Amazon Synod–End Of Church?

Amazon Synod–End Of Church? October 6, 2019

Amazon Synod Portends Change For Church

Well, here we go.  The long awaited Amazon Synod kicked off today in Rome and will last till October 27.  Already, the RadTrads are howling that heresy is making official inroads into the Catholic Community.  Will this synod be just the beginning of the end of Catholicism as we know it?  Hardly.  I have already expressed my reservations about the synod, but the catastrophism evident in the attitudes of critics causes me to hedge my own critique.  This is why.  No matter what happens, no doctrinal change in Catholic teaching will be permitted.  Two areas cause concern in the RadTrads’ minds.  First, is the relaxation of celibacy.  Second, is creeping syncretism.

A Relaxation Of Celibacy?

What very well might happen is a change in pastoral practice for the Church in the Amazonian culture.  This could, indeed, be earth-shattering because chances are there will be a proposal adopted to offer priestly ordination to worthy older married men.  Catholics in the West may well be startled, at first, since that seems to strike at the very nature of their Church.  Unfortunately, Catholics are poorly educated on what counts as Church teaching and what doesn’t.  Yes, celibacy is the practice of the Church in the West.  But that’s exactly what it is–a practice, not a dogma of faith.  We had over one thousand years of Church history with married priests and bishops, and the Church hummed along nicely, thank you.

I don’t want to minimize the effect of such a proposal being adopted by the synod.  Anyone who thinks that such a move would only apply to the Amazon is foolish.  Married priests in the Amazon would signal the death knell of celibacy for the secular clergy in the West.  I truly believe this.  To think that many Catholic priests could be married while prohibiting others from doing the same would cause a terrible morale crisis and lead to widespread rejection of the requirement of celibacy.  That’s a big deal, but not the catastrophe the RadTrad heretics are predicting.

Celibacy is not a dogma; it is a discipline.  It can be dressed up in a fine spirituality but in the end it is a discipline not necessary to preserve the Truth of the Church.  It is a worthy thing to have a discussion over whether the 800 year mandatory practice should be kept, but whether it is kept or not will not matter a whit to whether the Church remains Catholic.

Syncretism Rears Its Ugly Head?

Syncretism is the adoption of pagan practices into the body of Catholic dogma.  A tree planting ceremony with indigenous peoples and prayers at the Vatican this past weekend raised those fears again.  It calls to mind the horror many of the early RadTrads had of Pope St. John Paul II’s meeting with world religious leaders at Assisi in 1982 where other religions were seen as getting equal status with Catholicism.

Perhaps the critics of the synod should look to Pope St. Gregory Great (c. 600 A.D.) and his advice to the missionaries to Britain.  When asked what to do with the pagan shrines, Gregory encouraged the missionaries to accept what was consistent with Church teaching, letting local customs stay, and overlaying pagan dedicated shrines with new ones celebrating new saints of Christianity.  In other words, he wanted a gradual conversion, not an iconoclastic revolution.  Pope Francis seems to be willing to take the time for a similar conversion to take place.

A Time For Excitement And Calm

In the end, the Synod is a big deal.  Many important things shall come of it.  But it will not change the nature of the Church. No doubt, it will be revolutionary, but only in terms of Church practice.  So prepare to be amazed, but also be prepared for the Church to remain as Catholic as she ever has been and will be.



About Monsignor Eric R. Barr, STL

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  • Linda Daily

    A generation of Catholics with no Catholic imagination.

  • Andy

    A sincere question Monsignor. Doesn’t the Catholic Church already allow married priests. One of your “blog-mates” converted and was granted that privilege. I know personally another man, who was married, had several children and converted and was also granted that privilege. Actually two questions: 1. How does the fear of the “rad-trades” square with what appears to be licit, though at this time limited practice; 2. What message does/did this send granting of the privilege of Holy Orders say men who are/were Catholic and wrestled with leaving the church to serve God in a clerical manner or stayed and often wondered “what if?”


    Already Barr is howling and name calling. “RadTrad heretics.” Neither priestly, not charitable.

    But the ‘DO AS I SAY, not as I DO,” authoritarian crackdown under the guise of grinning humility will have its day. So too the presumption that one with a priestly collar can read what’s in the heart of another while, demonstrably, missing what is visibly displayed as being deep within his own.

    There’s absolutely no need to stand back and be amazed at that.

    And, please, don’t go on about your reservations. Demur and play the role of the intolerant elitist scoffing at the supposed ignorant underlings. You’re doing your best to “educate” a cadre of followers here. With actual facts, no, but with high gloss that will slick the slide we’re on so everyone can gleefully plummet off the cliff of presumption.

