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Interview with the Superior General of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X

The Daily Knight

The latest orientations of Pope Francis’ pontificate Interview conducted by FSSPX.Actualités in Menzingen 5th May 2023, on the Feast of Saint Pius V

They advocate a Church without doctrine, without dogma, without faith, and in which there is no longer any need for an authority to teach anything. Everything is dissolved into a spirit of ‘love and service’, without really knowing what this means and to where it leads.

FSSPX.Actualités: Rev. Father General, His Holiness Pope Francis recently celebrated ten years of his pontificate. What, in your opinion, is the most significant point of these last few years?

Don Davide Pagliarani: After his two central and innovating ideas of mercy, understood as a “universal amnesty”, and the new morality based on the respect for the earth as the “common home of all humanity”, it is undeniable that recent years have been characterised by the idea of synodality. This is not an absolutely new idea 1 [1], but Pope Francis has made it the priority axis of his pontificate.

This idea is so omnipresent that many have, to a certain point, lost interest in it, even though it represents the quintessence of a mature and perfected modernism. From an ecclesiological point of view, the synodal revolution is supposed to impact and profoundly transform the Church in its hierarchical structure, in its functioning, and above all, in its teaching of the faith.

Why have people become weary of this synodality?

It is possible that it has been overly perceived as a German-speaking problem, or perhaps – while keeping all things in proportion – that it is basically a Belgian problem, and its universal dimension has been lost over time. It is certain that the Germans have played a particular role in the synodal process, but the problem itself is a Roman problem – and therefore universal – and thus, it concerns the Catholic Church as a whole.

How would you define this synodal process?

First of all, this process is a concrete reality, rather than a predefined doctrine. It is a confused method, or better still “a praxis”, which has been launched without knowing in advance all the possible outcomes. In concrete terms, it is a determined desire to turn the Church upside-down. The teaching-Church no longer sees itself as the custodian of a Revelation coming from God, and of which it is the guardian, but as a group of bishops associated with the Pope, who listen to the faithful, and in particular to all the peripheries, i.e. with particular attention paid to anything that the most alienated souls might suggest. It is a Church where the shepherds become the sheep and the sheep become the shepherds.

The underlying idea is that God does not reveal Himself through the traditional channels of Holy Scripture and Tradition, which are safeguarded by the hierarchy, but through the “experience of the people of God”. This is why the synodal process began with a consultation of the faithful in all the dioceses throughout the world. On the basis of this data, summaries were drawn up, at the level of the bishops’ conferences, leading to a first Roman synthesis published a few months ago.

What is the significance of the idea that God reveals Himself, and makes His will known, through the experiences of the people of God?

This idea is at the very basis of the whole modernist edifice. Saint Pius X built his entire encyclical Pascendi on the denunciation of this false idea of Revelation. If, instead of referring to Sacred Scripture and Tradition, faith is reduced to an experience – individual at first, then communal when shared – then the content of the faith, and consequently the constitution of the Church, is open to all sorts of possible evolutions. By definition, an experience is linked to a moment or to a period in time. It is a reality that occurs in time and in history, and which is therefore, by essence, evolutionary. In the same way, the life of each of us contains a movement, and therefore evolves.

Synodality represents the quintessence of a mature and perfected modernism.

Such a faith-experience, necessarily destined to evolve according to the awareness and the needs of the different moments in history, is constantly “enriched” with new contents, and at the same time leaves aside that which is no longer current. In this way, faith becomes a rather human reality, linked like the history of humanity to ever new and changing contingencies. In the long term, there is not much left of the eternal, the transcendent or the immutable. If we still speak of God and the Catholic Church, these two realities end up being the projection of what an experience can feel hic et nunc. These two terms, along with all the other dogmatic elements of our faith, are irretrievably altered in their true meaning and scope. They are gradually reabsorbed into the blur of what is merely worldly and changeable. Their meaning evolves with humanity and with its experience of God. This idea is not new, but the synodal process represents a new culmination of its breadth and depth.

