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September 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider are calling on Catholics to pray and fast to combat the “serious theological errors and heresies” they identify in the controversial working document for the impending Amazon Synod.
Burke and Schneider released an eight-page statement warning of six such heresies contained in the document, or Instrumentum Laboris, which is the source for discussion by the Synod of Bishops taking place in Rome October 6-27.
They encourage a 40-day crusade of prayer and fasting beginning on September 17 and ending on October 26, the day before the synod concludes.
“The theological errors and heresies, implicit and explicit in the Instrumentum Laboris of the imminent Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon, are an alarming manifestation of the confusion, error and division which beset the Church in our day,” the two prelates say in the statement.
“It is our duty to make the faithful aware of some of the main errors that are being spread through the Instrumentum Laboris,” they stated, adding that the working document is “long and is marked by a language which is not clear in its meaning, especially in what regards the deposit of faith (depositum fidei).”
The prelates’ statement calling for the crusade of prayer and fasting is dated September 12, and covered in a report from Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register.
Burke, patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta, and Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, are both well-regarded among Catholics for their steady defense of the faith despite all but continual attacks directed at them for upholding it.
They encourage Catholic clergy and laity to “pray daily at least one decade of the Holy Rosary and to fast once a week” during the crusade.
Pray to combat theological errors and heresies
They ask that the prayer and fasting be directed toward the intention “that the theological errors and heresies inserted in the Instrumentum Laboris may not be approved during the synodal assembly.”
Additionally, they ask “particularly” for prayer that Pope Francis, “in the exercise of the Petrine ministry, may confirm his brethren in the faith by an unambiguous rejection of the errors of the Instrumentum Laboris.”
The synod’s Instrumentum laboris was released in June and draws heavily from Francis’ encyclicals Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato si.’
Learn more about Cardinal Burke’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.
Will the synod undermine Church teaching?
The Synod and its working document have been criticized over a number of issues, which Burke and Schneider lay out in their declaration, supporting their arguments with Church documents, the Catechism, and Scripture.
Titled Amazonia, New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, the document and synod, it is feared, will be used to undermine Church teaching in a number of areas and to advance radical ideas incompatible with Catholic doctrine.
There are also general concerns over some of the document’s authors and others overseeing or otherwise influencing the synod with regard to fidelity to Church teaching.
“Various prelates and lay commentators, as well as lay institutions, have warned that the authors of the Instrumentum Laboris…have inserted serious theological errors and heresies into the document,” state Burke and Schneider.
‘Heretical’ and an ‘apostasy’
Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the two remaining dubia cardinals, issued a stiff critique of the Instrumentum Laboris in June, terming it “heretical” and an “apostasy” from Divine Revelation. Brandmüller called on Church leadership to “reject” it with “all decisiveness.”
In a statement this past July Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), denounced the Instrumentum Laboris as well for its “radical u-turn in the hermeneutics of Catholic theology” and for its “false teaching.”
Müller said that same month that the Amazon Synod is “a pretext for changing the Church.”
In an interview last month Burke had said the Instrumentum Laboris is an “apostasy.”
Asked if the document may become “something definitive or authoritative for the Church,” Burke responded, “It cannot be. The document is an apostasy. This cannot become the teaching of the Church, and God willing, the whole business will be stopped.”
Burke and Schneider also ask Catholic to pray for the intention that Pope Francis “may not consent to the abolition of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church by introducing the praxis of the ordination of married men, the so-called ‘viri probati’, to the Holy Priesthood.”
‘The Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women’
The threat to priestly celibacy by way of the synod is of great concern to Catholics, along with an attempt to establish a female “diaconate,” regarded widely as a strategy to push for women “priests” – an impossibility given the Church has no authority to ordain women as Christ chose only men as his apostles.
In his 1994 encyclical Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the late Pope Saint John Paul II affirmed Church teaching on the matter, stating, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.”
The working document suggests discussion of a married priesthood with the priest shortage in the Amazon as rationale.
The list of errors
Among the errors listed by Burke and Schneider is “implicit pantheism” which identifies God as one with the universe, or regards all gods on the same level.
“The Magisterium of the Church rejects such an implicit pantheism as incompatible with the Catholic Faith,” they state.
The second error identified is that “the pagan superstitions of the Amazon tribes are an expression of Divine Revelation deserving an attitude of dialogue and acceptance on the part of the Church.”
The third concerns the document’s advance of “Intercultural dialogue instead of evangelization.”
“The Instrumentum Laboris contains the erroneous theory that aboriginal people have already received divine revelation, and that the Catholic Church in the Amazon should undergo a ‘missionary and pastoral conversion,’” Burke and Schneider write, “instead of introducing doctrine and practice of universal truth and goodness.”
They further add, “the Instrumentum Laboris says also that the Church must enrich herself with the symbols and rites of the aboriginal people.”
“The Magisterium of the Church rejects the idea that missionary activity is merely intercultural enrichment,” they say.
And fourth, Burke and Schneider list, “An erroneous conception of sacramental ordination, postulating worship ministers of either sex to perform even shamanic rituals.”
Fifth, the prelates say that in keeping with “its implicit pantheistic views, the Instrumentum Laboris relativizes Christian anthropology, which recognizes the human person as made in the image of God and therefore the pinnacle of material creation (Gen 1:26-31), and instead considers the human a mere link in nature’s ecological chain, viewing socioeconomic development as an aggression to ‘Mother Earth.’”
And lastly they say the working document puts forth “a tribal collectivism that undermines personal uniqueness and freedom,” that is, along with the other errors, rejected by the Magisterium.
All Catholics must be informed and pray
Burke and Schneider write that no one is excused from “being informed about the gravity of the situation and from taking appropriate action for love of Christ and of His life with us in the Church,” and that “all the members of Christ’s Mystical Body, before such a threat to her integrity, must pray and fast for the eternal good of her members who risk being scandalized, that is led into confusion, error and division by this text for the Synod of Bishops.”
The prelates invoke the Blessed Mother’s intersession along with that of other Catholic missionary saints to protect Pope Francis and the bishops taking part in the Amazon Synod from “the danger of approving doctrinal errors and ambiguities, and of undermining the Apostolic rule of priestly celibacy.”