The Amazon Synod That Could Have Been
On Friday, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller – former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) – published a second commentary on the Synod for the Amazon, to be held in Rome this October. It follows an earlier critique of his, both of them blistering about the radical nature of what is largely a German “paradigm,” not only for the rainforests of South America, but for the whole Church.
The good Cardinal begins by noting something that has been widely reported but not sufficiently appreciated: the Church in Germany lost more than 216,000 members in 2018, on top of similar departures in past years. The response to this crisis has not been – as happened during similar periods of trouble in the Church (i.e., in the Counter-Reformation) – to re-commit to preaching the Gospel even more forcefully. Instead, the German Church has chosen to “secularize” by accepting many things in our postmodern, post-truth world that have never been part of Catholicism.
The result was predictable. Many people concluded that they didn’t really need even this secularized, supposedly more attractive, German Church, since they could already get most of what it was pushing without bothering about Mass, Confession, Communion, monogamy, self-denial, charity, etc.
Even worse, many German Catholics now believe that the Church is not the Mystical Body of Christ, a communion that persists through time, chosen by God, as He had earlier chosen the Jewish people, to carry out his “self-revelation.”