Restoring the Kingship of Christ in Great Britain

The Synod on Synodality,  schism or completion of the Second Vatican Council ?

by Francesca de Villasmundo firstly published in French  on September 6, 2023 (


Synod on synodality

Schism within the ‘schismatic’ conciliar Church or completion of Vatican II? The possible green light for the female diaconate, ‘rainbow blessings’ and married priests highlight both internal resistance at the October Synod on Synodality, and the culmination of the neo-Protestant spirit of Vatican II.

The closer we get to the start of the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held from October 4 to 29, 2023, the greater the tensions within the current conciliar Church. As drafted, the Instrumentum Laboris, presented last June, paves the way for remarried divorcees, married priests, the female diaconate and blessings for homosexual couples.

If this moral progressivism is as old as the heretics, the Protestants first and foremost, what’s new is that it’s now being promulgated by the highest authorities in the Vatican. So much so, that part of the conciliar world, which accepted the revolution of Vatican II but now feels it has gone too far, is upset and speaks of schism. The conservative Italian daily Il Giornale has published a long article on the subject, shedding light on the anxious state of mind prevailing among these conservative prelates, clerics and faithful.


“The next Synod is the fruit of a long process which initially integrated the results of consultations in dioceses around the world into a Working Document for the continental stage. It was after reading this text that Cardinal George Pell sounded his dramatic alarm over the synodal path observed to date, calling it a “toxic nightmare” for the Catholic Church. This complaint, published earlier this year by the prestigious British magazine The Spectator, was the Australian cardinal’s last public act before his death from a heart attack in the operating theatre on January 10.

“But Cardinal Pell wasn’t the only one worried about the outcome of the Synod on Synodality. In fact, just over a month after the start, other prelates began to express fears about what might happen in the Church after the assembly. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, one of the authors of the five unanswered dubia on Amoris Laetitia, wrote the preface to a book entitled The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box, in which Julio Loredo and José Antonio Ureta summarised the critical points of the Synod in 100 questions and 100 answers. In his contribution, the American cardinal spoke of a “very serious situation in the Church today”, one that “rightly concerns every conscientious Catholic and every person of good will.” For Archbishop Burke, “synodality and its adjective, synodal, have become slogans behind which lies a revolution to radically change the Church’s understanding of itself, in line with a contemporary ideology that denies much of what the Church has always taught and practised”. The cardinal has publicly expressed his fear of a Synod on synodality following in the footsteps of the German synodal path, and thus leading to a result in which “the same confusion, the same errors and the same division will fall on the universal Church”.

A bishop against the tide

“The Bishop of Tyler, the American Joseph Edward Strickland, spoke out against any changes the Synod might make in a letter to the faithful of his diocese. The prelate, the recipient of an apostolic visit ordered by the Holy See, following some of his highly critical positions on the line of the current pontificate, reiterated the teachings always upheld by the Church on marriage, the Eucharist and sexuality, and declared that “in the coming weeks and months, many of these truths will be examined as part of the Synod on Synodality.” Archbishop Strickland urges us to remain “close to these truths and wary of any attempt to present an alternative to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or to promote a faith that speaks of dialogue and fraternity, seeking to remove the fatherhood of God”.

“The bishop of the Texan diocese also expressed his conviction that at the end of the synod’s work, an internal conflict could arise, leading some to label “schismatics those who disagree with the changes being proposed”. Strickland’s appeal is a true call to resistance: “Be assured, however,” the prelate writes to his faithful, “that no one who remains firmly upon the plumb line of our Catholic faith is a schismatic,” aware that “it is not leaving the Church to stand firm against these proposed changes.”

The question of married priests

“Both Burke’s preface and Strickland’s letter appear to refer to a schism provoked by the Synod. A dramatic scenario that was also discussed during the German synodical path. The fear of those who oppose these changes is that the agenda of the synodal assembly strongly desired by the majority of the German episcopate could infect the Universal Synod, as the questions posed in the Instrumentum Laboris seem to suggest.

“But what could change after the Synod? The text also tackles the burning issues of married priests, the female diaconate and approaches to same-sex couples. The list of voting participants – many of whom have already publicly expressed their support for changes on these issues – suggests that in October 2024, the final document could completely redraw the face of the Church.

“After the Synod on the Amazon, Francis decided not to approve the proposal to ordain married men in Amazon regions, which would have been the first crack in the defence of the obligation of priestly celibacy. However, in the Instrumentum Laboris of the new Synod, there is mention of “opening a reflection on the possibility of access to the priesthood for married men”. Querida Amazonia, which did not support such an opening, arrived after the uproar caused by the book From the Depths of Our Hearts, published by Cantagalli and written by Cardinal Robert Sarah to reaffirm the rejection of the ordination of married men, who could count on the contribution of Joseph Ratzinger. But the death of Benedict XVI, who considered priestly celibacy indispensable, could make it easier to give the green light for the ordination of married priests.

