The Church as an endless “journey”: Pope Francis’ ambitious “Synod on Synodality”

Although Pope Francis’ favorite buzzword has taken on novel and unprecedented proportions, “synodality” is a term with a real and ancient foundation in Catholic ecclesiology.

Pope Francis speaks at a pre-synod gathering of youth delegates at the Pontifical International Maria Mater Ecclesiae College in Rome March 19, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring); right: Graphic from the Preparatory Document for the Synod 2021/2023. (Image:

Pope Francis announced in March that the next Synod of Bishops, to be held in October of 2022, will discuss the topic of “synodality” – that is, the Synod will be talking about synods, synods, and all things synodal. Earlier this month, we learned more – that the “Synod on Synodality” (the phrase used by the Holy See itself), will be proceeded by innumerable local synods, a synod on synods for every Catholic diocese on the planet, which are scheduled to begin in October of this year.

The announcement of the topic is proceeded by years of increasing emphasis by Pope Francis on synodality and synods, whose definition has been gradually augmented from the conventional and more pedestrian “council,” to embrace the totality of the Church itself. Francis now says that “synodality is not so much an event or a slogan as a style and a way of being by which the Church lives out her mission in the world,” and the Synod’s preparatory document tells us that synodality is literally the “form, the style, and the structure of the Church.” The Catholic Church is, in effect, a gigantic and perpetual synod.

In addition to these ambitiously expansive conceptions of “synodality,” Francis has added a special twist, one that introduces the notion of the synod as a “journeying together.” According to Pope Francis, the participants in a synod are not just having a meeting to discuss matters ecclesial – they are quite definitely on a “journey” to somewhere, and they are going there as a group. This point is hammered home with the relentless use of the word “journey” (often accompanied by “together”) which appears in some form in the Synod preparatory documents 98 times, once for every two uses of the word “synod.”

To support this interpretation of a “synod,” Francis in 2015 began invoking the etymology of the Greek word “synodos,” which is a combination of the prefix “syn” (“together”) and the word “hodos,” which can mean many things, including “road,” “journey,” “way,” “manner,” “method,” and “system.” Of all of these, Pope Francis prefers “journey.” The Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon tells us that “synodos” can refer either to a “fellow-traveler” or to an “assembly or meeting,” and the pope’s International Theological Commission admits that the latter definition is the one that has been used by the Catholic Church from its earliest days.

Nonetheless, Pope Francis will have it that a synod is a “journey together,” and that the Church itself is a synod, leading to the inevitable conclusion that the Church itself is a “journey together.” St. John Chrysostom is enlisted to add weight to this claim, because he points out in a commentary on the Psalms that the Greek word “ekklesia,” which is used in the Septuagint Old Testament to refer to the assembly of the faithful, means “synodos” or “systema” (literally, “‘Ekklesia’ is the name of a synod and system”). This allows the pope’s International Theological Commission to quote Chrysostom as declaring “that the Church is a ‘name standing for “walking together.”’”

Clearly we’ve come a long way from the old-fashioned kind of synod, which the Synod of Bishops Preparatory Document tells us “is no longer only an assembly of bishops.” No, it is rather “a journey for all the faithful, in which every local Church has an integral part to play.”

The road map for the Journey

What should the Church, that is, the Journeying Together, discuss during this journeying together about journeying together? In other words, whence and whither are we going in this great collective excursion? The Holy See has issued two preparatory documents to answer this question, the official Preparatory Document itself and an accompanying handbook or “vademecum,” which states that the two documents must be used “in tandem.” Together they serve up a mix of group-therapeutic catchphrases and ideological chic.

The Preparatory Document tells us that the task before us includes “accrediting the Christian community as a credible subject and reliable partner in paths of social dialogue, healing, reconciliation, inclusion and participation, the reconstruction of democracy, the promotion of fraternity and social friendship,” “living a participative and inclusive ecclesial process,” “exploring participatory ways of exercising responsibility in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the effort to build a more beautiful and habitable world,” and “bringing to light and trying to convert prejudices and distorted practices that are not rooted in the Gospel.”

