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Cardinal Christoph Schonborn

VATICAN CITY, October 17, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Pope Francis has added his own nominations to the group who will draft the final report of the Pan-Amazonian Synod. 

The four men named as the pontiff’s own choices are Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the aristocratic Archbishop of Vienna, Austria; Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the Argentinian chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences; Archbishop Edmundo Ponciano Valenzuela Mallid of Paraguay; and the Italian Fr. Rossano Sala.

On the first day of the Amazon Synod meetings, participants elected four members of the Editorial Committee. These are Bishop Mário Antônio Da Silva from Brazil; Bishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Peru, the head of the Latin American Bishops Council (CELAM); Bishop Nelson Jair Cardona Ramírez of Colombia; and the Italian-born Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina from Bolivia.

The other five members of the group that will write the final synod document are the German-Brazilian Synod General Relator Cardinal Clàudio Hummes, Synod General Secretary Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Maltese Pro-Secretary General Bishop Mario Grech, and two Special Secretaries: Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J. of Canada and Spanish-born Bishop David Martinez de Aguirre Guinea of Peru.

Thirteen men, therefore, are responsible for drafting the final document of the synod. It will be voted on by the bishops participating in the synod, and two non-ordained male religious, and then given to Pope Francis. Pope Francis will then use or not use the document as he prefers. The synod is a consultative process, and its sole function is to advise the pontiff. 

Pope Francis’ choice of drafters have some concerned that he has excluded more orthodox voices from the writing of the final synod document. Among the many fears Catholics have about this synod is that bishops contemptuous of tradition are exploiting the problems of the Amazonian region as a pretext to weaken the law of priestly celibacy and to attempt to “ordain” women to the “diaconate.”

The choice of Cardinal Schönborn, 74, is unlikely to allay these fears, for last September, after ordaining 14 married men to the permanent diaconate, he suggested that he might one day ordain women “deacons.” Schönborn said that there had been female deacons in the past and that they still exist today in some Eastern churches. In 2018, a charity concert at Schönborn’s cathedral featured a shirtless actor dancing on the Communion rail. An art exhibit at his cathedral also featured an image of two lesbians kissing in front of a church.

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, 77, has also caused comment for his commitment to a Malthusian attitude towards the environment. A firm believer in climate change, he has advocated that Catholics have no more than one or two children. Sánchez Sorondo has stated that the scientific theories expounded in Francis’ Laudato Si’ are part of the pontifical Magisterium. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which Sorondo heads, has come under fire in recent years for hosting pro-abortion, pro-population control speakers with ties to the United Nations.

Fr. Rossano Sala, 49, though less well-known, is also a figure of interest. He was nominated by Pope Francis as a Special Secretary for the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment in 2018. He wrote his dissertations for both his Licentiate and PhD degree under the guidance of Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, now the President of the gutted John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences. The topic of Sala’s doctoral dissertation was “The Human Possible: Explorations out of Modernity.”