A person who still has the indissoluble sacramental marriage bond and who in spite of this lives in a stable marital cohabitation with another person, by Divine law cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. To do so would be a public statement by the Church nefariously legitimizing a denial of the indissolubility of the Christian marriage and at the same time repealing the sixth commandment of God: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. No human institution, not even the Pope or an Ecumenical Council, has the authority and the competency to invalidate even in the slightest or indirect manner one of the ten Divine commandments or the Divine words of Christ: “What therefore God has joined together, let man not separate (Math 19:6)”. – Bp. Athanasius Schneider
Yesterday, I announced my participation in an open letter asking Synod fathers to walk out rather than allow themselves to give the appearance of their consent to a heterodox outcome. This was not solely my idea, nor did it originate with me, though I am one of the text’s two principal co-authors, along with Patrick Archbold of Creative Minority Report and other Catholic publications. We received the help and consultation of others, including two veteran Catholic journalists, a theologian who has taken the Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium as laid out by Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and a number of concerned laymen. This work was the result of a nearly-spontaneous idea that arose among a group of concerned Catholics who have seen mounting evidence that the Ordinary Synod on the Family which is happening right now is every bit as rigged as the Extraordinary Synod that happened last year, if not moreso.
With the letter obtaining over 1000 signatures in less than 8 hours (and over 1900 within 24 hours), it seems clear that we do not stand alone in our concerns.
As one might expect after creating something like this, we’ve received a few questions, concerns, and even some angry responses to this initiative, so I wanted to take some time to explain why we are asking for this course of action.
Why are you asking the good bishops to run away? We need them to stand and fight!
This is the most common objection we’ve seen, and it’s an understandable one. We all want to fight evil, but that doesn’t mean we should rush into a slaughter, or worse, allow ourselves to be framed for one. This objection is indicative of an incomplete understanding of what is actually transpiring at the Synod. Our concern isn’t just about a stacked deck or an unfair fight – it’s that the entire outcome has already been pre-determined. We are troubled with mounting evidence that the Synod is only for show, and the goal of those who control it is to simply discard the concerns of its orthodox participants while producing a final document or set of instructions that undermine the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality without ever officially “changing” it.
If indeed the Synod is just ecclesiastical theater, and the bishops in attendance are able to determine that, why should they allow themselves to be used? Why should good bishops and cardinals lend the credibility of their presence to something that is, in fact, a lie? We have not asked them to leave now; our letter requests that “each and every faithful Catholic bishop at the Synod, having made every effort to resist these attacks on Christ’s teaching, if its direction remains unaltered and those faithful voices remain unheard, do his sacred duty and publicly retire from any further participation in the Synod before its conclusion so as to prevent greater scandal and confusion.”
This is a provisional request: IF the direction remains unaltered. IF the faithful voices remain unheard. Retire BEFORE the conclusion – at whatever point they deem any continuation of the exercise to be futile.
When it comes to this Synod, there are multiple causes for concern. It seems important, in light of our request, that we compile some of the more noteworthy among them here:
- This Ordinary Synod is a continuation of last year’s Extraordinary Synod, which was so extensively manipulated that the details of those events filled an entire book.
- There were a number of procedural abnormalities introduced to this portion of the Synod which would make it easier to maintain secrecy and to advance the Kasper position.
- It has been revealed that a group referred to as a “Shadow Synod” were already at work on the final recommendations to be given to Pope Francis before the Synod even began. It remains likely, though uncertain, that this is the same group that has been reported to be meeting privately on a daily basis with Pope Francis as the Synod’s work continues.
- The roster of papal appointees to this Synod reads like who’s who of heterodox bishops. Most notable among them are Cardinal Walter Kasper, whose eponymous proposal to allow the divorced and remarried to receive Holy Communion remains the focal point of faithful Catholic resistance to the Synod proceedings; and Cardinal Godfried Daneels, who, in addition to having advocated for same-sex marriage and legalized abortion, has been implicated in silencing clerical sex abuse victims in Belgium – with one notable instance caught on tape. He is also a participant in the so-called “St. Gallen Mafia,” a cabal of prelates who worked in secret against Pope Benedict and wanted to see Cardinal Bergoglio elected to modernize the Church.
- The information that is coming out of the Synod has been filtered through regional language attachés, with little coming directly from Synod participants. The English-language attaché, Fr. Thomas Rosica, has a clear bias, and has been widely accused of distorting the proceedings to support a heterodox agenda. In retaliation, he has blocked so many Twitter followers discussing his involvement that he has inspired his own hashtag: #RosicaBlockParty. These are not the actions of someone committed to transparency.
- Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poland has been blogging those Synod discussions and events he believes are important for the faithful to know. The Secretary General of the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri, ordered these removed from his site, followed by a terse reminder of the restrictions from Fr. Rosica.
- Before being silenced, Archbishop Gadecki was the reason we came to know that Jose Luiz Cardinal Lacunza Maestrojuan, president of the Panamanian Bishops’ Conference “and appointed by Pope Francis as a synod rapporteur, made so bold as to propose that the Church abandon what Jesus says about marriage and divorce and return to the Law of Moses, whom he blasphemously claimed was more merciful than Jesus, the Font of Mercy.” He is also why we know that Maestrojuan was rebuked by Greek-Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, His Beatitude Gregory III Laham.
- Archbishop Gadecki also revealed that pro-homosexual theological propaganda has been being distributed among the Synod fathers.
- 13 Cardinals were reported to have expressed their concerns to the pope about the Synod proceedings. Some have denied their involvement, while new names have emerged as signatories. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the CDF, told Italian daily Corriere della Sera this week, “This is a new Vatileaks: the Pope’s private documents are private property of the Pope and no one else. No one can publish it, I do not know how that could happen. … The intention of those who willed its publication is to sow strife, to create tensions. I think that’s clear.”
- The pope himself is said to have been dismissive of the cardinals’ concerns.
