(Edward Pentin – february 12, 2020) The Apostolic Exhortation just published confirms that, in Pope Francis’ pontificate, politics takes priority over religion. While keeping his foot on the accelerator of “integral ecology,” he has brought the synod’s religious agenda to a sudden stop.
Cardinals Burke, Müller, and Sarah (and his co-author, Benedict XVI), as well as the few prelates who fervently defended priestly celibacy, have reason to be satisfied. Now they can look down on promoters of the low-cost priesthood, especially bishops Fritz Löbinger, Erwin Kräutler, and their partners on the German “synodal path.” Schluss! No opening for viri probati or “deaconesses.”
Pope Francis recognizes that efforts must be made, so the most isolated communities in the Amazon are not without the nourishment of the Eucharist and the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick (Nos. 86 and 89). He also admits that priestly life and ministry are not monolithic (No. 87). However, he affirms that the solution rests on the sacrament of Holy Orders, which configures the priest to Christ (n° 87), who is the Spouse of the community that celebrates the Eucharist and is represented by the celebrant (n° 101). In so doing, he takes on the two main arguments of those who oppose married priesthood.
The Pope proposes as a solution to pray for priestly vocations and direct missionary vocations to the Amazon (n° 90). Complaining in passing for the absurdity that more priests from the Amazon countries are going to the United States and Europe than to missions in their own countries! (note 132).
As had been announced in recent days, there is not even an indirect mention of the possibility of ordaining married men who are community leaders. Instead, Francis insists on the fact that it is not simply a matter of facilitating a greater presence of ordained ministers who can celebrate the Eucharist, but one of promoting an encounter with the Word of God, and growth in holiness through various types of pastoral services that can be developed by lay people (n° 93), as Bishop Athanasius Schneider judiciously pleaded based on his own experience of the lack of priests in Soviet Russia.
Because of the same configuration of the priest to Christ, Spouse of the community, and the wide and generous missionary work already carried out by women in the areas of baptism, catechesis, and prayer (n° 99), Pope Francis closes the discussion on the ordination of women asserting that it would be a form of reductionism to “clericalize” women in the belief that they would obtain a higher status in the Church only if admitted to the Sacred Orders (No. 100). On the contrary, women make their contribution to the Church in their own way by making present the tender strength of Mary, the Mother (n° 101).
Someone else who may be satisfied, at least in part, is Cardinal Walter Brandmüller. He denounced the Instrumentum Laboris of the Amazon Synod, saying that it was an invitation to apostasy insofar as it understood “inculturation” as a renunciation to preach the Gospel, and acceptance of pagan religions as an alternative way of salvation. His warning reached Santa Marta.
Querida Amazonia dissociates itself from the concept of “inculturation” promoted by Indigenous Theology – led chiefly by Fathers Paulo Suess and Eleazar López — and adopts the light version of the conciliar constitution Gaudium et Spes. The latter inculturation consists of a mere adaptation of the Gospel to the understanding of all, expressing Christ’s message in terms appropriate for each culture (note 84).
It is, therefore, an inculturation that although not rejecting anything good that exists in the Amazonian culture, makes it an object of redemption (n° 67), brings it to its fullness in the light of the Gospel (n° 66), and wants it enriched by the Holy Spirit through the transforming power of the Gospel (n° 68).
That obliges the Church to adopt toward cultures a confident but also watchful and critical attitude (No. 67). Above all, it requires her not to be ashamed of Jesus Christ (n° 62), nor to limit herself to give the poor a purely social message instead of the great message of salvation (n° 63), since these peoples have the right to hear the Gospel. Without this evangelization, the Church would become a mere NGO and abandon the command to preach to all nations (No. 64). Rather than the Consolata Missionaries and others who boast they have not baptized anyone in 60 years, the document presents Saint Toríbio of Mogrovejo and St. José of Anchieta as models of great evangelizers in Latin America (n° 65).
In contrast to the above, in an open but failed attempt to justify himself for the scandalous idolatrous cults to Pachamama in the Vatican Gardens and St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis declares that in the context of an inculturated spirituality it is somehow possible to take up indigenous symbols, myths charged with spiritual meaning, and religious festivals covered with sacred meaning, without necessarily incurring idolatry (No. 79).
