Vatican Synod’s (“walking together”) on spirituality of synodality (“walking togetherality”) is coming: The merciful heart loves… demons.

This isn’t satire or parody or Fr. Z’s version of the Babylon Bee.

The Vatican’s Synod (“walking together”) on Synodality (“walking togetherality”) is coming.    They produced a document on the spirituality of synodality.   HERE and PDF of the actual document HERE.

I wrote about this yesterday.   HERE   I pointed out a couple of their core ideas, such as, “It is not enough to have a synod. We must be a synod.” and “The point of entry must always be ‘situatedness’.”

I promise you I am not making this up.  A reader clued me in.

On page document page 29 (PDF page 31).

Discernment, then, is also an opening of the heart in love and mercy to all things. As St Isaac of Nineveh (St Isaac the Syrian) expresses it:

What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them, the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled, and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner, such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.18

18 First Collection, Homily 74.

Do get out there and pray for reptiles.   Or maybe for demons depicted as reptiles?

Hmmm… isn’t Satan first depicted in Scripture as being a reptile?  Isn’t the S. American demon/god Quetzalcoatl a feathered serpent?

Here’s the situatedness.  This quote of Isaac the Syrian, “of Nineveh”, is quite popular in Eastern Christian thought.  Google it.  You find it also amongst environmentalists and animal rights activists such as the Animal Liberation Front (really).

At first glance this is a little alarming. My first thought was, “What does he mean in Syriac by demon?”   I looked around at some of Isaac the Syrian’s writings.  He talks about demons quite a bit and he really means demons: fallen angels.  Isaac is also considered by scholars to be – not without some disagreeing – a believer in apokatastasis, that is, the eventual salvation of all creatures.  For now, Isaac thinks that there truly is a Heaven and a Hell and that Hell is not empty.  But eventually?  [Not sure how that works.]

He also believes that God loves the damned and that the damned know that and that it makes them suffer more.

If there is out there an expert on Isaac the Syrian’s thought, please correct me if I am wrong.

In any event, it seems to me a curious thing to find, in a document produced by the Vatican’s Synod (“walking together”) document on the spirituality of synodality (“walking togetherality”), there should be a reference to loving – what else does “having a heart on fire” mean? – demons, when it was for a Synod that the demon idol Pachamama and all the environment mumbo jumbo was being bandied about.

It is not out of bounds to quote non-Catholic writers in such a document, but it seems to me that they’ve gone rather far afield to find someone who – and there’s a difference – affirms their position rather than shapes their position.

It seems to me that if you were on a team that was trying to get Catholics with skulls full of mush open to praying to trees and loving lizards with “hearts on fire” and even loving demons, this would be on the reading list.

Put enough of these comments into enough documents or speeches, and the cumulative effect over time will manifest itself.

It’s going to look a lot like a demon, too.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Lurker 59 says:

    Not an expert but….

    To be fair, St Isaac of Nineveh isn’t a “non-Catholic”. His feast day is January 28 in the Chaldean and Syro-Malabar Churches. He is Catholic.

    He is quoted once in the Catechism.
    2717 Contemplative prayer is silence, the “symbol of the world to come”12 or “silent love.” Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the “outer” man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.
    12Cf. St. Isaac of Nineveh, Tract. myst. 66.

    It is more proper to say FINAL apokatastasis than just apokatastasis. The Apokatastasis Icon is just the Harrowing of Hell, not related to the salvation of all souls. There is a number of early Church Fathers (ill post a list later) that argue for final apokatastasis, though they also say that it is something that shouldn’t be discussed. (fa is not correct, btw.)

    He is worth reading. Personally, I’d retranslate the quote. The Church Fathers are not friends of modernism and if modernism (animal rights activists etc.) are using their quotes, there is likely either a wrong translation or pulling something out of context.

    The quote, as is, isn’t per say wrong. It is looking at things from the strict vantage point that God is charity — not goodness, not will, not act, not being, as you get in the West, but Charity and all other “attributes” of God flow from or are, from our vantage point, modes of the Divine Nature of charity (ie. God is good because He is charity). So you get this understanding that the fires of hell is really the charity of the Holy Spirit, just as the fire of heaven is the charity of the Holy Spirit. The damned experience it as torment while the elect experience it as joy.

    Should one pray for animals? Sure, why not? The West does this all the time, especially in liturgical blessings for animals. This does not mean that St. Isaac thinks that we should pray for their salvation — no no no, he is no teilhard de chardin.

