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Member of the 2023 Synod on Synodality process into St. Peter's

(LifeSiteNews) — Speaking to LifeSiteNews, a prominent researcher and theologian who co-authored a recent book on the Synod on Synodality warned that the “process” is ushering in a new Church “which bears little resemblance to the one founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

On August 22, a book was published by two theologians critiquing the “radical agenda” of the Synod on Synodality. 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, and print copies can be ordered here)

Its publication made waves in Catholic media across the world and was even raised as part of a question put to Pope Francis on the papal flight from Mongolia. Pope Francis appeared to reject the warnings raised by the book’s authors.

READ: Pope Francis: Cardinal Burke, faithful worried about the Synod are not defending ‘true Catholic doctrine’

The work was presented in a catechetical style of questions and answers and included a foreward from Cardinal Raymond Burke.

READ: Cardinal Burke warns Synod is part of ‘revolution’ to ‘radically’ change the Catholic Church

The cardinal decried “synodality” as a front for a “revolution” that is working to “radically” alter the Catholic Church in line with a “contemporary ideology” that 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.

After the publication of the Synod’s October 2023 session’s synthesis report – find LifeSite’s coverage here – LifeSite contacted Loredo for his assessment on the text that was now public.

The email interview is presented below.

LifeSite: In the opening lines of the book you co-authored with Mr. José Antonio Ureta, you mentioned how the Synod on Synodality was part of “a plan is afoot to reform Holy Mother Church which, carried to its final consequences, could subvert her very foundations.”

Mr. Julio Loredo: The crisis within the Church is by no means recent, nor is it just a consequence of Vatican Council II. Its roots stretch further back. On the theological field, we can trace its proximate origins from Liberal Catholicism, through Modernism and Nouvelle Théologie, down to the current errors. On the social field we can trace its proximate origins from left-wing Social Catholicism, through “Christian” Socialism and Liberation Theology, down to the current Progressive tendencies. So we are speaking of a centuries-old process.

At the core of this process, constituting its driving force, there are well-organised structures, not all of which in the open. This is what St. Pius X meant when, condemning Modernism, he spoke of a “clandestinum foedus” (clandestine league). Or what, denouncing Nouvelle Théologie, Pius XII meant by “a covert action.” This process is composed of varied, and not always perfectly concordant, movements. However, they all point in the same direction: the destruction of Holy Mother Church in its structure, its doctrine and its praxis. Of course, this destruction is utopian, since the Church is immortal.

Since the outset of his public life, in 1928, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira closely monitored the development of this crisis. In 1943, he published his groundbreaking book In Defence of Catholic Action denouncing it as it infiltrated the Catholic laity. In 1969, he wrote the essay Towards a New Church, exposing the plot carried on by the so-called “prophetic groups” to dismantle the Church. In 1976, he wrote Indian Tribalism, criticizing “Indian Theology,” now prevalent in Latin America and proposed even by Pope Francis. Today, this effort is continued by his disciples.

The Synod on Synodality assumes, aggravates and carries on these destructive tendencies. It is not an isolated event, but rather a step – a very crucial one – of the revolutionary process I just outlined.

LifeSite: With the release of the Synthesis report from the October 2023 synod meeting, what is your response to this document and the Synod, given your previous description of the Synod some weeks ago?

Loredo: As I wrote in a recent article, the Synthesis Report contains the blueprint for a new Church: the so-called “pneumatic” or “charismatic” Church, which bears little resemblance to the one founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. What should we do?

Faced with such a dire outlook, many Catholics feel lost, discouraged, perplexed, and not all react appropriately. Some give in to the temptation of Sedevacantism. Others succumb to the temptation of apostasy. Most sink into indifference, leaving the Church to her sad fate. All of them are blatantly wrong! Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur. Now is the time when Holy Mother Church needs loving and fearless children to defend her against external and internal enemies.

The trial of our times is one of fidelity. We have to remain faithful to the Church of always. We have to display a sturdiness greater than the storm. It is a real martyrdom that Divine Providence is asking us to suffer. So, my response to the Synthesis Report is Courage and Fidelity.

LifeSite: The Synthesis Report avoided giving direct proposals in favor of female deacons and LGBT issues that LGBT and female ordination advocates were hoping for. But it also avoided presenting Church teaching on these issues. Instead, it called for more discussion on these topics. This seems to create endless confusion, discussing topics that are already settled. Is this a long-term tactic to gradually attempt to overthrow Church teaching, and if not, why have such discussions?

Loredo: Magicians say it is very easy to make an elephant disappear from the stage: it is just a question of having everyone look the other way when the trick is performed. While many were looking at LGBT issues and women’s ordination and were thus relieved when the Synthesis Report made no mention of them, Synod promoters managed to sneak in an elephant – that is, Church reform. Which, by the way, was the goal of the Synod in the first place. LGBT issues were collateral.

