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(LifeSiteNews) — Synod is the exact translation of the Greek noun synodos. It is interesting to collect the elements from which the word is formed: syn, as an adverb, means “whole, all together, at the same time,” and as a preposition it can be translated “with, by means of.” The noun synodos, indicates gathering, assembly, and also fellow travellers. The word syn is composed with hodos, meaning “way, route, guide” (it is feminine in Greek); from there is also formed méthodos, or method.

Historically, in Christian antiquity, a synod was called the convocation and meeting of the bishops, according to ecclesiastical provinces, each presided over by the metropolitan, who met in assembly to discuss matters of utmost importance, define doctrines, and condemn and refute heresies, noting the assortment of these errors, in contradiction to the Didache, the origin of which is apostolic. Two main features to bear in mind: the protagonists are always bishops, successors of the apostles of Jesus, and the duration is fixed in time, not excessively long.

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The name synod has been used to signify only those meetings that are designated, i.e., an exclusively theological, ecclesiastical use. The history of the Church offers numerous testimonies of the interchange between synod and council, the latter name coming from the Latin, as we shall see below.

Aristotle rightly affirmed that the road, as a movement, is identified by the end; the goal is what allows us to recognize the road that leads to it, identifying it by where it leads. To give a banal example, if one wishes to go to Mar del Plata, one will not take the road that leads to Cordoba.

Concilium is an exquisitely Ciceronian voice. According to Cicero, nature “conciliates” us, unites us, first and foremost, with the gods, the fathers, and the fatherland. Concilium is equivalent to junta, or congress. History has reserved concilium to designate the universal convocation in the Church; synods are rather partial meetings, of a country, a region, a group of nations. Council and synod are synonymous. The reference to God and to the biblical Fathers – that is, to Tradition – identifies the Church and its councils. Synodus or synhodos, the Latin transcription of the Greek noun is in classical usage, and is also found in the writings of the Holy Fathers of the West.

The linguistic reference on which I have dwelt is not idle; it brings us closer to the nature of the realities addressed. The name is the thing.

The recent synod proposed by Rome has novel and unusual characteristics. It has been going on for two years, with consultation extended, through the dioceses, to the whole Church. The whole thing is an exaggeration, impossible to realise; the alleged democracy hides the reality: the results will be decided by the Pontiff, and it is difficult for him to give up the voluntary management of the guidelines he wants.

At this stage of the Francis pontificate, it is already known which inclinations and trends will be registered in the synod. Let it look like democracy; I decide, who can be fooled? The synodal time is several years in the making. Another new feature is the participation of lay people and, according to the “gender perspective,” also of women. This is the first time this has happened; the bishops are not the only participants.

It is to be feared that this universal synod will suffer from the contagion of the German Synodal Way, which smacks of heresy. Rome is silent, one can suspect that silence is its agreement. The German synod is obsessed with two main issues: the communion of divorced people who have entered into a second union, and the demand for greater insertion of homosexuals into ecclesial communion. I am not referring here to the many ecclesiastics who are homosexuals. Also – and this is already a historical issue – the opposition to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae. As the Buenos Aires daily La Prensa recalls, “Francis made the climate crisis one of the fundamental pillars of his decade-long leadership.” It is very likely that the synod in progress will also take up this theme and insist on it.

READ: German priests defy Church teaching, ‘bless’ same-sex unions outside faithful cardinal’s cathedral

Worryingly, there are some signs of Rome’s benevolence towards the U.N.’s Agenda 2030. On the contrary, the Church should prophetically announce the opposition of this programme to Christian anthropology and the natural order. I dwell on this issue, which is of the utmost importance. The 2030 Agenda is a globalist project of the United Nations and associated agencies, which pressures states to adopt abortion policies and “comprehensive s0ex education.” The objectives of this agenda are related to the “gender perspective”; in reality, it is an ideology, which is the educational foundation par excellence.

There is a real obsession to adopt the sexual issue as the basis for all discussions, which has repercussions on population policy, as seen at the International Conference on Population and Development (Bucharest, 1974). At the 1994 edition of the same conference, convened in Cairo, Egypt, states were asked to approve legal abortion and educational measures to reduce the birth rate. In reality, the request became difficult to resist.

The Argentinean philosopher Agustín Laje Arrigoni, in his book “Generation Idiot: A critique of adolescent-centrism,” states that “gender ideology has thus become a school dogma.” This author provides a description of how, against the will of families, and violating their rights, beliefs and values, children are indoctrinated in the name of comprehensive sex education. The facts are unseemly, repulsive. I copy from pages 217-218 of the aforementioned book:

Teachers well trained by the state are obsessed with teaching them to masturbate, to use sex toys, to dress up as drag queens, to have oral sex, to prepare for anal intercourse, to believe that sexual identity is a concept open to infinite possibilities, to resort to abortion in different ways if they wish, to access hormone blockers and synthetic hormones if they want to change their sex. While talking to them about women’s rights, and lecturing them against the oppressive patriarchy, they are insisted that biology does not in any way determine their identity.

International organizations such as UNESCO produce manuals to be imposed on states.

The Pope and the synod should prophetically denounce the excesses of Agenda 2030. Their reaction would be a true prophecy, and the apostolic exercise of vigilance, and recognition of the evil that lies in the globalist agenda. There is something even more elementary: to discard the concept of sin, which would be an attack on the goodness of God, and the dignity of man created in His image. Where does the synodal path lead? It leads to the implicit approval of sin, and to the vicious tolerance that sympathizes with it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear about the deviations that threaten the order of truth and good. The world needs the Apostolic Office to be exercised with solicitude: the goal must not be confused, the path must not be mistaken.

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There is another interpretation, which recognizes in the mistaking of the path a component of a preternatural order: the lurking of the enemy of God, of the Church, of man. It is appropriate to recall the discernment that Paul VI unexpectedly reached in the midst of the chaos of the 1970s: “Through some crack the smoke of Satan has seeped into the Church of today.” I exclude all millenarianism; the end is approaching analogically at various historical moments in the life of the Church.

The Marian apparitions of the last century warn against the poisonous administration of evil, of sin that ruins the work of God. The testimony of the saints also allows us to recognize this poisonous administration of evil. It is not we who are approaching the end of history; it is history that is approaching us, and thus the principle that motus in fine velocior (movement is faster toward the end) assures us that the movement accelerates at the end is fulfilled.

The progressivism of the present pontificate reappears in the midst of the ruins it has produced, and thus deploys its last resources. It is from this perspective that we can interpret the life of the Church, in which God’s providence is also manifested. Let us remain humble before the mystery of the unfathomable designs of the Lord of history.

+ Héctor Aguer

Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata.

Buenos Aires, September 21, 2023.

Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

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