- Article 26 § 1 of the official Synod rules states, “To arrive at the majority of votes, if the vote is for the approval of some item, 2/3 of the votes of the Members casting ballots is required; if for the rejection of some item, the absolute majority of the same Members is necessary.” Cardinal Baldisseri refused to acknowledge whether this rule would be honored in the pre-Synod press conference. We received word this week that when certain fathers asked about removing troubling language from the Instrumentum Laboris, they were told, “Well, if you want to get them out, it will require a two-thirds vote.” This is a clear change in the rules, which only require an “absolute” majority of 50% plus one.
- As we reported on Monday: The documents related to the synod coming out of the Vatican are written in Italian. This has caused some concerns because there are indications that the translations of the documents are being manipulated. Archbishop Chaput expressed his concern on this matter, stating: “As we move on to the process, there is a bit of worry in our group that when the final document is pronounced in Italian, and we’re asked to vote, we may not be very clear on what we’re voting for.”
- Of the final report committee, Gloria.TV reported: “Sandro Magister has examined the ten-member commission appointed by Pope Francis to write the final report on the synod. Four of them (Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop Fernández, Cardinal Dew and Bishop Semeraro) were appointed by Francis to the Synod. All of them are pro-divorce and pro-homosex. At least three other members represent the same ideology: Cardinal Baldisseri, Archbishop Forte, and the Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr Nicolás Pachón.”
This is not an exhaustive list. A good summary of what these factors signify for the Synod can be found in the words of Archbishop Tomash Peta of Astana, Kazakhstan, who has said:
Some synod fathers have not understood correctly the appeal of Pope Francis for an open discussion and started to bring forward ideas which contradict the bi-millennial Tradition of the Church, rooted in the Eternal Word of God. Unfortunately, one can still perceive the smell of this “infernal smoke” in some items of the “Instrumentum Laboris” and also in the interventions of some synod fathers this year.
To my mind, the main task of a Synod consists in indicating again to the Gospel of the marriage and of the family and that means to the teaching of Our Savior. It is not allowed to destroy the fundament – to destroy the rock.
Even if the Synod is being manipulated, this is a magisterial body, and a walkout is unprecedented/would be a schismatic act!
Not so. At various points throughout history, there have been bad synods, where manifest problems demanded protest by orthodox participants. A look back through the Church offers certain notable examples. The “Robber Council of Ephesus” (which was really a sham Synod) took place in 449. The heretical Synod of Pistoia was held in 1786 and condemned by Pope Pius VI in 1794.
At the Council of Basel, called by Pope Martin V in 1431, there arose a problem of runaway conciliarism. Conciliarism is an error in which it is believed that true ecclesiastical power rests within the body of the faithful, rather than in the pope or the bishops. According to conciliarism, the leaders of the Church, in exercising their powers of governance, do so because the faithful have thus bestowed this power upon them. (A bit like the way we do Western democracy these days.) Pope Martin died only a few weeks after convoking the council, and his successor, Pope Eugenius (Eugene) IV, saw the truth of what was happening – and that it represented a significant threat to his papal authority, particularly in the wake of the Great Schism. With this in mind, Pope Eugenius suspended the proceedings at Basel, and the orthodox bishops present there heeded his call to resume the council in Florence. Some bishops, however, remained — believing that even the pope was subject to the authority of a general council — and when they attempted to suspend Eugenius, he excommunicated them.
The 15th Century is a long time ago. They did things differently then.
Fair enough. A more recent example is Vatican I, and the protest of a sizeable number of bishops over the promulgation of papal infallibility in Pastor Aeternus:
The most controverted question to come before the Council was that of papal infallibility. Like the rest of the bishops, the Americans were divided on the advisability and the possibility of a definition. The most active and vocal among them joined the opposition. The undisputed leader of this group was Kenrick. His chief supporters were Purcell, Domenec, Vérot, Whelan and Fitzgerald, of Little Rock.
The preliminary vote on the Constitution Pastor Aeternus, which contained the definitions of papal primacy and infallibility, was taken on July 13. Twenty-eight Americans were present. Eighteen of them approved the constitution as it stood; three asked further revisions; seven voted against it. After considerable discussion, the “International Committee” decided not to cast negative ballots at the public session on July 18. Instead, 55 of the opposition Fathers addressed a formal protest to the Pope and then left Rome. Kenrick, Vérot and Domenec were among the signers.
Only two of the American opponents attended the session at which, to the accompaniment of thunder and lightning, the Pope proclaimed the dogma of infallibility. One was Archbishop McCloskey, who joined 24 other prelates from the United States in voting placet. The other was Bishop Fitzgerald, of Little Rock, who has gone down in history as one of the two Fathers who voted non placet. A satisfactory explanation of Fitzgerald’s decision to attend and vote “no” has never been given.
All of the American bishops accepted the dogma once it had been proclaimed.
In his True Story of the Vatican Council, Henry Edward Cardinal Manning recounts:
The two bishops who voted on that day against the decree, as soon as Pius the Ninth had confirmed it, at once submitted and made a profession of their faith. They proved by their adverse vote the liberty which the 55 who left Rome equally possessed; and by their prompt submission they showed to the world that their opposition had been offered not to the truth of the doctrine, but to the expediency of defining it.
In the instance of the First Vatican Council, these 55 bishops removed themselves from the proceedings rather than vote against the promulgation of Pastor Aeternus, and by extension, Pope Pius IX, openly. They opposed something which in fact became a dogma; but these were not schismatic men, nor were they accused of being such. They were faithful sons of the Church, loyal to her teaching, concerned about the potential damage such a proclamation might do, and ultimately, obedient to the legitimate exercise of papal authority on the matter.
If bishops can in good conscience and without culpability leave an Ecumenical Council in protest over the promulgation of something proven to be a Divine Truth, how much more liberty should they be afforded when faced with the possibility of removing themselves from a Synod attempting to introduce pastoral practices which will lead the faithful into error and sin?
It is an unfortunate fact that those who remain at the Synod until the end will be suspected of complicity in what it produces; as with the letter of the 13 cardinals, it will be very difficult (and perhaps even impossible, depending upon the confidentiality maintained around the proceedings) to know who took what stand and why.