  • veritasetcaritas

    “but whether it is kept or not will not matter a whit to whether the Church remains Catholic”

    Presumptuous on your part. At least recognize the fact that if this reality plays out, we’ll have to deal with the effects of this change, which is quite dramatic. Also please read:

    There are points you’re glossing over.

    As for the syncretism, you’re being naive that folks don’t already practice this reality. Here’s an article from a nun who proclaims it’s validity:

    Secondly, look at this picture at a Church in Rome today. This is unacceptable to anybody who understands that culture must be accepted but certain practices should truly be denounced. This is unacceptable and you’re kidding yourself if you think there is a normal transition that is going on that Pope St. Gregory Great advised:

  • Monsignor Eric Barr, STL

    Not sure what you are saying, but thanks for the comment.

  • Monsignor Eric Barr, STL

    Good question. The Roman Rite allows married clergy under certain circumstances such as when a Lutheran pastor or Anglican converts to Catholicism. It happens seldom and what is envisioned in the Amazon Synod is the ability of men who are Roman Rite Catholics to begin with to become priests if they are already married. This would be radical and represent a great change but would not harm the doctrinal teaching of the Church.

  • “No matter what happens, no doctrinal change in Catholic teaching will be permitted.”

    In fact, if Catholicism be true (which it is), no doctrinal change is even possible. So as long as one believes in Catholicism, one should have no fear of doctrinal change.

  • Mark Jeffrey

    There are already quite a few married Catholic priests in the UK. This arises when an Anglican priest who is already married, typically someone from the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England, converts to Catholicism and is welcomed as a priest by the Catholic Church despite having a wife. And yet few people know or fuss about it. This has been going on for decades under successive popes.

  • Isn’t it interesting how all those who are for worshiping pagan idols like to refer to Pope St. Gregory Great, but ignore say, the Book of Deuteronomy.

  • Can you explain to me how “Catholic Imagination” is used to sidestep the 1st Commandment of the Decalogue as taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

  • 1. Because it is limited, and because most permanent deacons and married priests will tell you that they have certainly run into instances in their life where their marriage and their ministry clash; often to the point of having to choose between one or the other.
    2. That discipline doesn’t matter, and neither does truth.

  • Carolyn Kimberly

    I’m afraid that you are naive.Doctrinal change is exactly what Francis wants.

  • Carolyn Kimberly

    This is Chardan speak for cosmic relationship of nature reaching to the Omega point where we all will be one. It is just romantic nonsense but Jesuits love it. It is the root cause of Jesuit apostacy.

  • Andy

    1. The fact that there married priests exist points out that the discipline is not needed to maintain a Catholic identity. 2. I have no idea what you are trying to say?

  • Andy

    What doctrine does he want to change? Please provide clear and credible evidence that any doctrines are under attack by the pope. Doctrine is what the church teaches in terms of faith and morals, based on theological studies and tradition.

  • Since you do not understsnd, I suggest reading Matthew Chapter 6 until you understand the difference between married and celibate priests.

  • Andy

    Your response makes me want to not read Matthew 6 – I made a sincere comment, in that I did not have any idea what you were trying to say. I did not expect a snarky response, I expected you to explain yourself, rather than deciding I do not know the difference between celibate and married priests.

  • Mine was sincere as well. I said nothing different than Christ did to the Apostles. A man cannot serve two masters. One will suffer.

  • Andy

    This response makes sense – your original comment made no reference to serving no masters. Thank you for the clarification.

  • Linda Daily

    I have no idea what you’re asking.

  • The event this weekend, worshiping pagan idols and asking a fertility goddess to bless the synod. Or did you not realize that activity was against the commandment to have no other Gods?

  • Linda Daily

    Well that isn’t what happened but I won’t disabuse you of your fantasy. Please don’t answer, I don’t respond to nonsense.

  • Then explain what did happen in that video with a circle of people bowing to pagan fertility goddess idols.

  • It is exactly what happened. There is video evidence of the event:

  • Someday, perhaps, you will realize that the ten commandments are not the 10 Suggestions. But I doubt it because you no longer believe in Christ.

  • And what is used to treat basic illiteracy and sociopathic hatred of Christianity?

  • I am not the one “stalking” my dear feminazi.

  • Well, apparently he wanys to change the first of the 10 commandments. Not that Jesuits have followed basic morality in the last hundred years or so to begin with.

  • That was the part about the conflict between marriage and ministry. Something even Fr Longnecker has commented on repeatedly.

  • Dan F.

    Who is for worshipping idols?

  • Dan F.

    How? Be specific.

  • Dan F.

    Good grief ted. Where did you dig up that ridiculous video? There’s no actual video of the thing you’re claiming has the Pope violating the first commandment. It’s just a bunch of text of a wild conspiracy theory with a few images interposed in.