The “Vademecum” or handbook for the Synod adds to this list, “cultural awareness to celebrate and embrace the diversity within local communities,” “inclusion, making every effort to involve those who feel excluded or marginalized,” “partnership based on the model of a co-responsible Church,” and “respect for the rights, dignity, and opinion of each participant.”

“Being synodal requires time for sharing,” states the Vademecum. “We are invited to speak with authentic courage and honesty (parrhesia) in order to integrate freedom, truth, and charity. Everyone can grow in understanding through dialogue.”

A theme that repeatedly arises is one that will be familiar to observers of earlier Franciscan synods: openness to novelty and the “God of surprises,” whose unexpected “blowing of the Spirit” purportedly clears the way for the pontiff’s more “surprising” doctrines.

“A basic question prompts and guides us: How does this ‘journeying together’. . . allow the Church to proclaim the Gospel in accordance with the mission entrusted to Her; and what steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church?” states the Preparatory Document.

“Addressing this question together requires listening to the Holy Spirit, who like the wind “blows where it wills; you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes” (Jn 3:8), the Document continues, explaining that this means “remaining open to the surprises that the Spirit will certainly prepare for us along the way. Thus, a dynamism is activated that allows us to begin to reap some of the fruits of a synodal conversion, which will progressively mature.”

In order to achieve such “dynamism” certain “attitudes” are required, the Vademecum tells us. This includes “Openness to conversion and change: We can often be resistant to what the Holy Spirit is trying to inspire us to undertake. We are called to abandon attitudes of complacency and comfort that lead us to make decisions purely on the basis of how things have been done in the past.”

Other suggestions along the same line include, “An innovative outlook: To develop new approaches, with creativity and a certain audacity,” “Being inclusive: A participatory and co-responsible Church, capable of appreciating its own rich variety, embraces all those we often forget or ignore,” and “An open mind: Let us avoid ideological labels and make use of all methodologies that have borne fruit.”

As per custom in the Francis papacy, the preparatory documents repeatedly and even obsessively mention “the Gospel,” “evangelization,” and “mission,” but with very little reference to the content of the gospels themselves.

Out of more than 22,000 words, the terms “Gospel,” “evangelization,” and “mission” together appear a total of 114 times, as would be expected—but the words “repentance” and “redemption” are nowhere to be found. “Cross,” “crucifixion,” and “resurrection,” never appear. The word “sin” only appears twice as “sinful.” “Holiness” appears in a single quote from Vatican II. “Heaven” appears once, in the phrase “the coming kingdom of Heaven,” and “hell,” never. The word “judgment” is entirely absent.

In contrast, the word “conversion” is copiously present, appearing 21 times, but apparently never in the sense used by St. Augustine, of turning away from created goods and towards the Creator as the highest good. Instead, we are told that “conversion” means abandonment of the old and reception of the new and different. “True and proper conversion,” states the Preparatory Document, is “the painful and immensely fruitful passage of leaving one’s own cultural and religious categories.”

Ultimately, it seems that the ambitions of Pope Francis for his great Journeying Together and for “synodality” in general know no bounds. The conclusion of the official Preparatory Document summarizes the purpose of the Synod on Synodality using the words of Francis himself: “to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.”

With such encouragement, it seems likely that the Synod on Synodality will be, as in the case of the pope’s synods on the Family and on the Amazon, a vast wellspring of novelty from which the pontiff may pull whatever conclusions he wishes.

The humble beginnings of “synodality”

Although Pope Francis’ favorite buzzword has taken on novel and unprecedented proportions, “synodality” is a term with a real and ancient foundation in Catholic ecclesiology, which has always tempered the Church’s hierarchical system of authority with the practice of episcopal consultation by means of councils, which are more often called “synods” in the Byzantine Greek tradition.

We read repeatedly in the Latin texts of the first millennium the use of the word “synodaliter,” which literally means “synodally,” to give weight to a decree by a pope, patriarch, or other prelate that was issued following a consultation with suffragan bishops, particularly in matters of doctrinal or moral controversy. A declaration given “synodally” had a greater air of authority and finality. Consequently, most of the Church’s most dogmatic definitions and creeds have been issued by councils and synods. Moreover, the Church’s system of canon law was, during the first millennium, mostly developed out of the canons and decrees of synods, local and ecumenical.

