By Jose Antonio Ureta
(Munich, January 18, 2020)
The “synodal path” undertaken by the German Bishops’ Conference departs radically from the traditional synod model,' and if not stopped in time, will lead to a schism. Indeed, the said “synodal path” is based on five impostures:
1. THEOLOGICAL IMPOSTURE
The goals of a regular diocesan synod being purely pastoral and disciplinary, questions of faith, and disciplinary questions beyond the diocesan level are outside of its competence.’ The four forums created to prepare for the event (power in the Church; priestly celibacy; sexual morality; and women’s access to ministries) address exclusively address the above mentioned two types of prohibited questions. Furthermore, the propositions put forward in these four matters are, for the most part, heretical, while the alleged pretext — to listen to what the Spirit says to the Church through the community — is also heretical insofar as it suggests that divine Revelation is expressed and evolves through human vicissitudes.
2. ECCLESIOLOGICAL IMPOSTURE
Bishops received with ordination and appointment the power to sanctify, teach and govern. As masters, they must be not only witnesses but also judges of the revealed truth, a function they cannot delegate to anyone when controversies arise. As shepherds, they possess ordinary, proper and immediate power over their flock, including legislative power, which they must exercise in a personal and exclusive way without being permitted “to legislate together with other persons, organisms or diocesan assemblies.”* The role of the synod’s members is, therefore, merely “consultative,” and all the more so if these members are simple laypeople.
Contrary to this hierarchical character of the Church, the German “synodal path” associates on an equal footing the Conference of Bishops of Germany and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), which obtained co- responsibility in the development and result of the synodal process. The democratic nature of the event is accentuated by the fact that:
• the synodal assembly, the supreme organ which will make all decisions, will be composed, to date, of a majority of 122 lay people (including a majority of 70 women) compared to only 105 clerics (including 69 bishops, 32 priests and 4 deacons);
• the synodal presidency will be co-managed equally by the presidents and vice-presidents of the Episcopal Conference and the Central Committee of the laity;
• the preparatory forums will be composed equally by 10 members appointed by each of these two organisms.
In short, “synodality” is only a fraudulent label to achieve a radical democratization of the Church.
3. SOCIOLOGICAL IMPOSTURE
The German “synodal path” presumes that the Central Committee of German Catholics is a body representative of the Catholic faithful. It turns out, on the contrary, that the ZdK is a kind of parliament of which almost 2/3 of the members are delegates of Catholic associations that do not represent the ordinary Sunday-mass goer but rather what is called the “Rate und Verbandskatholizismus,” i.e., a sort of nomenklatura of apparatchiks of activist organizations of liberal orientation.°
4. METHODOLOGICAL IMPOSTURE
The “synodal path” takes as a pretext the MHG report® on sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergymen in Germany. Contrary to the evidence and other studies that point to moral laxity and the collapse of moral theology as the main culprits,’ this report instead accuses the Church’s power structure, the sacred character of the priestly ministry, Catholic sexual morality, and particularly its condemnation of homosexuality. In other words, from the outset, the “synodal path” considers as indisputable premises the very conclusions it intends to draw.
5. HUMAN IMPOSTURE
For fifty years, the predominant current of the German Bishops’ Conference has sought to infiltrate into the Catholic Church the heresies promoted by the leaders of German neo-modernist Theology. Instead of assuming these heresies with full transparency, the German bishops hide behind the laity and, under the pretext of “synodality,” want the laity to bear full responsibility for the rupture with the truth of Christ operated by the new schismatic church they are building on Luther’s footsteps.
But Cardinal Marx and his cronies are completely mistaken: Even if Pope Francis approves the recommendations of the German “synodal path,” the living and dynamic elements of the Catholic Church in Germany and all true Catholics around the world will not be fooled by their moves and will manage to remain faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.
Indeed, the Church belongs to Christ and not to his Vicar. True synodality is achieved in the Church when pastors and the faithful “walk together” following the Good Shepherd guided by His teachings, not distorting them to follow the capricious winds of the Zeitgeist.
1 For several centuries, the term “synod” has designated meetings of the clergy of a diocese to deal with ecclesial matters concerning the spiritual good of the diocesan community (Code of Canon Law 1917, c. 356; Code of 1983, c. 460). In his masterful work De Synodo diocesana, the canonist Pope Benedict XIV summarizes in these simple words the aims and subjects of competence of the diocesan synods: depravata corrigantur; ignorantes instruantur; regulae morum formentur; provincial synodo decreta publicentur, i.e. to correct abuses, educate the ignorant, promote good morals, and to put the decisions of general or provincial councils into practice.
2 “The Bishop has the duty to exclude from the synodal discussions theses or positions - as well as proposals submitted to the Synod with the mere intention of transmitting to the Holy See ‘polls’ in their regard -discordant with the perennial doctrine of the Church or the Magisterium or concerning material reserved to the Supreme ecclesiastical authority or to other ecclesiastical authorities” (Congregation for Bishops and Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, /nstruction on Diocesan Synods, IV. 4).
3 Ibid., Appendix. That is why “in the process of the Synod, the Bishop also exercises the office of governing the Church entrusted to his care. He determines its convocation, proposes the questions to be discussed in the Synod, and presides at the synodal sessions. Moreover, it is the Bishop who, as sole legislator, signs the synodal declarations and decrees and orders their publication” (/bid., |. 1).
4 Code 1983, c. 466 and 467. The role of a Synod’s members is reduced to “assisting the diocesan Bishop” with their opinions (ibid., c. 460).
5 Mathias von Gersdorff, “Understanding the Kerfuffle in the German Catholic Church” (https:/Avww.lifesitenews.com/news/understanding-the-kerfuffle- in-the-german-catholic-church-interview-with-ma). In an open letter to Cardinal Marx, George Weigel commented that “this is rather like President Trump consulting with Fox News or Speaker Pelosi consulting with the editors of the New York Times” (www.firstthings.com open-letter-to-cardinal-reinhard-marx).
6 So called because it was written by researchers at the universities of Mannheim, Heidelberg and Giessen.
7 See in particular, www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-be…