If it comes to a point where the Synod can be deemed irretrievably engineered in favor of a bad outcome, why shouldn’t those who love Christ and His Church remove themselves in protest? It would be a profound statement, and one not soon forgotten.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.
Very well done, Steve. Though I know you did not intend for your list to be exhaustive, I would like to mention here in the comments at least one other thing which, I think, deserves attention: the fact that the executive director of a heretical, pro-sodomy “Catholic” organization (“New Ways Ministry”) with exactly zero journalistic credentials was given a press pass and called upon to ask questions, while a priest (Fr. Nicholas Gregoris) with very good credentials was given the boot for confronting a prelate after the conclusion of the press conference.
Thank you Steve. I’ve already signed the letter and this gives good reasons for it.
I agree with your analysis and reasoning, Steve, and have signed the Petition with no qualms. I expected (as I suspect almost everyone who lent their name to it) that it would be utterly ignored. Notwithstanding, for the Bishops who elect to stand and fight, this small bit of support (and that is what it is ultimately) might stoke the fire in their bellies ever more fiercely. There is no harm in this particular exercise.
Our Lord counselled His disciples about what to do when faced with hardened hearts during the exercise of their apostolic ministry. He did not put it as a matter of ‘fight or flight’.
“And wherever they will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that city or that house; I promise you, it shall go less hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah at the day of judgement, than with that city.” – Matthew 10:14-15
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Matthew 7:6
And then there was St. Paul:
“…and through a window in a basket I was let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.” 2 Corinthians 11:33
Agreed. We do things because they are right; because they must be done. Whether or not they are likely to succeed is not the determining factor.
Thank u for ur enlightening explanation n God Bless u n urs for all ur diligence.
I won’t sign it. Rather two things should happen. First, the faithful prelates should man their posts and defend
the faith, even though the apostasy goes to the top of the Church and
Francis is pulling the puppet strings of his modernist cronies in
positions of power. Second, when (not if) the doctrine
is destroyed by whatever means used (a Francis “pastoral” document or
delegating doctrine to bishops conferences), instead of walking out now
then publicly denounce those errors at that time. A public declaration, whether as a set of individual bishops or as a group (like the cardinals letter),
indicating that they will not accept the heresies promoted by Francis
and his Synod will make it very clear to all. What is necessary in the
end is that the minority of faithful prelates do not remain silent.
The goal, again, is to walk out before the end (not necessarily right this minute) and make a stand. In my mind, that happens with a press conference stating the reasons why they refused to be a party to this.
I do understand that position. One reason to wait until the final outcome is that damage may be reduced. Second, we will then see the fullness of what is proposed. Perhaps that press conference is as soon as the last day of the Synod, depending on what is produced by then, if anything.
At least this is one topic on which we can prudentially disagree.
Whatever works, but I would say to pray that the Holy Spirit for the right way to handle this travesty.
Agreed. I’m not telling God what to do. He doesn’t need my advice on how to handle this, nor has he asked for it. But I have been praying to Him for His will to be done, and to clean out His Church. If it happens along the lines in which I posited above in the other post, so be it.
I see both sides’ point, but perhaps allowing maximum damage (which seems likely to be a foregone, pre-determined outcome anyway) will expose the heretics and schismatic apostates for what they truly are.
Once that’s out of the way, the faithful will clearly know who is with the Church, and to be followed – though it be a small remnant – and who is against her, and therefore to be avoided. The fallout will not be pretty, that’s for sure.
That seems better than to just try to “minimize the damage”. Damage? There should be no damage coming from a Synod of Holy mother Church, none whatsoever, and attempting to merely “minimize” it would be more harmful than letting it run its course and become manifestly full-blown.
Error needs to be exposed and expunged, not veiled and allowed to fester under the appearance of truth.
I signed. What I fear is that the bishops will go home and take a period of ‘reflection’ about where to go from here….and the opportunity for a full court press against these horrors will be lost.
This synod is a continuation of the Revolution which took place at Vatican II as is brilliantly explained by Dr Robert Sungenis in his Talk Was God Behind the Ambiguities of Vatican II? Anyone who wants to read a transcript of this enlightening Talk can Message me on Facebook and I will send the transcript to their email address.
Or send me an email at [email protected]
Might I suggest that IF the faithful Fathers find it necessary to leave to make a profound statement, that they remain in the area to wait and see what outcome ensues, then as a united front, stand and offer public rejection of any heretical proclamations . . . and remain around for what one hopes would be a subsequent conclave to elect an orthodox Pope – or press BXVI back into service.
Thank you. Well said. But the bishops should stay.
I so miss Papa Ben, though.
I find it simply amazing how many people say they miss the orthodoxy of John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. Both these popes were central in bringing about the modernism we see around us. Both these men were periti at Vatican II, drank the cook-aid there, and helped to spread modernism for the rest of their lives/papacy.
We only miss them now that we have a pope who had manifestly lost his faith.
I have learned that the positions that on first hearing i reflexively dismiss as overly (or I think heretically) radical tend to be the ones i realize later are the strongest — here i think you understate the current problem.
But ill ask — seems as likely a place as any to do — if John Paul II and Benedict XVI were modernists — how does Paul VI fit in?
Didn’t it recently come out that the strongest parts of Humanae Vitae were probably not written by Paul Vi? I’m not sure what Paul VI did (other than failing to safeguard the liturgy and traditions of the Church) that would make me see him as anything other than a modernist.
Saw it in a rather good blog, but in raw form.
You are completely right, Barbara. Catholics longing for the days of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI are those false brethren who stupidly think that they can just “manage” the things of God. Shame unto them! What they fail to understand now is the fact that God Himself permitted the election of Jorge Bergoglio in order to bring to light the evils of all the heretical V 2 popes. Indeed, it’s time for Catholics to either choose or reject the Catholic Faith. In Christ, no one can pick and choose!
Re “Why are you asking the good bishops to run away? We need them to stand and fight!”
Matt 10:14, Mark 6:11, and Luke 9:5 are clear, standing and ‘fighting’ is not what Christ commanded. It is also exactly one of two teaching of Christ that the “new evangelization” of the New-new Adam is ignoring. The other is John 6:66
John 6:66 is rejection of the Eucharist. It is being god without accepting God. I dont see how you use it.