The practice of holding regular synods is also not unprecedented. The reforming popes of the mid-eleventh century, for example, held regular synods of bishops, a practice meant to encourage reform in a time of grave decadence in the Church. The reforming Council of Trent went further and mandated that a synod of local clergy be held every year in all the dioceses of the world.

Participants at the Ecumenical Council of Constance, which was held to restore a papacy broken by the Western Schism, lamented the neglect of synods by the Church of Rome and attempted to mandate regular ecumenical councils every ten years, arguing that “the frequent holding of general councils .. . .roots out the briars, thorns and thistles of heresies, errors and schisms, corrects deviations, reforms what is deformed and produces a richly fertile crop for the Lord’s vineyard.” The decree, however, was later ignored.

After Vatican II, in the name of episcopal “collegiality,” the popes began to hold regular synods of bishops to provide them with consultation, and their members were chosen by regional episcopal conferences, which in turn provided a forum for discussion and joint action at the national level. However, these reforms were not without their critics. Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, the then-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expressed the view that synods should not be seen as regular measures, but extraordinary ones, and that frequent episcopal meetings could distract bishops from the affairs of their dioceses. He also noted in a famous 1982 interview that “episcopal conferences have no theological basis,” and expressed concern that the Catholic Church should not be conceived as a “federation of national churches.”

The Francis papacy has been accused of manipulating synods to justify innovations in moral theology that by all appearances contradict Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor and even defined Catholic dogma. Despite strong opposition from participants at his two Synods on the Family, the pontiff issued the now-infamous encyclical Amoris laetitia permitting Holy Communion for adulterers, and used the occasion of the Synod on the Amazon to promote radical ecological ideology and the strange cult of the “Pachamama.”

However, the concern that a national Church might exploit a synodal process for harmful ends is now being expressed by Pope Francis himself, who has become leery of the German bishops and their two-year assembly called the “Synodal Path,” which has opened discussion for proposals to bless homosexual unions, ordain women as deacons, abolish celibacy for priests, and give Holy Communion to protestants.

Francis has repeatedly expressed concern about the Synodal Path, warning the German Church against making decisions on such matters without reference to the Church as a whole.

“I feel a great sadness when I see a community that, with goodwill, takes a wrong path because it thinks it is making the church through gatherings, as if it were a political party: the majority, the minority, what this one thinks of this or that or the other, [saying] ‘This is like a synod, a synodal path that we must take,’” said Francis in November of last year. “I ask myself, ‘Where is the Holy Spirit there? Where is prayer? Where is the community’s love? Where is the Eucharist?’”

“Synodality,” as it turns out, is a “journey” that is difficult to control, even for a master of the art like Pope Francis. A prayer for the Synod suggested by the Vademecum captures well the pontiff’s trepidation: “We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder. Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions.”

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About Matthew Cullinan Hoffman 31 Articles
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman is a Catholic essayist and journalist, and the author and translator of The Book of Gomorrah and St. Peter Damian's Struggle Against Ecclesiastical Corruption (2015). His award-winning articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, London Sunday Times, Catholic World Report, LifeSite News, Crisis, the National Catholic Register, and many other publications. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary, with a focus on Thomism.


  1. The Road goes ever on and on, Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, And whither then? I cannot say (Frodo sets off with dwarves akin to Vademecum in The Rings). Synodos[Gk] can mean road, meant for journeying how long depends since as Tolkien observed they invariably interconnect for an endless journey. Matt Hoffman, “We are told that conversion means abandonment of the old”. Form, style, and structure together suggest not a cosmetic, rather definitive reevaluation. “Abandonment of the old” Apostolic Tradition? Dreams, prophecies and visions are promised excitements on this endless journey [akin to Bilbo’s journey in The Hobbit]. Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity, for Catholicism in the midst of an expected synodal search and discovery mission not fully disclosed, is possible only if anchored in Christ’s revelation. That much of what Benedict XVI gave the Church has already been jettisoned by his successor, that anchoring is tentative at best. Roads go ever ever on, Over rock and under tree, By caves where never sun has shone, By streams that never find the sea [Bilbo in the Hobbit]. And endless gloom?

    • Well said, Fr. Morello.

