Cardinal Raymond Burke has come out criticizing the concept of “synodality” that was barely discussed during the recently concluded “Youth Synod,” but, nevertheless, found its way into the final document, surprising many of the Synod Fathers.
“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,” said Cardinal Burke in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews.
“This is typical of a lot of things in the Church, today. The enthusiasts for ‘synodality’ keep talking about it, but I can’t find any definition of what it is,” he said.
During Lumen Fidei’s “CatholicVoice” conference in Ireland this past weekend, the Cardinal answered questions from LifeSiteNews on topics ranging from spiritual warfare, the attack on marriage, and the controversial notion of “synodality.”
When pressed on why he believed the term “synodality” was found throughout the final document from the “Youth Synod”, when the concept itself was never addressed, Burke replied: “It’s typical of the synod of bishops in these last times that it’s used as a kind of political tool to suddenly promote ideas that weren’t even discussed in the synod itself – and that’s not honest.”
When asked if the principle of “synodality” was applied to the USCCB Conference in Baltimore, MD last month — where the Vatican asked the bishops to delay voting on two measures to address the sexual abuse crisis — the Cardinal responded: “It’s difficult to say whether it was applied or not because there is no definition of the term.”
Addressing why a synod would be called, historically, Cardinal Burke explained that synods of bishops were created to reaffirm the teachings of the Church, never to dictate 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 in the Church. That’s basically what a synod of bishops is—that’s its definition. It’s 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. But now, seemingly, the term ‘synodality’ is being used to suggest that conferences of bishops would have Doctrinal Authority,” he said,
“It’s all quite confused, and I would say very dangerous. People not understanding the notion of a synod correctly could think, for instance, that the Catholic Church has now become some kind of democratic body with some kind of new constitution,” he added.
Burke addressed this concept of “ecclesiastical deconstruction”—part of what some in the hierarchy have labeled the “new paradigm” — by reaffirming the Petrine foundation of the Catholic Church.
“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 said.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider has also raised concern about the concept of synodality, saying last month that it was being used at the Youth Synod by some high-ranking clergy to “promote their own agenda.”
“Pushing through the theme of ‘synodality’ in the final document, in disregard for authentic synodal methods — since this topic was not sufficiently debated in the synod hall, and there was not enough time to read the final text, which was given to the bishops only in Italian – is a demonstration of an exasperated clericalism. Such ‘synodal’ clericalism intends to transform the life of the Church into a worldly and Protestant parliament style with continuous discussions and voting processes on matters that cannot be put to a vote,” he said.