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Friday, October 18, 2019

Father Spadaro: Amazon Synod Insider

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spadaro francis 678x375Fr. Spadaro and Pope Francis

On October 17, 2019, Antonio Spadaro SJ, published a blog on Medium, the blog platform created by Evan Williams, one of the founders of Twitter. Fr. Spadaro’s blog was an attempt to slather lipstick on a pig named Amazon Synod. The blog is titled: The Synod for the Amazon: from faith to politics, all is connected.

Fr. Spadaro is one of Pope Francis’ most aggressive apologists.

The blog is aptly named, as since Pope Francis and his advisors took control of the Vatican, they truly have attempted to connect everything to the faith, especially politics and the most worldly of concerns. The result has been a significant lowering of the trajectory of the mission of the Church, which though evident early in his pontificate, has become for focused after one week of the Amazon Synod.

Fr. Spadaro starts off by calling the Amazon Synod a “great ecclesial event”. I suppose that is appropriate if you also consider Judas’ kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane to be a “great ecclesial event”. Great, not as good, but as significant or big.

There have been an abundance of bizarre occurrences since shortly before the opening of the Synod, including a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens in which even Pope Francis himself was so disturbed that in lieu of reading his prepared statement to the indigenous people who planned and performed the ceremony, he simply recited the Lord’s Prayer with them. Possibly he was concerned about the overtly pagan nature of the event, or he was concerned that he had introduced it into the Vatican?

However, the strange and unsettling occurrences did not stop once the Synod opened. There have been strange rituals in Catholic churches in Rome, which have caused many people to wonder why the Church is allowing things like pagan idol worship and witchcraft to take place in the churches of the Eternal City.

A young lady danced with the Gospels as a group of people carried another young lady into a Catholic church in a dugout canoe.

craziness inside st petersJust a typical day in Rome... 

Another ritual took place at Santa Maria in Traspontina, at which participants kneeled and bowed their heads to the floor in front of a bowl of dirt (many of them with their backs to the Tabernacle). Shrines to various versions of “life” and “mother earth” are found in and around other churches in Rome. There are discussions of the environment, “Amazon Cosmovision”, Pachamama, and “structural sin”, and apparently very little discussion of conversion, repentance, kerygma, and Jesus.

The Synod attendees are very diverse. From Pope Francis to Rev. Emilie Smith, an Anglican priestess who is “married” to another woman. Though Pope Francis is there in an official capacity and Smith is apparently there to participate in the pagan rituals (not the canonization of St. John Henry Newman), they do seem to act as interesting bookends for the attendees.

Faithful Catholics are very concerned about these occurrences and many of the topics of “discussion” at the Synod, such as ordination of women and the ordination of married men. In his usual method, Fr. Spadaro attempts to turn the concerns of faithful Catholics back on the faithful Catholics by passive-aggressively stating that their concerns are not based on faith, but based in their own prejudices and insecurities.

Fr. Spadaro does not seem to realize that the Vatican is allowing, even participating in, events which most pastors would not allow in their own small parish. Such is the problem of a hierarchy which is totally detached from the faithful and at times, reality.

rtv synod banner website

Fr. Spadaro writes: “… today the Church has an extraordinary need for prophecy in the face of the great challenges of the present, and to discern what future we want to build.” He cites a Euro-Atlantic center of gravity to the Catholic faith, which he apparently sees as a bad thing because the Amazon region contains, “… a people that does not coincide with a national state, a group of people, persecuted and threatened by many forms of violence.”

One has to wonder what Fr. Spadaro would have thought of every other culture where the Church was nothing more than a mission when it began evangelizing the people. In fact, this would describe every culture outside of the 11 Apostles and a handful of disciples on the first Easter. Was the Church too Galilee-Jerusalem centered to evangelize the Jews and Gentiles of the first century?

Fr. Spadaro then moves from subtle passive-aggressiveness to outright defensive: “This is why the preemptive attacks aimed at the Synod, dressed up as a fundamentalist religiosity that does not disdain racist tones, come from groups that protect political-economic interests.”

Ah, those concerned about the Synod are fundamentalist (a.k.a. crazy and dangerous), racist, and greedy. He seems to pick up where Archbishop Orlando Brandes left off when the Archbishop said critics of the Synod are violent.

It should be noted that there has been absolutely no report of violence of any kind on the part of the people voicing concern over and opposition to the ideas being floated at the Synod or the activities taking place. There is, however, an ideological assault by some participants and attendees of the Synod, and it is directed at the Church and those faithful to the Church’s teachings.

Fr. Spadaro believes that the ecological themes of the Synod are deeply connected to the salvation of souls. While this could be somewhat accurate if the salvation of souls was the primary goal of the Synod, it appears that the theme is far to heavy toward climate control and far to entrenched in syncretism (the fusion of pagan religions and ideologies with some trappings of the Catholic faith).

Fr. Spadaro calls this a “mature experience”, which will “point out new paths for the universal Church”. Many disagree. Instead, many Catholics see the Synod as a highly immature experience which will divert people onto the wide and easy path to destruction. Superstition and pagan gods have no place in the Catholic faith. 

Fr. Spadaro also discusses the lack of priests in the Amazon region. He says that the lack of priests calls for “a broader and more mature vision of the Church, finally alienated from clericalism, aware of the need to imagine new ecclesial ministries, also for women.”

In other words, he believes the Church should ordain married men and also ordain women to, at least, the deaconate. There has certainly been talk of a lot of fires in the Amazon, yet none of these were the fire of the Holy Spirit. Either the Holy Spirit lacks the missionary spirit required to work in the Amazon (as much as the priests and bishops mentioned by Brazilian Bishop Wellington Tadeu de Queiroz Vieira[1]), or the Vatican and the bishops vested with the care of souls in the Amazon region, have really dropped the ball. I suggest the problem does not lie with the Holy Spirit.

Will this Synod bring us women priests? Watch and decide:

The fact is, the approach to evangelization and catechesis in the Amazon region appears to be even less engaging and inspiring than the lackluster effort in the Northern hemisphere over the past century. St. John Paul II called for a new evangelization because of this, but the Amazon Synod would seem to go for a quick fix which might be more aptly described as an even more intense devangelization.

Fr. Spadaro calls it a hybrid soul. I agree with him. A hybrid is something which results from combining two different things in order to come up with one new one. This has happened many times in the history of the Church, including the Great Schism and the Protestant Revolt.

It is happening right now in Germany with the strange theological heresies of the German bishops. A hybrid is often an experiment which does not necessarily take the best from each “thing” and often does not result in anything better. One thing it often creates is something quite different, and that is not something the Catholic Church has ever needed. Christ Himself prayed for unity, and this has been a consistent and unchanging mission of the Church since the Ascension.

The original organism in all of this is the Catholic Church, and if the current pontificate cannot figure out how to evangelize an entire region without changing the Church, it is time for a new pontificate, not a new Church.


[1] Bishop Wellington Tadeu de Queiroz Vieira of Cristalândia in Brazil

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Last modified on Saturday, October 19, 2019
Robert Sullivan

Robert Sullivan and his wife Carmen are the parents of five daughters. They live in Hastings, Nebraska, where they attend St. Cecilia Catholic Church. When he’s not practicing law, Bob writes and speaks about faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church. He writes a column for the Southern Nebraska Register and has had several articles appear in Catholic Answers Magazine, Crisis Magazine, and other publicationsHe blogs at www.bsullivan.org and www.thosecatholicmen.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@BobSullivan87) and Facebook (bob.sullivan.10004).


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