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Many Catholics have been fearing and fretting about the decisions of the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome, but I'm here to tell you to take heart: The upcoming synod is nothing to fret about!
Catholic bloggers and podcasters have deluged social media with forecasts of this cataclysmic gathering of bishops that will supposedly usher in the end of the Church and the world.
For my part, I've been observing the disheartening noise from a safe distance and keeping my thoughts mostly to myself. In an effort to calm people down, I have tweeted — and retweeted — this message:
I am ready for the fight! No synod can change the Church's Dogma, Doctrine, or Revealed Truth. I am ready to die for the faith before the Holy Bible is edited, and hard truths deleted. God is one, perfect, true and holy. He does not change. Neither does his sacred Word.
For all those anxious individuals out there on social media, I would invite them to pause for a moment and reflect on this thought: Christ established His Church, and His Church will continue until the end of time. Jesus says in the gospel, "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)
Nothing can stop the divine plan that has been set into motion — not even the Synod on Synodality. You might not know what the synod is supposed to be. I certainly don't understand its redundant name — apparently, it's above my pay grade. But I do know that no mere gathering of bishops, some of whom are seriously scandal-ridden, can alter or change God's eternal plan.
As Scripture attests, this fallen world will come to a cataclysmic end. Our Lord will then return and usher in a new world in which God will dwell once again with His creation, and there will be no more tears, sadness, disease or death.
One mistake many Catholics make — adding to their overall anxiety — is to think that a synod can change revelation. Short answer: It can't. Slightly longer answer: It can't — ever.
Governments and civil bodies make decisions about this or that through discourse and a show of hands — or power. But divine revelation, Church dogma and the precepts of the Catholic faith are different. They were never determined by roundtable discussions or majority votes.
Let's step back a moment and consider what revelation actually is. What does this term mean, theologically speaking?
Catholic Answers has a great essay on what this term means for Catholics. It explains, "The essence of Revelation lies in the fact that it is the direct speech of God to man." In short, we believe that God has revealed Himself to mankind over the millennia and that Who He is, what He desires of His creation and what will be is recorded in His Sacred Word — the Bible.
It's easy to imagine how one of these synodal meetings might play out:
Let's have a show of hands for changing the Bible. Will all those who are for mixing it up a bit and making the Bible more "with it" please raise your hands? Let's start with Exodus. We no longer need all of these Ten Commandments. I am all for dropping this commandment which prohibits adultery. Nobody cares anymore who sleeps with whom; love is love. Let's start with that!
As if any group of mere men — clerical or lay — can change willy-nilly the eternal will of God.
So to all those worried about what this upcoming synod will do, take solace from the fact that this Synod on Synodality can't change the Bible. Hence, it can't change moral law.
No group can change, for example, that the Bible describes God as a Holy Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nor can it change the descriptions of the Holy Trinity to make them "gender neutral."
We find at the end of St. Matthew's Gospel, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)
Take comfort in the fact that no synod can alter the Ten Commandments as found in the Book of Exodus.
Reflect upon the fact that no synod can alter traditional anthropology as put forth in the texts of Sacred Scripture. Synod attendees can't change the definition of what a human being is to be anything more or less than what Sacred Scripture attests: "God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female, he created them." (Genesis 1:27)
Hence, God did not make multiple sexes. Biological science itself supports what Sacred Scripture has recorded: There are only two sexes.
One thing that you hear bantered about a lot on social media with respect to this forthcoming Synod on Synodality is the idea that, somehow, homosexuality or sodomy will be made "A-OK."
For the sake of brevity, although there are numerous prohibitions against sexual sins in both the Old and New Testaments, let's look at just one example in the New Testament.
Saint Paul wrote, "[The] females exchanged natural relations for unnatural and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity." (Romans 1:26–27)
This great saint does not leave any doubt for his readers about what he considers sinful acts, nor can his condemnation be misinterpreted as being his own "prejudice." Saint Paul, under the direction of God, the Holy Spirit, wrote this letter to the Romans. Who are we, all these centuries later, to alter even a portion of it?
Again, no synod can magically wipe away the biblical prohibition against homosexuality and sodomy or deny the graces that come from leading a chaste life.
God will not appear in some great theophany in the synod hall and say to those present, "I made a mistake all those centuries ago. Sodomy is now A-OK. You can update that now." God, who is pure, perfect and one, does not change His mind.
As the old saying goes, "A man can talk about this or that until the cows come home, but some things just can't be changed."
I am certain, as this synod gets underway this coming October, that the secular press and even some of the so-called Catholic press are going to have a field day reporting fantastic outcomes. They will report that men getting together, chitchatting in discussion groups, can totally reinvent the Catholic faith. Remember that a person does not need to have any supernatural faith to work in the secular media.
Already, some are pontificating in this vein:
Don't let the fears being stirred up by the secular media and people without any real faith take away your peace. The Church founded on Christ will endure until the end.
Yes, some men will try to change things in the course of this forthcoming synod, but even if some individuals attempt to revise some aspect of revelation to their liking, time and God Himself will correct them.
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