Will There Be African Resistance to the October 2024 Synod? (1)

Source: FSSPX News

In an interview with KTO, a French Catholic news channel, on March 17, 2024, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madigascar (SECAM), discussed the Fiducia supplicans Declaration that authorized the blessing of same-sex couples.

He regretted the method used by the Vatican to publish Fiducia supplicans: without prior consultation and with a particular timetable. “I do not believe that this text was necessary at that time,” he said, recalling that the first session of the Synod on Synodality had just ended in Rome and that a second session would take place in October.

“All these questions that we touched upon during the first session of the Synod, we are going to return to them,” he assured, although the Secretariat of the Synod just stated very recently that the October 2024 session would not discuss the document on the blessing of homosexual couples...

Regarding the development of Europe in the field of sexual and familial ethics, the Congolese prelate wanted to clarify: “We have the impression that the West is no longer inclined to accept its own culture. Everything is put into perspective. Everything is called into question. And that worries us.” And he adds: “Not long ago, the West brought us Jesus Christ, the Gospel.

“Today we have something of an impression that the West is beginning to distance itself from this Gospel.” Cardinal Ambongo is not afraid to talk about “cultural colonization” and “Western imperialism” in Africa.

Recalling Catholic Truth Is Not a Sign of Particularism Nor Backwardness

Cardinal Robert Sarah, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, also severely criticized Fiducia supplicans on April 9, at the headquarters of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, at Mvolyé. The Vaticanist Sandro Magister quoted his most significant passages on his website Settimo Cielo.

Magister first remarked that “In Rome, the circle of the Pope and in particular the Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and the first signatory of ‘Fiducia supplicans’, considers the resistance of African bishops to these innovations as the expression of cultural backwardness, which had already been derided in a very inelegant manner in 2014, on the occasion of the Synod on the Family, by Cardinal Walter Kasper, who was at the time the European theologian in the good graces of Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio.”

At Mvolyé, Cardinal Sarah forcefully declared: “Dear brother Bishops of Cameroon, in your courageous and prophetic statement of December 21, on the subject of homosexuality and the blessing of ‘homosexual couples,’ recalling Catholic doctrine on this matter, you have greatly and profoundly served the unity of the Church!

“You have done a work of pastoral charity by recalling the truth. [...] Some, in the West, wanted to make people believe that you had acted in the name of an African cultural particularism. It is false and ridiculous to credit attribute such intentions to you! Some asserted, in a logic of intellectual neo-colonialism, that Africans were not ‘yet’ ready to bless homosexual couples for cultural reasons.

“As if the West was ahead of the backward Africans. No! You spoke for the whole Church: ‘in the name of the truth of the Gospel and for human dignity and the salvation of all humanity in Jesus Christ’. You spoke in the name of the only Lord, the only faith of the Church. Since when would the truth of the faith, the teaching of the Gospel be subject to particular cultures? This vision of a faith adapted to cultures reveals how much relativism divides and corrupts the unity of the Church.”

Call for Vigilance at the Next Synod

The high prelate continues, warning against possible maneuvers at the next Synod session: “Dear brother Bishops, there is there a point of great vigilance to be kept, in view of the next session of the Synod. We know that some, even if they say the opposite, are going to defend there an agenda of reforms. Among these is the destructive idea that the truth of the faith must be received in ways differentiated according to places, cultures, and peoples.

“This idea is only a disguise for the dictatorship of relativism so strongly denounced by Benedict XVI. It aims to allow deficiencies in doctrine and morality in certain places under the pretext of cultural adaptation. It wants to allow the female diaconate in Germany, married priests in Belgium, confustion between ordained priesthood and baptismal priesthood in the Amazon.

“Some recently appointed theologian experts do not hide their projects. So they will you with false kindness: ‘Rest assured, in Africa, we will not impose this type of innovation on you. You are not culturally ready’. But we, successors of the Apostles, we are not ordained to promote and defend our cultures, but the universal unity of the faith! We act, according to your words, Bishops of Cameroon, ‘in the name of the truth of the Gospel and for human dignity and the salvation of all humanity in Jesus Christ’.

“This truth is the same everywhere, in Europe as in Africa and in the United States! As human dignity is the same everywhere. It seems that by a mysterious design of providence the African episcopates are now the defenders of the universality of the faith against the proponents of a fragmented truth; Africans are the defenders of the unity of the faith against the proponents of cultural relativism.

“Yet Jesus was explicit in the mandate given to the apostles: ‘Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you’ (Mt. 28:18-19) [Editor’s note: Mt. 28:19-20]. It is indeed to all nations that the Apostles were sent to preach both the faith and evangelical morality.

“At the next session of the Synod, it is essential that African bishops speak in the name of the unity of the faith and not in the name of particular cultures. The African Church forcefully defended the dignity of man and woman created by God at the last Synod. Its voice was ignored and scorned by those who were only focused on trying to please Western lobbies.

“The Church of Africa will soon have to defend the truth of the priesthood and the unity of the faith. The Church of Africa is the voice of the poor, the simple, and the small. It is tasked with proclaiming the word of God before Western Christians who, because they are rich, believe themselves evolved, modern, and wise with the wisdom of the world. But ‘the foolishness of God is wiser than men’ (I Cor. 1:25).

“It is therefore not surprising that the bishops of Africa in their poverty are today the heralds of this divine truth in the face of the power and wealth of certain episcopates of the West because ‘the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; [...] And the base things of the world, [...] and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are’ (I Cor. 1:28) [Editor’s note: I Cor. 1:27-28].

“But will they dare to listen to them during the next session of the Synod on Synodality? Or should we believe that, despite the promises to listen and respect, their warnings will not be taken into consideration, as we see today?

“Should we believe that the Synod will be instrumentalized by those who, under the guise of mutual listening and ‘conversation in the Spirit,’ serve an agenda of worldly reforms? Each successor of the apostles must dare to take seriously the words of Jesus: ‘let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil’ (Mt. 5:35) [Editor’s note: Mt. 5:37].”