Conflict in Synod Hall

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by Stephen Wynne  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 26, 2019   

Fr. Paulo Suess slams bishops slow to accept 'innovations'

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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A key author of the Amazon Synod's working document is reporting conflict among synod fathers over the Amazon Synod's final document.

Brazil-based German theologian Fr. Paulo Suess told CNA Wednesday that behind closed doors, "conflict over the editing of the final document" has arisen in recent days.

Suess described "a certain slowness," particularly among Latin American bishops, to accept proposals to create a female diaconate as well as other "innovations."

Many of these bishops, he noted, were appointed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and are "unwilling to negotiate" over established Church teaching. 


On Friday, InfoVaticana reported that the various small groups have recommended more than 600 changes to the final document, which will be voted on during Saturday's session. The document must garner a two-thirds vote for final approval.

Feminists are hoping for a nod from the bishops, claiming women deacons in the Amazon would be a first step toward a universal female priesthood. According to Miriam Duignan, a member of the Women's Ordination Worldwide campaign, "If we start in the Amazon, it will go elsewhere."

If we start in the Amazon, it will go elsewhere.

Suess urged caution in applying synod recommendations outside the Amazon, suggesting other Catholic nations will have to decide "for themselves" if its final decisions are applicable to their specific situations.

But he predicted that Saturday's decisions in Rome will find fertile soil in Germany, suggesting that bishops there will look to the final document for solutions to the crisis in their own country. 

Suess' comments seem to confirm criticism that the synod, crafted in large part by leftist European Churchmen based in South America, is designed not to solve a vocations and evangelization crisis in the Amazon, but to serve as a manipulative launching point for liberal initiatives these men wish to apply to their home countries. 

Last week, the National Catholic Register published an editorial blasting the synod's push for an end to clerical celibacy and female clergy as nothing more than "theological colonialism."

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Cdl. Robert Sarah

Quoting African Cdl. Robert Sarah, the authors observed that "Taking advantage to introduce ideological plans would be an unworthy manipulation, a dishonest deception, an insult to God, who guides his Church and entrusts to it his plan of salvation." 

"This attempted imposition of contentious and discredited Church concepts on the Amazon by Europeans and North Americans can be characterized in another way — as theological colonialism," they continued. 

"Underway within the synod halls, as well as outside that gathering," they added, "are thinly veiled efforts to enshrine their ideological agendas in one impoverished region of the world, allegedly out of necessity, and then, as Cardinal Sarah noted, to export them across the universal Church."

In his interview, Suess also remarked on the influence of liberation theology at the synod and in the wider Church. He noted that after decades of suppression under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has rehabilitated the neo-Marxist ideology. 

The pontiff, he observed, has introduced a "pastoral mood influenced by liberation theology" into the Church, which is manifesting fully in the synod's final days in Rome. 

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