Synod spokesmen are now saying that these issues will come as a consequence. First, they have to implement Church reform.

You are correct in saying that this creates confusion. One of the most befuddling aspects of the Synod on Synodality is its willingness to reopen issues that have already been defined by the Church, like women ordination. For the Synodal mentality, nothing is defined, closed or stable. Everything is in the making.

This is why they speak of a “Synodal process.” This is not a Synod. It is an ongoing process in which nothing can be taken for granted. When you open a Pandora’s box, where will you stop?

But, as I said before, let us not be shaken or confused. We are sons of a 2,000-year-old Church. And, more important, a Church Our Lord Jesus Christ has as His own and will keep from falling.

LifeSite: In your book, (question 41) you highlight the Synod’s call for changes to Church structures. This is becoming even more evident with the Synthesis Report, which praised the Synod’s style of round table discussion and “listening.” What do you think is behind the push to reject hierarchy and establish a kind of faux democracy?

Loredo: In fact, the Synthesis Report goes beyond democracy. Democracy implies that everyone is equal before the law and that, therefore, the Government has to represent all the citizens. This is done through elections, when voters choose the persons who will govern the country. It is an indirect or representative democracy. It is, however, hierarchical.

The “charismatic” Church proposed by the Synod speaks rather of a “People of God” all equally animated by the “Spirit.” This animation should not be rationalised. This would be “ideology.” Rather, it has to be “felt.” They thus speak of “experience” and “discernment.”

The “discernment” of the action of the “Spirit” would produce a consensus among the faithful, which would show what the Holy Spirit “saith to the Churches.” Parish priests, bishops and the Pope himself are reduced to “facilitators” of the energies flowing within the People of God. So, we actually have a sort of magical or shamanic government. Which is perhaps why, in the Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum, released during the Synod, Pope Francis proposes the Amazonian tribes as a model for Christians, in line with the “Indian Theology” I mentioned before.

LifeSite: In the book, you also highlighted the Synod’s push for new “ministries.” This was specifically called for in the Synthesis Report, with a request made for “establishing a ministry” for married couples and the “urgent” call for female governance. Then in one of the many post-Synod interviews released, Cardinal Blase Cupich even argued that some women are serving “as pastors” in areas with few priests and that we need to “officially recognize that, rather than seeing it as kind of an exception.”

Loredo: In the new ecclesiology proposed by Synod promoters, the “Spirit” equally animates all the People of God, no distinctions made. This animation inspires different “ministries,” that is functions or roles, according to the persons’ own capacities or penchants. These “ministries” should not be construed as constituting a hierarchy. They are all at the service of the “community” and should have a “communitarian” nature.

On the other hand, as the “ministries” all come from the same “Spirit,” they cannot be refused or abridged in any way to anyone. If we accept this ecclesiology, for instance, women cannot be shut off from any position in the Church, be it government or sacramental. In this logic, we cannot refuse any Sacrament, not even Sacred Orders, to women.

Of course, this will not come about immediately. They started with women doing the liturgical readings during the Mass. Then they proceeded by permitting women to distribute Holy Communion as extraordinary ministers. They are now advancing with “women pastors” in areas with few priests. Indeed, it is a process.

LifeSite: It seems arguable there is clearly a move to undermine the priesthood and replace it with a Protestant form of ministry, open to all men and women. What are your thoughts on this?

Loredo: The logic here is one of egalitarianism. The Protestant Revolution was an outburst of egalitarian and libertarian animus. This produced insurrection against ecclesiastical authority, expressed in all sects by the denial of the monarchical character of the Universal Church, that is to say, by a revolt against the Papacy. Some of the more radical sects also denied what could be called the higher aristocracy of the Church, namely, the bishops, her princes. Others even denied the hierarchical character of the priesthood itself by reducing it to a mere delegation of the people, lauded as the only true holder of priestly power.

This is exactly what is happening today in the Catholic Church. With one aggravating factor: while Protestants, not having the Sacrament of Orders, are simply playing charades, Synod promoters are playing with fire.

LifeSite: Writing the preface to your joint book, His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke argued that “synodality” was a slogan used by those looking 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.” With the October 2023 session now complete, and the Synod continuing in the same style, would you have any thoughts on how faithful Catholics should work to preserve the authentic nature of the Church?

Loredo: As I said before, the battle today is one of courage and fidelity. Courage to stand up to the sweeping tide of Synodalism; and fidelity to our 2,000-year-old Tradition. In closing, I could quote the Letter to the Church of Sardis: “Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. (…) He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Ap. 3,1).

Beyond the terrible moments that await us, we can already perceive the sacral dawn of the Reign of Mary. Our Lady promised it, when in Fatima she proclaimed, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph!”