After the 2015 Synod, perhaps more than ever in the history of the Church, we have to make an act of blind faith in the promise of indefectibility made to Peter: “The gates of hell will not prevail! Non praevalebunt!” The Synod we have just witnessed in the last year brings to our minds the moment Our Blessed Lord expired on the Cross. The disciples present and the holy women must have shaken their heads in disbelief: “No, it is not possible, He cannot die, He who cured so many, He who raised Lazarus from the dead just two weeks ago cannot be dead! It is not possible!” But the reality was there: Our Lord had expired. With the paleness of death, He was slowly stiffening in the rigor mortis as He was laid in the arms of His Sorrowful Mother. “Dux vitae mortuus—The Prince of life is dead.”
This is somewhat how we feel after this document of October 24, 2015 was approved by two-thirds of the Synod Fathers. “No, it is not possible, it cannot go this far! Our Lord cannot allow the enemies of the Church to prevail this far!”
“Her adversaries are become her lords, her enemies are enriched: because the Lord hath spoken against her for the multitude of her iniquities: her children are led into captivity: before the face of the oppressor. And from the daughter of Sion all her beauty is departed.” (Lam. 1:5-6)
We are now living what I would call the afternoon of the Good Friday of the Church. This is no longer the abandonment of the disciples of Gethsemane—as we could say was the vote on religious liberty in 1965 where the Pope and 2,308 bishops agreed to abandon Our Lord, to uncrown Him from the public sphere. Neither are we witnessing the humiliations of Good Friday morning, where the Son of God was put at the same level as a vile murderer—a humiliation we have seen re-enacted in all the meetings of religions organized by the Vatican since the Assisi meeting in 1986. This Synod has gone further still, in the logic of the Council texts and spirit.
“Our fathers have sinned, and are not: and we have borne their iniquities. Servants have ruled over us: there was none to redeem us out of their hand.” (Lam. 5:7-8)
With the final document of this Synod, yet to be approved by Pope Francis—and the Motu Proprio of September 8, 2015 simplifying the processes of annulments, (a document which was described as the door to Catholic divorce by some cardinals)—we see the imminent danger that the Holy Father could be:
We too shake our heads in disbelief, no this is not possible! But the reality of the Final Relation is there, with more than two thirds of the Synodal Fathers’ approval, and with the personal interventions of the Holy Father in many aspects of the Synod, we can fear the worst.
“Yet the Son of man, when He cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth?” (Lk. 18:8). Such a question of Our Divine Savior implied that something tragic would happen “on earth” which would shake the faith of a great number of Catholics. Obviously when Our Lord speaks of Faith, He speaks of faith “operating through charity,” or in other words, the theological virtue of faith in someone who is in the state of grace. Let us never forget that when one loses sanctifying grace through a single mortal sin, he loses the theological virtue of charity. And although the habits of hope and faith remain, they become dead, not sufficient for salvation.
The recent Synod—a simple consultative meeting devoid of any authority in the Church—might be a formidable step towards leading people to this loss of live faith.
With all the appalling ignorance of the Faith today, and the lack of clarity in the exposition of the Faith, particularly concerning the infallibility of the Holy Father, with prelates of the Church publicly dissenting with Catholic doctrine and morals, the ordinary Catholic will be led to consider this Synod as the authentic teaching of the Church, especially if, with or without papal approval, local bishops and the Bishops’ Conferences endorse all that is clearly stated and all that is implied in the final text of the Synod.
Nevertheless, sursum corda! If Our Lord allowed his dear friend Lazarus to die, it was for a greater good—the glory of his Father—and to test the faith of his friends. There is the reason of our hope.
“Martha therefore said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died; but now also I know that what things soever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee.’ Jesus saith to her, ‘Thy brother shall rise again.’ Martha saith to him, ‘I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection, in the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: and every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this?’ She saith to him, ‘Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the son of God, that art come into this world.’ Jesus saith to her, ‘Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God?’ (…)
They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus, lifting his eyes upward, said, ‘Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. And I did know that thou dost always hear me, but for the people that standeth about, have I said it; that they may believe that thou hast sent me.’ ” (Jn. 11:21-42)