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NEWS: November 3, 2023
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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães
WHY A SEEMINGLY FRUITLESS SYNOD? – When we consider the ambience of electricity that preceded this Synod and then see the poor fruits it gave in its final document – the Synthesis Report – which I analyzed some days ago, we find a disproportion between cause and effect.

Why would the Vatican orchestrate such a showy and expensive gathering if there were not some real advantage to be had from it? Even if I do not have a full answer to this question, I surely can speculate on some reasons. I go on to list two of them.

1. Preparing the Bishops to accept a more progressivist agenda

I believe that the first goal Francis had in mind with this Synod was to bring a large number of Bishops to the Vatican and use his authority to “persuade” them to abandon any attachment to Tradition they might still have. I am convinced that, on one hand, a well-prepared group of close auxiliaries of Francis was commissioned to detect any such reaction among the Bishops and eliminate it. On the other hand, I think this same team encouraged the more progressivist Bishops to go farther and induced them to adhere to the Pact of the Catacombs and to remain committed to not step back.

Bishops & women

Bishops participating in the 2023 Synod visit the catacombs as a homage to the Catacomb Pact

This is not a new policy. Francis already encouraged a group of Bishops to do this during the Amazon Synod in 2019. Under Paul VI some of the Prelates closer to him led the more radical Bishops to sign the Pact of the Catacombs in 1965, a little before the end of Vatican II.

Thus, I am persuaded that the first goal of this Synod was to advance the progressivist agenda among the participants.

The main point was/is to promote “synodality.” This goal is also not new. The new word synodality recycles the old concepts of “collegiality,” “co-responsibility” and “communion” that were the leitmotifs of the pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. These words are just façades to disguise the agenda to democratize the Church. If the conciliar Popes were to openly declare, “Democracy is our ideal for the Church,” they would raise a much stronger reaction than they do by employing these sophisticated terms of theological parlance.

The monarchical character is so entrenched in the Church’s nature that the Bishops are perfectly aware that all their conclusions in the meetings can only end by being suggestions to the Pope. Nonetheless, Francis, following in the steps of his predecessors, is trying to impose “synodality” throughout the Church.

Since the first one in 1967, the Synods gathering in the Vatican were not the initiative of the Bishops, but of Pope Paul VI, who was following the plan to democratize the Church. At that time, he created the Synod of the Bishops to give the impression that this body was a Senate that would call on the Pope to follow its determinations.

He also founded a Council for the Laity that should play the role of a House of Representatives and oblige the Bishops to satisfy their stipulations. With the dynamic action of these two institutions, the Papacy would be transformed into a kind of Constitutional Monarchy and the Pope would become a sort of English Monarch without effective power, brought out only for ceremonies.

Actually, the laymen, who should be driving force of the process, did not manifest any interest in it, and the Council for the Laity was dissolved as an autonomous body after some years of frustrated meetings and incorporated into the Roman Curia.

The time when the Synods gather, what their themes are, who participates in them, and how long they should last are decisions of the Pope. Their instrumenta laboris – the texts they receive to prepare their interventions – are prepared by a commission under close watch of the Pope. When members are called to express their opinions, they cannot speak for more than 3 or 4 minutes. Their final documents are redacted by that same preparatory commission.

How can this system be an expression of “synodality”? I do not understand. I believe it is rather an expression of a strictly controlled apparatus not so different from a dictatorship.

It is an artificial reality staged to represent democracy in the Church. In reality it does not represent it. The Bishops receive an “invitation”; if they do not come, they displease the “boss” and run the risk of not advancing in their careers or losing their jobs…

So, the first goal is to pressure the Bishops to accept more Progressivism.

2. To prepare the Catholic public to accept new advances

I believe that the second goal the Vatican tries to accomplish with the Synods is to prepare Catholics to accept democracy – “synodality” – in the Church.

Paul VI

Paul VI inaugurated the process of democratization,
then called ‘collegiality,’ today ‘synodality’

How can this be achieved? The best way is to slip these messages by word-of-mouth to the press: “Now the Church will definitively change.” “She will destroy her monarchical past.” “Not only Francis wants this, but all the Bishops.” “She will update her morals on homosexuality and divorce.” “She will allow women deacons and married priests.”

With such ammunition the media spreads this propaganda with great fanfare. Indeed, the Secret Forces – which control the entire media among many other things – have an “infallible” flair for apostasy. Whenever an apostasy takes place or is in motion, they open their arms to receive the apostate and to promote the apostasy as “progress” and an example of “enlightenment.”

So, when Francis and his cohorts decide to convene a Synod, like the latest one, they carefully spread these “hopes” to the media. This is the first phase of the process of creating electricity around a synod.

After the word is out and the media spreads it, the news reports awaken three types of different reactions:
  1. Among progressivists it generates a climate of enthusiasm and hope. They speak and write about the Synod expressing their views: “It is a long awaited progress that had to come.” “It is late, we are far behind the rest of the world.” “The Church has to put aside her obsolete past.” “We need women priests to fill the gap caused by the lack of vocations.” “We need married priests to stop the crisis of pedophilia” etc.

  2. Among the middle-of-the-road Catholics it produces a mixture of surprise, curiosity and fear: “What? Women priests? I thought this was impossible!” “Do you think that it will happen?” “This Argentinian Pope is changing everything... Well, let us see if the Bishops will follow him.” “I cannot understand anything anymore, everything is so confused…” These Catholics – who make up the majority of Catholics – communicate their feelings to their peers and the electricity grows.

  3. Among the conservatives it generates fear in most of them and indignation in some. “Is this the end of the world?” “Our Lord Jesus Christ, intervene to help your Church!” “We need to do something…” They also spread the word and help to increase the electric tension.

In his speech to the Synod Francis spoke
against the Hierarchy & clericalism

These three types of reactions all serve to amplify expectations for the Synod. The electricity increases… If an unpredictable event deviates the attention of the media to another topic, Francis, who knows these rules perfectly, performs some spectacular gesture to return the spotlight to him and his Synod.

In a few words, this is how Francis and his Vatican experts produce and keep the electricity at the high level tension they desire, as they did with the last Synod.

Now, after receiving this shock-treatment, Catholic public opinion is prepared for a change. Or, at least, it is much more prepared than it was before it suffered this treatment.

When we have two sessions of a Synod in two successive years, as we did with the Synod on the Family and we now have with this Synod on Synodality, it means that the shock treatment will double in intensity. The fruit of the two-phase Synod on Family was Francis’ Amoris laetitia, which made several important moral concessions. After October 2024, most probably Francis will come up with another revolutionary document, making institutional concessions. I am guessing that its outlines are already sketched out.

Summarizing: If Francis and his cohorts are the ones who control everything, why do they need a Synod? It is to make sure that they will be followed by both the Bishops and a good parcel of the public. The Synod is a tool they use to reach these goals.


Blason de Charlemagne
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