Disengaging is also supported by the bishops thereby connecting to a cause for many to stumble – against which Jesus advises strongly.
Re John 6:66, the point is what Christ did not do when they walked away from His teaching.
Taking your marbles and going home is not courageous, its grandstanding. The great meaningless gesture of contempt for the one who called the synod. Staying and having your vote counted IN THIS ADVISORY BODY – no Council it, thereby doing ones duty as requested by the Pope, is the courageous and Catholic path, whatever the ultimate vote!
Just like their votes were counted before the release of last year’s quasi-heretical mid-term relatio? Just like their votes were counted when, despite *voting* against it, Pope Francis retained the most controversial language in that relatio as the basis of discussion for this portion of the Synod?
Voting in this body is about as efficacious as voting in Russian presidential elections. By walking out and taking a stand against what is being done, they will at least have their voices heard. Staying on the inside only guarantees that they will be procedurally silenced and summarily ignored.
And also, if the orthodox participants walk,[ after having exhausted every other possibility], perhaps many Catholics for whom the Synod is ‘business as usual’ i.e.who don’t pay attention to what’s going on, will take ‘wake up’ and realize, that there is great danger to Our Holy Mother Church. And maybe they will join us in prayer and fasting, and protesting.
“Taking your marbles and going home is not courageous….” Ah, but there you’re wrong, especially if one senses he is about to lose all his marbles in a fixed game. In a slightly different context, but still talking about the Catholic Church, think how much pain diocese after diocese around the world could have been spared in the late 20th century had a few priests privy to their bishop’s sodomic shell game spoken up? Oh, some might have accused these grandstanding priests of disloyalty to their bishops, to be sure; others would have said they just weren’t doing their duty as requested by the chancery. But in the end, wouldn’t it have been better for the victims? For the bishops involved? For the Church? Wouldn’t it, in fact, have been the courageous and Catholic path, whatever the grandstanders’ ultimate fate?
An act of petulence is not doing one’s duty. Voting would, since it would give a true result of the condition of the episcopate. Those who don’t vote, whether on the synod document or in civil elections, should go home and not complain about outcomes. As for priests, reporting crime, like opposing dogmatic liberalization, is loyalty. As in most things, virtue is in neither extreme, in this case neither the grand act of defiance, or the silent act of acquiescence.
Again: their votes aren’t counted. Read Ed Pentin’s book.
(Voting is vastly overrated anyway. )
And if the sense is wrong and no marbles were going to be lost? What then?
At least you still have all the marbles you started with. Here, my friend, is where conjecture and past experience play a part; smart gamblers know when to withdraw from a game.
And smart gamblers often lose because they withdrew too early. But this isn’t a game of cards. This is a meeting of bishops, not the US House of Representatives.
Mr. Skojec, in addition to the heresy that is being ‘discussed’ at the Synod, it’s very important not to miss a very “dangerous” item of devolving doctrinal authority to local churches that has been brought up by Rorate Caeli on Oct 14. Here is the must-read link:
I quote Rorate Caeli with respect to Pope Francis’ observed intentions:
(beginning of quote) “If ever a measure of doctrinal authority were to be devolved to the bishops’ conferences, then Rome would be faced with a never-ending battle to regulate, limit or claim back that authority. The damage to the papacy’s authority and the chaos that would spread throughout the universal Church are too terrible to contemplate.” ( end of quote).
The above is also a danger that one of your commenters, Johnny Curedents, has mentioned in his comments on your blog. I posted the following comment, ( under the name of “geneticallycatholic” ), on Fr. Ray Blake’s blog post entitled ” From Dissolubility of Marriage to Dissolubility of the Church”: (N.B.I made a few changes below for hopefully, easier reading):
Rorate Caeli posted a very important post, which provides an explanation of the possibility -indeed probability – of danger to the Church of Rome. Last year, when Pope Francis heralded Cardinal Kasper at the Consistory in Feb 2104, because orthodox Cardinals whom I respected were so against what Cardinal Kasper had written, I did some research, which I had forgotten about until I read the above-mentioned Rorate Caeli’s post.
Here are the results of my research, and my interpretation: Pope Francis is going to devolve authority to the local episcopal areas. Indeed, ‘devolution of authority to local churches’ has been an on-going battle between Kasper and Benedict XVI has been for many years. Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote about this battle (see a summary of Cardinal Dulles’ article here: https://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/ZRTZKSP.HTM ) In this summary, Cardinal Dulles alludes to Gallicanism – which I believe is why Daneels et. al. called themselves St. Galen’s Mafia. Remember the St. Galen Mafia that Cardinal Daneels boasted about and admitted to being a part of recently – and which opposed to Benedict XVI during his pontificate?.
Cardinal Daneels was also on Cardinal Kasper’s side, regarding devolution of authority to local churches. See an article by Fr. Raymond deSouza here: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/synod-on-the-family-ratzinger-kasper-rivalry-revisited . Fr. Raymond deSouza in this article uses the same quote as Rorate Caeli did today: “Quis custodiet Kasper?” It now makes sense why the Holy Father, in spite of Cardinal Daneel’s record of condoning sex abuse, has appointed Cardinal Daneels on the Synod committee to draft the final SYNOD report. The recommendation will be to devolve authority to the local churches.
Knowing what Pope Francis probably will do, also gives us an understanding as to why Cardinal Marx has changed his tune from ‘We are not a subsidiary of Rome’, to ‘we will be in unity with the pope’ – as probably Pope Francis will use the excuse of the ‘deadlock’ between progressive and orthodox participants at the Synod to give local churches decision-making power to perhaps not change doctrine (as Rorate Caeli suggests) but to institute their own praxis – which ofcourse will undermine doctrine. Cardinals Marx and Kasper then can happily go about giving the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried.
We really need to pray that this does not happen…Sounds pretty far fetched doesn’t it? But is it any more far off than what is currently being debated about in the Synod? And the links that I have provided show that the role of local churches vs the Church of Rome has been hotly debated.