  • Linda Daily

    I’m glad a man responded to him. His responses to women are truly frightening. I blocked him and disengaged.

  • Milo C

    IMO, the interpretation is wrong. Showing respect for other traditions and beliefs does not mean the pope is suddenly serving another god. Idols! Oooh, scary. Seriously, this kind of alarmist trepidation is a sign of fragile faith, or put another way, fear.

    Not that I think either side’s beliefs are correct.

  • I will let a priest answer that one.

  • I have no idea why you would find my response to your abuse to be frightening, but it certainly explains your willingness to be a misandrist.

    As for that other guy, I blocked him long ago.

  • Dang, my phone had switched disqus accounts on me.

  • Milo C

    Oh, are we doing appeal to authority? I’m sure there must be a video of what the Pope thinks.

  • I see somebody does not know what the word “spam” means online, so I’ll repeat:

    What Pope Francis Thinks, What Pope Francis Does, and What Pope Francis Says are three different things. The man has no respect for his own office and has no integrity or coherence to what he says.

    I’m sure you can find lots of videos of Jesuits defending their participation in pagan worship, it’s how they have been defrauding mission donations for the past 200 years.

  • Milo C

    Those are some bold judgments you are making. Do you feel your interpretation of his thoughts, words, and actions are unclouded and precise? Do you have unmatched wisdom and ability to make such judgments?

  • Let us go back to the beginning, since you wish to test my reasoning. Do you agree that the 1st Commandment is indeed 1. I am the LORD your God:
    you shall not have
    strange Gods before me.?

    Reference is:

    How can you claim to have a mature faith based on wisdom if you don’t even know the basics?

  • Andy

    Please provide credible evidence that he wants to change the 10 Commandments; not opinion, but evidence that will withstand scrutiny. Also get over the ?Jesuit’s – lots if orders – the Legionaries come to mind, the Franciscans have had issues when it come to basic morality, not to mention lots of parish priests.

  • Already posted elsewhere in the thread. But I’ll add this:

    He does not believe in Catholicism as the Fullness of Truth, thus he does not believe in one God, but rather in the plurality of all the Gods ever worshiped by mankind. Universal Syncretists are pantheists, by definition, and therefore are against the First Commandment as written.

  • Andy

    I asked for evidence, not opinion. From you cited article – “in the context of the document…”. The article does not state anywhere that he denied the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church, that he does not believe in the one God; please quit the histrionics.

  • Dan F.

    No one is disagreeing about the commandment ted. We’re all disagreeing with your interpretation of the event in question. Because your interpretation is crazy and predetermined based on your intense hatred for the Holy Father as you slide further and further into radtrad protestantism.

  • BE

    Maybe celibacy is a gift, not a mere discipline, that priests should have, especially in this day and age of hyper-sexualized culture?

  • I gave you evidence of him actively breaking the 1st commandment. Not once, but on MULTIPLE occasions.

    The document in question has him signing on to the concept that there are multiple truths, multiple religions, multiple gods.

    Liberalism is incompatible with the 1st Commandment.

  • By worshiping other Gods.

  • Andy

    You gave opinion not evidence. Evidence is actual statements, actual actions that he has made. Even in the Catholic herald it does not say he believes in multiple anything’s. Your fear of liberalism or whatever you deem as liberal seems to consume you. Please take care.

  • Apparently more wisdom than others in this thread who claim to be Sgt Schultz Catholics.

  • Dan F.

    asserts a guy with a keyboard. Prove your assertion or shut up

  • Tom G

    Where in Matthew 6 does Christ say anything about married priests? A man’s wife is not his master. What on Earth are you talking about?

  • If you think your wife is not the nistress of the house, you are either not married or divorce cout awaits you

  • Tom G

    No. False dichotomies demonstrate nothing. My wife is not my “master” in any sense meant by Christ in Matthew 6. You’re bonkers.

    Does your wife consider herself your master?

  • The wise man knows his place in a marriage. You apparently do not.

  • Tom G

    Mmhmm. Jesus didn’t say anything about two masters in reference to marriage in Matthew chapter 6, kiddo.

  • It does not matter what the two master are. You cannot seve two masters at all. That you do not understand means you either do not understand the ministry of the Holy Orders, or you do not understand the Sacrament of Matrimony. Which is it?

  • Tom G

    No. Again, you’re trying to pin people down with a false dichotomy. The context in which Jesus said “you cannot serve two masters” was in reference to God and mammon, not God and spouse. You’re trying to expand what Jesus said beyond the context in which He said it. You lack the authority to do so. I think I understand both sacraments pretty well. Celibacy is not inherent to Holy Orders, though celibacy may be helpful or a good discipline in some contexts. But it isn’t necessary to it. And that’s ok.

