The Synod on Synodality: The French Episcopate’s Synthesis

Source: FSSPX News

The Contribution of the “Ambassadors”

The second session of the Synod convened by Pope Francis on the theme of Synodality, which will be held this October, is in full preparation and the national syntheses are beginning to pour into Rome.

The first cycle took place in three phases: local, ending with a national synthesis; continental, with a new synthesis; and Roman, with the first session held on October 9 to 29, 2023. The second cycle began with a new local phase that was completed in May.

The national syntheses were recently sent to the General Secretariat of the Synod. The synthesis for France can be viewed on the website of the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF), Église catholique en France. It contains the summary of contributions from French dioceses and those of “ambassadors of the Synod,” produced by 72 young people designated by this title.

Like the previous one, the episcopate’s synthesis is peppered with quotes from the contributions. The guiding theme, specified in the letter of the General Secretariat of the Synod, which launched this consultation, is taken up in the introduction by the CEF: “How to be a synodal Church on mission?”

Two levels were added: “How to promote differentiated co-responsibility in the missions of all members of the People of God?” and “How to creatively articulate relationships [between Churches, groups of Churches, and the Bishop of Rome] in order to find ‘a dynamic balance between the dimension of the Church as a whole and its local roots’.”

The National Synthesis

The tone is set in the introduction: “In France, participatory democracy questions life in society and leads each person to want to take part, according to his capacity, in public debates. [...] Several contributions note the importance of taking this context into consideration to adopt a realistic position which is still meaningful and credible for our contemporaries.”

Thus, this “participatory democracy”—which has legalized contraception and the murder of unborn children and enshrined it in its constitution, which is preparing to adopt euthanasia and assisted suicide, which has dispelled religious, despoiled the goods of the Church, encouraged ignominious sins—must be taken as “context” in order to be “credible” to preach Our Lord.

How to Live Differentiated Co-Responsibility

Four main points were isolated. The first aims to achieve “differentiated co-responsibility.” The difficulty is in coming to an agreement on its meaning: “is it a matter of co-responsibility for decisions or co-responsibility for active participation in the life of the Church?”

In itself, the question does not arise: the Church was founded by Christ, who gave it a divine constitution. Tradition recognizes the properties of the Church, the elements which are necessarily linked to it. Some are known: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic—the “marks” of the Church.

But the Church is still infallible, indefectible, hierarchical. “Hierarchical” means that Christ founded His Church furnished with authority, the Pope and the bishops, and no one can touch the powers that Christ entrusted to them without sacrilege. This is the reason for the Roman condemnation of the Synodal Council that the German Church wants to implement, which would amputate episcopal power.

To Develop the Spiritual Dimension of Synodality

It is proposed to take “seriously the need to urge and offer Biblical formation to all the baptized.” It would be much more urgent to offer serious catechetical and doctrinal formation, which was sorely lacking among many participants, according to several bishops present at the first session.

The need for this training is linked to the capacity for listening and fraternal dialogue. But in this case, what is needed above all is charity and the guidance of revealed Truth. Without the structuring of the Faith, there is no listening possible without confusion.

Choosing Missionary Conversion

“The contributions unanimously mention the need to think about the organization of the Church and its activities, but also the definition of its priorities of action and investment, with a view to serve the missionary announcement of the Gospel,” the synthesis explains. 

Nevertheless, “some highlight the difficulty of reaching and mobilizing all of the members of the People of God so that all become aware of the call to become disciple-missionaries.” —The solution is in the restoration of tradition in the Church. It does not need to be reinvented.

To Rethink the Life of Episcopal Councils

As the synthesis specifies, “all the episcopal councils described in the contributions are composed of members from various states of life and include lay or consecrated women.” Simple prudence requires a bishop to surround himself with advisers and know how to consult them. But institutionalizing this kind of advice will inevitably lead to the situation denounced in Germany.

To Encourage Other Places of Responsibility

Mention is made of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Parish Pastoral Councils, or even Pastoral Animation Teams.—It is not the multiplication of these councils which will allow grace to spread: it is the holiness of priests. Let us recall the saying mentioned in Dom Chautard’s The Soul of the Apostolate: “Saintly priest, [...] fervent people; [...] pious priest, honest people; honest priest, ungodly people.”

Creating Paths for Possible Conversions

“An awareness of the urgency of change is gradually asserting itself. It leads to insistently asking that change in the modes of government and functioning is finally decided upon.” What is nevertheless striking is this conviction that we can change everything in the Church, as if it had not been divinely founded...

The Ambassadors’ Synthesis or “Give Your Voice to the Synod”

The introduction specifies that there is the “participation of young people of other Christian confessions, of unbaptized young people, of young people of other religions, of agnostic and atheist people,” all qualified to rightly envisage the future of the Church, it seems.

The same ideas are found as in the general synthesis, often worsened. Thus, the call “for better representation of the People of God [...] is taking inspiration from the Citizen’s Convention on Climate (of 2019), where 150 citizens were selected at random, and provided with information.” Unbelievable!

Let’s ask the question: What were the results of the citizen’s convention on the end of life? Here is one: “Access to assistance in dying must be open.” On one hand, agreement in numbers is not the same as truth; on the other hand, it is not some mere “information” that can teach Catholic doctrine.

Another idea, already seen in the German Synodal Path: “The Church must now call on the social sciences to address in a relevant manner questions of bioethics, a point of contention.”—Because it is well-known that divine revelation is contained in the social sciences.

Other complaints already seen at the Synodal Path: homilies for laypersons—refused by Rome—the female diaconate, the “communal management” of the parish, transparency in appointments...

The conclusion is already known: these false hopes maintained by these synodal consultations are preparing a disaster. If they are extinguished, the disappointment will be major. If they are granted, there will be widespread heresy.