(LifeSiteNews) — The Society of St. Pius X’s (SSPX) Superior General has highlighted “synodal revolution” intended to “profoundly transform” the Church’s structure and “above all” its faith teaching as a top priority of Pope Francis.
In an interview with the SSPX’s international news outlet, Fr. Davide Pagliarani asserted that synodality has become “the priority axis” of the current pontificate, and aspires to radically change the church.
Synodality generally refers to a collaborative discernment process by which the episcopacy forms or articulates church teaching. Its manifestations have evolved, however, since the modern Synod of Bishops was established by Pope St. Paul VI in 1965. Under Pope Francis, the practice of “synodality,” particularly in the Synod on Synodality, has involved the consultation of laymen, even those who reject Church doctrine.
To account for this novelty, in March 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s International Theological Commission published a document vaguely defining synodality as “the action of the Spirit in the communion of the Body of Christ and in the missionary journey of the People of God.”
With this new definition in mind, Fr. Pagliarani characterized the synodal process as a “determined desire to turn the Church upside down,” with the new understanding 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.’”
Thus, the synodal process entails bishops’ consultation of the faithful throughout the world, he noted, “with particular attention paid to anything that the most alienated souls might suggest,” those whom Francis refers to as on the “peripheries.”
“It is a Church where the shepherds become the sheep and the sheep become the shepherds,” Fr. Pagliarani said.
He explained that if the faith “is reduced to an experience,” whether of an individual or group, then the substance of that faith “is open to all sorts of possible evolutions,” and in fact is “necessarily destined to evolve according to the awareness and the needs of the different moments in history.”
Such a synodal approach to the faith then means that our concepts of God and the Catholic Church, “along with all the other dogmatic elements of our faith,” are irrevocably changed in their true meaning.”
He went on to give concrete examples of problematic statements issued by the 2022 document “Enlarge the space of your tent,” the culmination of the first phase of the global Synod on Synodality, which appear to defy perennial Catholic Church teaching.
Fr. Pagliarani first took aim at the document’s declaration that “It is important to build a synodal institutional model as an ecclesial paradigm of deconstructing pyramidal power that privileges unipersonal managements,” and that “The only legitimate authority in the Church must be that of love and service, following the example of the Lord.”
He pointed out that this appears to be a repudiation of the Church’s hierarchical teaching authority, noting, “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.”
A second passage that Fr. Pagliarani sees as embodying the “spirit of the whole text” made what he slammed as a “crazy” proposal: “The world needs a ‘Church that goes forth,’ that rejects the division between believers and non-believers.”
Such a statement can be interpreted as rejecting the importance of supernatural faith for salvation, and as denying the importance of, and even the need for the Church itself. However, Fr. Pagliarani asserted that such an idea is a logical extension of a denial of faith as an “authentically supernatural reality,” in favor of the concept that it is “only one experience among others.”
According to Fr. Pagliarani, the ideas underlying the synodal process are far from new, and in fact can be traced back over a century to heresies condemned by Saint Pius X’s encyclical Pascendi. He asserted that synodality in fact represents a “mature and perfected modernism.”
He closed the interview affirming the need for the SSPX to “maintain and guarantee to its priests and the faithful the full freedom to celebrate the traditional liturgy,” as the Vatican increasingly cracks down on the Traditional Latin Mass in what Fr. Pagliarani admitted is a clear aim of annihilation of the TLM.
Fr. Pagliarani emphasized that the SSPX’s own mission of preserving the TLM goes hand in hand with preserving “traditional Catholic theology that accompanies and sustains this same liturgy.”
“To paraphrase Cardinal (Arthur) Roche, the change in doctrine, done through the Council, is indeed what has inspired the New Mass!” Fr. Pagliarani said.
He earlier cited Roche’s statement during a March 2023 BBC Radio 4 broadcast in which he claimed, “The theology of the Church has changed. Whereas before the priest represented, at a distance, all the people. They were channelled, as it were, through this person who alone was celebrating the Mass. [However, today], it is not only the priest who celebrates the liturgy, but also those who are baptised with him. And that is an enormous statement to make.”
Fr. Pagliarani continued, “There is only one kind of love that saves – because there is only one true love that purifies: It is the love of the Cross, the love of Divine Redemption … However, this love cannot exist without faith, nor without those who teach it.”