VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) –– The prominent American prelate Raymond Cardinal Burke has warned that “Synodality” and “synodal” have become “slogans” used as a front 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.”
The cardinal’s stern criticism of the current Synod on Synodality comes in the foreword to a recently published book on the Synod. Written by researchers and theologians José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue, the book is titled “The Synodal Process Is A Pandora’s Box.” (An online and downloadable copy of the book can be found in the links provided, while print copies can be ordered here)
The book is described by the authors as “a cry of alarm” in the face of the “heretical voices within the Catholic Church” who are promoting a “radical agenda” via the Synod on Synodality. This agenda, note the two authors, is summarized as “distort doctrine, subvert tradition, and dismantle the hierarchical nature of the Church.”
“A plan is afoot to reform Holy Mother Church which, carried to its final consequences, could subvert her very foundations,” Ureta and Loredo wrote. “A maneuver is underway to demolish Holy Mother Church by erasing the basic elements of her organic constitution and doctrine, rendering her unrecognizable.”
Synodal slogans supporting a ‘revolution’ against the Church
Formatted in a catechetical style of 100 questions and answers, the book has been met with praise and support from Burke. In his forward to the text, Burke issued a clear warning against the Synod and the “contemporary ideology” which it proposes.
The cardinal took aim at Pope Francis’ regular interventions on how the Church must become “synodal,” stating:
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.
He decried “synodality” as a front for a “revolution” which is working to “radically” alter the Catholic Church in line with a “contemporary ideology” which rejects much of Church teaching:
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. 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.
The harms of Germany’s Synodal Way, wrote Burke, are likely to be found in the Synod on Synodality as “the same confusion and error and division will be visited upon the universal Church” and have “already begun.”
Catholics becoming ‘outcast’ in the Synodal Church
Ureta and Loredo summarized Burke’s themes, noting that faithful Catholics may feel “lost, discouraged, confused, perplexed” due to enduring persecution from the authorities who govern the Church. They employed the words of Scripture, drawing from the Psalms: “I have become an outcast to my kindred, a stranger to my mother’s children.” (Psalm 68:9)
But Burke encouraged both the authors and defenders of Catholic tradition to resort to the “truth of Christ… as it is handed down to us in the unchanging and unchangeable doctrine and discipline of the Church.”
Only this truth, continued Burke, “can address effectively the situation by uncovering the ideology at work, by correcting the deadly confusion and error and division it is propagating, and by inspiring the members of the Church to undertake the true reform which is daily conversion to Christ alive for us in the Church’s teaching, her prayer and worship, and her practice of the virtues and discipline.”
As such, he praised the authors’ text for presenting the Church’s perennial teaching in the “present most worrisome situation of the Church.”
The latest text which is guiding the upcoming month-long meeting of the Synod participants in Rome this October is notable for its inclusion and promotion of a number of topics which run in contradiction to Catholic teaching. The working document (Instrumentum laboris) proposes discussion of women’s diaconal “ordination,” married priests, and a need to “welcome” the “remarried divorcees, people in polygamous marriages, LGBTQ+ people.”
Ureta and Loredo argue that the Synod’s use of the term “inclusion” is based on a secular understanding of “providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.” This would mean that topics such as the male-only priesthood or the reception of Holy Communion only for those in a state of grace would be seen by the Synodal proponents as excluding women or LGBT people.
A ‘listening process’ until when?
Cardinal Mario Grech – Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops – has argued that both the document and the entire Synod is a “listening process,” despite the clear attention being given to issues on which the Church has already pronounced and condemned.
LifeSiteNews spoke to key personnel in the Synod team earlier this year, asking about how the so-called “listening” phase would deal with issues on which the Church has very clearly taught already. Asked about the prominence of LGBT issues in the Synodal documents, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich – the relator general of the Synod – denied to LifeSite the idea that LGBT issues were a “topic” of the Synod, saying that the event is on “synodality, and it’s not homosexuality, it’s not on women’s ordination.”
“It has a very defined topic: synodality, communion, participation, and mission,” the cardinal stated.
Meanwhile Sr. Natalie Becquart, an undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops and the Vatican’s first female member of the Roman Curia with synodal voting rights, was asked how the Synod would ensure that “listening” did not take priority over Catholic teaching. Becquart replied that the pastors and the Synod itself must focus on “discernment,” and listen to the “sensus fidei.” She highlighted a “tension between truth, teaching of the Church, and mercy.”
She was unable to answer how “pastors” would implement Catholic teaching after so much attention was given to “listening.” Instead, Becquart called for pastors to teach by accounting for different cultures and “experiences” which would be a more “pastoral approach.”