Rorate Caeli

Before the Synod Starts: Liquidating the Faith

On the Eve of the Synod: Liquidating the Faith

Michael Charlier
September 25, 2023

On Wednesday of next week, the Synod (it is no longer a Synod of Bishops because of Pope Francis' expanded circle of participants) on Synodality will begin in Rome. Its purpose is to set in stone, so to speak, the Pope's legacy: to make of the one apostolic and hierarchical Church founded by Christ a synodal institution that -- as the new administrator of the faith, Fernández, has repeatedly affirmed -- should adhere to and follow in everything the teaching of The Pope.

This already points to the double basic contradiction of the event: whatever is discussed and approved in this and the coming year: In the end, Francis and he alone decides what will be published in a more or less solemn form as a final document. And the second level of this contradiction. Whatever Francis will then publish and declare binding: Each of his successors will be able to change it or revoke it again with another stroke of the pen. In the liquefied Church, there are no longer any rules or truths that last longer than the current pontificate - and sometimes only as long as the momentary whim of the currently reigning Spontifex.

This does not mean, however, that the synod is meaningless and that its discussions and documents need not be studied more closely. Its "ecclesiastical-political" importance, to use this expression which is not quite appropriate here, cannot be overestimated. What is said at the synod in the presence of the pope or under the approving nod of his appointees describes the space of what can be said, doubted, demanded or even practiced "just so" in the church in the future. The synodal synod forms - this fits very well with the "liquefaction" mentioned above - a space or an apparatus of dissolution of boundaries, which in the future is to make it impossible to state clearly what is Church teaching and what is not, what is still to be Catholic. Anything goes.

To narrow down this space again and to fortify the boundaries will require more than the good will of a future pope who wants to find his way back to apostolic teaching. It will require an enormous effort on the part of the whole people of God, who must find the strength to fully re-appropriate this faith. Even and especially where faithless false shepherds have long since lost it or are actively working to destroy it.

A look at the episcopates (and not only of the German-speaking countries) shows how far this corruption has progressed. And the present disputes in the USA about the faith-loyal bishop Strickland make clear that the battle is fought there with hard sticks, as one can see on the hyperpapalist website "Where Peter Is" or the Jesuit magazine "America". And not only there: Also in this country upright chief shepherds like Bishop Voderholzer of Regensburg or Bishop Meier of Augsburg are attacked under the most ridiculous pretexts - not to mention the continuous attacks against Cardinal Woelki of Cologne, who is considered not progressive enough.

Therefore it is urgently appropriate to take careful note of what the bishops of the German-speaking countries will present in Rome. Some of them have already publicly spread out their wish lists - for example, the Swiss Bishop Gmür with the standard demands for women's ordination, homosexual blessings, and the abolition of celibacy, or the Essen Bishop Overbeck with the demand for a church constitution that is to be largely oriented to the principle of democracy and the (worthless) order of secular society. The resolutions of the German Synodal Way give further information about what can be expected from this side for the Roman Synod.

It is not yet clear whether serious discussions of this and similar directions will take place in Rome, nor to what extent they will be reflected in a final document. But already today it can be considered certain that these proposals, simply by being presented at the Roman Synod, will determine the discussions in the dioceses and the national churches (unregulated under canon law) for many years to come. They will be the stuff from which the future schism will emerge - for in the long run, even no Jesuit sleight of hand can maintain the illusion of unity between those who want to remain with the apostolic faith and those who want to conform it to the world.