Here is yet another quote about the debate “… the debate between Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Cardinal Walter Kasper on the relation between the universal Church and the local churches is of utmost importance. William Henn, O.F.M. Cap., notes that “it is widely considered
to be one of the most pressing theological tasks of the Church today.” …source: (http://cdn.theologicalstudies.net/63/63.2/63.2.1.pdf )
Finally, I’ll end with quote from the same post of Rorate Caeli : “It is the height of irony for Catholic apologists and commentators to continue to be silent in the face of this obvious attack on the authority of the Apostolic See and the unity of the universal Church…” which is why I bring it up. I don’t do irony.
P.S. I signed the petition asking the Synod Fathers to walk because it’s important to not keep quiet about what’s going on- though I don’t know if even walking out will stop Pope Francis from this particular action: devolving doctrinal powers to the local churches. Perhaps only Our Lady and the Holy Spirit will be able to get him to change his mind.
Thank you for your comments. Indeed, careful observers have been concerned about the emphasis placed on delegation of papal authority to bishops conferences since the first year of this pontificate. It was that long ago that intentions such as these were made clear. None of us could have known exactly how big the decisions would be that would wind up in their hands, or how autocratic and centralized the papal process would (ironically) be of placing them there.
I agree with your comments on the open letter. Still, we don’t have to believe that it will accomplish our desired end for it to accomplish something. At the very least, it’s given us a chance to raise our own voices in protest.
I imagine brighter minds have already hashed this out, but in my mind, Steve’s idea very neatly parallels Matthew 16:23. When Peter proposes evil, Christ himself would disengage.
You make a strong case, Steve. Well done. Those bullet points are powerful, I must say. I did hear today a possible problem that could arise from a ‘walk out’. Namely, what would the exiting bishops do if Pope Francis himself were to command them, order them, to return to the Synod hall? I am not myself well-versed enough in ecclesiastical law to know what their responsibilities under obedience to the Supreme Pontiff would be in such a case, but I think it is worth considering as a ‘future possible’ circumstance. And if they were in fact compelled to return, the questions would arise: would that make their act more (or less) powerful?
The historical precedent you cite from Vatican I is indeed powerful because, as you observe, that was an…Ecumenical Council of the Church…and not a mere ‘Synod’ offering “recommendations” to the pope. Good point. Good enough for Vatican I, good enough for me. However, there are two important distinctions that I think need to be made in regard to this example. First [and not to be facile but] there was no internet, obviously, in the 19th century, and therefore no way for the lay faithful ‘en masse’ to exert such a [possibly momentous] pressure on the assembled prelates. But in our day for every person who signs this petition, there IS that moral question of whether they are, in the eyes of God, *justified* in so inserting themselves into such an august assembly of cardinals and bishops under the direct supervision of the pope himself. Yes, per Canon 212, the lay faithful have the “right” to manifest their views to the Pastors of the Church. But the question of whether it is *suitable* for them to do so, especially in these circumstances,remains to be answered, I think.
Second, the example of Vatican I shows that these 55 bishops *themselves* decided to walk out in protest. It says nothing about any pressure being applied to them from outside the Council halls to do so. And this might seem like nit-picking, but I disagree. Yes, these bishops walked out. Good for them. But they were BISHOPS after all. And, as well, they were, by the providence of God, selected to be actual PARTICIPANTS at the Council. It WAS fully under THEIR aegis to do so. And these two facts are not, I think, inconsequential for someone today considering whether or not they should sign this petition. You and I, as lay faithful, are NOT bishops and, in the providence of God, we have NOT been called ourselves to participate at this Synod.
Yes, in a general way, Canon 212 gives us rights as lay persons (and even duties, it is true) to “manifest to the sacred Pastors [our] views on matters which concern the good of the Church”. But, as both Aristotle and Aquinas would surely remind us, the *circumstances* of an act are very important for determining whether it is morally upright or not. There is a difference between meeting in private, for example, with our local bishop to ‘make our views known’ and starting a worldwide public petition addressed to a formal assembly of bishops in Rome. What is appropriate in the first circumstance may not be appropriate in the second. Object, Intention, Circumstances. The ‘Object’ is surely covered by Canon 212. The ‘Intention’ is for each signee to determine for themselves before God. But the Circumstances of this act *could* make it such that a reasonable and prudent man would demur.
Moreover, Canon 212 does also state: “…in keeping with their knowledge, competence, and position”. This goes, I think, directly to the question of “who we are” to make such a bold action. Do we [signees] have the Knowledge of all the [pertinent] details of the bullet points above? Do we [signees] have the theological and philosophical training (Competence) to make such important distinctions? And, perhaps most importantly, do we [signees] have the Position (authority by God’s providence) to act so decisively in the matter? How much “authority”, in other words, does Canon 212 grant us, given these specific circumstances?
Anyway, these were some of the things I thought about as I considered signing this petition. And don’t get me wrong, I think there is a strong case indeed for the licitude of signing. There is a lot of evidence, as your numerous bullet points attest, of good reasons for prudent persons to sign. I just wanted to bring up these considerations as a contribution to the discussion. And they are delivered with all affection because I am a big fan of you personally and of 1P5. Godspeed man.
On the question of whether the pope could just “order them back,” see here:
The Synod fathers are there voluntarily. There are no canonical obligations. To “order them back” would ruin his papacy, destroying all pretense of collegiality and showing him to be the autocratic “Latin American dictator” that some prelates have grumbled that he is.
“Yes, per Canon 212, the lay faithful have the “right” to manifest their views to the Pastors of the Church. But the question of whether it is *suitable* for them to do so, especially in these circumstances, remains to be answered, I think.”
If that canon doesn’t answer this question — that the faithful can, sensing a danger to the faith itself, call upon their bishops to do all in their power to fight that danger — I’m not sure what would.
“Yes, these bishops walked out. Good for them. But they were BISHOPS after all.”
If bishops are princes, we are their subjects. Subjects are supplicants, and ours is a petition of supplication. We certainly can’t make them go; but we reserve the right to view them accountable if they stay and are seen as contributors to the final outcome.