    Should one pray for the fallen angels? Not in the sense that they might merit or be saved, nor should this be a regular practice by common people, but it is more of a recognition that God is merciful even to the damned — the fact that they still exist is proof that He continues to be merciful to those who will never accept His mercy. There is a nice pious tradition recorded in St. Bede that Jesus lets the soul of Judas out of hell once a year as a sign of His enduring mercy.

    None of the above should be taken as me supporting the Synod on Synodality. It is a super dangerous thing. The ONLY thing the bishops should be doing is fixing the heterodoxy and hetropraxy that is running rampant. This won’t help, it will make it worse.

    more later


  2. Kathleen10 says:

    The response to this is on You Tube. Barnhardt has posted a video that speaks to our day, “Send Us Thine Asteroid O Lord”, by Joseph Murray. Yes, indeed.
    Well they’ve told us what they are openly. Will we take them at their word, or will we be gaslighted some more, and when they say, oh, you take things too literally, will we once again refuse to believe their plain words in our attempt to keep things aright. The Church was never the foundation. Christ is the foundation.

  3. B says:

    Wasn’t the notion of apokatastasis officially condemned at the Council of Constantinople?

  4. mysticalrose says:

    Ok, I am legitimately scared now. I am starting to wonder of we are on the wrong side of the Great Schism after all.

  5. GregB says:

    Demonologist Adam Blai did a presentation where he covered the fallen angels and why they are irredeemable. The presentation is on YouTube, “Exorcism in the Modern Church and How to Keep the Doors to the Demonic Closed.”
    The segment on the fallen angels starts at the 12:50 minute mark. He said that when demons are asked why they don’t repent the demons themselves say that that is impossible. He further said that in one case the person asking this got the response “Are you a competent theologian?”

  6. The Vicar says:

    If I am not mistaken, an exorcist once put the question to a demon if it regretted disobeying God at the fall.

    The answer: “no”

  7. Gaetano says:

    The problem with pulling quotes without context is that they can be twisted into all sorts of interpretation.

    Readers need to have a proper foundation in philosophy & theology to understand them correctly.

    Sadly, many (perhaps most) Catholics lack that formation. Mostly because certain people with a modernist agenda worked very hard to make others ignorant that of their traditions.

  8. teomatteo says:

    Don’t know much ’bout herptology, don’t know much ecclesiology, Don’t know much about synodology, but I do know that Liberals Lie.

    [I can hear it.]

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Apparently, one of the reasons that St. Isaac of Nineveh was so confident in theorizing about fallen angels possibly being saved was that his local church didn’t have the Book of Revelation.

    From the same blog linked above:

    Mind you, I don’t agree with the blog author’s thesis or those whom he cites, because the only reason they can even have their theories is that they have a totally different angelology than that of the West.

  10. ChiaraDiAssisi says:

    Oh how wonderful it would be and to think,, what would happen if all Catholics read St. Issac the Syrians Asetical homilies!? If they lived by his ascetical homilies one by one for even a whole year or two? St. Issac the Syrian, pray for us!

  11. ChiaraDiAssisi says:

    P.S. there is an app that can be downloaded for less than a dollar of Saint Issac’s Ascetical homilies.

  12. mburduck says:


  13. Fr. Marc says:

    Saint Isaac, living in 7th century Arabia, might be thinking of the, by God created, category of ‘jinn’.
    In the West we have come to know the jinn by means of the Arabian Nights. Of course they also appear in the Qur’an. The (pre-islamic) belief is that there are good and evil jinn, believers and non-believers. The translation ‘demons’ (meaning ‘evil jinn) would not be the best.
    Meanwhile, just to quote it like this in this document is… strange.

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    This is of anti-Christ.

    Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.

  15. Would the St. Isaac of Nineveh or the Syrian quoted here be the same individual who is called a Nestorian in the old Catholic Encyclopedia ( If they are the same but he was not a Nestorian, what would be the reason why he is called so in the Catholic Encyclopedia? If they are the same man and he was indeed a Nestorian, doesn’t that diminish his credibility in terms of Catholic theology? Whether he was a Nestorian or not, however holy and therefore qualified to be recognized as a saint, not everything ever written by a saint is infallible.

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  17. JoHNewman says:

    I’m kinda done with the touchy-feely-synodalitinessiness. A general might consult his troops for situational intel, but when he says march the troops march.

    And what’s with the goofy font for quotes, etc.?

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