Is Bergoglio Leading a Synodal Revolution?

The Catholic Thing website posted an article this morning by canon lawyer and frequent EWTN guest, Fr. Gerald Murray, criticizing Bergoglio’s plans for the upcoming Synod of Bishops.  

In a recent interview with Argentine journalist Elisabetta Piqué, Francis commented on his 2018 Apostolic [sic] Constitution Episcopalis Communio [EC] establishing new canonical norms for the Synod of Bishops, saying: 

It was already [in 2018] something accepted by all that women could not vote. Then at the Synod for the Amazon it was asked, ‘Why can’t women vote? Are they second class Christians?’ So, we were dealing with even more serious problems for making things more perfect.

When asked specifically if women will be allowed to vote at the laughably named Synod on Synodality, Francis responded: 

Everyone who is a participant in the synod is going to vote. He or she who is a guest or an observer is not going to vote. Whoever participates in the synod has the right to a vote. Be it a man or a woman. All, all. This word ‘all’ is key for me.

In other words, as Fr. Murray points out, this means that “lay men and women will be voting members of the Synod of Bishops.” [Emphasis added in original for obvious reasons]

“This new arrangement represents a revolution in the Church,” he insisted.

In support of this assessment, Fr. Murray claimed recourse, of all things, to Episcopalis Communio, the so-called “Apostolic Constitution of the Holy Father Francis on the Synod of Bishops,” providing the following:

EC states: “The Synod of Bishops, which is ‘in some manner the image’ of an Ecumenical Council and reflects its ‘spirit and method,’ is composed of Bishops. Nevertheless, as also happened at the Council, certain others who are not Bishops may be summoned to the Synod Assembly; their role is determined in each case by the Roman Pontiff. In this connection, special consideration must be given to the contribution that can be offered by members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.” 

“Religious and laity who are not in holy orders can be summoned,” Murray writes, “but they cannot exercise the same role as bishops.”

Let’s follow the… ahem… logic: 

– Fr. Murray considers Francis to be the Holy Roman Pontiff. 

– In 2018, Francis issued an exhortation, EC, establishing new canonical norms for the Synod of Bishops, as would be his right as pope. 

– EC plainly states that the role of non-bishops invited to a Synod “is determined in each case by the Roman Pontiff.” 

– Last time I checked, Murray still considers Francis to be the Roman Pontiff.

– Murray cites EC in order to insist that Francis cannot assign a voting role to non-bishops.

At this, we owe Fr. Murray thanks for providing more irrefutable evidence still that cognitive dissonance is a prominent feature of tradservatism (as if we needed any).

But alas, Fr. Murray was just getting warmed up.  

Allowing only bishops to vote in a Synod, Fr. Murray notes, “has been the consistent practice until now.”

Here, Fr. Murray grants us even more insight into the tradservative mind as he makes an appeal to “the consistent practice until now,” which in the case of the post-conciliar “Synod of Bishops” dates all the way back to 1965 and the motu proprio of Paul VI, Apostolica Sollicitudo

This, for those who embrace tradservatism, is what constitutes “tradition.” 

NB: In establishing the conciliar Synod of Bishops, Paul VI stated that one of its primary functions is “to facilitate agreement on essential matters of doctrine and on the course of action to be taken in the life of the Church.” (cf Apostolica Sollicitudo, Art. 1C)  

Make no mistake, in 1965 just as today, there were exactly zero “essential matters of doctrine” that are as yet so incompletely defined as to constitute a legitimate source of disagreement among the members of the Catholic Church.

Not so, however, for the conciliar counterfeit church and its version of the Synod of Bishops, which is predicated upon the diabolical lie that even essential matters of faith and morals are up for grabs. 

It is understandable that many tradition-minded persons are applauding Fr. Murray for denouncing Bergoglio’s plan. Indeed, granting laity and religious a right to vote in a Synod of Bishops is a thoroughly non-Catholic idea.

More importantly, however, is the simple fact, missed by so many, that the raison d’être for the conciliar Synod of Bishops is itself a thoroughly non-Catholic idea, and you’ll never guess from where it originated:

It was also the Ecumenical Council that gave Us the idea of permanently establishing a special Council of bishops, with the aim of providing for a continuance after the Council of the great abundance of benefits that We have been so happy to see flow to the Christian people during the time of the Council as a result of Our close collaboration with the bishops. (Paul VI, Apostolica Sollicitudo, Intro.)

In conclusion, while Fr. Murray has a point in suggesting that Francis is a revolutionary, he – like countless other tradservative commentators – fails to identify the actual revolution, the Second Vatican Council.