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Remember the Cadaver Synod – by Dr Geoffrey Brushwood

Do you know your synod (Greek: σύνοδος) from your council (Latin: concilium)?

Apart from the obvious difference in language, the two are synonymous. However, in general, a synod is meant to be a local gathering of bishops whilst a council gathers universal bishops.

On 15 September 1965, as Vatican II was drawing to a close, Pope Paul VI (+1978) established the permanent Synod of Bishops to help the Pope to govern the Church with greater “collegiality”.

Paul VI wrote a Motu Proprio outlining the function of the synod:

Theologically, the Synod has a primarily pastoral function which is meant to promote the connection between the Pope and the College of Bishops.

Canonically the Synod of Bishops could not exist without the Pope (Canon 344).

The Commission for the Code of Canon Law (CIC/83) made it clear that the Synod of Bishops is not a governmental institution of the Universal Church with legislative or decisive power, rather, it is a singular or stable counsel of bishops that does not have the power to legislate nor to make decisions, nor does it hold vicarious power.

The Pope’s juridical rights over the Synod are simply:

1) to convoke the Synod;

2) to ratify the election of its members;

3) to establish the questions to be treated.

That’s all clear then?

Pope Francis has decided to throw out the synod rule book starting with the current synod of Youf’ innit.

By claiming that the entire Church community is infallible when its members discern together and speak with one voice (on matters of faith and morals) Francis has decided that the final document adopted by the Synod, and ordered public, becomes part of the "ordinary magisterium," instantly.

And laity invited to this synod including the LGBTQUGHGAGAY have also been granted voting rights, whereas previously only the Bishops’ votes counted.

Furthermore, even though a 2/3 majority requirement to produce specific proposals in the final synodal document remains in place on paper, in reality the Pope has allowed the drafting of the final document to be entirely controlled by the General Secretary Cardinal Lorenzo “the fixer” Baldisseri.

As we all know, the outcome of the last Synod on the Family was anticipated and the post synodal exhortation Amoris Lettuce, was drafted by fellow Argentine Monsignor Tuccio “the art of kissing” Fernandez in 1995.

Edward Pentin, the best English Vaticanista around, wrote an enlightening book on the rigging of the Synods on the Family, and it’s to be expected that this time round, what Francis wants Baldisseri will get.

The whole thing is a sham!

So, if you don’t know your synod from your council, it doesn’t really matter one jot. No one cares.

But remember the Cadaver Synod (Synodus Horrenda) the posthumous trial of Pope Formosus, by Pope Stephen VII, held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome in January 897.

Needless to say, Formosus was found guilty.


© Picture: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk, CC BY-NC-SA