NEWS:  November 30, 2018
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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães
WHAT IS A SYNODAL CHURCH? – One of Francis’ goals that he often mentions is to establish the Synodal Church, a more democratic Church. We have written before about it (here, here, here and here), but now there is something new on this topic that is worthy of the attention of my reader.

youth synod

Listening to the youth as equals at the Synod

The Synod of Youth, whose final document was released on October 27, 2018, focused on the topic of a Synodal Church in various passages. I may comment more fully on that document later. Today, I want to analyze a particularly expressive editorial in The Tablet of London about what the Synodal Church is.

As it is known, The Tablet is one of the most significant progressivist European magazines today. I believe it is opportune to point out what the progressivists think about the future of the Catholic Church and where it is heading. With this, my counter-revolutionary reader will have at hand a document to consubstantiate what the enemy wants to do.

I will transcribe excerpts of the editorial (The Tablet, November 2, 2018, p. 2) and then comment briefly on them.

The editorial reads: “The Synod of Bishops which has just ended could have been retitled the Synod of the Bishops and Young People, for though the latter did not vote on the final document, they contributed eagerly to the debates. Their presence, representing young Catholics from all over the world, was a significant precedent but also marked a stage on a journey.

The next step must surely be a Synod of Bishops, Clergy and People, for the emerging theory of synodality – a favorite theme of Pope Francis – is about the participation by the whole People of God and the sharing of responsibility at all levels.”

So, here we have straight “from the horse’s mouth” what the goal of Progressivism is and what it expects to accomplish in a short time: to elevate the laity to the level of the clergy and the latter to the level of the episcopate. Or, better said, it is to lower the bishops to the level of the clergy and, then, both the bishops and priests to the level of the laity.

drafting

Bishops drafting a document that aims to destroy their own power; below, the Tennis Court Oath where France started the abolion of its aristocracy

tennis court oath
The editorial speaks of “sharing responsibility at all levels.” A conservative reader might think that this would mean a proportional sharing, where bishops would have a weight of, let us say, 70%, the priests of 30% and the laity of 10%. The excerpt above leaves this possibility open. Let us see if the article confirms or denies such a supposition as we read further.

The Tablet continues: “The days of confining Church government only to Bishops have to be over. Confidence in Bishops acting alone has been severely undermined by their role in the scandal of child abuse by clergy, particularly by covering it up rather than straining every episcopal muscle to stamp it out.”

It is interesting to notice the imperative tone of the affirmation: “The day of confining the government only to the Bishops have to be over.” It is a shout from the laity against the Bishops, relying on the authority of the Pope to back their claim. It reminds me of the Serment de la Cour de Jeux de Paume – or Tennis Court Oath. In that room representatives of the three estates of the Kingdom of France, the Clergy, Nobility and Plebeians took a solemn oath vowing not to separate before writing a Constitution. It was a pivotal event to the start of the French Revolution, which would explode one month later and do away with the previous aristocratic government of France.

The allegation that the scandal of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests would justify the end of the government by the Bishops is tantamount to saying that the inefficiency and corruption of the members of the House of Representatives would justify the abolition of the House as a branch of the U.S. government. The abuse of an institution or of a law does not mean it should no longer exist or be applied.

Now, the editorial employs another argument: “The Church is being reminded by Pope Francis of the insight of the Second Vatican Council that the fundamental Christian sacrament is not ordination as priest or bishop, but baptism. All the baptized are responsible for the welfare of the household of the faith. So the Church’s missionary and pastoral priorities can no longer be imposed from above, but discerned by consultation with the faithful down to the parish level.”

closing synod

Another step toward a church where all are equal

The sophism here is that baptism is the most essential of the Sacraments and, therefore, all as Catholics are equal – Pope, Bishops, priests and laymen. Yes, baptism is more essential, but then, there are accidents – like the Sacrament of Orders – that completely change that fundamental equality and transform the Church into a structured society comprised of the Hierarchy and faithful. To pretend that the Catholic Church is a society of equals and the power of the Bishops comes from the people are errors condemned by Pius VI in 1794 when the Synod of Pistoia defended similar heresies. (DR 1502) In 1786 the same Pontiff condemned the error that the Church should be governed as a republic defended by the Febronianism. (DR 1500)

Nonetheless, this is what The Tablet presents as the goal of Pope Francis and of his current: Progressivism.

The last excerpt of the editorial that I analyze is this: “Synodality, the word that describes all this, now has to be taken into the Church’s structures at national, diocesan and parish levels. That is an immense challenge.”

The radical goal of Progressivism appears here in its entirety: Egalitarianism has to be imposed in all the ranks of the Church and extended to every small parish. It is a call for a dominant and universal egalitarianism. This is what synodality is, according to the accredited voice of The Tablet. Accordingly, Pope Francis also longs for the same ideal.

It is good to have a serious progressivist source confirming what we have affirmed for many years.