“There is a difference between meeting in private, for example, with our local bishop to ‘make our views known’ and starting a worldwide public petition addressed to a formal assembly of bishops in Rome. What is appropriate in the first circumstance may not be appropriate in the second.”
This is a public synod causing public scandal. Expediency demands, since our desire is that they take action BEFORE the Synod’s end, that we create a public request. Remember, however, that Canon 212 not only says that we have the right to make our concerns known to pastors. It says, “They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful”. This accomplishes both ends.
“Do we [signees] have the Knowledge of all the [pertinent] details of the bullet points above?”
We have something even more valuable: we know the effect it’s having in the real world, which is why this matter demands urgent, corrective action. If this were the 1500s and none of us knew what was happening in Rome, the circumstances would be very different. But it is 2015, and this Potemkin Village Synod is happening on a global stage. It is completely saturating the global media. This is the reality we are contending with.
Again, I respect those who disagree with this approach. One can only pray for God’s guidance and then do one’s best when approaching something of this nature. For my part, I’d rather not feel the need to do it at all. Would that we return to a Church where the shepherds do not need to be led toward greener pastures by their sheep.
I’ll leave you again with the words of the man who is, I think, our modern St. Athanasius:
“It is an honour that we can be witnesses and defenders of our dear Catholic faith not only against the enemies outside but also in the face of the traitors inside the Church, even when these traitors are bishops or cardinals. The Church is always in the hand of our Lord, even in our dark days.”
No one is asking the bishops to dynamite the Vatican or kidnap the German delegation. What the petition asks, in my eyes (and I signed), is that they size up the situation and, if they judge that bad policies are about to be given the Synod’s “Good Housekeeping seal of approval”, that they remove themselves from Rome and thus remove their personal concurrence. Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet already knows there is widespread dissatisfaction with the Synod, in fact that there has been for over a year now, so it’s hard to see how this petition can give scandal.
“The Synod fathers are there voluntarily. There are no canonical obligations. To “order them back” would ruin his papacy, destroying all pretense of collegiality and showing him to be the autocratic “Latin American dictator” that some prelates have grumbled that he is.”
I suppose it is true that bishops are free to leave a synod, but I doubt it would ruin anything if several bishops were ordered back after they took their ecclesiastical ball and went home. Did it damage Pope Pius IX’s papacy when he placed his foot on the head of the Melkite Greek Patriarch when he and his bishops voted non placet on papal infallibility and left Vatican I? Certainly not among traditionalist Roman circles.
The present situation and that of Pius IX is only comparable insofar as one may illustrate precedent for walking out of a synod or council in disagreement.
At Vatican I, PR wasn’t a factor. In 2015, the papacy — particularly this very carefully calculated image of Pope Francis as the revolutionary of down-home humility — is driven almost entirely by it.
I disagree. I think if the object of the Synod is to look nice, then sure you have a point. But it is not as manifested by literally all the other topics that were being debated that wasn’t gay marriage or divorced communion. The poor African bishops had to tell all the Western bishops to shut up for a minute so they could talk about, you know, human trafficking and how that affects THEIR families. I think PR is only a factor because we make it that way. Our media projects images and we seem content with them instead of seeing the objects themselves. We chase shadows while leaving the sunlight. In a word, chill.
Stephen, it’s early and you seem not to have slept well last night. Let me give you a piece of advice for rough mornings like this one, something only tangentially on topic but based on long experience in life: It’s a very bad idea to tell the moderator of a site to “chill”.
I saw this from the Henry Makow site. I did a search and it appeared on Infowars, but now it’s gone.Strange… I don’t know how true this is.
“Pope Francis Rages Against Conservative Cardinals”
“At this point Roberto D’Agostino reports from his website Dagospia, the usually mild and peaceful Bergoglio lost it completely, and thundered against the purple conservatives prelates stating:
“If this is the case, they can leave. The Church does not need them. I will
throw them all out! ”
Interesting and thanks for the link, but I don’t think we can bet the whole farm on the report’s accuracy. Italian media tend to be sensationalist (think The Inquirer) and the link within your link to the Italian original — lots of nudity and scandal all over the page in question there — demonstrates that this publication is well within the genre. That said, we all need to remember that The Inquirer broke the sordid story of philandering Democrat [is there any other kind?] Mark Sanford; the “respectable” newspapers of record covered for him. My hunch is that there is something to this story, but just how much is hard to know.
Very good Steve. There has been enough tacit complicity with evil over the years in the Catholic Church to the point that many Catholic are in effect Protestants in their beliefs. The reason for this is that the clergy has not promulgated Catholic moral doctrine and the need for confession. So walking out of the sinful Synod is a good idea like, as Christ said, shaking the dust from your feet in places that reject His teaching. I happily signed the petition; it was the least I could do.
3 – But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints:
4 – Or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks.
5 – For know you this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 – Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief.
7 – Be ye not therefore partakers with them.
8 – For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light.
9 – For the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth;
10 – Proving what is well pleasing to God:
11 – And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 – For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.
13 – But all things that are reproved, are made manifest by the light; for all that is made manifest is light.
14 – Wherefore he saith: Rise thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead: and Christ shall enlighten thee.
15 – See therefore, brethren, how you walk circumspectly: not as unwise,
Make sure to see today’s VIS account (lot’s of direct quotes here) of what non-Catholic observers at the Synod had to say to the gathered Cardinals. I found many entire paragraphs there that surely warmed the hearts of the rebels who wish to overturn orthodoxy by any means available. There was, however, no description of the reaction of the sole “voter” at the Synod who really counts.
Pope Francis is becoming more explicit every day. Can anyone with ears and an ounce of common sense miss the message in this report from Catholic World News? If one still doesn’t see what is afoot at the Vatican, it is because he simply doesn’t want to see it.
IS RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE, NOT A CONDITION FOR IT, POPE SAYS
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Obedience to God’s commandments must be the response to his limitless love, but it is not a condition for his love and for the salvation he offers through Jesus, Pope Francis said.
