Cardinali: Amazonian Synod Challenges the Deposit of Faith
Two Cardinals go public over Amazonian Synod problems, how many have the same misgivings but choose to keep them to themselves? CNA reports Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Brandmüller (pictured above) have sent letters to fellow members of the College of Cardinals, raising concerns about the working document for an upcoming synod of bishops on the pan-Amazonian region scheduled to take place in Rome, Oct. 6-27.
This fact alone is scandalous in my opinion. That these two brave cardinali are isolated to this point is a grave scandal for the universal Church. It raises concerns about unity and a systematic rejection of doctrine by Pope Francis and his supporters which cannot go unchallenged.
CNA report reports some of the content as follows:
“Some points of the synod’s Instrumentum laboris seem not only in dissonance with respect to the authentic teaching of the Church, but even contrary to it,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller wrote to fellow cardinals in an Aug. 28 letter obtained by CNA.
“The nebulous formulations of the Instrumentum, as well as the proposed creation of new ecclesial ministries for women and, especially, the proposed priestly ordination of the so-called viri probati arouse strong suspicion that even priestly celibacy will be called into question,” the cardinal wrote.
The viri probati issue seems to me to be another post Vatican II devaluing of the priesthood: a knee-jerk response to a lack of vocations which takes us further in the wrong direction. If there is nothing special or sacred about the priesthood, what does being a priest matter? Moreover, considering the comments of Peruvian bishop Nann, Amazonians are little interested in Marriage or in Holy Mass. Are we in danger of Sacramentalising rather than Evangelising here?
Brandmüller said that the leaders of the pan-Amazonian synod have given him concern about its proceedings:
“The sole fact that Cardinal (Claudio) Hummes is the president of the synod and thus will exercise a grave influence in a negative sense, suffices to have a well founded and realistic concern, as much as in the case of bishops (Erwin) Kräutler, (Franz-Josef) Overbeck, etc."Hummes, a native of Brazil, was prefect of the Congregation for Clergy from 2006-2010. Bishop Krautel, 80, is the emeritus bishop of the Brazilian Prelature of Xingu in the Amazon, and has been a long time proponent of married priests. Bishop Overbeck, 55, is the Bishop of Essen. Overbeck is known in Germany as an advocate for a re-examination of the Church’s teaching on ordination and sexual morality.
It is really difficult to look at this line up - even for a lay person like myself - and not see an agenda write large across the face of it.
Cardinal Brandmüller, 90, was for three decades a professor of Church history, and was president of the International Commission for Contemporary Church History from 1998 until 2006. He was made a cardinal in 2010, but, at age 81, he had passed the age limit for participation in the election of a pope. He added:
“We must face serious challenges to the integrity of the Deposit of the Faith, the sacramental and hierarchical structure of the Church and its Apostolic Tradition. With all this has been created a situation never before seen in the Church’s history, not even during the Arian crisis of the fourth and fifth century,”Brandmüller said that all cardinals must consider how they will react to “any heretical statements or decisions of the synod.”
“I would hope, therefore, that Your Eminence, for your part, will seize this opportunity to correct, according to the teachings of the Church, certain positions expressed in the Instrumentum laboris of the pan-Amazonian synod,” the cardinal concluded.
Also on Aug. 28, Cardinal Raymond Burke wrote to fellow cardinals, telling them that he “shares completely the deep concerns of Cardinal Brandmüller on the upcoming Synod on the Amazon, based upon its Instrumentum laboris.
Noting that the synod’s Instrumentum laboris “is a long document marked by language which is not clear in its meaning, especially in what concerns the Depositum fidei,” - which, let's face it - has become a hallmark of this papacy, Burke added that it “contradicts the constant teaching of the Church on the relationship between the created world and God, the uncreated Creator, and man, created in the image and likeness of God to cooperate with him as guardian of the created world.”
One of the things I love about the Church since studying theology is the precision of its thinking. One can see clear lines of thought even though some of the doctrine is extremely dense. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, contains paragraphs which summarise complex theological details in a compact way. One can study and break down every paragraph and, in the process, learn a great deal about Revelation. By contrast, the Jesuitical sophistry spouted by Pope Francis appears explicitly geared to befuddle and bemuse, with no clarity and no brevity. As a scholar of the Church I am puzzled as to why so many theologians appear happy to pretend this is profound in some way instead of calling it out for the nonsense it actually is?
Cardinal Burke also claims that the Instrumentum laboris “characterize the teaching regarding the unicity and universality of the salvation brought by Christ alive in the Church as relative to a particular culture and emblematic of what they call 'petrified doctrine' (n. 38).”
In the synod’s working document, Burke added, “the truth that God has revealed Himself fully and perfectly through the mystery of the Incarnation of the Redeemer, the Son of God, is obscured, if not denied.”
“Cardinal Brandmüller indicated in his letter the serious difficulties regarding the ordained ministry and perfect continence of the clergy. These proposals, as the cardinal indicates, attack the ‘hierarchical-sacramental structure’ and ‘the Apostolic Tradition of the Church.’”
The “disturbing propositions of the Instrumentum laboris” Burke said, “portend an apostasy from the Catholic faith.”
The tenacity of papal tailgaters never ceases to amaze me with things like this. Austen contradicts a fundamental Catholic principle with this tweet:
Never mind the accuracy of the points being made, never mind the phantom of changing Church teaching on sexual morality or married priests - Austen gives no clue of his thoughts on these issues. Is that because he doesn't actually care, or because he has literally no idea of what this pontiff will impose on the Church next?Current membership of college of cardinals, both voting-age and retired: 214. Total number of cardinals, both voting age-and retired, who believe the Amazon synod challenges the deposit of faith: 2. https://t.co/h5dRf2ZTFV— Austen Ivereigh (@austeni) September 5, 2019
What really terrifies me about all this is the lack of clerical concern I see. At this stage, does anyone actually believe we are going to be any clearer after this? There may be only two cardinali willing to go public on their disquiet, but this must surely mean that more are concerned privately?
These words of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of England and Wales constantly ring through my mind:
‘Ad Limina’ Visit, 1 February 2010
In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent [from Church teaching] for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free. Cardinal Newman realised this, and he left us an outstanding example of faithfulness to revealed truth by following that “kindly light” wherever it led him, even at considerable personal cost. Great writers and communicators of his stature and integrity are needed in the Church today, and it is my hope that devotion to him will inspire many to follow in his footsteps.
Much attention has rightly been given to Newman’s scholarship and to his extensive writings, but it is important to remember that he saw himself first and foremost as a priest.