U.S. Cardinal: Document for Upcoming Vatican Synod 'Is an Apostasy'

Michael W. Chapman | August 14, 2019 | 12:58pm EDT
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Cardinal Raymond Burke.
(Getty Images)

In an Aug. 13 interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American who serves on the Vatican's highest court, said that the working document for the upcoming Pan-Amazon synod is an "apostasy," and "cannot become the teaching of the Church."

The Pan-Amazon synod, a meeting of bishops with the Pope, will take place at the Vatican Oct. 6-17, 2019. The purpose of the synod is to address the spiritual needs of native populations in the Amazon basin and threats to the environment there. This includes the ordination of married priests and a greater role for women in the Church. The preparatory document (Instrumentum Laboris) for the event was published on June 17. 

Cardinal Burke was interviewed on The Patrick Coffin Show, via skype, where he answered many questions about the crisis in the Cathoic Church. He also spoke about the working document for the synod.


When asked whether the document could become a definitive teaching of the Catholic Church, Card. Burke, as reported by LifeSiteNews, said, "It cannot be. This document is an apostasy."

"This cannot become the teaching of the Church," he added, "and God willing, the whole business will be stopped." 

Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, the former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences at the Vatican, also denounced the Pan-Amazon working document as heretical and an apostasy.

In a June 27 statement, Card. Brandmuller 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. Inasmuch as even the fact of divine Revelation is here being questioned, or misunderstood, one also now has to speak, additionally, of apostasy.”

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," he said.  "Thus it must be rejected with all decisiveness.”

Pope Francis.  (Getty Images)

The cardinal also said, "One has to ask in principle why a Synod of Bishops should deal with topics, which—as is now the case with three-fourths of Instrumentum Laboris—have, at the most, marginally anything to do with the Gospels and the Church. Obviously, there takes place here on the part of the Synod of Bishops an aggressive intrusion into the purely worldly affairs of the state and society of Brazil."

"One asks oneself: what do ecology, economy, and politics have to do with the mandate and mission of the Church?” he said. 

Brazil's indigenous chief Raoni Metuktire looks on as he is welcomed by French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition in Paris on May 13, 2019. - Brazil's legendary Kayapo indigenous chief Raoni headed to Paris for the start of a three-week tour across Europe where he will meet heads of state, celebrities and the Pope to highlight growing threats to the Amazon. (Photo by Eric Feferberg / AFP) (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Instrumentum Laboris burdens the Synod of Bishops, and finally the pope, with a grave breach with the Depositum fidei (deposit of the faith), which in its consequence means the self-destruction of the Church or the transformation of the Corpus Christi mysticum (Mystical Body of Christ) into a secular NGO with an ecological-social-psychological mandate," said the cardinal. "We are witnessing a new form of the classical Modernism of the early 20th century.” (Emphasis added.)

Rev. Erwin Krautler, bishop emeritus of Xingu, Brazil, who will be reporting on the synod for the bishops, summarized the objectives of the gathering in Rome. As reported by Tradition, Family and Property, the objectives are,

  • Fostering an appreciation for “lay ministries”
  • Allowing women deacons
  • Finding “alternative rituals” for the Eucharist
  • Establishing a new model of “priesthood” not reserved for men
  • Promoting an “enculturation” of the Sacraments, i.e., reinterpreting them from an indigenous perspective
  • Reinvigorating the grassroots Basic Christian Communities that served as the “militant arm” of liberation theology
  • Rejecting any industrial development of the Amazon region
  • Internationalizing the Amazon


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