Thursday, January 13, 2022

Adam DeVille has a proposal for genuine synodality.

Genuine: as in not the "Are you using the TPS cover sheets for the Bishop's Annual Appeal?" variety.

And I'm on board with all of them.

 (1) Synods in every diocese where clerics and laics are on equal footing with voice and vote to meet annually in full session, and as often as necessary between sessions in a standing or permanent synod.

(2) Synods in every diocese that vote annually on the bishop’s proposed budget, priorities, and policies, including those governing liturgical rites.

(3) Synods in every diocese which, during their annual meeting, have a right to pass a motion of censure or non-confidence in their bishop for egregious abuses of money, power, and sex.

(4) Synods in every diocese that meet to elect a new bishop when the old one dies or retires.

(5) Synods in every ecclesiastical province that elect the metropolitan archbishop and function under his presidency as disciplinary tribunals for diocesan bishops charged with various forms of malfeasance, including covering up sexual abuse. These synods can depose bishops if found guilty, but bishops can appeal to #6, below, and ultimately to Rome if necessary.

(6) Synods in every region or country that meet to elect a patriarch or catholicos under whose presidency the synod will function as a court to try archbishops, and as an appellate court to hear appeals from metropolitan synods.

(7) Synods in every country that elect a slate of electors to be sent to the next papal conclave. After all, as Pope Celestine I (422–432) said, “the one who is to be head over all should be elected by all.”

In a church where godless, murdering Communists get a say in who the bishops are and how the faithful worship, there is no good reason I should not, either.

But that's not going to happen right now. Vatican II is just the triumphalist sequel to Vatican I decked out with ostentatiously-humble buzzwords on flair buttons. Accompanied by the time-tested Lord Vetinari approach to manufactured consensus.

Because the only thing the current iteration of Rome loves more than chasing after foreign princes, gods and fads is her own power. 

And yet, fortunately for her long-term well-being, the demographic trap door is opening under her feet. Humility will follow with the realization that she is not supposed to be a serial personality cult but the Body of Christ. When it does, all sorts of possibilities will open up.

It can't happen too soon, but, alas, it won't happen in the lifetime of us older coots.



  1. I wouldn't argue against the list. However, as for "Because the only thing the current iteration of Rome loves more than chasing after foreign princes, gods and fads is her own power," this was a feature, not a bug in the 1978-2013 era. I don't think Pope Francis can quite divorce himself from old-school institutionalism. I might fret about the slowness of dismantling the powers of the curia, but he's a fair sight better than his two predecessors and their enablers.

    1. That you think the era of Paul VI was magically immune to corruption, self-dealing and sellouts is baffling. Ostpolitik and the hellish rape of children that piled up on his watch demonstrate otherwise.

  2. I tried to post once before but I think the cyber gremlins ate it. 😁 In any event, I wanted to express full agreement with the list of proposals from Mr DeVille. The Church seemed to do OK, as far as I can tell from historical accounts, with the system of election of bishops by the faithful. We certainly can’t do much worse than what has occurred in the past fifty years or so. Even “conservative” (aka small-o orthodox) Popes have appointed numerous awful bishops, I would guess mostly because they have to trust others to tell them who is qualified. The local faithful should know that better than the men advising the Popes. Still far from perfect, but until we can get direct orders from Heaven it’s all we’ve got.

    1. The pope appointing every bishop is a recent (1917) insanity. It is one of many things that need to go. I would also trust-bust oversized dioceses. They are convenient for central management, but only for that.


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