In his October 25, 2023 intervention at the Synod on Synodality gathering in Rome, Francis described the membership of the Synodal Church:
“I like to think of the Church as this simple and humble people who walk in the presence of the Lord (the faithful people of God). This is the religious meaning of our faithful people. And I say faithful people so as not to fall into the many ideological approaches and schemes with which the reality of the people of God is ‘reduced.’ Simply faithful people, or also, ‘God’s holy faithful people’ on the way, saint and sinner. And this is the Church.”
As we know from the past two years of Francis’s Synod, the Synodal Church is truly different from the Catholic Church, so we should not be surprised to find that Francis identifies the membership of his new church in this manner. Still, it is stunning to see the way in which he attacks the Church’s identification of Catholics on the basis of belief and practice — for his new church, Francis eschews any such “ideological approaches and schemes with which the reality of the people of God is ‘reduced,’” or even delineated.
As we witness the awful spectacle of Francis’s Synodal Church separating from the Catholic Church to partner with Satan’s globalist forces, it is natural to ponder God’s Providence in permitting all of this.
For an example of an “ideological approach” that Francis opposes — because it differentiates between Christians — we can look to the second question of Bishop Schneider’s newly released catechism, Credo:
“What is a Catholic? A person baptized into the one Church established by Jesus Christ, bound to believe and profess the entirety of His doctrine and remain in the unity of His Mystical Body, the Church — by receiving the sacraments He instituted and submitting to the legitimate pastors He commissioned.”
This is consistent with what the Church has always taught, even though it fundamentally opposes the false ecumenism that has flourished since Vatican II. Over the past three years — with the rise of the anti-Catholic globalist agenda that Francis routinely advances — we have seen why powerful forces in the world today cannot tolerate Catholics who truly believe this. A Catholic who thinks this way would rather suffer any temporal misfortune rather than go along with Satan’s globalist agenda.
As we witness the awful spectacle of Francis’s Synodal Church separating from the Catholic Church to partner with Satan’s globalist forces, it is natural to ponder God’s Providence in permitting all of this. We know God permits all of this for a reason, but faithful Catholics today appear to have widely varying notions about what that reason could be. As one way to illustrate this, consider two different interpretations of the current crisis:
Interpretation 1. For centuries leading up to Vatican II, the Church’s enemies sought to introduce their anti-Catholic ideas into the Church. Despite the efforts of the pre-Vatican II popes to crush these errors, these anti-Catholic ideas found their way into Vatican II’s documents, albeit in subtle ways that would not be fully understood until after the Council. For the past sixty years, the Church’s enemies have been exploiting those errors to lead Catholics away from the unadulterated Catholic Faith. What we see today, then, is simply the natural progression of this attack on the Church. If God is permitting it to become so obvious today, surely it is so that we can turn to Him, embracing the unadulterated Catholic Faith, rejecting errors, and becoming saints.
Or, alternatively . . .
Interpretation 2. There were problems in the Church prior to Benedict XVI’s supposed resignation from the papacy, but the current crisis began in earnest with Francis. God is permitting the crisis to grow deeper today, but matters will likely improve if the next conclave elects a pope who can return the Church to the comparatively healthy state it enjoyed during the pontificate of Benedict XVI.
Because we are thinking about His Church, it is absolutely nonsensical to go about attempting to solve the crisis without a more or less constant consideration of what God wants from us. Indeed, the failure to think about the Church’s crisis in terms of what lessons our Loving Father is trying to teach us is itself both a symptom of the crisis and a sign that it is bound to deepen.
Although it is likely the case that faithful Catholics can win high places in heaven while believing either of these general interpretations (or variations thereof), our response to the current crisis will be vastly different depending on how we see God’s Providence. Critically, while adherents to either interpretation may believe that Francis is a destroyer who must be resisted if he cannot be removed, those whose beliefs align more with the first interpretation may suspect that God will not intervene to rescue us from this crisis until we (as the Mystical Body of Christ) firmly reject the errors that brought us to this point. Moreover, although those who believe something close to the second interpretation may feel otherwise, it seems that the first interpretation comports more with the vision of God as a Loving Father, Who sometimes permits evils to teach us lessons we need to learn (and chastise us for our slowness in learning them).
