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September 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In addition to the delegates elected by the world’s episcopal conferences, the upcoming Synod on Youth has been given 39 special delegates appointed directly by Pope Francis.

This list includes several of his close allies in the hierarchy: Cardinal Marx of Munich, President of the German bishops’ conference; Cardinal Cupich, who has said that the Church has more important business than dealing with the abuse crisis, such as environmentalism and immigration; Cardinal Tobin, who denies having known anything about McCarrick, in spite of evidence of hundreds of clergy who knew “all about it”; Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, famous for tweeting that in theology (modern theology?), 2+2=5; and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the deconstructed Pontifical Academy for Life and grand chancellor of the gutted John Paul II Institute in Rome. 

All of these figures have been in the spotlight for their heterodoxy, and all have angrily denounced Catholics who oppose the pope’s progressive agenda.

In some ways, this delegate development is not surprising. In another way, however, it is appalling. Many of these men have given evidence of being shameless liars (to use Viganò’s terminology) by denying knowledge of now ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s predations or by denying that the abuse crisis is primarily a consequence of active homosexuality in the clergy. Like the recent Vatican photo of the private papal meeting on abuse which shows everyone relaxed and smiling, or the now extensive string of papal homilies in which the pope compares himself to the silent Christ in His Passion and writes off his critics as accusers like Satan, this development is one more nail in the coffin of any reasonable expectation Catholics might have to see the pope or any of his senior officials take seriously either the abuse scandal or the devastating report of Viganò.

As regards the upcoming Synod itself, there’s not even an attempt anymore at hiding (as had been the case with the two synods on marriage and family) the papal strategy for manipulating its outcome. Now it is in broad daylight. On September 17, Pope Francis released a new document, an Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio governing the structure of the Synod of Bishops, which turns the Synod into a permanent body, somewhat like a parliamentary form of government, and, more worrisomely, amplifies the “magisterial” force of the final document produced by a Synod. In other words, the process by which synodal progressivism will be able to modernize Catholic dogma and morals has been accelerated. One wonders if Pope Francis is worried about how many years he’s got left, and wants to make sure that he changes as much as he can, as quickly as possible.

We already know, from events held in advance of the Youth Synod, that it will represent a one-sided view of youth and what they need and what the Church should give them. Even George Weigel, who has been an outstanding proponent of papal authority over the years, has criticized the upcoming Synod on Youth, saying that there’s likely to be nothing to it but conventional sociology and that the Church seems to be apologizing for her challenging moral teachings. 

What is most obvious is that the new traditional voice among practicing Catholic youth will be utterly ignored and stifled, treated as if it does not exist. This is because Francis and his allies would strongly prefer that it not exist.

Will nothing come of the McCarrick affair? Will it be business as usual? Will the Youth Synod, the Amazon Synod, and a whole host of future Synods irrevocably alter the face of Catholicism? That is what the pope and his Vatican would like the most; but that is not what they are going to get. As Fr. Zuhlsdorf wrote: “A great deal of the clean up of The Present Crisis will be (must be) driven by lay people, who have, above all, numbers, and who have, ultimately, the money.” And, most importantly, who seem, at this time, to have a monopoly on the orthodox Faith.

Think of it this way. I would wager that at least 75% of believing and practicing Catholic laity today—by “believing and practicing,” I mean Catholics who know the basics of their faith and accept the Church’s teaching on such countercultural issues as divorce, homosexuality, contraception, and abortion—are by now opposed to the progressivist and modernist program of Pope Francis. Perhaps the number is even higher. In contrast, probably not more than 50% of the lower clergy are skeptical of it or opposed to it. Maybe 25% of the world’s bishops and 15% of the cardinals are hesitant about it or opposed to it.

What this suggests to me is that, at this time in history, the higher one’s position in the institutional hierarchy, the more likely one is to be corrupted and compromised, while simple lay believers are far more likely to be outspokenly committed to traditional faith, morals, and liturgy. This is where future Catholic laity, priests, and religious will come from—not from the Synod machinery of the new German-Italian Axis.

Instead of praying for the success of another rigged Synod, perhaps we need to pray for a real chastisement from God to wake up the Church in its heady echelons. We might consider using the so-called cursing Psalms that were excised from the new Liturgy of the Hours.

In the end, God will have the last laugh (so to speak). And those who are faithful to him will join in, because everyone can now see how manipulated it all is, and that the Synod is speaking for no one but its progressive organizers.

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Peter Kwasniewski, Thomistic theologian, liturgical scholar, and choral composer, is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in California (B.A. Liberal Arts) and The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy). He taught at the International Theological Institute in Austria and the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austria Program, then helped establish Wyoming Catholic College in 2006. There he taught theology, philosophy, music, and art history and directed the choirs until leaving in 2018 to devote himself full-time to writing and lecturing.

Today he contributes regularly to many websites and publications, including New Liturgical Movement, OnePeterFive, LifeSiteNews, Rorate Caeli, The Remnant, and Catholic Family News, and has published thirteen books, including four on traditional Catholicism: Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis (Angelico, 2014, also available in Czech, Polish, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Belarusian), Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness (Angelico, 2017), Tradition and Sanity (Angelico, 2018), and Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass (Angelico, 2020). His work has been translated into at least eighteen languages.

Kwasniewski is a scholar of The Aquinas Institute in Green Bay, which is publishing the Opera Omnia of the Angelic Doctor, a Fellow of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies, and a Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center. He has published over a thousand articles on Thomistic thought, sacramental and liturgical theology, the history and aesthetics of music, and the social doctrine of the Church.

For news, information, article links, sacred music, and the home of Os Justi Press, visit his personal website,