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BRISTOL, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - An international synod is insisting on the "fundamental right" of "all adult Catholics" to "vote in all decisions on matters of doctrine, value, action and any other issue concerning the common good of their community."
The Root and Branch Synod — consisting of pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ+ clergy and laity — claims to be implementing Pope Francis' reform agenda and has invited people of other religions and denominations to address the synod, including a female Anglican "bishop."
The weeklong conference held online and live in Bristol Sept. 5–12 is endorsed by the bishop of Clifton, Declan Lang, who became the first bishop in England to ban the Latin Mass, while creating a special provision for LGBTQ+ Masses in his diocese.
Bishop Lang was present at the synod, organized in part by Fr. Richard McKay, parish priest of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, Bristol, where the LGBTQ+ Masses are held.
"When women were first ordained as priests in the Church of England in 1994, Richard spoke robustly and publicly for the same to happen in the Catholic Church — and has continued to do so," notes the synod's biography on McKay.
Radical leftist speakers, including former president of Ireland and pro-abortion activist Mary McAleese, spoke at the synod and joined panel discussions demanding a radical overhaul of Church teaching, especially on gender ideology, sexuality and women's ordination.
The synod also showcased Dr. Claire Jenkins, a gender-confused biological male who "transitioned" to being a "woman" after fathering four children in marriage; he is a member of a task group advising the Catholic bishops of England and Wales on "trans" issues.
The synod has published the "Bristol Text" seeking to influence the bishops' synodal process locally in England and Wales as well as globally "as part of ... common preparation for Rome in 2023."
Popular English writer and deacon Nick Donnelly told Church Militant that the synod speakers "have track records for advocating heretical changes to the apostolic Faith."
The fact that the organizers will claim credibility for their "synod" by appealing to Francis' synodal process says more about the pope's synodal innovations than it does about the authority of this exercise. The Root and Branch Synod, with its inclusion of anti-Catholic and non-Catholic "experts" while rejecting faithful Catholicism, gives us a foretaste of the pandemonium about to tighten its grip on the Church.
The Vatican document on synodality published earlier in September calls for a radical inclusion of participants in the synodal process — including "Catholics who rarely or never practice their Faith."
"No one — no matter their religious affiliation — should be excluded from sharing their perspective and experiences," stresses the Vatican handbook titled For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission Vademecum for the Synod on Synodality.
Accordingly, the Bristol synod has co-opted Nigerian Muslim Dr. Zainab Mai-Bornu; Anglican campaigner for women's ordination Christina Rees; Anglican "priests" Eve Rose-Keenan, Dr. Catherine Okoronkwo and Victoria Chester; and Anglican "bishop" of Bristol Vivienne Faull.
Serving her second term on the English Anglican–Roman Catholic committee for ecumenical conversations, Faull is an outspoken supporter of gay "marriage." When she was dean of York Minster, Faull authorized the "blessing" of the annual LGBTQ+ pride march in the city.
Over and above its support for same-sex marriage, the Bristol Text is also calling for the abolition of the sacramental role of the priest as the sole means of celebrating the Holy Eucharist.
"Jesus has made it easy to celebrate His presence with us, since the ritual of simple eating and drinking together is inscribed within us as human beings. It does not require a separated priesthood," the Bristol Text states, concluding that "all the baptized are eligible to answer God's call to every ministry."
Claiming that "hierarchy distorts the beauty of diversity," the manifesto "calls for a radical reimagination of the way of being Church, as it has become predominantly a hierarchal institution structured on an all-male leadership."
"Every adult Catholic has the right to vote for and to be eligible as a candidate for any Church ministry. All Catholics also have the right to have their leaders render an account to them," it scolds.
The synod also challenges the concept of traditional "family," calling for "a pastoral response to diverse family forms"; it dismisses Church teaching on sex and gender as "confused and contradictory."
An address by Fr. Thomas O'Loughlin at the synod provoked outrage on Facebook after the Catholic priest of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton said that "Jesus didn't found the Church, nor, indeed, could He found the Church [because] He belonged to the church of Israel."
Faithful priest Fr. Thomas Crean responded on social media noting that he had "rarely heard quite such flagrant modernism from a Catholic priest in England."
"In normal times I suppose a letter to the bishop of Arundel asking him to investigate the priest for heresy would be the correct thing to do, but given the breakdown of the rule of law, one wonders if that is worthwhile," Crean commented.