What can you tell us about this “Roman synthesis” you mentioned?

This Roman synthesis is a document published in October 2022, and entitled “Enlarge the space of your tent”. It is the working document drawn up for the reflection of the bishops, in the continental stage of the synodal journey, i.e. for the bishops meeting together in their respective continents. 2 [2] It is presented as an expression of the sensus fidei of the faithful, and the bishops are recommended to read it prayerfully, “with the eyes of the disciple, who recognises it as a testimony to the path of conversion towards a synodal Church, […] a Church that learns from listening how to renew its evangelizing mission” 3 [3]. It is therefore from this presumed expression of the sensus fidei of the faithful that the bishops are expected to draw the consequences and make their final decisions.

There is an explicit desire to recognise a Church that functions in reverse, and in which the teaching-Church no longer has anything to teach.

Now the content of this text and the suggestions it contains are a disaster from start to finish. There is practically nothing that can be considered as an expression of the Catholic faith. On the contrary, most of the suggestions advocate a dissolution of the Church into a completely new reality. It is perhaps understandable that some of the faithful, (and even some priests – especially today), could say strange things, but it is absolutely inconceivable that such statements were retained in the synthesis produced by the Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod.

Are there any passages in this synthesis that stand out as particularly dangerous?

Unfortunately, most of the passages are frightening! However, there are two in particular that seem to me to summarise the intent of the whole document, and in particular, the desire to change the very essence of the Catholic Church, through the synodal process. First of all, in relation to authority, there is an explicit desire to recognise a Church that functions in reverse, and in which the teaching-Church no longer has anything to teach: “It is important to build a synodal institutional model as an ecclesial paradigm of deconstructing pyramidal power that privileges unipersonal managements. The only legitimate authority in the Church must be that of love and service, following the example of the Lord.” 4 [4]

Here we wonder whether we are in the presence of a heresy or, quite simply, of a “nothingness” that we cannot even describe. A heretic, in fact, still “believes” in something, and may still have an idea of the Church, even if his idea is distorted. However, here we are dealing with an idea of the Church that is not only fuzzy but also ‘liquid’, to use a modern expression. Here they advocate a Church without doctrine, without dogma, without faith, and in which there is no longer any need for an authority to teach anything. Everything is dissolved into a spirit of “love and service”, without really knowing what this means – if it means anything at all – and to where it leads.

You also mentioned a second passage that is of particular concern?

Definitely. There is this second passage that seems to me to sum up the spirit of the whole text, and at the same time, the real feeling of these last few years of Pope Francis’ pontificate: “The world needs a ‘Church that goes forth’, that rejects the division between believers and non-believers, that looks at humanity and offers it more than a doctrine or a strategy, an experience of salvation, a ‘coup of gift’ that responds to the cry of humanity and nature” 5 [5]. I am convinced that this short passage contains a much deeper meaning and significance than might at first appear.

The Church is reduced to proposing a diminished and naturalised ‘gospel’ […] to a humanity that no longer needs to be converted.

To reject the distinction between believers and non-believers is certainly crazy, albeit logical in the present context. If faith is no longer an authentically supernatural reality, the Church itself, which is supposed to preserve and preach it, alters its raison d’être and its mission among men. Indeed, if faith is only one experience among others, how can it be portrayed as being better, and why should it be imposed universally? Quite simply, a feeling-experience cannot correspond to an absolute truth – its value is that of a particular opinion, which can no longer be the truth in the traditional sense of the word. This leads logically to the refusal of the distinction between believers and non-believers. The only thing that remains is humanity, with its expectations, opinions and cries, and which, as such, do not claim anything supernatural.

Thus the Church offers humanity a teaching that no longer corresponds to the transmission of a transcendent Revelation. The Church is reduced to proposing a diminished and naturalised “gospel”, which becomes a simple book of reflection and comfort, adapted to all without distinction. In this perspective, we understand how the new theology and the new ecological morality proposed by Laudato si’ are offered to a humanity that no longer needs to be converted, and in which there is no longer a distinction between believers and non-believers.