“The planned synod in Germany is not intended to be a conversation. It is intended to redefine the course of Christianity in Germany”
Vatican City, Sep 16, 2019 / 04:48 pm (CNA).- For the next two months, most of the ink spilled by Catholic journalists will be dedicated to the Amazon, and especially the three-week Rome meeting of bishops in October that will discuss the region. But while the Amazon synod of bishops holds popular attention, some astute Church-watchers will be more attentive to the emerging controversy surrounding a different synod, to be held in Germany.
The pan-Amazonian synod has become the latest battleground in the long series of internecine conflicts that have plagued the Church in recent years. Conservative figures have decried the synod’s preparatory documents as pantheistic heterodoxy, while progressive Churchmen have cast the meeting as the occasion of some kind of new beginning for the Church, after which, at least one bishop has said, “nothing will be the same.”
At issue, at least theoretically, are two loaded topics in the Church’s life: the possibility of ordaining married men to the priesthood, and the quagmire surrounding questions of “inculturation,” which ask how the Gospel can be expressed in diverse cultural settings.
The topic of ordaining married men is on the table because the remoteness of some Amazon villages, which almost never see a priest, has led to the suggestion that ordained “viri probati,” older, married men, could make it possible for more Catholics to have access to the sacramental life.
But there is concern among some that considering the possibility of married priests in the Amazon region, where priests are few, will lead to widespread adoption of the practice, and the loss of the custom of clerical celibacy. There is also concern that a broadly applied dispensation from the obligation of priestly celibacy will stir-up the simmering debate over ordaining women to the diaconate, and even the officially settled argument over ordaining women as priests.
While most proponents of the possibility say their sights are fixed only on the problems of Amazonia, critics are skeptical. Among advocacy groups, intellectuals, and even a few bishops, heated rhetoric has begun to fly.
As the synod grows closer, the rhetoric will grow only more intense, from all corners of the Church.
Rome will host an entire cottage industry of pundits in the weeks preceding the synod, and “experts,” from both the left and the right, will hold symposia and conferences, trying to make the case that the synod matters, that their opponents are wrong and that, whatever their viewpoint, it is the only legitimately Catholic perspective on the matters at hand.
The pan-Amazonian synod, in short, is likely to follow the playbook that has characterized the two most recent synods in Rome, beginning with the 2015 Synod on the Family. After that meeting, which is best remembered for a fracas over divorce and communion, a 2018 synod on youth and young people was similarly polemical.
The conflicts surrounding synods are unfortunate, for at least two reasons. In the first place, they distract from the sincere and earnest conversation that might take place among bishops about critical issues.
Synods are supposed to be conversations, and the topics discussed are usually ones about which many people in Church leadership or pastoral ministry have something to contribute, or something to learn. The Amazon region, in which Pentecostalism is overtaking Catholicism, in which child labor and human trafficking are serious issues, and deforestation threatens whole communities, is in need of the Church’s leadership and pastoral presence. A conversation, rather than a debate, over the issues in the Amazon would be of real benefit to the Church there. But conflict over hot-button issues, and a sense that the synod is a gladiatorial contest between warring sides, is likely to blunt that conversation.
Conflict over synods of bishops is unfortunate mostly because there is very little to be gained from it. Synod assemblies are low-stakes affairs: synods have no power, they can not make policies or declare doctrine or do anything, except publish documents to be reviewed by the pope as he formulates his thoughts on the topic under discussion. Synods are consultative conversations. They do not bind the pope, or instruct him. They just offer the advice of a usually diverse-thinking assembly of leaders.
Synods have grown contentious because Pope Francis used his 2016 post-synodal document Amoris laetitia to signal an openness to the possibility that divorced and remarried people could, under certain circumstances, receive the Eucharist while remaining in a sexual relationship. That suggestion has been extremely divisive, and because it is associated with the family synod of 2015, at least some bishops have begun to treat synods as though they are convened to legislate for the Church.
They are not convened for that purpose.
And the pope could have introduced his ideas about divorce, remarriage, and the Eucharist in any way he chose. He happened to do it in a post-synodal document, but not because the synod in some way freed him to do so, or mandated that he do so. It is sometimes suggested that the synod gave him some political cover, but since the idea did not have full-throated support from the synod’s participants, the hypothesis seems flimsy.
In short, nothing about the synod compelled, authorized, or permitted the pope to teach as he did. But because of Amoris laetitia, and the controversial synod of 2015, pundits seem now to characterize each synod not as an exchange of ideas, but as a battle for the pope's endorsement.
While the stakes of the pan-Amazonian synod are far lower than they’re usually perceived, the stakes of a showdown over a synod in German are much higher than has likely been realized by many Catholics.
The German bishop are planning a two-year “synodal pathway” in the country. The idea is to bring bishops together with lay people, especially those associated with the Central Committee of German Catholics, to pass “binding resolutions,” on controversial topics, including sexual morality and clerical leadership.
The planned synod in Germany is not intended to be a conversation. It is intended to redefine the course of Christianity in Germany, even while giving new consideration to long-established points of Christian doctrine.
