Most of the Vatican II references in Instrumentum Laboris come from the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. One of the documents from the Synod on Synodality’s website — the International Theological Commission’s 2018 study, Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church — tells us why “Synodality” depends so much upon Lumen Gentium:
“The dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium sets out a vision of the nature and mission of the Church as communion, with the theological presuppositions of a suitable re-launch of synodality: the mystical and sacramental conception of the Church; her nature as People of God on pilgrimage through history towards the heavenly homeland, in which all her members are by virtue of baptism honoured with the same dignity as children of God and appointed to the same mission; the doctrine of sacramentality of the episcopate and collegiality in hierarchical communion with the Bishop of Rome.” (study completed in 2017 and published on March 2, 2018)
Although the International Theological Commission published its study two years before Francis even announced the Synod on Synodality, this short passage on the importance of Lumen Gentium includes some of the most vital components of the ongoing Synod, including the “sacramental conception of the Church” and the Church’s nature as “People of God on pilgrimage.” To evaluate how the Synod on Synodality uses these concepts from Lumen Gentium, we can look at three things for each: the actual language from Lumen Gentium; Traditional Catholic objections to the language; and the way the Synod has used the language in its official documents.
The Synod recognizes that this new path departs from what the Church has always taught, so it describes “synodality” as a “privileged path of conversion” — perhaps like Satan would describe the broad path as a “privileged path” to hell.
Church as a Sacrament of Union with God and Unity of Whole Human Race. In its first paragraph, Lumen Gentium provides the following description of the Church:
“Since the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, it desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission.” (Lumen Gentium, 1)
In addition, the Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, cites the above statement from Lumen Gentium:
“The Church recognizes that worthy elements are found in today's social movements, especially an evolution toward unity, a process of wholesome socialization and of association in civic and economic realms. The promotion of unity belongs to the innermost nature of the Church, for she is, ‘thanks to her relationship with Christ, a sacramental sign and an instrument of intimate union with God, and of the unity of the whole human race.’ [Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chapter I, n. 1]”
In his September 9, 1965 intervention at Vatican II, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre identified the problem with this statement contained in both Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes:
“This conception requires explanation: the unity of the Church is not the unity of the human race.” (Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, I Accuse the Council!, p. 60)
Archbishop Lefebvre may not have foreseen how the innovators would eventually use this statement, but he recognized that it deviated from what the Church had always taught. The March 2003 edition of SiSiNoNo (from the Society of St. Pius X) elaborates on the problem:
“There is an attribution of a new mission to the Holy See — to bring about human unity — which does not correspond to anything ever taught before in the Catholic Church . . . But this does not mean unity in service of the salvation of souls, a unity that is therefore attained through conversion to Catholicism. Rather, this unity seems to result merely from the ‘intimate union with God’ of the entire human race as such. . . But the Church's mission is the one that Our Lord gave her: ‘Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptising them…' (Mt. 28:19). Thus, the Church's ‘intimate mission’ is to convert the greatest possible number of souls to Christ before the Parousia, without caring about bringing about the unity of the human race, a chimeric ideal, and one that is intrinsically anti-Christian because it is a form of the divinization of man, exalting him and gazing upon him, an ideal imported from Illuminist philosophy and piously professed by Freemasonry.”
The Synod tells us that the Church’s mission is not to convert souls to Catholicism but to construct a “community in which relationships are a manifestation of God’s love.”
If Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX were correct in their evaluation of the statement in question, we would expect today’s innovators to use Lumen Gentium to suggest that the Church’s mission is not to convert souls to Catholicism but rather to bring about the unity of the human race. And, indeed, this is what we see in Instrumentum Laboris:
“In a Church that defines itself as a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity (cf. LG 1), the discourse on mission focuses on the lucidity of the sign and the efficacy of the instrument, without which any proclamation lacks credibility. Mission is not the marketing of a religious product, but the construction of a community in which relationships are a manifestation of God’s love and therefore whose very life becomes a proclamation.” (Instrumentum Laboris, 52)
This condescending characterization of the actual mission Our Lord gave the Church — as “the marketing of a religious product” — matches Francis’s view of proselytism. The Synod tells us that the Church’s mission is not to convert souls to Catholicism but to construct a “community in which relationships are a manifestation of God’s love.”
Obviously the Church cannot hope to unite all of humanity with the difficult teachings of Our Lord, so Instrumentum Laboris assigns “the Spirit” the task of guiding the Church to “find a consensus on how to walk together . . . and help all of humanity move towards greater unity”:
“In a synodal assembly Christ becomes present and acts, transforms history and daily events, and gives the Spirit to guide the Church to find a consensus on how to walk together towards the Kingdom and to help all of humanity to move towards greater unity.” (Instrumentum Laboris, 48)
It is blasphemous to suggest that Our Lord offers us a path of “consensus” to move towards unity. After all, He made it abundantly clear that most souls will reject His hard teachings and go to hell:
“Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Our Lord knew this and yet He did not modify His teaching to help more souls accept it. Therefore a “consensus” can only be achieved through a process of rejecting what Our Lord taught, which is exactly what we see in the Synod.
Thus Synodality operates as a path of conversion that “reconstitutes the Church” and “reconciles her memory.” All of this is an absolutely sickening mockery of Catholicism, made possible by a passage from Lumen Gentium (quoted in Gaudium et Spes).
