A growing number of Brazilians are showing concern about the pernicious consequences that may derive from the upcoming Pan Amazon Synod, which will open in the Vatican in a week. At first, few understood exactly what it was about. In fact, the Synod’s documents circulated almost exclusively among experts, that is to say, the followers of Liberation Theology promoting the Synod. As the news started to reach the public, many began to open their eyes to the huge danger looming on the horizon and started to react.
This reaction, like a deep and powerful shockwave, has now poured into social media and newspapers, involving an ever-increasing number of people. It was indispensable to alert Brazilian Catholics that this is not a synod but a revolution. Undoubtedly, the action of the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute, especially through the Pan Amazon Synod Watch website, has made an important contribution to this reaction.
Unnerved by this reaction, which they obviously did not expect, the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference (CNBB) issued a statement denouncing an ongoing “witch hunt: to “demonize” progressive bishops. Excusatio non petita, accusatio manifesta. It only served to encourage the reaction, which is hitting the target.
At the same time, the CNBB launched a vast advertising campaign to try to convince Brazilians to support the Amazon Synod agenda. Its title: “I support the Synod – I support the Pope.”
The campaign focuses on a series of short and incisive videos in which various diocesan bishops sing the praises of the Synod, inviting the faithful to follow their pastors. The series opens with a video of Pope Francis himself announcing the convocation of the Synod. Clearly, if we may employ a military metaphor, the CNBB sought to engage the “heavy cavalry” on the battlefield.
However, the reaction was not the one the bishops hoped, but exactly the opposite. To put it plainly, they shot themselves in the foot.
A clear sign that the CNBB failed to get traction is the relatively few people viewing those videos.
The enormous gap between viewers’ “likes” and “dislikes” is particularly striking. As of Sunday, September 29, the videos of Brazilian bishops had 399 “likes” and 4,314 “dislikes.”
I took the trouble of reading the users’ comments, which are sobering. In a language not always respectful, the comments show a people in turmoil, like a pressure cooker ready to burst. Making an approximate calculation, I would say that 80-85% are opposed. Take for example the first page of comments on the video posted by Most Rev. Jaime Spengler, archbishop of Porto Alegre:
– “We do not need a revolution in the Church, but to rescue two thousand years of history.”
– “Pack of communists, you are staining the image of the Church.”
– “Away with you, communist bishops, you are not serving the doctrine of Christ.”
– “Away with CNBB! Away with the communist bishops! Long live Christ the King!”
– “This looks like a hellish Synod. May God have mercy on Catholics!”
– “No to the heretical and apostate Synod! Long live eternal Rome, Mother, and Teacher of truth!”
– “Vade retro Satan!”
– “This is the KGB infiltrated into the Church!”
– “The bishops must return to the doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– “Race of snakes. The CNBB does not represent me.”
These are the first comments on Bishop Spengler’s video, reported sequentially and without gaps. Clearly, it is not the result they expected.
The Pan Amazon Synod is based on “listening.” Will the Brazilian bishops listen to the true voice of the people?