On Wednesday of next week, the Synod (it is no longer a Synod of Bishops because of Pope Francis’ expanded circle of participants) on Synodality will begin in Rome. Its purpose is to set in stone, so to speak, the Pope’s legacy: to make of the one apostolic and hierarchical Church founded by Christ a synodal institution that — as the new administrator of the faith, Fernández, has repeatedly affirmed — should adhere to and follow in everything the teaching of The Pope.
This already points to the double basic contradiction of the event: whatever is discussed and approved in this and the coming year: In the end, Francis and he alone decides what will be published in a more or less solemn form as a final document. And the second level of this contradiction. Whatever Francis will then publish and declare binding: Each of his successors will be able to change it or revoke it again with another stroke of the pen. In the liquefied Church, there are no longer any rules or truths that last longer than the current pontificate – and sometimes only as long as the momentary whim of the currently reigning Spontifex.
This does not mean, however, that the synod is meaningless and that its discussions and documents need not be studied more closely. Its “ecclesiastical-political” importance, to use this expression which is not quite appropriate here, cannot be overestimated. What is said at the synod in the presence of the pope or under the approving nod of his appointees describes the space of what can be said, doubted, demanded or even practiced “just so” in the church in the future. The synodal synod forms – this fits very well with the “liquefaction” mentioned above – a space or an apparatus of dissolution of boundaries, which in the future is to make it impossible to state clearly what is Church teaching and what is not, what is still to be Catholic. Anything goes.
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