As the Pan-Amazon Synod approaches, the number of concerned voices is growing. What seemed until a few months ago an almost folkloric event, an echo from distant and mysterious lands without any impact on the European continent, now begins to be seen in its right dimension: a threat to the very foundations of the universal Church and of the Faith.
The massive involvement of the German Church in the preparation of the Synod has contributed to this new perception. In fact, there was strong Germanic participation 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 themes. 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, to indicate the origin of the reformist doctrines then proposed by the ecclesiastical left it was said that “the Rhine flows into the Tiber,” title of a famous book by Fr. Ralph Wiltgen. Now, the much more powerful Amazon River has been added to the Rhine.
A central figure in the Preparatory Commission is the bishop of Austrian origin Msgr. Erwin Kräutler, director of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (Repam). He has been close to the extreme left in Brazil for many years, to the point of personally taking part in acts of political resistance. He is now one of the main promoters of the so-called “indigenist” currents. Bishop Kräutler was one of the main consultants for the encyclical Laudato si’, the doctrinal basis of the Synod. He is said to have been the one who proposed to Pope Francis the idea of a Synod for the Amazon.
Also present was Most Rev. Franz-Joseph Overbeck, bishop of Essen and head of the Latin American relief organization Adveniat, of the German Bishops’ Conference. His role is no smaller: in fact, he controls the huge flow of German money towards 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.”
Cardinal Walter Kasper, known for his heterodox positions, especially in moral theology, could not fail to appear. Cardinal Christoph 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 president of Misereor, the canonist Thomas Schüller, and the ex-nun Doris Wagner-Reisinger.
Therefore, it is no coincidence that the strongest reaction to the Synod (to date) has come from a German prelate: Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. In a statement that went around the world, 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,” he added.
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 deaconesses, Cardinal Brandmüller analyzes in depth the input of the “Amazon River”. In fact, the Synod intends no less than to reinterpret the entire Church from its foundations in an “Amazonian” key. They are talking 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: It is no longer the Church that has to evangelize the Amazon, but it 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 document simply 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 Dom 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 of the Christian faith.”
If the pouring of the Rhine into the Tiber caused the post-conciliar disaster, what can we expect from the far more powerful Amazon River?