      “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”
      -Bilbo Baggins

    • Only a mind that lacks a fundamental orientation and humility towards God would be inclined to trivialize the reality of how that divinity was equally involved in the lives of all the peoples of the past, and how their essential truthful understandings, divinely endowed, could not possibly be much different from our own. Bigotry towards the peoples of the past counts as a pernicious bigotry too. God is not a lazy idiot. To dismiss continuity with the past is to dismiss reality with the present, and with eternity.

      • We may consider realities that are true, although we don’t name them truth. That’s due to their transient nature. Principles found in the natural sciences possess a higher degree, the more permanent the closer to the full meaning. Consequently, metaphysical principles achieve a higher level among the sciences. They are permanent principles, truths within a transient universe. Permanence then distinguishes those principles that we call truth, and those which relate directly to the divinity who is an unchangeable, definitively dynamic truth. Moral principles fall into that category, since moral good finds its identity in Him. Time is transient moral and theological principles are not. + Pope Francis’ error is to conceive time as an independent principle of change for principles that transcend time. + And in that vein I agree with Aquinas that the only absolute truth is God. All else is dependent for existence on Him. That Pope Francis neglects to adhere to the permanence of truth and its universal applicability, specifically moral and theological, ensures the failure of the Synod on synodality.

  2. Taking seriously Bergoglio’s warnings about synodality is laughable. He wants the chaos to achieve his ends … to create a church in his own bizarre and rudderless image. It’s all about mugging for the secular press and pursuing western European progressivism. His warnings and leeriness are nothing more than covering his behind when things go catastrophically wrong. And they will. God help us get past this guy. Quickly and whatever it takes.

    • Or, is it less about “pursuing western European progressivism”–in a compendium of synodal “resolutions”–than it is about effectively displacing the papacy itself with the ongoing process? Future popes limited primarily to the role of listening “facilitators,” as is now required of bishops in the Vademecum (handbook)?

      • Synodality is the functionning of free masonic lodges,guys. And the end is the same: stamp out all hindrance to New World Order. We need to wake up to the extent of the Catastrophe C6 Marx – following Bergoglio’s orders – has unleashed. It is the end of the Catholic Church in Germany. Bergoglio wants that replicated quickly world wide. Understand that the TC Moto Proprio was an Argentinian decoy to keep Catholics focused on the life rafts, while he atomized the mothership. The Apostasy has only just begun if he is not stopped. St Francis, 1226 : “At the moment of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will rise to the Pontificate, and with his cunning will strive to lead many to error and death.” Ask the Chinese what they think of that. Ask the 200.000 Germans fleeing the synodality LGBTQ dream boat a year. Ask Argentina… We will all be fleeing the post-catholic Argentinian Superlodge if Bergoglio is not stopped. He cannot say “Oh deary me, wrong path: get the whole church down it quick” and get away with it. This madness cannot go on. Catholicism is not protestant free-masonry for Bergoglio’s “ThreeEyes Supelodge” masters to destroy. The church is not his to destroy.

        • I daresay NO bishops have brawn enough and brain enough to stop the building of the Argentian superlodge. It continues apace. Only Christ and His followers with faith remain of His Body. His Body will rise. Meanwhile, the nails do pierce.

        • Fortunately, our Church is not going the way you envisage. The Holy Spirit will not allow it to happen. There many of us Catholics who are praying for its success, so it will not fail.

          • So you’re praying for the success of the destruction of the Church?
            And yes, it will not ultimately succeed despite the efforts of anti-Catholics like Francis and those with cowardly acquiescence to the massive life-destroying evil Francis pursues.