Celebrating the feast of St. Teresa of Avila Oct. 15, Pope Francis said that when Jesus was alive, when the early Christian community was growing, and today as well, there are “doctors of the law” who think that they can know who is and is not saved by the apparent way they obey certain commandments.
“It would do us good today to ask ourselves: Do I believe the Lord has saved me freely?” the pope said. Or “do I believe that I do not deserve my salvation and that if I merit anything it is through Jesus Christ and what he has done for me?”
“Let’s ask these questions today; only that way will we be faithful to that great merciful love, the love of a father and mother, because even God says that he is like a mother to us,” the pope said at the Mass in the chapel of his residence.
God’s love is expansive, boundless and limitless, the pope said. “We should not let ourselves be fooled by the ‘doctors’ who limit this love.”
The gratuitous gift of God’s son, his death and resurrection, is a mystery that is and always has been difficult for human beings to understand, the pope said.
One must obey the commandments and do what Jesus said to do, Pope Francis insisted, but this is “my response” to God’s offer of salvation, not a condition for it.
Looking at the day’s Gospel reading, Luke 11:47-52, Pope Francis said Jesus used strong and “very harsh” language when speaking of the “doctors of the law.” Jesus tells them, “‘You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter,’ meaning the key of the gratuitousness of salvation.”
The doctors of the law “thought the only way one could save oneself was by obeying all the commandments and that whoever could not do that was condemned,” the pope said. Their teaching “limited the horizons of God and made God’s love small, small,” in effect, reducing it to a human size.
The commandments must be observed, the pope said, but it is important to remember that they are summarized as “love God and love your neighbor.”
Jesus himself taught that all the commandments are found within the commandment of love because “the source is love, the horizon is love. If you have closed the door and thrown away the key of love, you will never live up to the gratuitousness of the salvation you have received.”
I really don’t see what the problem is here. The Pope seems to have merely restated the Church’s teaching against some of the errors of Pelagius and also the Donatists.
The problem is here: “We should not let ourselves be fooled by the ‘doctors’ who limit this love” et postea in the same vein. It’s not hard to understand just who these ”doctors” are in Francis’ mind.
Unless there is more proof than your conjecture, then your proposition is without merit and must rejected as mere conjecture.
What do you want, a declaration signed by Jorge Bergoglio? Don’t worry, though, I suspect you’ll have all the proof you need in a short while.
I just don’t see any objective evidence that he is talking about anyone specific. There aren’t even patterns of behavior. In fact, his history in Argentina would point to him being on the conservative side. So I simply need more evidence. Otherwise, I could be guilty of slander. Idle gossip and slander are sins.
What can I say? If you think that in Argentina he was “on the conservative side” that only tells me you know nothing about Argentine politics or history. It is hardly “idle gossip” or “slander” to note things like Francis’ words of praise for Kasper’s book or his invitation to Rome for this Synod extended to a man like Cdl. Danneels. (This prelate is someone who probably should be in jail for his part in the cover-up of a crime. There’s no speculation or conjecture here, Stephen, because we have Danneels’ own voice on tape urging this cover-up. And don’t tell me the pope wasn’t aware of this since it was widely reported in both the Belgian and European press.)
Who exactly do you think Francis was talking about when he mentioned the “doctors of the law”? Surely it can’t be the Jewish authorities Jesus was citing because they are long dead. Context is everything, as liberals are wont to point out, and the context of the pope’s remarks here is the ongoing Synod. Again, the pontiff said, “We should not let ourselves be fooled by the ‘doctors’ who limit this love.” He’s talking about today. It really doesn’t take much genius to figure this out.
But I’m not going to convince you of anything since your mind is clearly already made up. As I said before, the proof you demand will soon enough be evident, and either my guesses based on observations or your assumptions based on…on what?…will be proven wrong. I’ve already stated elsewhere here that if Francis upholds both Catholic orthodoxy (I suspect he will) AND praxis (I suspect he won’t), I will publicly admit I was wrong. Will you do the same?
I know the accusations he was part of the Dirty War are either inconclusive or unfounded. Then again, what of it? Benedict, compelled as he was by circumstance, to be in the Hitler Youth and German Army.
Danneels, despite his obvious crimes, is still the highest ranking prelate in Belgium. If the Belgians had been given the choice, they would have chosen Danneels anyway. It is likely that Danneels will be allowed to retire from this mortal life as the lengthy process of an ecclesiastical trial would not be over before he eventually dies. Also, I think Luther has some nice things to say in his expositions on the Psalms, but that doesn’t make me Lutheran. Is everyone who reads Tertullian and enjoys him a heretic too?
Or, and this is just WILD speculation as well, he has the decency to keep any quarrels–which all the orthodox bishops declare does not exist–out of his homilies and preach on the Gospel. It does not take a S.T.M to realize that there are plenty of doctors of the law–especially in comboxes–rabbiting about making opinions about a meeting they aren’t at. I’ll be the first to admit my ignorance, but if there is one thing I believe in, it is the Church will never change in any way that God does not ordain. Christ is the High Priest after all and the Church is more than all of us hopping around pretending to be wise old men who know everything.
I didn’t mean the Dirty War; I was talking about Peronism. As for the rest, naturally the Church will still be here, but in what state? You act as though its mere existence is enough, as if rampant corruption of its liturgical and teaching life didn’t matter. To all of which I say, rubbish.
His connection to Peronism is also dubious. As far as I can tell from Argentine news papers dating back to that time, he was not a Peronist Archbishop and he does not seem to be a Peronist Pope.
Point to me an instance where there was not in a state of rampant corruption please.
Not everyone agrees with your political assessment of Francis:
“Peronism’s appeal for many postwar Argentines, including the young Francis, was its rejection of both Marxism and laissez-faire capitalism. “It was a way to help the poor that doesn’t believe in class struggle,” Barbaro said. “It believes in capitalism but with limits.””
