Rorate Caeli

"What an aggressive, paradoxical imitation of Christ!": Archbishop Hector Aguer

"Stupor" is the word that rises to my lips upon learning the contents of the 50 pages of the Instrumentum laboris, for the Synod that has been "democratically" programmed since 2021. La Prensa of Buenos Aires headlines the news as follows:

"The Vatican published the thorny road map for the next Synod". The document includes the claim of a "profound need to imitate our Master and Lord in terms of the ability to live an apparent paradox: aggressively proclaiming his authentic teaching, while at the same time serving as a witness for radical inclusion and acceptance."

What an aggressive, paradoxical imitation of Christ! This purpose is unusual: the synodal Church formulates a progressive gloss on the Gospel. The Instrumentum Laboris sets out how to ecclesially assume the globalist Agenda 2030. It is admirable how the pontifical monarchy makes the "synodal democracy" say just what it wants this "democracy" to say. It is something like throwing a stone and hiding the hand.

The itinerary of the future Assembly, which has already been two years in preparation, makes the "crowd" speak and vote -- especially and novelly the feminine one. This is what I implied with the well-known example of the stone. When the design of this other Church is completed, the Supreme Pontiff, faced with the criticisms that will not be lacking, will be able to say: "I did not do it"!

The document that I have been commenting on, in taking up the result of the path followed since 2021, addresses the question of a new ecclesiology: Synodality. A digression: "synod", "synodal", means "to walk with" (from the Greek syn and hodós) but does not express "towards where". The goal, then, can be the new progressive Church, at cross purposes with the great ecclesial Tradition. Let us all go there together!

One of the topics on the agenda, which quickly attracts attention, is "how can the Church be more responsive to LGBTQ+ people". It is noteworthy that the expression "persons with homosexual tendencies", which appears in several Roman documents, and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is no longer used. Nor is the name of other "collectives" mentioned, which have felt marginalized or ignored. It continues to affirm that the poor "occupy a central place"; new areas are introduced, such as climate change, and migratory movements, to which pontifical preaching frequently refers.

In the projected Synod, 75 percent of the bishops will participate, and 25 percent of the laity, including women, with the right to speak and vote. If I read correctly, it seems to me that priests are ignored, which is very striking, and points out how their numbers are continually decreasing in all dioceses. Priestly vocations are no longer a priority. Once again, "the hour of the laity" has arrived.

The text goes on to indicate that "there are those who do not feel accepted in the Church, such as the divorced and remarried, people in marriages that used to be called irregular, or LGBTQ+ people, and there are forms of racial, ethnic, class or caste discrimination that lead some to feel less important, or less welcome within the community". The purpose of overcoming is formulated, then: "How can we create spaces in which those who feel hurt by the Church, and rejected by the community can feel acknowledged, not judged, and free to ask questions? And what concrete steps are needed to reach out to people who feel excluded from the Church because of their affectivity and sexuality?" These will be questions to be asked by the Synod Assembly.

I risk an interpretation: objective truth and the recognition of precepts by which virtue, and sin, are judged and recognized no longer count. What matters now is how those who consider themselves excluded feel; it is their feeling that matters, not the objective state in which they find themselves.

Another key point is the need "for women's participation in governance, decision-making, mission and ministries to be addressed at all levels of the Church, with the support of appropriate structures so that this does not remain a mere general aspiration." As can be seen, the program does not dare to raise the possibility of "female priesthood." This specific remark about "adequate structures" returns to the well-worn aspirations for structural change.

Although it may seem curious to observe, the Catholic Church is belatedly beginning to follow the path opened by the Protestant Reformation, at a time when Protestantism has long since been swallowed up by the world. This is the moment to quote what a Danish Lutheran who was a great Christian philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, wrote in his Diary in 1848: "Just now, when there is talk of reorganizing the Church, it is clear how little Christianity there is in it" (IX A 264). On the same page he speaks of "the unfortunate illusion of 'Christianity', which replaces being Christian with being human."

It is this unfortunate illusion that now deceives the Catholic Church. The synodal program, like that of the German Synod, designs another Church, heterogeneous with respect to the great and unanimous Tradition. How will faithful Catholics react? In various countries, a reaction is already happily taking shape that is usually disqualified as "conservative" by official progressivism. The Providence of the Bridegroom and Lord of the katholiké inspires and illuminates that contemporaneity with Christ that expresses the fulfillment of the Gospel promise: "I will be with you always (every day) until the end of the world" (Mt 28:20). The Greek text says: until the synteléias of the cosmos. The formula "end of the world" is an ambiguous translation; the fulfillment is the completion of History, according to the mysterious plans of Providence. In the mysterious sphere of divine Providence is inscribed the play of second causes, which it orders according to inscrutable designs. In Providence, the justice and mercy of God alike are manifested. This Providence, then, includes the dialectic of second causes, and for this reason it can be said that it permits evil.

The designs of the authors of the Synod are those second causes, free to do evil.

How dare I express myself in these terms! I recognize and venerate Francis as the Successor of Peter, Vicar of Christ. But Francis is still Jorge Bergoglio. Now, I have known Jorge Bergoglio for 45 years. He is a "second cause." That explains what has been said... and even much more that could be said.

+ Hector Aguer
Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata
July 4, 2023