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‘A Heart On Fire for Demons’: Official Synod Publication Promotes Praying for Reptiles and Devils

The Daily Knight

Catholic World Report

You can’t make this stuff up!


‘A Heart On Fire for Demons’: Official Synod Publication Promotes Praying for Reptiles and Devils


We all knew the Synod on Synodality would be demonic. What we didn’t know was that they were going to advertise it so openly.


Not only is the infernal assembly taking place in the hellish Paul VI audience hall, which resembles the head of a snake, has no Catholic artwork in it, and presents a ghastly-looking demon as the ‘Resurrected Christ’. Even more so, the synod’s official spiritual resource guide openly asks people to have a “merciful heart” that is “on fire” not only for other people but also “for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists”. And then some.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


Before we get started, let’s first give a quick tip of the hat to Ann Barnhardt, who appears to have been the first to break this story, on Oct. 18. (We also want to take the opportunity to invite her once more to respond to our refutation of her position regarding the alleged ‘substantial error’ in Benedict XVI’s resignation, but that’s not our topic now.)


A ‘Spirituality’ of Synodality

“The synodal process is first and foremost a spiritual path”, the official synod web site informs us. Therefore, they have put together for all members of the synod a 58-page document entitled Towards a Spirituality for Synodality, and made it freely available for public download. Read it at your own risk:

  • Towards a Spirituality for Synodality

The description on page 3 (numbered page 1) reads: “This document provides a selective overview of the principal aspects and resources helpful in developing a spirituality for synodality and the synodal process.”


Perusing the document, one notices right away the incredibly childish layout of the whole thing. Even as a resource guide for World Youth Day it could not be taken seriously. That, however, is the least of its problems.

On page 31 (numbered page 29), the following text appears:

Since this is somewhat hard to believe (or is it, at this point?), here is a screenshot of the actual page from the synodal ‘spiritual’ handbook (click image for larger view):

One thing is certain: The quote attributed to “St Isaac of Nineveh (St Isaac the Syrian)” is accurate. It appears in sundry books about the mystic and is even identified as a “well-known text” by one source (The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian, p. 42), though it is sometimes identified as Homily 71 rather than 74.


Now, inevitably, the question presents itself:


Who was ‘Saint Isaac the Syrian, of Nineveh’?

It does not take long to find out that Isaac was a bishop and a hermit who lived in the seventh century but was not a Catholic. In fact, he was a Nestorian heretic, although there is some reason to believe he may have converted to Catholicism toward the end of his life. However, not having any concrete evidence of that, we will presume he died in the religion he professed for most of his life.


As a Nestorian, he would obviously be no saint at all, and it seems he is venerated mostly by the Eastern Orthodox. (Even though there may be some Eastern churches in communion with Rome who venerate him, that does not mean he is necessarily a Catholic saint.)


The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1910 has the following biographical sketch of Isaac of Nineveh:

Isaac’s entry in the Encyclopedia of Monasticism confirms that he was “a member of the Church of the East, commonly known as ‘Nestorian’ because of the sharply Dyophysite Christological position that it held (although historically it had little or nothing to do with Nestorius).” The same entry also addresses the obnoxious prayer on the “merciful heart” the synodalists have included in their spiritual guidebook. The author’s explanation of it is found, quite appropriately, on page 666:

It is difficult to count all the heresies in Isaac’s thought as laid out above, but at least now we understand better why he wrote what he wrote, and why the synodalists like him so much. In fact, the above is reminiscent of ‘Pope’ Francis’ endless blather about mercy and forgiveness while at the same time consistently refusing to talk about God’s justice or the conditions necessary for obtaining forgiveness in the first place. Isaac’s vision also reminds one of the crazy “omega point” pseudo-theology of the Jesuit evolutionist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), who was just recently endorsed by Bergoglio.


So where did this ‘Saint’ Isaac get his strange ideas? He certainly did not find them in the New Testament, nor did he receive them from the Catholic magisterium. Scholar Sabino Chialà of the Monastic Community of Bose “suggests that it is out of Isaac’s own experience of mercy … that he developed his theories of Apocatastasis and how they do not contain anything contrary to the Gospel. And that Isaac was informed and motivated more by his own insight and experience than by the controversy surrounding the issue” (Isaac the Syrian’s Spiritual Works, ed. and trans. by Mary T. Hansbury [Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2016], p. 341).


Now that would explain it: Isaac based his doctrine on subjective experience and his own ideas rather than on divine revelation. No wonder he is making an appearance at the synod now, which is all about consulting people’s experience to discover something about God!

The Novus Ordo Modernists have spent decades making theology and faith a matter of experience. ‘Pope’ Francis in particular loves to talk about faith and mercy as an experience: “Faith … is born and reborn from a life-giving encounter with Jesus, from experiencing how his mercy illumines every situation in our lives” (Homily at Vartanants Square in Gyumri, Armenia, June 25, 2016). Two other examples of Bergoglio’s predilection for ‘experience’ can be found here and here.


Isaac of Nineveh’s Heresy: Apocatastasis or Universal Salvation

In one of his other writings, Isaac the Syrian explains a bit more his belief about a final reconciliation of all creatures with God:

Such are Isaac’s thoughts, and they are false. In fact, the Catholic Church has long condemned them as heretical.

The heresy that underlies Isaac’s prayer is a kind of universal salvation (universalism). A more precise term for it is “Apocatastasis“. The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1907 defines it as “the doctrine which teaches that a time will come when all free creatures will share in the grace of salvation; in a special way, the devils and lost souls.” In other words, Apocatastasis holds that in the end, all creatures capable of beatitude will be eternally happy with God in heaven. ‘St.’ Isaac apparently goes further still, extending beatitude to irrational creatures as well, such as reptiles and other animals.


But could not demons — the fallen angels — receive forgiveness from God at some point? Could they not also share in God’s boundless mercy? No, they could not. The reason why is that “due to their spiritual nature, once they have made their free choice between good and evil they are immutable in their will and so without possibility of repentance” (Pietro Parente et al., eds., Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, s.v. “demon, devil”, p. 73). Thus, like damned souls, they cannot repent and thus are lost forever.


The heresy of Apocatastasis, which was infamously promoted by the Church Father Origen, who on that account is not revered as a saint, necessarily denies either the existence or at least the eternity of hell. If in the end, everyone goes to Heaven, eternal punishment cannot be real.


Thus, Pope Vigilius in 543 condemned this dangerous and heretical position as follows: “If anyone says or holds that the punishment of the demons and of impious men is temporary, and that it will have an end at some time, that is to say, there will be a complete restoration of the demons or of impious men, let him be anathema” (Canons against Origen, Canon 9; Denz. 211).


Summary and Concluding Thoughts

So, let us summarize.

Isaac of Nineveh is not a saint; he was not a Catholic; he is not well known; he believed in and promoted the condemned heresy of Apocatastasis; and, although some may be trying to rehabilitate him now, we can infer that, so far at least, he has had little significance even in the Vatican II Church because the New Catholic Encyclopedia of 2003 does not even have an entry on him.


Naturally, then, we must ask: Why did the Synod on Synodality bother to pull out a quote from this non-Catholic monk that encourages people to pray for reptiles and demons, neither of which are capable of eternal beatitude? Could they not find better (and real) saints to quote — especially Catholic saints who give spiritual advice that does not imply or promote the heresy of universal salvation?


That is the real issue at stake here: not why a non-Catholic hermit of the 7th century thought we should pray for demons and reptiles, but why a ‘Catholic’ Synod on Synodality in 2023 AD would see fit to repeat his words and promote his idea as characteristic of a sound spirituality.


We know that at least