The Vatican has warned the German bishops not to continue with their plans, noting that a synod of the type planned by the Germans would disrupt the Church’s life, and could cause a catastrophe by denying the Church’s doctrinal teaching.
But the German bishops, under the leadership of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, have insisted that the synod will proceed, and that the Vatican simply doesn’t understand what’s at stake.
Marx will meet with Vatican officials this week. The cardinal hopes to persuade the Vatican to allow him to proceed with his plans. He is not in a position to back down, because he has assured the Central Committee of German Catholics, which includes advocates of same-sex marriage, that they will have a deliberative voice in the future of the German Church. Relenting, for Marx, would likely mean losing his support among secular German figures, and, by admitting that the Vatican was right, falling out of favor among the Churchmen who support him.
Cardinal Marx, by some estimates, seems to be playing a kind of ecclesiastical game of chicken with the Vatican, and betting that the pope’s Curia will back down before he does.
But if the Vatican does not relent, and the Germans push forward, a great deal is at stake: some experts have suggested that if the Germans proceed with their synodal path in defiance of instructions from Pope Francis and the Vatican, they run the risk of being declared in schism.
At the moment, Marx seems unintimidated by efforts from two different Vatican offices to rein in Germany’s planned synodal process. He might be persuaded, if at all, only by a direct and personal intervention from Pope Francis.
Marx is said to be persuasive with Pope Francis, but sources tell CNA that the pope is growing impatient with the cardinal’s approach to the German synod. If Francis has to intervene, and Marx does not accept the pope’s direction, the result would be a serious crisis for the Church in Germany.
The situation is still developing.
The pan-Amazonian synod will provide plenty of fodder for debate this autumn. But a serious ecclesiological crisis is unfolding in Germany, and how it will be resolved remains to be seen.
Bergoglio declares war on Catholic families!
Using an obscured "African proverb" popularised by Hillary Clinton, Bergoglio, the Pontificating Peronist Pervert Protector who seized the Chair of Peter has called on the Marxist educrats of the world to join him in a Global Compact on Education.
Stating that, "“A global educational pact is needed to educate us in universal solidarity and a new humanism," in one sentence, Bergoglio destroys the rights of Catholic parents and the principles of subsidiarity. He continued that this conference, "will result in men and women who are open, responsible, prepared to listen, dialogue and reflect with others, and capable of weaving relationships with families, between generations, and with civil society, and thus to create a new humanism.”
After praising his own words of apostasy in Abu Dhabi, Bergoglio continued that “In this kind of village it is easier to find global agreement about an education that integrates and respects all aspects of the person, uniting studies and everyday life, teachers, students and their families, and civil society in its intellectual, scientific, artistic, athletic, political, business and charitable dimensions. An alliance, in other words, between the earth’s inhabitants and our “common home”, which we are bound to care for and respect. An alliance that generates peace, justice and hospitality among all peoples of the human family, as well as dialogue between religions.”
In a word search of the article there is no mention of "salvation." He refers to "Jesus" in the context of washing the feet of the Apostles, not as the instrument of our salvation. As to "God" it is in the last paragraph wherein he writes that we seek to nurture, “the dream of a humanism rooted in solidarity and responsive both to humanity’s aspirations and to God’s plan." He never states that God's aspiration for humanity is that we are "to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life, and be happy with Him in the next." This cannot happen without real "education" real "teaching" as the Apostle Paul tells us - that real "Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ."
How much more proof do Catholics need that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is not a "Holy Father" but an abusive father? Not a prophet of God but a false prophet? Not a servant of Christ, but an antichrist? Not a lover of God, but a lover of power?
This man is a communist. A globalist. A power-hungry scoundrel who has, through evil men, seized control of the Chair of Peter.
Every faithful Catholic must resist this malefactor. Every faithful Catholic must call out this globalist monster for what he is.
A man who hates Our Lord Jesus Christ and you and our Holy Catholic Faith. A man who kneels to man but not to God.
This extraordinary story is not going away. Unfortunately, we are so desensitised to the idea of once united cohorts being torn apart that we may be failing to see the significance of a potential schism in the Catholic Church. God forbid this from occuring.
Pope Francis spoke openly for the first time this week about the possibility of a US Catholic conservative-led schism. His frank comments were made during a press conference while he was flying home after visiting Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.
There have been many schisms in the Church’s 2,000-year history, he noted.
Although he said he is “not afraid of schisms,” Francis added that he prays there won’t be any as the “spiritual health of many people is at stake.”
He said is concerned about the “rigid” ideology that has already infiltrated the American church, which his critics use to mask their own moral failings.
Led by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who stepped up attacks on the pope after Francis demoted him from a senior Vatican post, the conservative movement is growing.
Some conservative political movements in the United States have joined forces with religious conservatives to attack the pope.
Implying his critics are hypocrites, Francis confronted doctrinal issues raised in the U.S. and beyond by those who oppose his outreach to gay and divorced people and his concern for the poor and the environment.
“When you see Christians, bishops, priests, who are rigid, behind that there are problems and an unhealthy way of looking at the Gospel,” Francis said.