  • Tom G

    He’s an iconoclast. That much seems clear to me. These people need air, not argument.

  • The saying is true no matter who the other master is.

    There is a reason for priestly celibacy that is beyond you, I fear.

  • Tom G

    You can say that “the saying is true no matter who the other master is” all you want, but Jesus did not say it about marriage. So insofar as @TheodoreSeeber:disqus thinks it, ok. But insofar as Jesus never said that, and neither does the Church teach that, your assertion isn’t relevant.

  • Tom G

    As for whether the reason for priestly celibacy is “beyond” me, you have no idea if that’s true about me or not. You’re probably just congratulating yourself on being quick-witted, though you sadly lack depth.

  • I see no way to explain it to you, since you either do not understand the actual jobs involved in being married or being in the Holy Orders. The two are not compatible, and if you’d just examine what a good priest does in a week you’d know that.

  • I’m the one lacking depth? I’m not the one prooftexting like a Protestant and seeing only the literal.

  • Tom G

    The reason you “see no way to explain it to you” is probably because you’re a bit smugly complacent on this issue. That’s ok. We’re all a little smugly complacent sometimes.

    Before I got married, I was in seminary for 4 years. I have a somewhat solid idea of what the actual jobs involved in the matrimonial state as well as the ordained state, so no, I don’t agree that the two are incompatible.

  • Tom G

    There is nothing inherently Protestant about looking at the context of Jesus’s words and declining to jump from God v. mammon to God v. spouse.

    You lack depth because you can’t think beyond your settled opinion despite the fact that you originally cited to a biblical chapter that doesn’t support your position. You aren’t an authority in yourself. That should be a relief to you! 🙂

  • You did not complete your formation, nor serve in a parish. I will take the testimoney of married priests and permanent deacons on the issue of fidelity to ministry and marriage being a problem over yours.

  • Tom G

    Well, I haven’t “testified” on the matter, and yes, I didn’t become a priest nor did I serve in a parish as a priest. But have you “taken the testimony” of Orthodox married priests or Maronite married priests?

    The two are not incompatible. There is nothing wrong with celibacy in the priesthood. But if that discipline goes away, that’s not a problem.

  • They have far different duties than Roman Catholic Priests do. And a very different pay scale.

  • Tom G

    If their duties involve saying Mass and absolving sins, there isn’t that much of a difference. Those are kind of the essentials…

  • Tom G

    I think @TheodoreSeeber:disqus is an iconoclast.

  • Midwester

    Terrible lack of charity, Father. Name calling of “RadTrads” who have a deep love of the Church and Christ is very uncharitable. You need to repent. The early Christians were known for their mutual love. You exhibit none of that here, you who are supposed to be a priest of Jesus Christ. Your petty words demonstrate your lack of charity. If you think they are wrong, maybe a few hours of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament in supplication for your “erring” brother and sisters might do you some good. In either case, you need to lay off the unjust backbiting. Remember that our Lord will hold each of us accountable for every word we speak (and write) as well.

  • That is 2/10ths of a Roman Catholic Priest’s duties. I would argue he should only spend 20% of his time on saying Mass and Confession. There are 5 other Sacraments to deal with, plus overseeing lay ministries, plus keeping the parish business going, plus professional and cultural development.

    A *good* Roman Catholic priest, as opposed to a bad one, has little time for personal sin- because he has little to no time for personal anything.
    That is why the best ones die young. Because they’ve poured out their lives in the service of God. Just read the stories of the saints. What few priests are among them, the grand majority did not live to see three decades of service.

  • Tom G

    It doesn’t have to be “2/10ths” of a Roman Catholic priest’s duties. Those duties can change. There is more room for adjustment here than you’re acknowledging. The priest also need not oversee lay ministries, nor need he be the one to keep the parish business going. These things are delegate-able, and there need not be such concentration of power in the hands of the pastor.

    The last bit about young good priests versus old good priests is an argument from statistics. But stats can change. They’re not an independent power.

  • It is specifically “change for the sake of change” that I am utterly against. Why change when we ALREADY have a proven method, just because one group refuses to implement the method?

    Just replace the Jesuits with a cadre of 20,000 young priests from Africa who know how to work and how to evangelize in an anti-Catholic culture.

  • Tom G

    So you’re here to just defend the status quo? You think young priests from Africa are without sin, eh?

  • More that they seem to know more about evangelization than a Bishop who spent 40 years doing no teaching and no baptisms and no ordinations.

  • Tom G

    Who on Earth are you talking about now? Good grief.


    Are you really so news starved that you didn’t know who I was talking about?

  • Tom G

    I didn’t know who you were talking about.

  • St JD George

    God bless you Ted for you courage in ministering here.