          • Dear Mal, in “The Ratzinger Report” PPBVI (who I believe still holds the Munus, the charge and grace of the Petrine Ministry not unlike his namesake PPBIX) says “The Church of Christ is not a Party, not an association, not a club. Her deep and PERMANENT structure is SACRAMENTAL, consequently HIERARCHICAL…authority is not based on the majority of votes; it is based on the authority of Christ himself, which he willed to pass on to men who were to be his representatives until his definitive return.” You see, Mal, the solution is not for a group of corrupt self-proclaimed MAFIA to seize hold of the Divine Institution by cunning, stealth, and “14th-century style corruption” to quote Tracey Rowland, and change the Church into their own Masonic image – but for AUTHENTIC AUTHORITY to be RESTORED. It is NOT for the Sankt Gallen lavender mafia to perform a TRANSFORATION of the Divine Instituition, but for the Divine Institution to DESTITUTE the APOSTATES. It is time for the Sensus Fidei of the Good 11/12ths of Ordained Men to “rediscover the necessity and fruitfulness of OBEDIENCE to the LEGITIMATE ecclesiastical authorities.” (Ratzinger Report) To follow free masons, the Sankt Gallen lavender mafia, a man who schemed his way to the Active Exercise of the Bishopric of Rome – for which he shows the greatest of contempt – is to follow traitors into the Heresy of Heresies: Modernism. Apostasy from the Divine and True Church of Christ is what is at issue here. The Church Crisis we are experiencing is a Crisis of Illegitimate Authority in the hierarchy. Taylor Marshall’s “INFILTRATION” by Sophia Institute Press helps today’s Catholics living through the Sankt Gallen Lavender Mafia Crisis to understand some of the recent historical background to the present situation. The Sensus Fidei – expressed by 200.000 Germans annually turning their backs on the C6 Post-Catholic Marxist NEW CHURCH – should be enough for the remaining Catholics amongst the Cardinals to make a unique Move in a Unique situation.

  3. We read: “True and proper conversion,” states the Preparatory Document, is “the painful and immensely fruitful passage of leaving one’s own cultural and religious categories.”

    DIALOGUE: the Cat and Alice in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland:”
    Cat: Where are you going?
    Alice: Which way should I go?
    Cat: That depends on where you are going.
    Alice: I don’t know.
    Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

    RATZINGER, in “Principles of Catholic Theology,” 1982/Ignatius 1987, pp. 372-3:

    “…there are weighty and very disturbing negative factors that cannot be denied—again, to name just a few: anyone who has not discovered it for himself can learn from the statisticians that our churches, our seminaries, our convents have become more and more empty during the past ten years [then, indiscriminate admission to seminaries bred The Scandal]; it does not require extensive proof to show that the climate in the Church is at times not just frigid but even acrimonious and aggressive; it is one of the daily experiences that threatens to destroy the joy of Christianity that all kinds of divisions are disrupting community [….] to see these facts is not pessimism; it is objectivity.”

    Ratzinger then examines reasons why the postconciliar period went off the rails: a naïve, post-War and Kennedy-era optimism; exaggerated self-criticism and even self-rejection stemming from Church failings, and “that can only be called neurotic;” disregard for “that luminous trail that is the history of the saints and of the beautiful [….]

    “IN A WORD [caps added], it must become clear again that penance [not the same as ‘conversion’ from oneself] requires, not the destruction of one’s own identity, but the finding of it.”

    • And an Authority Gap, Gilberta? The solution is for the majority of good men in Holy Orders to strike there and bring down the Sankt Gallen Mafia in the name of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ on a sacramental and therefore hierarchical basis. This crisis does not need a New Church in the image and likeness of the traitors responsible for the situation, but rather credible and Authentic Authority in the hierarchy.

  4. In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us quite plainly what manner of people we ought to be. Never once in this presentation did he mention hell or repentance. Does this mean that Jesus does not feel hell and repentance are important? No, he does not. He mentioned them quite often elsewhere but not on this occasion. This sermon has a special message which is a powerful one.
    Similarly, this synod is not about our doctrines but about how we, as a pilgrim Church on a journey, towards heaven, need to move along.
    Let us pray for its success.

    • There can be no evangelical success to this enterprise confected at it is by the will on men who sustain themselves from a toxic menu of secularism. Its masked unarticulated purpose is the metamorphosis of Roman Catholicism into a rubber stamp for atheistic globalism which is presently manifesting its essential character — bold reckless tyranny and the debasement of humanity created in the image and likeness of God.
      We are subsumed in ecclesiastical hubris and self-deceit.

      • Your “we’ does not include millions of people who love the Church and the Pope, including the many who are praying fir the Holy Spirit to bless this journey. Whether we like it or not, we are on a journey which is not endless but does have heaven as its destination.