“Faced with a probable openness of mind on the part of the synod fathers, would Francis be prepared to question Ordinatio Sacerdotalis by his ‘saintly’ predecessor John Paul II?

Women’s diaconate and ‘rainbow blessings’

“Another sensitive point, because of the reactions it could provoke, relates to the female diaconate. In the Instrumentum Laboris we read: ” Most of the Continental Assemblies and the syntheses of several Episcopal Conferences call for the question of women’s inclusion in the diaconate to be considered. Is it possible to envisage this, and in what way?” In fact, at the end of the above-mentioned Synod on the Amazon, Francis set up an ad hoc commission headed by Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi, which replaced an earlier commission also set up by him, but whose conclusions he had not approved (“the result is not clear”, he said). This first commission was headed by the then Secretary and later Prefect of the Congregation – now the Dicastery – for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer. Today, the Spanish Jesuit has retired and been replaced at the head of the former Holy Office by the progressive Víctor Manuel Fernández, a man very close to Francis. If in the first decade of this pontificate, under both Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, the dicastery once run by Joseph Ratzinger rejected the most revolutionary requests, opposing the agenda of the German synodal way and producing the famous responsum of 2021 which closed the door to blessings for homosexual couples, the arrival of the former archbishop of La Plata should change things, as the Pope made clear in the letter sent to him for the appointment. It’s hard to imagine Fernández as a guardian of orthodoxy, according to the well-known expression attributed to the prefect.

“The Argentine theologian, in fact, in addition to having been a behind-the-scenes protagonist in drafting the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which opened the way to communion for remarried divorcees, makes no secret of his radical convictions on the topical issues to be addressed at the Synod: he defined the “possible hypothesis” of the ordination of married men, opened the way to ‘rainbow couples’ by saying that if “a blessing is given in such a way as not to provoke confusion, it will have to be analysed and confirmed” and did not close the door to the female diaconate.

“If the participants in the Synod of Bishops – among whom, however, there are also lay people at Francis’ request – vote on a document that gives the green light on these three questions, it certainly won’t be the former Holy Office that raises objections. This doesn’t make the situation any easier, however; on the contrary, it complicates it, as it risks making the winds of schism blow even harder over Rome. What will François do? The Pope said he was not afraid of a schism, but it was a statement made at a time when this dramatic scenario was not as realistic as it might be at the end of the next Synod.”

The seeds of these substantial transformations are to be found in Vatican II, particularly in the doctrine of evolutionism contained in Gaudium et Spes.

Without denying that these prelates, clerics and faithful are rightly concerned about the substantial transformations that are revolutionising social and ecclesial life, family life and morality, how can we fail to remind them that the seeds of these changes are to be found in the Second Vatican Council, which marked a break with Catholic Tradition, particularly in the doctrine of evolutionism contained in the decree Gaudium et Spes:

At the Council,” recounted Archbishop Lefebvre in a lecture in September 1974, “we were right in the middle of this idea of evolution, weren’t we, of evolutionism: everything changes! Take the Gaudium et spes schema, and you’ll see on the third or fourth page a passage where tranformation is explained, change is explained: everything is changed with scientific discoveries, with discoveries in psychology and what have you, all these modern discoveries, so you see the world is changing, man is evolving, man can no longer have the same concepts he had a hundred years ago or two hundred years ago, so in faith and in religious truth also must be… subject to changes!”

For the modernists who prevailed at the last Council, as Archbishop Lefebvre recalled in They Have Uncrowned Him, “man is in perpetual progressive evolution; yesterday’s man was not today’s man; we are sinking into relativism. What’s more, man creates himself; he is the author of his own laws, which he must constantly reshape according to the inflexible law of progress. It’s evolutionism in all its forms: biological (Lamarck and Darwin), intellectual (rationalism and its myth of the indefinite progress of human reason), moral (emancipation from “taboos”), politico-religious (emancipation of societies from Jesus Christ). (…) “. Thus, he concluded, “sexuality will be exalted, made sacred; the two ends of marriage (procreation and education on the one hand, and the relief of concupiscence on the other) will be reversed, with carnal pleasure and the “fulfilment of both spouses” or “partners” as the primary end. It will be the destruction of marriage and the family; not to mention the aberrations that transform the sanctuary of marriage into a biological laboratory or reduce the unborn child to fruitful cosmetic material (cf. Fideliter, no. 47)”. This Synod on synodality amply proves him right.

To restore the Church, to prevent these moral aberrations – which these prelates, clerics and faithful undoubtedly wish to do – we need to break with the principle of its destruction, the Second Vatican Council. Unfortunately, these conservatives cherish it far too much, regarding it as their doctrinal compass… as does the Black Pope for that matter… But it is like squaring the circle! Francesca de Villasmundo