PopeWatch: A Synodal Church



Father Z examines the speech of the Pope to the Synod on October 17:


The real fireworks start here:

Il secondo livello è quello delle Province e delle Regioni Ecclesiastiche, dei Concili Particolari e in modo speciale delle Conferenze Episcopali. Dobbiamo riflettere per realizzare ancor più, attraverso questi organismi, le istanze intermedie della collegialità, magari integrando e aggiornando alcuni aspetti dell’antico ordinamento ecclesiastico. L’auspicio del Concilio che tali organismi possano contribuire ad accrescere lo spirito della collegialità episcopale non si è ancora pienamente realizzato. Siamo a metà cammino, a parte del cammino. In una Chiesa sinodale, come ho già affermato, «non è opportuno che il Papa sostituisca gli Episcopati locali nel discernimento di tutte le problematiche che si prospettano nei loro territori. In questo senso, avverto la necessità di procedere in una salutare “decentralizzazione”».

The second level is that of Provinces and Ecclesiastical Regions, of Particular (local?) Councils and, in a special way, Episcopal Conferences. We must reflect in order to bring about even more, through these bodies, the intermediate applications of collegiality, even by integrating and updating some aspects of ancient ecclesiastical ordering. The wish of the Council that such organisms would help contribute to the increase of the spirit of episcopal collegiality has not yet been fully realized. As I have asserted, in a Synodal Church “it is not opportune that the Pope replace the local Episcopates in the discernment of all the problems that present themselves in their territories. In this sense, I feel the necessity to proceed in a healthy “decentralization.”

He intends to weaken, if not gut, the Roman Curia.  That means devolving to regional conferences and perhaps even individual bishops some of the briefs of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

He then goes on about the Petrine ministry in a Synodal Church and repeats the phrase “una conversione del papato … a conversion (in the sense of “transformation”) of the papacy”.

Finally… the peroration…

Il nostro sguardo si allarga anche all’umanità. Una Chiesa sinodale è come vessillo innalzato tra le nazioni (cfr. Is11, 12) in un mondo che -pur invocando partecipazione, solidarietà e trasparenza nell’amministrazione della cosa pubblica- consegna spesso il destino di intere popolazioni nelle mani avide di ristretti gruppi di potere. Come Chiesa che “cammina insieme” agli uomini, partecipe dei travagli della storia, coltiviamo il sogno che la riscoperta della dignità inviolabile dei popoli e della funzione di servizio dell’autorità potranno aiutare anche la società civile a edificarsi nella giustizia e nella fraternità, generando un mondo più bello e più degno dell’uomo per le generazioni che verranno dopo di noi.

Our gaze extends also to humanity. A synodal church is like a banner raised among the nations (cf Isaiah 11:12) in a world which, even though invoking participation, solidarity and transparency in the administration of the public good, often consigns the destiny of entire populations into the greedy hands of restricted groups of the powerful. As a Church that “walks together” with men, participates in the travails of history, let us cultivate the dream that the rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and the exercise of service of authority will be able to help also civil society to be built upon justice and on fraternity, generating a more beautiful world, more worthy of mankind and for the generations that will come after us.

One hardly knows what to make of all this.  One thing I do know… watch liberals start up their conga dance line again.  We have no idea what this all means yet, but they will be insufferable.

Go here to read the rest.  Go here for an English translation of the speech.  The Obama administration has long held that it may choose not to enforce or defend a law that it does not support.  Pope Francis seems to be saying precisely the same thing in this passage:

“As I have asserted, in a Synodal Church “it is not opportune that the Pope replace the local Episcopates in the discernment of all the problems that present themselves in their territories. In this sense, I feel the necessity to proceed in a healthy “decentralization.””


All this verbage is to allow the Church in Germany and elsewhere to basically go off on their own hook in regard to Communion for Catholics in adulterous marriages and to “bless” gay marriage.

Pope Francis’ man in Chicago, Blase Cupich, is chomping at the bit to do this:

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago  — who is participating in the Synod of the Family at Pope Francis’ personal invitation —  said at a press scrum in the Vatican press office this afternoon that the conscience is “inviolable” and that he believes divorced and remarried couples could be permitted to receive the sacraments, if they have “come to a decision” to do so “in good conscience” – theological reasoning that he indicated in response to a follow-up question would also apply to gay couples.