        • Our temporal “journey” is to follow Christ on Calvary.
          Is our fidelity to His Church characterized by fidelity to the perennial Magisterium and the Petrine Office or do you “love” a security blanket which affirms error and is fueled by an erroneous personality cult?
          “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

        • Too late. Pro-lifers who are refusing the abortion tainted vaccines have already been kicked out or the Church and this “journey” like so many lepers by “all-inclusive,” “all merciful” Francis, who has yet to even recognize that there could be a moral objection to the vaccine anymore that he recognizes mercy for the victims of the sins for which he is so anxious to prove his superiority to God by trivializing as non-sins.

          • Never too late. You might have developed a hatred for the Pope and so wish that this journey in which our pilgrim Church is embarking will fail. It will be for our benefit. The Holy Spirit of God will endure that – in spite of you bad wishes.

  5. Francis claims to be serving the gospel. But which gospel? Christ’s? I think not. The notion that we know how to make the world a better place and are commissioned by Jesus to attempt it is a false gospel. An anti-gospel, in fact.

    • As long as we live in our earthly human bodies (inherited from Adam) we have to be good stewards of the earth. It is God’s creation and it is from this earth that we get all our food, medicine and materials for shelter etc. God wants us to “tend and watch over it” Genesis 2:15

      • And everyone who ever lived believes this self-evident reality that clean is better than dirty. Even Hitler and Stalin believed this. It just requires sinful vanity to feel the need to talk down to everyone else that one is special for pointing out the what they assume those who are their inferiors do not understand, especially when it can become an argument that can be manipulated to justify tyranny.

  6. The unceasing flow of vacuous meaningless poetics. Abstract expressionist free-verse katholicism is no substitute for our Lord, Jesus Christ revealed in Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and understood in the perennial Magisterium of Roman Catholicism.

  7. Since Pope Francis seems very well disposed towards socialism and communism, let’s just say this Synodality stuff seems to closely approximate Communist Party General Assemblies. they generally take place during October or thereabouts, so do Pope Francis’s meetings. These are usually preceded by a blockbuster interview with aging old Scalfari, where Pope Francis releases some wild non Catholic position. Scalfari of course is an old communist. Perhaps we should seek the “intepretive key” to Francis is a thorough study of communism. There seem to be more and more parallels.

  8. We read: “I feel a great sadness when I see a community [Germany] that, with goodwill, takes a wrong path because it thinks it is making the church through gatherings, as if it were a political party: the majority, the minority, what this one thinks of this or that or the other, [saying] ‘This is like a synod, a synodal path that we must take,’” said Francis in November of last year. “I ask myself, ‘WHERE is the Holy Spirit there? Where is prayer? Where is the community’s love? Where is the Eucharist?’”

    In actually pondering these questions in America, we are reminded of SYNODAL GUIDANCE given a quarter of a century ago: Pope St. John Paul II’s “Recommendations for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America” (Sept. 18, 1996, in The Pope Speaks: The Church Documents Bimonthly, 42:1, published by Our Sunday Visitor, Jan/Feb 1997)…

    The guidance specifically for America concludes with (sixteen) focus QUESTIONS which, while better written, generally resonate with many of the questions for today.

    The THEME is different: Instead of invoking the Holy Spirit for “Communion, Participation, Mission,” the theme was “Encounter with the living Jesus Christ [“where is the Eucharist?” above] the Way to Conversion, Communion, and Solidarity.”

    The WORDS are different. To gain its “continental” footing, and in the service of continuity (!), conferences of bishops for the “entire American continent [North, Central and South]” might refer at least briefly to this so-called old-fashion (but at least complementary!) type of document from 1996…

    The understanding of CONVERSION is (categorically!) different. Not as now primarily replacing the old with the new, or “leaving one’s own cultural and religious categories,” but as “reconciliation with God, with oneself and with others, and it presupposes overcoming the basic rupture which is SIN” (n. 16).

  9. Synodality wouldn’t be so bad except that Francis is at the Helm. They would be Synods of babel—too many leaders, not enough listeners. Will Traditionalists be allowed to participate, or will they be forbidden in the name of the spirit of Vatican ll. I sense another mess in the making. Here’s my input on the Synods, St. John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict XVl were against a parallel Church. I believe that we are in a case of necessity, so a parallel Church or a new Latin Rite (there are already 26 Rites in the Church) is needed. How I wish we had our own Latin Rite, to enjoy the freedom of Christ and escape the bondage of Francis. Persecution once upon a time came from the outside, now the persecution comes from within, it isn’t our bodies they wish to kill but our very souls themselves. a Parallel Church may have become a necessity. Doesn’t the Great, humble, and Merciful Francis want the good for everyone, then he needs to stop placing shackles only on Traditionalists?

