As the Amazon Synod got underway on Sunday, the Vatican whistleblower issued a brief statement — taken mostly from the "Pastoral Rule" of St. Gregory the Great — reminding bishops of their duty to condemn falsehood.
Quoting the late sixth-century pope, Viganò declared: "The pastor should be wary of keeping silent and be timely in speaking, in order not to ... pass over in silence what must be revealed."
Just as an "imprudent discourse leads to error," he observed, "so an inappropriate silence leaves those in error who might have been instructed."
"Often misguided shepherds, for fear of losing the favor of men, do not dare to say freely what is right; and ... they fail to attend to their flock with the love of shepherds, but act instead as mercenaries," said Viganò. "They flee when the wolf arrives, hiding in silence."
"The Lord rebukes them through the Prophet, saying: 'They are all dumb dogs, incapable of barking' (Isaiah 56:10),'" the archbishop continued. "And again He laments: 'You have not climbed into the breaches and you have not built any bulwark in defense of the Israelites, so that they could stand in battle on the day of the Lord' (Ezekiel 13:5)."
"To 'climb into the breaches' means opposing the powerful of this world with a free voice for the defense of the flock," he explained. "And to 'stand in battle on the day of the Lord' is to resist, for justice's sake, wicked men opposed to us."
Underscoring the clerical duty to proclaim truth, the archbishop continued: "For if a shepherd fears to declare what is true, what else is it but to turn his back in silence? But if instead he fights for the defense of his flock, he 'builds a bulwark for the house of Israel' against its enemies."
"Whoever enters the priesthood assumes the role of herald, and goes forth to proclaim the coming of the dread Judge," Viganò observed. "But if the priest does not know how to preach, how will this silent herald make his voice heard?"
"For this reason, the Holy Spirit rested upon the first shepherds in the form of tongues, immediately making capable of speaking those whom he had filled," he noted.
Concluding, Viganò added: "Every priest must assiduously examine himself to conform his conduct to the supernatural light of this 'Pastoral Rule' of St. Gregory the Great, including cardinals and bishops, and especially Pope Bergoglio, S.J.!"
Archbishop Viganò is one among a handful of bishops who has publicly sounded alarm over multiple theological errors contained in the Amazon Synod's Instrumentum Laboris, or working document.
Speaking to Dr. Robert Moynihan, founder and editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican, Abp. Viganò said on July 30 that the document is an alarming sign that post-Christian ideology is gathering strength inside the Church.
"Where is the Christian message here?" he asked. "In fact, the figure of Christ is absent. The Synod working document testifies to the emergence of a post-Christian Catholic theology, now, in this moment. And this is very troubling. It is against everything I have worked for and believed for all my life."
In separate Aug. 28 letters to the College of Cardinals, Cdls. Walter Brandmüller and Raymond Burke called for bishops to guard against attempts to overthrow Church teaching.
Brandmüller urged fellow cardinals to prepare to counter "any heretical statements or decisions of the Synod," warning of "a situation never before seen in the Church's history, not even during the Arian crisis of the fourth and fifth century."
Echoing Brandmüller, Burke warned that the "disturbing propositions of the Instrumentum Laboris portend an apostasy from the Catholic faith."
Their analyses followed that of Bp. Athanasius Schneider, who on July 17 warned that synod architects, inspired by liberation theology, were preaching a counterfeit Christ by promulgating "a gospel of earthly life; a gospel of the belly and not a gospel of the cross; a gospel of the worship of nature, the forest, the water, the sun ... a gospel of the worship of this so brief earthly material life."
Schneider described this as a false evangelization, "a betrayal of the true Gospel," and warned that synod fathers are aiming to "legitimize the betrayal of true supernatural evangelization in the spirit of Jesus and the apostles through a synod of bishops on a global scale."
A day before Schneider's condemnation, Cdl. Gerhard Müller slammed the working document's "false theology," saying it represents "a radical U-turn in the hermeneutics of Catholic theology."
In an earlier interview with Italian media, Müller characterized the synod as "a pretext to change the Church," and described the Instrumentum Laboris as a blueprint for revolution, one rooted in "an ideological vision that has nothing to do with Catholicism."