“So I think we have to be gentle with people who are tempted by these attacks because they are going through problems. We have to accompany them with tenderness,” he said.
Even though he is rejecting the conservatives’ stance, he said he welcomes “loyal” criticism that leads to introspection and dialogue.
Such “constructive” criticism shows a love for the church. In contrast, his ideologically driven critics don’t really want a response but merely to “throw stones and then hide their hand.”
“Let there be dialogue, correction if there is some error. But the path of the schismatic is not Christian,” he added.
Francis’ allies, including German Cardinal Walter Kaper and the head of Francis’ Jesuit order, have said the conservative criticism amounts to a “plot” to force the first Jesuit pope to resign so a conservative would take his place.
Asked about the criticism and risk of schism, Francis said his social teachings were identical to those of St. John Paul II, the standard-bearer for many conservative Catholics.
In a tweet posted yesterday, Rome correspondent Christopher Lamb says next month Burke will speak at a summit which includes a $500 per head priests’ conference and seminarians-only event.
The tweet continues: “Francis says ‘A schisms is always an elitist separation'”.
Chiodi suggested on the basis of Amoris Laetitia that sexual acts within a homosexual relationship can be good
ROME, September 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In the latest incursion of the ecclesiastical culture of death into those institutions established by St. John Paul II, a notorious clerical proponent of artificial contraception and homosexual unions has officially been hired to teach at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome.
According to a new course list for the 2019-2020 academic year, published on Sept. 11, Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi will teach a licentiate-level course titled “Theological ethics of life,” and a doctoral seminar called “Conscience and discernment. Text and context of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.”
Fr. Chiodi has used the controversial chapter 8 of Pope Francis’s summary document on the family to justify the use of artificial contraception and to argue for the moral goodness of homosexual relationships.
In 2016, Fr. Chiodi delivered a lecture at a pontifical university in Rome saying there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”
When “natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,” he argued. In such circumstances, Chiodi said, “an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situations responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”
More recently, in a July 2019 interview with Avvenire, published after the mid-summer “purge” of the JPII Institute in Rome, Chiodi suggested on the basis of Amoris Laetitia that sexual acts within a homosexual relationship can be good, at least in certain circumstances.
“As Pope Francis recalled, even if regarding another issue — the ‘divorced and remarried’ — it is clear that, within a historical perspective, each person is asked not only what is possible for him, but also what is possible for him in a specific moment of life,” he said.
Fr. Chiodi continued: “It is clear that, within a historical perspective, everyone is asked not only what is possible for them, but also what is possible for them at a given time in their lives. From this point of view, it seems to me that it is difficult — indeed impossible — to give pre-packaged answers, as if all the practical answers could be deduced immediately from an anthropological theory.”
The Italian moral theologian added: “I believe that the relationships of homosexual couples present gaps and undeniable differences that prevent them from being equated with heterosexual couples, annulling their diversity. Nevertheless, the moral task concerns actual possibilities, that is, the possible good, which considers the actual history of a subject.”
“For this reason,” Fr. Chiodi concluded, “I would not exclude that, under certain conditions, a homosexual couple’s relationship is, for that subject, the most fruitful way to live good relationships, considering their symbolic meaning, which is both personal, relational and social. This, for example, happens when the stable relationship is the only way to avoid sexual vagrancy or other forms of humiliating and degrading erotic relationships or when it is help and stimulus to walk on the road to good relationships.”
One day after the interview, LifeSiteNews confirmed that Fr. Chiodi had been invited to teach at the restyled institute by its new Chancellor, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.
Then, on Sept. 4, after the normal summer hiatus in Rome, the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano featured an article by Fr. Chiodi on the “renewal” of the John Paul II Institute, titled: “The Tradition reinterpreted in the Present Time.”
Fr. Chiodi is not the only controversial professor to be hired at the new John Paul II Institute. According to the new course listing, Fr. Pier Davide Guenzi, another clerical proponent of homosexual unions, will teach a doctoral level course on “The idea of natural law in the Bible,” and a course titled “Anthropology and ethics of birth.” The bibliography for the latter course includes a text by Fr. Maurizio Chiodi.
In a February 2019 interview with Avvenire, Fr. Guenzi, who is president of the Association of Moral Theologians and a colleague of Chiodi at the Northern University of Italy in Milan, argued on the basis of Amoris Laetitia that homosexual relationships can be morally good.
“Urged on by the experiences of homosexual believers,” he said, “today we are invited to understand how … the bond between man and woman does not exhaust all human forms of expression, even from the affective point of view.”
While ample room in the 2019-2020 course list has been given to courses and seminars taught by Chiodi and Guenzi, bedrock courses such as the one on fundamental moral theology taught by respected moral theologian and former JPII Institute President Msgr. Livio Melina, and several in special moral theology, have been eliminated.
While Benedict XVI has openly expressed his “solidarity” with Msgr. Melina and promised his prayer, Pope Francis has chosen to remain silent as Archbishop Paglia carries out the “purge” of the Institute founded by Pope John Paul II.