal Burke and many others fear will do great harm to the Church and to the souls she is charged to save.

An online version of “The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box” may be read here