Rorate Caeli

"And the Word became ideology": At the Synod, a falsified Church

"And the Word became ideology": At the Synod, a falsified Church
Luisella Scrosati
La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana
November 7, 2022

On Oct. 27, Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Synod, spoke first during the press conference presenting the Working Document for the Continental Stage of the Synod, a document summarizing what emerged from all the diocesan consultations. "Enlarge the Space of Your Tent" (this is the title of the document) is the "synthesis of syntheses."

In fact, the various responses of the faithful were transmitted to the respective dioceses and then by the dioceses to the relevant bishops' conference, which prepared an initial compendium. These summaries were then sent to the Synod Secretariat, which, through a group of "experts," proceeded to prepare a further summary, that is, the document that has now been made public. According to Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, 112 out of 115 bishops' conferences, 15 Eastern Catholic Churches, 17 Roman Dicasteries, the Union of Superiors and Major Superiors, and some movements and associations responded. Nothing was said about how many, however, were Catholics in the flesh who submitted comments.

Cardinal Grech expressed his surprise and that of "the group that collaborated in reading the summaries and writing the Document," because of the "singular convergence on many points of contributions that came from very different ecclesial and cultural contexts." What is more suspicious than surprising, however, is the uniformity of expression, in strict "synodalism," of the quotations reported.

Grech shows his cards by acknowledging that "the Document was drafted from the syntheses of the Bishops' Conferences and not directly from the contributions of the particular Churches"; but at the same time he vindicates its fidelity to the original contributions, categorically ruling out the possibility "that all the Bishops' Conferences have purposely stifled the prophecy of the People of God," a suspicion that would be "just as ideological as to suppose the contrary." A statement that implies, and perhaps the Cardinal did not realize it, that even the assumption that there was no falsification is ideological.

And in fact, the most likely assumption, taking a look at the summaries reported, is that there is now a substantial, profound falsification going on in the Church in two directions: from the institution to the faithful (or at least a part of them), and from the latter to the institution. Cardinal Grech calls it the "dynamic of restitution"; in essence, a continuous shift: "from listening to the People of God, the individual bishops will be able to verify whether and how much his Church recognizes itself in the Document; possible observations to the Document can be sent by the individual Churches to the Bishops' Conferences, which can in turn produce for the continental stage a more organic synthesis, which will contribute to the discernment of the Continental Assembly."

Why is this a process of falsification? Because much of God's people, especially the "committed" ones, have been reached not by the preaching of the Gospel, but by the typical phrasing of pseudo-Christian ideology. To their pastors, therefore, are returned those desiderata that were actually preemptively induced by the ideological hammering of the pastors themselves (with a few exceptions) and their various diocesan and parish commissions. The pastors then sent to the relevant offices of the bishops' conferences these responses, which were appropriately synthesized, that is, better amalgamated with the dominant ecclesial ideology. Thus reformulated, they will go back to the pastors and the people, so that they can "internalize" the ideology and its phraseology even better. And so on and so forth, in a dynamic that is called the "circular dynamic of prophecy-discernment," according precisely to an ideological vocabulary that is now well-tested.

What will emerge, thus, is not at all the sensus fidei, as the document suggests in No. 9 -- that is, the consensus of the faithful, by virtue of the theological virtue of faith, infused in them in Baptism -- but, if anything, a "consultatio fidelium," ideologically conducted and reported.

Let us see concretely some examples of the ideology at work, reporting some of those quotations that, according to the document, "try to give an idea of the richness of the materials received, letting the voice of the People of God from every part of the world resound."

Let's start with a quote from the synthesis offered by the CEI, which would be one of the voices calling for total inclusiveness in the Church: "The Church-house has no doors that close, but a perimeter that is continually widening." Or, one coming from the Portuguese EC: "The world needs an 'outgoing Church,' which rejects the division between believers and non-believers, which turns its gaze to humanity and offers it, rather than a doctrine or a strategy, an experience of salvation, an 'overflowing of the gift' that responds to the cry of humanity and nature." Or again this twisted formulation of the Argentine EC: "It is important to build a synodal institutional model as an ecclesial paradigm of deconstruction of pyramidal power that privileges unipersonal managements."

In the face of such formulations, there are only two possibilities: either the initial answers have been widely distorted to conform to the current verbiage of the synodal church, or the answers are authentic, but they come from that tiny portion of Catholics (who are, however, found -- always the same ones -- in all pastoral councils, diocesan committees, ad hoc commissions, and whatnot) who are sufficiently ideologized already: the "elect portion" that, to make a point, supports the permissibility of abortion but also teaches catechism; serves as an extraordinary minister of holy communion but does not believe in transubstantiation; turns the parish upside down to remove wax candles and save the planet from global warming but keeps the house at a comfortable 70° F.

Another ubiquitous aspect of the document is the hammering on inclusiveness. In §13, it states that the "synodal Church [...] learns from listening how to renew its evangelizing mission in the light of the signs of the times, in order to continue to offer humanity a way of being and living in which all can feel included and protagonists." Who are the excluded who need to be "included and protagonists"? Who are those who do not feel represented in the Church?

Reading § 39 raises more than a suspicion that these are people who live and think in a way that contradicts the faith on essential aspects, and who have no intention of change whatsoever, but instead are waiting for a change on the part of the Church, so that it may recognize as "inspired by the Holy Spirit, as a prophetic voice, or sign of the times" -- according to the already more than proven synodal phraseology -- what simply expresses a feeling, a desire, a way of life that needs to be corrected and purified: "Among those who ask for a more incisive dialogue and a more welcoming space we also find those who for various reasons feel a tension between belonging to the Church and their own affective relationships, such as: remarried divorcees, single parents, people living in a polygamous marriage, LGBTQ people, etc." This suspicion is confirmed by a quote from the ideologically correct summary sent by the EC of the USA: "People are asking for the Church to be a refuge for those who are hurt and bent, not an institution for the perfect. They want the church to meet people wherever they are, to walk with them rather than judge them, and to build real relationships through caring and authenticity, not a sense of superiority."

In the same vein are the paragraphs devoted to the issue of the alleged exclusion of women from the life of the Church: "Many syntheses [...] call for the Church to continue discernment on some specific issues: the active role of women in the governing structures of ecclesial bodies, the possibility for women with adequate formation to preach in parish settings, women's diaconate. Much more diversified positions are expressed regarding presbyteral ordination for women, which some syntheses desire, while others consider it a closed issue" (§ 64). The contribution of institutes of consecrated life sounds the charge: "In the decision-making processes and language of the Church, sexism is widespread.... As a result, women are precluded from significant roles in the life of the Church, and they suffer discrimination because they do not receive a fair wage for the tasks and services they perform.... There is a tendency in some Churches to exclude women and to entrust ecclesial tasks to permanent deacons; and also to undervalue consecrated life without a habit."

Who knows whether "the underestimation of consecrated life without a habit" is really the main problem in the Church today. But it can escape no one's notice that this document is silent about what is now right before our eyes, the eyes of even the most blind among the blind: mass apostasy, galling liturgies, the collapse of priestly and religious vocations, a disregard for human life, broken families. And a pontificate that is increasingly the cause of the disorientation of the faithful.