As the Pan-Amazon Synod approaches, the number of concerned voices is growing. Until a few months ago, the Synod seemed like an almost folkloric event, an echo from distant and mysterious lands without any impact on the European continent. Now it begins to be seen in its proper dimension: a threat to the foundations of the universal Church and the Faith.
This new perception is aided by the massive involvement of the Catholic Church in Germany in the preparation of the Synod. The German participation was particularly strong in the semi-secret meeting of the Preparatory Commission recently held at the Vatican. It seems clear that certain progressive theological currents from beyond the Rhine are taking advantage of the Amazon Synod to impose their own subversive schemes.
Edward Pentin, the Rome correspondent of the National Catholic Register, rightly stated, “There is a strong suspicion that the German bishops are using the Synod to pass their own agenda, which is basically to change Church teaching on morals and especially sexual matters. As if they wanted to enter through the back door.” High on the agenda of the German party is the ordination of married men and redefining the priestly ministry to include women.
At the time of the Second Vatican Council, an expression was used to indicate the German origin of the reformist doctrines then proposed by the ecclesiastical left. It was said that “the Rhine flows into the Tiber,” which was also the title of a famous book by Fr. Ralph Wiltgen. Now, the much more powerful Amazon River has joined the Rhine.
A central figure in the Preparatory Commission is Austrian-born Bishop Erwin Kräutler, director of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM). He has been closely linked to the extreme left in Brazil for many years, even to the point of personally taking part in acts of political protest. He is now one of the main promoters of the so-called indigenist currents. Bishop Kräutler was also a principal consultant for the encyclical Laudato si’, the doctrinal basis of the Synod. Rumor has it that he proposed the idea of a Synod for the Amazon to Pope Francis.
Also present was the Most Rev. Franz-Josef Overbeck, Bishop of Essen and Chairman of the Latin American relief organization Adveniat, of the German Bishops’ Conference. His role is not small; he controls the vast flow of German money to Latin America. His ideas are very clear: “The Synod on the Amazon will be a turning point for the whole Church. Nothing will be as before.”
Of course, Walter Cardinal Kasper, known for his heterodox positions, especially in moral theology, could not fail to appear. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and one of the promoters of the sexual revolution in theology, was invited but could not come for health reasons. Other figures present at the semi-secret meeting of the Preparatory Commission were the theologian Josef Sayer, former Chief Executive Officer of MISEREOR, the canonist Thomas Schüller, and the ex-nun Doris Wagner-Reisinger.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that the strongest reaction to the Synod (to date) has come from a German prelate: Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. In a statement that circulated worldwide, the cardinal said, “It is to be stated now with insistence that the Instrumentum Laboris contradicts the binding teaching of the Church in decisive points and thus has to be qualified as heretical. The Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod constitutes an attack on the foundations of the Faith, and in a way that has not heretofore been thought possible. Thus it must be rejected with all decisiveness.”
In addition to the contribution of the “Rhine” to the upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod, that is, changing canonical discipline to allow married clergy and women deacons, Cardinal Brandmüller analyzes in depth the input of the “Amazon River.” The Synod proposes no less than to reinterpret the entire Church from its foundations using an “Amazonian” key. They want to bring about a new “Church with an Amazonian face.”
The Instrumentum laboris calls the Amazon a “locus theologicus,” that is, a source of divine revelation, thus overturning the traditional theological method. The Church no longer has to evangelize the Amazon, but the Amazon must “convert” the Church. However, this “conversion” should not be understood in the traditional sense, i.e., abandoning sin to practice virtue. Instead, it is an “ecological conversion.” In other words, the worship of Nature replaces that of God. The Vatican working document does not mention the Holy Scriptures as the foundation of Truth. Indeed, these foundations are reinterpreted in the light of the natural religions of Amazonian natives.
The Benedictine monk and theologian Fr. Giulio Meiattini is right: “This is the most daring move that could be conceived and attempted by the secretariat of a synod of the Catholic Church. The document [Instrumentum laboris] proposes and contains nothing less than a reversal ab imis fundamentis of the very idea of the Church and the Christian faith.”
If the Rhine pouring into the Tiber caused the post-conciliar disaster, what can be expected from the far more powerful Amazon River?