a toxic nightmare according to the late Cardinal Georg Pell

January 14, 2023 –


– Shortly before his death on Tuesday, January 10, Cardinal George Pell wrote the following article for The Spectatorin which he denounces the Vatican’s plans for its upcoming Synod on Synodality as a “toxic nightmare”.

The late Cardinal Pelle
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Synod on Synodality: A Toxic Nightmare According to the Late Cardinal Georg Pell

The Catholic Church must free itself from this “toxic nightmare”.

January 14, 2023 – ESM – Shortly before his death on Tuesday, the

Cardinal George Pell
wrote the following article for the Australian newspaper

The Spectator
in which he denounces the Vatican’s plans for his next ”

Synod on synodality
” like a ” toxic nightmare “. The brochure produced by the
which will be held in two sessions this year as well as next year, is “one of the most incoherent documents ever sent by Rome“, declares Cardinal Pell. Not only is he “couch in no-Marxist jargon“, but he is “hostile to the apostolic tradition” and ignores fundamental Christian principles such as the belief in divine judgment, heaven and hell.

The Australian-born cardinal, who endured the horrific ordeal of imprisonment in his home country on false sexual abuse charges before being acquitted, did not lack courage. He did not know he was about to die when he wrote this article; it was ready to face the fury of Pope Francis and the organizers when it was published. As things stand, his sudden death could give added force to his words when the synod meets next October.

Damian Thompson

The Catholic Synod of Bishops is currently busy building what it considers to be the “God’s dream” of synodality. Unfortunately, this divine dream turned into a toxic nightmare despite the good intentions professed by the bishops.

They have produced a 45-page pamphlet that presents their account of the first-stage “listening and discernment” discussions, held in many parts of the world, and it is one of the most incoherent documents ever. sent by Rome.

While we give thanks to God for the increase in the number of Catholics in the world, especially in Africa and Asia, the picture is radically different in Latin America, with losses for Protestants and laity.

Without any sense of irony, the document is titled “Expand the Space of Your Tent”, and its purpose is to welcome, not the newly baptized – those who have answered the call to repent and believe – but anyone interested enough to listen. Participants are invited to be welcoming and radically inclusive: “No one is excluded”.

What are we to think of this potpourri, this outpouring of New Age goodwill?

The document does not even urge Catholic participants to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20), much less preach the Savior in times and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).

The first job of everyone, and especially of teachers, is to listen in the Spirit. According to this recent update of the good news, “synodality” as a way of being in the Church is not to be defined, but simply lived. It revolves around five creative tensions, moving from radical inclusion to mission in a participatory style, practicing “co-responsibility with other believers and people of good will“Difficulties are recognized, such as war, genocide and the rift between clergy and laity, but all can be sustained, the bishops say, by a living spirituality.

The image of the church as an expanding tent with the Lord at its center comes from Isae, and its purpose is to emphasize that this expanding tent is a place where people are heard and not judged, not excluded.

So we read that the people of God need new strategies; not of quarrels and confrontations but of dialogue, where the distinction between believers and unbelievers is rejected. The people of God must really listen, he insists, to the cry of the poor and the earth.

Because of the differences of opinion on abortion, contraception, the ordination of women to the priesthood and homosexual activity, some believe that no definitive position can be established or proposed on these issues. The same goes for polygamy, divorce and remarriage.

However, the document is clear on the particular problem of the inferior position of women and on the dangers of clericalism, although the positive contribution of many priests is recognized.

What are we to think of this potpourri, this outpouring of New Age goodwill? It is not a summary of the Catholic faith or the teaching of the New Testament. It is incomplete, significantly hostile to apostolic tradition, and nowhere recognizes the New Testament as the Word of God, normative for all teaching on faith and morals. The Old Testament is ignored, the patriarchy is rejected, and the Mosaic Law, including the Ten Commandments, is not recognized.

Two remarks can be made first. The two final synods to be held in Rome in 2023 and 24 will need to clarify their teaching on moral issues, given that the narrator (editor and director), Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, has publicly rejected the fundamental teachings of the church on sexuality, on the grounds that they contradict modern science. Normally, this would have meant that his continuation as Relator was inappropriate, if not impossible.

Synods must choose whether they are the servants and defenders of the apostolic tradition on faith and morals, or whether their discernment compels them to assert their sovereignty over Catholic teaching. They must decide whether core teachings about things like priesthood and morality can be parked in a pluralistic limbo where some choose to redefine sins downward and most agree to differ respectfully.

Extend the tent“is aware of the shortcomings of the bishops.

Outside the synod, discipline is loosening – especially in northern Europe, where some bishops have not been reprimanded, even after asserting a bishop’s right to dissent; de facto pluralism already exists more broadly in some parishes and religious orders on things like the blessing of homosexual activity.

The diocesan bishops are the successors of the apostles, the main teacher in each diocese and the center of local unity for their people and of universal unity around the Pope, the successor of Peter. Since the time of Saint Irne of Lyons, the bishop has also been the guarantor of continued fidelity to the teaching of Christ, the apostolic tradition. They are governors and sometimes judges, as well as teachers and celebrants of the sacraments, and are not just climbing flowers or rubber stamps.

Extend the tent“is aware of the shortcomings of bishops, who sometimes do not listen, have autocratic tendencies and can be clericalistic and individualistic. There are signs of hope, effective leadership and cooperation, but the document believes that pyramid models of authority must be broken down and that the only true authority comes from love and service Baptismal dignity must be emphasized, not ministerial ordination, and styles of governance must be less hierarchical and more circular and participatory.

The main actors in all Catholic synods (and councils) and all Orthodox synods have been the bishops. In a gentle and cooperative way, this should be affirmed and practiced at continental synods so that pastoral initiatives remain within the bounds of sound doctrine. The bishops are not there simply to validate due process and offer a “nihil obstat” what they observed.

None of the participants in the synod, be they lay people, religious, priests or bishops, is well served by the fact that the synod decides that voting is not allowed and that proposals are not allowed. can be done. Transmitting only the opinions of the organizing committee to the Holy Father to do as he decides is an abuse of synodality, a setting aside of bishops, which is not justified by scripture or tradition. . This is not due process and is subject to manipulation.

Regular Catholics around the world do not agree with the conclusions of the current synod. Nor is there much enthusiasm at the higher levels of the Church. Continuous meetings like this deepen divisions, and a few well-informed people can exploit confusion and goodwill. The former Anglicans among us are right to identify the growing confusion, the attack on traditional morality and the insertion into the dialogue of no-Marxist jargon about exclusion, alienation, identity, marginalization , the voiceless, LGBTQ as well as the displacement of Christian notions of forgiveness, sin, sacrifice, healing, redemption. Why the silence on life after death, reward or punishment, on the four last things, death and judgment, heaven and hell?

Until now, the synodal way has neglected, even devalued, the Transcendent, concealed the centrality of Christ with appeals to the Holy Spirit, and encouraged resentment, especially among participants.

The working documents are not part of the magisterium. They are a basis for discussion; they must be judged by the whole people of God and in particular by the bishops with and under the Pope. This working document needs radical changes. Bishops must realize that there is work to be done, in the name of God, as soon as possible.

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Sources: belgicatho.be


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a toxic nightmare according to the late Cardinal Georg Pell