  10. ”Synodality as an endless journey” is clericalist idolatry of re-paganized men who have confected a counterfeit church by decapitating Christ from their own body, and substituting themselves as the head. This road they take is as Chesterton projected, eternally walking in circles just as the pre-Christian dragon eating its own tail, with no destination in The Everlasting Man.

    • Very good, CiM. Synodality amongst this poorly catechised generation, with little to no sacramental awareness, is headed for disaster. Moreover, the recent document on the TLM indicates that those in charge revel in a hermeneutic of disruption, so the dreams of the new synodal participants will be far from the dreams of the prophets of old—and most assuredly be interpreted in such novel ways that fidelity to the Magisterium will be a dusty remnant of deeply-buried Tradition.

      It would seem as though most well-formed Catholics will be too discouraged to participate, leaving those who do to engage in a fool’s errand.

  11. I know that this won’t stay up long but;

    Permit me to attempt to put this all in layman’s terms – “if you can’t impress them with facts, baffle them with you-know-what.”

  12. The communists always had a written final decision long before they initiated anything.
    From the past shameful manipulations of the synods there is ample reason to believe that exactly the same shameful manipulation will occur this time. We believe the outcome has already been decided. Hopefully the African Bishops and others outside of the leftist Church will strongly oppose their leftist agenda.

    • So, Patricia, do what the Pope asked Catholics to do. Pray that the journey might be a successful one. Prayers are always answered even if there are some people who are hoping that this spiritual exercise fails.

  13. Traditionalists should politely pack the local synodal gatherings. Who is more “marginalized” than they? I’m not kidding. Please someone pass this idea around.

    • Perhaps, this relatively small group in the huge Catholic Church is already doing so (that will be good) just as it tries to monopolize an increasing number of Catholic sites.

      • Mal, if the Sankt Gallen Lavender Mafia supporters had sent coherent messages, we would be reading them. The fact is that the go-a-longs either no longer really care or are in Exodus mode (the Francis effect). People writing in are more in Benedict Option mode, because they love Holy Mother Church the more fervantly and can see the tragedy unfolding. Only 1/12th of Christ’s disciples since the beginning have been traitors. May the 11/12ths of good men in holy orders take up the cross and defend the Divine Institution from the Argentinian Marxist ideology.

        • Mike, I am sorry that you are living in the Make-believe view of the Church at present. I will just state that our beloved Pope, the Vicar of Christ, detests communism especially because it is a form of totalitarianism. He has had first hand experience of its ruthlessness. It is his Christian view that some of the wealth should necessarily trickle down to the poorer brothers and sisters in the community that leads some people to claim that he is a communist.

          • Mal, two Popes in Rome is not make believe. The republication of The Extended petrine Ministry text by Ganswein in his 2021 book is not make believe. It is on sale. The book “Pope Emeritus?” publishing canonical evidence that Pope Benedict still holds the Munus and the Charge of the Papal office is on sale. It also includes list of serious irregularities in the electoral process of Bergoglio. ISr Lucia’s warning of Two Bishops in Rome and a wrecked Church were referenced by Bergoglio during his canonisation homily in Fatima. “Second Bishop in white who you might think was Pope…. that’s Me!” he said. Or is that text also make believe? Indeed, Mal, if everything is normal in Rome why are we even here chatting about it?

  14. No, the Pope is not in favor of adulterers receiving Holy Communion.
    In reply to a question on this matter, he said: “I know married Catholics in a second union who go to church, who go to church once or twice a year and say I want Communion, as if joining in Communion were an award. It’s a work towards integration; all doors are open. But we cannot say from here on they can have Communion. This would be an injury also to marriage, to the couple, because it wouldn’t allow them to proceed on this path of integration.”
    And what is this “strange cult of the Pachamama?”.