Cardinal Brandmüller has another reason to be disgusted in addition to this fruitless defense of the Pachamama worship. Quoting abundantly from his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis reiterates his “Teilhardian” and New Age worldview of a universe in which “everything is connected” (No. 41) and praises the indigenous mysticism that leads Aborigines not only to contemplate nature but to feel intimately connected to it to the point of considering it a mother (n° 55). In fact, Mother Earth is mentioned twice in the exhortation (No. 42).
A passing reference to God the Father as the creator of all beings in the universe is insufficient to dispel the “pantheistic” flavor of such passages since it follows a quotation of a verse by poetess Sui Yun on “communion with the forest” (by the way, this Peruvian poetess is known for the uninhibited and erotic character of her creations: “my poetry is genital,” she states) (n ° 56).
However, the document’s by far most flawed aspect is its full adherence to the postulates and programmatic agenda of Liberation Theology in its ecological version recycled by Leonardo Boff and assumed by the synod’s documents.
In a clear manifestation of “clericalism” (since the Church Magisterium has no authority in scientific or economic matters), and above all running counter to the desire for progress of the vast majority of the Amazonian population, the post-synodal exhortation assumes, without the necessary discernment, catastrophist and mendacious diagnosis of environmental NGOs and leftist parties on the supposed devastation of the Amazon: The forest is being raized (No. 13); the construction of hydroelectric plants and waterways is damaging rivers (No. 11); the region is faced with ecological disaster (No. 8); the populations are being slowly decimated by the new colonizers (note 13) or forced to migrate to cities where they would find the worst form of enslavement (No. 10).
According to the Pope, one must feel outrage (No. 15) and have a healthy sense of indignation (No. 17). In this context, it is not anodyne that the Chilean Communist Pablo Neruda and Vinicius de Moraes, Brazilian author of a famous poem titled “Lord barons of the earth,” calling for armed struggle, are among the poets-prophets who denounce the ‘evils’ of economic development.
Worse still, the alternative solutions that Pope Francis proposes correspond to the more advanced collectivist dreams of neo-Marxist anthropologists, who see the tribal life of the jungle as a model for the future world.
According to the document, indigenous “good living” expresses true quality of life (nos 8, 26 & 71), and fulfills the utopia of personal, family, communal and cosmic harmony, expressed, in turn, by the communitarian approach to existence and an austere and simple lifestyle (n° 71): “Everything is shared; private spaces — typical of modernity — are minimal … There is no room for the notion of an individual detached from the community or from the land”(No. 20).
In this matter, the indigenous people have much to teach us (n° 71), and citizens should allow themselves to be “re-educated” by them since it is through them that God wants us to embrace his mysterious wisdom (n° 72).
Given these eco-tribalist and collectivist fantasies of Pope Francis, it is no wonder that he is the leader to whom radical left currents from around the world are turning!
In short, this unusual Post-Synodal Exhortation – which refuses to quote the Final Document of the Synod of Bishops that motivated it – represents, at the same time a socioeconomic acceleration, and an ecclesiological brake that will leave Greeks and Trojans dissatisfied.
But there is no doubt that most dissatisfied will be the prelates and experts in the German camp who have invested long hours of intellectual work and hundreds of thousands of euros in a synodal assembly that ended up giving birth to a crippled bird unable to take flight because one of its wings was amputated.
It will be up to historians to solve the enigma of the reasons that led Pope Francis to stop the much-publicized opening for married priests. Was it “to avoid a schism, or even worse, a destabilization [of the pontificate] that would have been fatal,” as Il Messagero’s Franca Giansoldati suggests? Or was it to take a step back now in the hope of taking two steps forward soon? (The reference in note 120 to the Synod’s proposal to develop an “Amazonian rite” obliges us to remain vigilant, especially when the author of the document is assumedly “crafty”).
As the French say: whoever will live will see.
But those of us who have endeavored for a whole year to block the Synod’s revolutionary agenda for the Pan-Amazon region (including the panamazonsynodwatch.info website, which an American analyst called the “hub of resistance”), we do have some reasons for satisfaction.
Even if Francis confirmed Leonardo Boff, at least he threw the managers of Löbinger, Kräutler & Suess GmbH into the Tiber.