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Both good and bad bishops are saying the upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod will be revolutionary in its attempts to change the priesthood for the entire Church.
Last week's Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, for October's Pan-Amazon Synod is calling for female deacons and married priests and was thus condemned on June 27 as "heretical" by Cdl. Walter Brandmüller, who added that it was a sign of "apostasy":
It is impossible to conceal that the "synod" is especially to help implement two most cherished projects that heretofore have never been implemented: namely, the abolishment of celibacy and the introduction of a female priesthood — starting first with female deacons.
Liberal German prelate Bp. Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen spoke last month on the synod, saying the changes coming from it would forever change the Church in drastic ways. Overbeck foresees the synod bringing the Catholic Church to a "point of no return," saying in its wake "nothing will be the same as it was."
Following last week's secretive pre-synod planning meeting in Rome, a report summing up the meeting was published June 26 opening up the question of female deacons. This topic was definitively closed as heretical by Pope John Paul II in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, officially confirmed in 1995 that John Paul II meant for his statement, discrediting the validity of female ordinations, to be taken infallibly. After meeting with the Holy Father, Ratzinger spelled this out in his following response addressed to those who were questioning this very point:
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. ... Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff ... has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The sacramental priesthood is not a matter that can be decided upon — or re-defined — in the Amazon region. … The question of women may not be abused as leverage in order to depart from it and to create new offices for women. The hierarchical-sacramental structure of the Church is not up for consideration. It is not possible … to start a laboratory experiment in the Amazon region, which in turn then will contaminate the whole Mystical Body of the Church — and gravely damage it.
Watch the panel discuss the apostasy brewing in South America in The Download—October Revolution.