All those synodizers, those dreamers of process, get a key thing wrong

Demonic ritual bowl on the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica at the end of “Walking Together With Pachamama”, Oct 2019

The left has a problem in view of the Amazon Synod (“walking together”) and Francis’ document Querida.

  • The Synod was stacked so as to make certain recommendations.
  • They made those recommendations.
  • Francis tells everyone to read them, and he himself ignores them.

More than a little ironic.

Caught in this bind, the libs are spinning the disconnect into a dream of opening up even greater synodality, the promise of more and more process in the future, glorious and unending process.  Somehow, they envision, there won’t be any conflict between the ever processing synod and the Pope.  The Pope will be subjected to the process, not the initiator.

Here’s the problem with the synodizers, those dreamers of process.   They all get something wrong.   If you can stomach it, read what Madame Defarge wrote at Fishwrap.  If you can stand it, read what Beans wrote at Commonweal.

They are eager for greater synodal process.   That’s the gold ring.

A true synodal process, however, would have to be representative.

But was this last synod representative?  Hardly.  Is any synod?  Any and every synod is going to be stacked.  John Paul did it towards the right.  Francis does it towards the left.  Let’s admit it.    Synods are not truly representative.  No synod in history every really was.

The Amazon Synod was stacked like cord-wood with the people Francis wanted.  It was aimed at a certain outcome.   Synodal process, for the libs, is great when you get the outcome you want.  But if there is any dissenting view, the dissenters are labelled as resistance and vilified.   They must be side-lined.

The mistake that the synodizers make is to juxtapose a stacked synod against the resistance to the synod.   Only their sort of stacked synod is permitted a voice, because it is stacked in the direction they desire.  The Resistance doesn’t have a role in their synodizing fantasy.  So synods aren’t really synodal at all.  They are un-synods (“not walking together”).

Synodizers say they want synodality. In reality, what they want is totalitarianism.

You might think that would be “a Pope”.  Popes are totalitarians, right?   Full power, jurisdiction over everything, can’t be judged by anyone?

What’s the old phrase from the American Revolution?  “Which is better? To be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?”

What synodizers want is for the unending process to be the totalitarian power.  But that’s impossible.  Someone will always be running the show.

They are wishing for something that can never exist.

“Woke Synods” and “Woke Popes”?

Best not to get stuck in the tar baby of synodality.

I leave you with the thought of St. Gregory of Nazianzus writing to Procopius in 382.

I am, if the truth be told, in such a tone of mind that I shun every assemblage of bishops, because I have never yet seen that any Synod had a good ending, or that the evils complained of were removed by them, but were rather multiplied….

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. thomistking says:

    Reading Bean’s article is highly enlightening, especially towards the end. His contention that it is possible to move from an “Episcopal” model of Church rule to a “synodal” one shows exactly what people on the left are after. They do not believe the constitution of the Church is of divine origin and so it would appear they do not have the supernatural gift of the Catholic faith.

  2. Charles E Flynn says:


    The people on the left do not believe that there is anything beyond the self-serving manipulation of created beings. This is a problem that Moses would have recognized.

  3. Hidden One says:

    Why not have an extraordinary consistory instead of another synod? The membership will still be stacked, participants will come from all across the world, and it will cost an awful lot less, so the savings could be given to the poor.

  4. HvonBlumenthal says:

    The truth is not democratic. It is impervious to public opinion. That is the problem of the left. In politics they can mount a campaign to boil the sea or declare that men are women and can sometimes get a democratic mandate for implementing their ideas. But this doesn’t work in religion, where the truth stands stubborn and unshakable.

  5. Benedict Joseph says:

    Perfect analysis, Father. What you point out is quite obvious and those in positions to advert further cataclysm maintain blindness is nothing less than the gravest malpractice.
    Thank you and God reward you for maintaining unflinching vigilance.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    HvonBlumenthal: Good point. Truth, and things like red ballcaps and non-soy white males, drive the Left bonkers. To paraphrase: “To be steeped in history and facts is to cease being Protestant or a Bernie Bro.”

    (Well now, it looks like another photo of Bernie Sanders flying first-class has emerged. Some are more equal than others in Glorious People’s Paradise. But I digress.)

    (As for “boiling the oceans” it was Obama in 2008 who also promised to “lower the oceans” or something like that. And someone has pointed out that the Obamas bought last year…a beachfront property in Martha’s Vineyard. I digress again.)

    “What synodizers want is for the unending process to be the totalitarian power.”

    Francis has apparently called a Synod for 2022, topic to be decided.

  7. Michael Sean Winters says: “ But Francis wants us to move away from that monarchical model and engage the whole church in the process of discernment on issues like bringing back the female diaconate.”

    There NEVER WAS a “female diaconate” to “bring back.”

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  9. Tara Tremuit says:

    I give Beans & Co. leeway on this. Francis is the chief synodizer. Everything he has said and done encourages this way of thinking. Time is greater than space, we want a synodal church, a synodal process… Benedict intervened and Francis had to hit delete on a few paragraphs, but he knows that the process will continue, and he wants it. The effect of the post synodal exhortation will be to let the abuses in the Amazon continue to multiply and the pachamama rite develop organically, then incorporate all of it into the Mass, and then say it is the wisdom of the peoples, who are we to change it? And the question of priestly celibacy will become irrelevant as the duties of the priest are farmed out to various lay ministers, as has already happened both in the Amazon and in dying dioceses in Germany, Netherlands, etc. (Where there is no belief in the real presence or the need for absolution or valid marriage, who cares who does the rituals?) Beans is merely revealing the party line.

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