“Yet Father Bergoglio always rejected Marxism and violent revolution, which some leftist priests supported. Rather than embracing liberation theology, he is reinterpreting it for a post-Marxist age. Romero’s “option for the poor wasn’t ideological but evangelical,” says the Vatican. The pope’s criticisms of free-market capitalism chime both with traditional Catholic social doctrine and with Peronism, Argentina’s populist-nationalist political movement, to which he was once close.”
“In describing Peronist rule, Goñi writes that “the populist general upended Argentina’s class structure by championing the country’s downtrodden”. There’s quite a bit to that (although Perón’s policies should also be read as an expression of Argentine caudillismo), but what he does not say is that Peronism ended in economic disaster, a fact that has not stopped Pope Francis from peddling a very similar brand of snake oil for reasons, I suspect, that do not do him credit.”
Can we argue then that the Argentine culture, so impregnated with Peronism, is playing a major role in Pope Francis’ message?
“While these are the pope’s words to Javier Cámara and Sebastián Pfaffen, authors of the book “Aquel Francisco” published last autumn in Córdoba, with regard to his interest in politics:
“In the formulation of Peronist doctrine there is a connection with the social doctrine of the Church. It must not be forgotten that Perón showed his speeches to Bishop Nicolás de Carlo of Resistencia in Chaco, so that he could look at them and tell him if they were in accord with the social doctrine of the Church.”
“Pope Francis Ushers The Second Coming Of Peronism”
And there are many more articles of the same genre, but this is enough to throw a lot of doubt on your comment that “His connection to Peronism is also dubious.”
As for a time when the Church was not in a state of rampant corruption, how about when I was young? Corrupt priests and bishops, sure, there were a few here and there. But a liturgy plebian enough to make a war hero cry, no; nuns who thought lesbianism and socialism were really nifty stuff, no; seminaries emptying faster than a chicken coop suddenly taken over by a skulk of foxes, no; cardinals and bishops who were secret Masons, no: churches closing more frequently than Bear Stearns offices in 2008, no; pews where there was never a shortage of seats regardless of how late you arrive for Mass, no; confessionals that most Catholics never visit; no. Au contraire, the Church I knew back then was growing, with problems to be sure. But a growing concern can always solve its problems; one with no customers simply closes its doors.
The orthodox bishops can walk out ,or they can not walk out. But they need to do SOMETHING, publicly, definitively and *without docility*, to convey that this synod is anti-Catholic. Meanwhile it’s pretty sad that the laity have to prompt them with this petition to behave like they officially care — after all, they’re the ones with theological degrees, cooks, housekeepers and an absence of familial duties.
Bad idea to walk out. We need the faithful to document what is going on, refute error and document who held the heretical positions. They can come out after the synod and claim why they are against the results and actually have the facts instead of leaving in the middle of it. Again, bad idea, do not sign the petition.
The petition doesn’t encourage them to leave “in the middle of it,” but rather when the fix is clearly in. And we don’t need their witness to know who holds the heretical positions; the perpetrators themselves have already accomplished that task handsomely for us. No one paying attention assumed even before the Synod part 2 began that the likes of Marx, Kasper, Danneels, Lacunza Maestrojuan, or Wuerl would be in the running for a Defender of the Faith award.
Well its seems that the orthodox bishops like Cardinal Pell disagree and do not want to abandon their post. And yes we do need their witness. They are the bishops, and it is their responsibility. Again, this petition is not a good idea.
It is facinating that guys like Dolan are put into a place where they defend the Church (if my understanding of recent activity is not skewed).
The Church is dying. No one goes to Mass anymore. No one listens to a bunch of old men with funny clothes anymore. Francis sees this and is trying to save the Church, This is not 1580 anymore. Either the Church changes or dies. Francis knows this. He will drag these “princes” into 2015 kicking and screaming. And maybe, just maybe, we can finally get some “princesses” in my lifetime. Maybe the Church will finally open its doors to everyone.
The Church isn’t dying, the modernist parishes are. My parish is flourishing, but that’s because it’s truly faithful to the perennial magisterium; not so the ones served by modernist heretics. Carry on killing the modernist fake church all you like, even cry louder how sad it is that it’s dying while you continue stabbing the necrotic flesh. The fruits of modernism are your own harvest, not The Church’s, and not Christ’s.
What are you on about?
You propose a changing truth. That does not work, although thinking it through might be a big task. But accepting lies as Truth is necessarily slavery.
I can’t help but think that the faithful would have been better served if the petition had asked the bishops of the Synod to call a new conclave (thus bringing the Synod to an end).
Which they can still do, right? Even if the Pope calls for a vote on the Truth.
I wonder what counsel the author would have given to Athanasius at Nicea.
Well, since it wasn’t rigged, he would probably have given no counsel at all. To my knowledge the prototypes of Fr. Rosica and company who may have attended Nicea hadn’t yet established the Vatican press office or promulgated the confining rules that bedevil this Synod. Beyond that, your analogy fails because Nicea was a Council, not a Synod, and because it was convened by the Emperor Constantine, not the pope, and because Athanasius was not a bishop at Nicea, but rather an assistant to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria.
When the Emperor is siding with the Arians, you don’t think it was a little biased?
My point is that every gathering of bishops gets ugly. The rules have changed, yes; we don’t have bishops decking each other though that would be fun. But the fact remains that the Church remains and will remain, regardless of whether Belgian and German bishops take time out of their chocolate and sausage consumption to say obviously ridiculous though secularly pleasing tripe.
I find all these armchair-pontificators interesting. Its almost as if none of you believe Jesus’ promise to St. Peter.
Are most of you closet sedevacantists? It’s getting harder and harder to tell every day with the the vile near-hatred for Pope Francis that spews forth from here.
Two months after the end of the Synod and a fortnight or so after the publication of the official English translation of the Final Relatio…
Has it dawned upon you lot how stupid your hysteria looks?
For the overwhelming majority of faithful Catholics, it looked just as daft at the time but with clear, added malice and nastiness, in seeking to drive a schism. Supporters of the position advocated by 1P5 should be ashamed; sufficiently ashamed to keep their anti-Church opinions to themselves for a while. Maybe till after a walk through the door of their nearest cathedral.