The Synod recognizes that this new path departs from what the Church has always taught, so it describes “synodality” as a “privileged path of conversion” — perhaps like Satan would describe the broad path as a “privileged path” to hell:
“Synodality is a privileged path of conversion, because it reconstitutes the Church in unity: it heals her wounds and reconciles her memory, welcomes the differences she bears and redeems her from festering divisions, thus enabling her to embody more fully her vocation to be ‘in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race’ (LG 1).” (Instrumentum Laboris, 28)
Thus Synodality operates as a path of conversion that “reconstitutes the Church” and “reconciles her memory.” All of this is an absolutely sickening mockery of Catholicism, made possible by a passage from Lumen Gentium (quoted in Gaudium et Spes) that Archbishop Lefebvre warned about in one of his interventions at the Council. If only they had listened to him!
Church as the People of God on Pilgrimage. Lumen Gentium’s Chapter 2 relates to the “People of God,” an elusive concept meant to replace the idea of the Mystical Body of Christ, as Benedict XVI stated in his final address to the clergy of Rome:
“These, let us say, were the two basic elements – and in the meantime, in the quest for a complete theological vision of ecclesiology, a certain amount of criticism arose after the 1940’s, in the 1950’s, concerning the concept of the Body of Christ: the word ‘mystical' was thought to be too spiritual, too exclusive; the concept ‘People of God’ then began to come into play. The Council rightly accepted this element, which in the Fathers is regarded as an expression of the continuity between the Old and the New Testaments.”
As we will see, the Instrumentum Laboris exploits the concept of the People of God in two ways: by insisting that it includes all baptized people and then by focusing on the following passage from Lumen Gentium, describing the way in which this group can discern God’s will:
“The holy people of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name. The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters of faith when ‘from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful’ they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. . . . Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints, penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.” (Lumen Gentium, 12)
Putting it all together, we see that the Synodal Church has a mission of uniting humanity through a process of listening to all Christians — and perhaps all people — and declaring that their common beliefs constitute the infallible “sensus fidei.”
Setting aside the reference to the “people of God,” this passage appears far more orthodox than many in Lumen Gentium. However, as Fr. Alvaro Calderon argued in Prometheus: The Religion of Man, its seemingly minor deviation from tradition has tremendous implications:
“And here the conciliar wizardry played its trick as well, exploiting the little-defined doctrine of the infallibility of the sensus fidei of the Christian people. It is traditional truth that ‘the entire body of the faithful . . . cannot err in matters of belief’ (Lumen Gentium, no. 12). For Catholic theology, this property is a consequence of the infallibility of the hierarchy; but the trick of the new theology consisted in attributing it to the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost: ‘[D]iscernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth . . . Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints.’” (p. 194)
This issue is so subtle that many of the Council’s most fervent and studious critics might overlook it; and yet we can see all of its dire implications in the Synod on Synodality’s September 2021 handbook, Vademecum:
“The Second Vatican Council highlights that ‘all human beings are called to the new people of God’ (LG, 13). God is truly at work in the entire people that he has gathered together. This is why ‘the entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole people’s supernatural discernment in matters of faith when from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful, they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals’ (LG, 12). The Council further points out that such discernment is animated by the Holy Spirit and proceeds through dialogue among all peoples, reading the signs of the times in faithfulness to the teachings of the Church.” (Vademecum, 2.1)
Thus, the Synod exploitation of Lumen Gentium’s flawed claim about the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost in forming the sensus fidei has led to the assertion that the Holy Ghost will guide the “dialogue among all peoples,” such that their opinions of the Faith will be infallible.
Further, Instrumentum Laboris asserts that “all Christians” — as distinct from only Catholics — participate in the “sensus fidei”:
“Through one Baptism all Christians participate in the sensus fidei (supernatural sense of the faith; cf. LG 12), which is why in a synodal Church all the Baptised must be listened to attentively” (Instrumentum Laboris, B 1.4)
Blasphemously, the Synod will then claim that the Holy Spirit has guided and protected the process. All of this has been made possible by Lumen Gentium, no matter how vehemently the Council’s defenders argue to the contrary.
As we know, though, most Christians reject at least some fundamental truths of the Catholic Faith. What do “all Christians” believe about divorce? LGBTQ matters? Women’s ordination? According to the Synod, whatever consensus they arrive at will be guided by the Holy Ghost, as we can see from the International Theological Commission’s 2018 study on Synodality cited above:
“The entire People of God is challenged by its fundamentally synodal calling. The circularity of the sensus fidei with which all the faithful are endowed, the discernment carried out at the various levels on which synodality works and the authority of those who exercise the pastoral ministry of unity and governance shows the dynamic of synodality. This circularity promotes the baptismal dignity and co-responsibility of all, makes the most of the presence in the People of God of charisms dispensed by the Holy Spirit, recognises the specific ministry of Pastors in collegial and hierarchical communion with the Bishop of Rome, and guarantees that synodal processes and events unfold in conformity with the depositum fidei and involve listening to the Holy Spirit, for the renewal of the Church’s mission.”
Ultimately, the Synod exploits the same flaws Archbishop Lefebvre and others saw with Lumen Gentium to create an entirely new understanding of the Church. Putting it all together, we see that the Synodal Church has a mission of uniting humanity through a process of listening to all Christians — and perhaps all people — and declaring that their common beliefs constitute the infallible “sensus fidei.” Blasphemously, the Synod will then claim that the Holy Spirit has guided and protected the process. All of this has been made possible by Lumen Gentium, no matter how vehemently the Council’s defenders argue to the contrary.
At this late stage, it seems that faithful Catholics (especially the clergy) need to stand up for the unadulterated Catholic Faith that God entrusted to His Church. The “wait-and-see” approach of keeping quiet to stay under the radar is an offense to God, leads souls to hell, and sends the message to the world that the Church has defected. May God grant the remaining faithful shepherds the grace to instead fight for the Catholic Faith with the manly courage of the saints. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
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