During the lengthy press briefing, the archbishop also spoke approvingly of the so-called “Kasper Proposal,” which would permit divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some cases. Cupich explained that he had distributed Cardinal Walter Kasper’s book, The Gospel of the Family, in which the cardinal had laid out this proposal, to all of the priests in his diocese.

“In Chicago I visit regularly with people who feel marginalized: the elderly, the divorced and remarried, gay and lesbian individuals and also couples. I think that we really need to get to know what their life is like if we’re going to accompany them,” he said.

Whatever fears critics of Pope Francis have had, unfortunately they seem to have underestimated the damage this man wishes to inflict on the Church.



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  1. A healthy decentralization?

    Is that similar to a healthy amputation?
    Matthew 18:8 comes to mind as I ponder the above use of healthy decentralization.

    God help us.

  2. You are the Rock upon which I will build my church? I guess the protestants are right. Just a bunch of pebbles.

  3. I do believe this has been the plan all along. To ‘de-Catholic’ the Church. I go back to the Popes comment some time ago: ‘There is no Catholic God.’

  4. “And if thy hand or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off and cast it from there. It is better for thee to go into life maimed, or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.”

    I’m not “running” to embrace the forthcoming Synodal Church.

  5. This is the false prophet creating a church of man to approve of sin, using the structure of the apostatized portion of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. There will be a great schism – a shattering really – with these protestant national churches. The real Church will be a remnant practicing in the catacombs while the heretics own the buildings.

  6. This is one of his big hopes–in the infamous America interview, he explained how he wanted to devolve doctrinal power to the national conferences and let them handle the “amazing” complaints regarding unorthodoxy.


    On the other hand, re-reading the part where the Pope regrets his *former* authoritarian approach is good for a hearty guffaw.

  7. And, really: the idea that the Church will go through the Synodal processes on a regular basis reminds me of nothing more than medieval doctors prescribing leeches, cupping and purgatives for their unfortunate patients.

  8. In his 2013 Exhortation the Pope said he was going to devolve power to the bishop conferences and other structures. To affect his goal, the Pope willingly stacked his synod with prelates such as Bonny and Daneels and many others not caring a whit about Daneels involvement with abuse cover-up, and in fact embracing the discredited “theology” of Cardinals and bishops who have long fought against the teachings of the Church. He has called this a synod of the family, and yet it has nothing to do with the family but everything to do with an agenda. It was no different than the Pope’s conduct leading up to the encyclical where he sought the counsel of truly unsavory characters and purloined faulty science as a church teaching.

    Several months ago in a much overlooked interview Archbishop Fernandez, of one of the leading advisors to the Pope, we were told that the Pope intended to fundamentally change the Church in a permanent and irreversible way:

    The part of Fernández’ interview that has been largely overlooked has to do with the reforms that Pope Francis envisions for the Church. As Archbishop Fernández puts it in the 10 May interview: “The pope first filled St. Peter’s square with crowds and then began changing the Church.” When asked whether the Pope is isolated in the Vatican, he responds: “By no means. The people are with him [Pope Francis], and not with his adversaries.”

    The 52-year-old archbishop adds: “The pope goes slow because he wants to be sure that the changes have a deep impact. The slow pace is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the changes. He knows there are those hoping that the next pope will turn everything back around. If you go slowly it’s more difficult to turn things back.” The interviewer then asks whether it does not help his adversaries when they know that Pope Francis says that his papacy might be short. Fernández answers: “The pope must have his reasons, because he knows very well what he’s doing. He must have an objective that we don’t understand yet. You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible. If one day he should sense that he’s running out of time and doesn’t have enough time to do what the Spirit is asking him, you can be sure he will speed up.” These words could be read in the context of the ongoing, two-year-long procedure and discussion on the question of marriage and the family that has caused much confusion among the faithful.

    Archbishop Fernández is convinced that Pope Francis’ changes within the Church will remain even after his own papacy:

    No, there’s no turning back. If and when Francis is no longer pope, his legacy will remain strong. For example, the pope is convinced that the things he’s already written or said cannot be condemned as an error. Therefore, in the future anyone can repeat those things without fear of being sanctioned. And then the majority of the People of God with their special sense will not easily accept turning back on certain things.

  9. Who was the person who rehabilitated Bishop Bergloglio when he was ostracized in Argentina? Who appointed him into high office? By their fruits you shall know them?
    The chickens are now coming home to roost.
    And if faithful Catholics dont get down on their knees, and pray things are going to get much worse.