If we were talking about a crisis in any other realm — politics, the economy, healthcare, etc. — then it might not be natural to think about God’s Providence and what He wants us to learn from the crisis. But because we are thinking about His Church, it is absolutely nonsensical to go about attempting to solve the crisis without a more or less constant consideration of what God wants from us. Indeed, the failure to think about the Church’s crisis in terms of what lessons our Loving Father is trying to teach us is itself both a symptom of the crisis and a sign that it is bound to deepen.
Fortunately, as Michael Matt discussed in his recent update from the Synod, it appears that many faithful Catholics are seeing the Synod as a clear indication of the deeper crisis in the Church. Thanks be to God, a growing number of the Church’s bishops — including Archbishop Vigano and Bishop Schneider — see that Vatican II itself has contributed meaningfully to the crisis. This increased recognition of the true nature of the crisis fits with the first interpretation of God’s Providence above, where we can see that God wants us to return to the unadulterated truth, whereas Satan wants souls to accept the Synodal Church as a legitimate replacement of the Catholic Church.
And so it is becoming more clear that we need to oppose not only the errors coming from Francis and his Synod but also those that led us to this point. The Synod is useful in that respect because it relies almost exclusively on Vatican II and the innovations that flowed from it. Vatican II’s progressive architects had to disguise their revolutionary ideas with ambiguities, and counterbalance them with orthodox passages; and thanks to their efforts, today’s Synodal heretics can preach the same revolutionary ideas from the rooftops without any attempt to disguise them. If we study the great pre-Vatican II papal encyclicals warning about the Liberal and Modernist errors, we can see almost everything from the Synod unequivocally condemned
We should also consider the real possibility that God wants us to petition His grace and mercy through those means He has given us to do so, namely prayer and penance. One underappreciated harm of Vatican II is the almost complete emasculation of spirituality, such that many Catholics are repulsed by the idea of trying to pursue holiness. But Our Lord and the saints taught us that the only truly manly and heroic way to respond to a crisis like the one we face is to try to put everything we have at God’s disposal. As Jesus told us, we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). If we have forgotten this, it is only because Satan has tried to rob his enemies of the only weapons that can defeat him.
If ever we are tempted to doubt our need to adhere to the true Catholic Faith and try to be saints, we can reflect on the fact that Francis and his Synodal Church are partnering with the globalists, and ultimately Satan, to prevent us from doing that.
Beyond this, it appears that the formation of the Synodal Church ought to be an opportunity for the Catholic Church’s remaining faithful shepherds to come together despite any differences in their particular beliefs about the crisis. If they have been waiting for a sign to do something, the formation of an entirely new church in open opposition to the Catholic Church appears to be such a sign. For better or worse, the problem of the Synodal Church is far too monstrous to ignore.
How many bishops will refuse to accept the heretical Synodal Church? We can pray for many, but at present it seems there may not be more than would occupy a side chapel. If the remaining faithful bishops were to gather in prayer, earnestly seeking God’s will, it seems almost certain that God would guide them to do all that is possible to address the crisis. Perhaps that would involve a resolution to the Francis crisis; even if not, though, they would be doing what they could to petition God’s grace and mercy.
For those of us who are not bishops, we have every reason to trust God’s Providence and do all we can to petition His grace and mercy. He is not permitting this crisis to torture us or lead us to hell, but to show us the sure way back to Him. If ever we are tempted to doubt our need to adhere to the true Catholic Faith and try to be saints, we can reflect on the fact that Francis and his Synodal Church are partnering with the globalists, and ultimately Satan, to prevent us from doing that. This should suffice to convince us that we must do all we can to cooperate with God’s grace to reject the Synodal Church and draw closer than ever to God’s Catholic Church. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
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