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Cardinal Urges 'Prayer Crusade' Against Papal Synod

Cardinal Raymond Burke applauds while listening to a message
Cardinal Raymond Burke (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 12 September 2019 04:13 PM

A prominent cardinal and bishop are sounding alarms over "serious theological errors and heresies" in the working document for next month's Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

The two leaders – Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider – are urging Catholics to fast and pray for the rejection of controversial provisions in the document, according to Edward Pentin, the National Catholic Register's Rome correspondent.

Pentin reports they have asked Pope Francis to issue "an unambiguous rejection" of the document's faulty doctrine.

Pentin exposed the burgeoning controversy surrounding the Amazonian Synod working document, also known as an instrumentum laboris, in a Wednesday post on his blog at NCRegister.com.

Among the document's provocative elements, according to his report: An exemption from the requirement of priestly celibacy in remote areas where it might otherwise be difficult to carry out church sacraments, including the Eucharist.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, known as a staunch defender of church traditions and theology, and who also serves as the patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta, joined with Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan to issue the eight-page declaration warning of heresies in the 64-page working document. In June, officials unveiled the working document that frames the agenda for the convocation that begins Oct. 6.

Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider's declaration is titled, "A Crusade of Prayer and Fasting: To Implore God That Error and Heresy Do Not Pervert the Coming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon."

Pope Francis first called for the Amazon Synod in October 2017 based on ecological concerns and the spiritual condition of the indigenous people who live there. He noted Amazon dwellers are "often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future."

The Pope has characterized the consumption of the planet's natural resources as a "global emergency." With tens of thousands of fires that were set to clear land for farming now raging in the rainforest, some describe the Pope's foresight as prophetic.

According to Pentin's report, Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have identified six "principal errors" in the Synod's working document:

  1. "Implicit pantheism" – They say the working document supports the notion that God and the natural world are one – a stance clearly at odds with church doctrine.
  2. "Pagan superstitions as sources of divine revelation" – Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider say lauding mystical pagan practices as sources of divine revelation and an alternative pathway to salvation is to suggest they qualify for "dialogue and acceptance" by the church.
  3. "Intercultural dialog instead of evangelization" – The working document, they say, posits that "aboriginal people have already received divine revelation," and the Catholic church in the Amazon should focus on "missionary [activities] and pastoral conversion." They say this de-emphasizes the evangelism essential to the Christian faith.
  4. "An erroneous conception of sacramental ordination" – They warn Catholic ministries should not be tailored to accommodate the ancient customs of aboriginal people. They warn the Synod's instrumentum laboris would "grant official ministries to women and ordain married leaders of the community as second-class priests, deprived of part of their ministerial powers but able to perform shamanic rituals."
  5. "An 'integral ecology' that downgrades human dignity" – They charge the working document diminishes human dignity by reducing man to "a mere link in nature's ecological chain" and by characterizing economic and industrial development as "an aggressive to 'Mother Earth.'" They point out that church doctrine views humanity as endowed with "a unique dignity," and rejects the notion that "technological progress is bound up with sin."
  6. "A tribal collectivism that undermines personal uniqueness and freedom" – The two leaders also see in the working document a "collective social model" which they warn undermines "individual personality and freedom" in contradiction to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

    There has been no indication yet whether Pope Francis will publicly repudiate the Synod's working document. But he has already moved to downplay the importance of the priestly celibacy issue.

    In an Aug. 9 interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the Pope said relaxing ordination standards and priestly celibacy to provide sacraments to indigenous people in the Amazon is "absolutely not" a principal theme of the upcoming meeting, according to the Catholic News Agency.

    Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider are calling on Catholics to fast once a week and pray daily over a 40-day period beginning Sept. 17, and to ask for a rejection of "theological errors and heresies."

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There are "serious theological errors and heresies" in the working document for next month's Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider urge, according to Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register.
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2019-13-12
Thursday, 12 September 2019 04:13 PM
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