  10. How this for a orchard of fruit cpola..the Berlin Wall and the communist block falling down!
    Did the Pope have any influence on this collapse? Saint Pope John Paul II, Solidarity Movt, and Ronald Reagan. His death falls on the feast day that he himself brought to our Church, The Divine Mercy. Providence?
    Divine Mercy Sunday! God allowed this timing as a clear and shining example of his love for mankind. Jesus I Trust in You!
    The multi million’s of young who shared in World Youth Days. Conversion’s. Graces.
    Great Fruit!

  11. Who translated that, Leo Gorsey (Mugsy of the “Gas House Kids” who used big words he didn’t understand)?

  12. There’s always a symptomatic flaw which after time manifests itself in the progressive mindset. The Pope advocates for an uber world centralized government to combat the scourges of global warming, but as to the successor of St. Peter we see quite the opposite…what will amount to a devolution of the teaching authority of the Church. Go figure.

  13. The Peoples Pope is sounding more like a Jacobin:
    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

    It seems that Francis intends to break up the
    Catholic Church into many regional churches
    which will be governed by a regional conference
    of bishops with the president of that conference
    acting as a pope for that region. Doctrinal issues
    will be settled by the region’s conference of bishops,
    who may ignore the teachings of the Church,
    for a modern approach to the moral issues and
    the structure of the regional church that will
    meet the “realities” of that region. The Catholic
    Church could descend into many different
    fractions similar to the protestant churches. This
    seems to be the Peoples Pope’s vision. But my
    question is what happened to the keys of the kingdom?
    And does Francis have the authority to abolish the
    keys of the kingdom?

  14. Isaiah 11:12 He will raise a signal for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel,and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

    How does that relate to a synodal church. the banner or a signal raised in Isaiah does not refer to a Church or to( Israel)fragmented- that’s for sure. I does refer to a “gathering” of those who had been dispersed. Seems opposite to me.

  15. ‘ … exercise of service of authority will be able to help also civil society to be built upon justice and on fraternity, generating a more beautiful world, more worthy of mankind and for the generations that will come after us. …’
    1) service of authority? Sounds pretty much like God is forsaken.
    2) generations? Long term key holders of churches and being strictly non doctrinal as to faith and morals.
    3) exercise of service? Man who holds to Scripture, tradition, and magisterium is without recourse and lifeboat.
    4) more beautiful and worthy? Spiritual integrity becomes quiet to maintain fraternity.
    and there is the sticky question about the purse strings …
    Anzlyne, it does sound opposite.

  16. Or since he loves the spotlight, will PF do a bait and switch at the last moment – make a statement that leads on the gays and uber liberals, then make a pronounment that is in keeping with the orthodox teachings of the Church? This attempt at Counter-Counter Reformation is serious stuff. As a traditional Catholic I’m starting to feel “marginalized”.
    On a happier note: As a kid my favorite Saturday morning at the movies character was Glimpy (Huntz Hall). Mugsy/Slip always seemed a bit mean. BTW Louie of the Sweet Shop was Leo Gorcey’s father.

  17. A Synodal Church is a Protestant Church. Effectively this has already happened if most Catholics actual behavior is considered. Pope Francis long range plan looks to be consolidation of all Christian denominations. Vatican II was the death knell. Devolution of the Catholic Church continues unabated. Hopefully, a few courageous Bishops and Cardinals will lead a counter offensive. St. Michael the Archangel defend………

  18. Gosh, I hate these tire slashing approaches I see and ready all over these venues. The goal that has been stated is a very healthy, and likely, needed one. The key is to hold, conduct and develop any changes in ways that are solid, deployable, controllable and faithful. In many ways, what we have seen in the modern papacy is directly akin to the view and actions of the US executive office … where it’s reach has been misapplied in too many ways.

  19. “Philip
    A healthy decentralization? Is that similar to a healthy amputation?”

    I would ask. since it is about health issues then isn’t more like an abortion? Why leave anything good hanging around?

  20. Agree with that … my point is outlining the key doctrines is a central Magisterium effort as it has always been, but there is likely room for expanding certain decisions to various regional dioceses ….. so long as the principles upon which those decisions are faithful and universal. Outlining it properly can effectively limit “cases being sent to Rome”.

  21. A smaller Church – a remnant. That I could understand. But little islands of remnant bishoprics. Do we still apply the modifier “faithful ” to the word remnant?””

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