Cardinal Raymond Burke believes that synodality as it was considered in the recent Synod on Young People is an unorthodox concept that suggests the appearance of a new Church in which there is no room for papal authority.
“It’s become like a slogan, meant to suggest some kind of new church which is democratic and in which the authority of the Roman Pontiff is relativized and diminished, if not destroyed,” warned the cardinal in an interview published on December 2018.
The former prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura explained that bishops’ synods were instituted over the course of history to reaffirm the teachings of the Church, but never to teach a new doctrine.
“There has existed in the Latin Church the notion of a synod – a synod was held in either a diocese or a province – or even on a national level – to find ways to teach the Catholic Faith more effectively and to promote the proper discipline,” explained the cardinal. And he defined a synod as “a meeting of bishops to assist the Pope to see how to teach the Faith more effectively and how to promote a more faithful Christian life in accordance with the discipline of the Church.”
The modern notion of synodality, however, consists in a form of “ecclesiastical deconstruction” that some members of the hierarchy consider as the “new paradigm”.
Cardinal Burke insisted that “The Catholic Church is an organic reality of grace, which comes to us from Our Lord, Himself. He constituted the Church — once and for all — the same: One Faith with the Sacraments, one discipline, one governance. These things have to, now, be made very clear,” he concluded.
Long before Cardinal Burke, Pope St. Pius X warned against the schemes of the Modernists and their reforming frenzy that sought to turn the Church’s government into more of a democracy. This page from the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (September 8, 1907) describes the action of Modernist reformers in the Church government:
Ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic parts. Its spirit with the public conscience, which is not wholly for democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy, and even to the laity, and authority should be decentralized.
This decentralization was promoted by the collegiality implemented by Vatican Council II and the constitution Lumen Gentium. They are the source and lifeblood of the ecclesiastical deconstruction of which Cardinal Burke is speaking.