      Mal, the above link to Archbishop Vigano’s call for an Underground Catholic Church to fight the Free Masons running the Church in Rome is not Make Believe. And when you have read it, a reserach on the same site for “Pachamama” will bring you up to date.
      For reminder, if it was not for Archbishop Vigano, Cardinal McCarrick would be the China Specialist in C6 still flying around the World as Bergoglio’s very special envoy.

      • Sorry Mike, I do not read Lifesite anymore (they have banned me after I submitted posts supporting Vatican2 and Pope Francis) and I have my reasons to distrust Vigano.
        Apparently, his actions were influenced by his anger at being denied a chance to return to a position at the Vatican.
        “Viganò claims to have known about McCarrick’s proclivities in the early 2000s, before becoming nuncio, but he said nothing. During his 2011-2016 tenure as nuncio, nothing was said or done about McCarrick. Think about it. He had access to the files in the nunciature for five years, yet it didn’t occur to him to expose McCarrick until two years after he retired. Then in 2018 he called upon the nunciature to release the files he claims are there.”

        • Hi Mal,
          getting banned from Lifesite news must effectively be a bit of a blow, especially as they are one of the few decent media sites around. Your link is to an unfortunate and inaccurate attack on Archbishop Vigano: he denounced what he knew from the outset via letters and internal diplomatic means. Can I recommend you consult the man himself? The first volume of his collected writings “A Voice in the Wilderness” by Angelus Press is out. I gather there is hope of a follow up. What emerges is an international diplomat’s vision of the Political sphere that has been waging civil war against the Catholic Church for decades. There are some very good insights. If it were not for Vigano, Cardinal McCarrick (who abused for the first time in Sankt Gallen) would still be the Sankt Gallen Mafia’s “China deal” expert. Thanks to Vigano – not Bergoglio – McCarrick did not front his second pseudo “Vatican Abuse Summit” in person… You want to defend Bergoglio, Mal? Tell me, what is the Sankt Gallen Mafia programme he says he was elected to follow, and why can’t the church read it? Why did Bergoglio organise an underground pact with selected prelates at the end of the Amazon synod? Are underground pacts synodal? Could you explain what you admire most in the man that Argentina doesn’t? 9 years later… and he is still too afraid of the media fallout to go home. PPBXVI was elected in 2005, and in Germany just a few months later. What is it you appreciate most in that? His way of following scripture rigidly and leaving home and family, perhaps?

        • Prove your slander that Vigano says what he says because of not getting “promoted.” Prove it. If you can’t, publically apologize for bearing false witness.

  15. Have we been duped if our critique of today’s version of synodality is only that it risks validating immorality by an uncritical consensus, or that the German derailment as only an apostasy from the universal Church, or that the successors of the apostles reduced to “facilitators” in a wool-gathering exercise soon to be handed over to the self-compromised Cardinal Hollerich?

    Have we been duped? What if the deception of today’s synodality is something else? Instead of the hypothesized blowing of the Holy Spirit, what if synodality is really the ghost of Karl Rahner and Hans Keung?

    What if the premise is that the divine self-disclosure in revelation is so obscure that all of our concepts are really devoid of meaning, graffiti, interchangeable clothing attached to the completely unknowable?

    We then might presume that contradictory teachings are equally meaningless, phantasms, destined to be mutually assimilated—if only we say “what the hell,” meaning that the Holy Spirit will deliver yet another and non-exclusive phantasm of the moment. The moral absolutes of Veritatis Splendor, and the homosexual lifestyle as well as sequential bigamy and solitary sexual sins, all, are all cut from the same meaningless cloth. Conceptual contradictions do not exist, because the concepts themselves (e.g., moral absolutes, pastoral novelties) are only provisional (!) and do not really exist!

    But wait, what?

    Pope Paul VI saw this game, way back in the heady days (daze!) shortly after Vatican II, when he recalled that revelation is NOT inarticulate, that “the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14), that councils are more than ripples within a fluid process of collective self-expression, and therefore that permanent dogmatic formulas are true and, shall we say, admissible (!): “The truths which the Church intends to teach through her dogmatic formulas are distinct [!] from the changeable conceptions of a given epoch and can be expressed without them” (Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1973).

    It’s the concepts and the truth, stupid.

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