As Roman Catholic bishops from across the world gather at their 16th synod Wednesday, the national press has already begun to forecast that this summit will be the most turbulent and controversy-riddled since it began 58 years ago.
"[Pope] Francis' desire for the church to discuss the concerns of the faithful, even the most sensitive of topics, will culminate at the Vatican in an assembly ... that will allow for the first time, lay people, including women, to attend and vote," The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The fact that none of the debates and votes have any impact on church policy or dogma notwithstanding, the report noted that the issues under discussion are sure to be controversial: "priestly celibacy, married priests, the blessing of gay couples, the extension of sacraments to the divorced and the ordination of female deacons."
Also sure to be debated is the use of the church's traditional Latin Mass, which was the universal form of worship for 500 years until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
Whether to continue celebration of the Latin Mass (which Francis has discouraged) or proceed with worship in the post-conciliar language of individual countries is on the proverbial table.
Given this situation, Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a 63-year-old movement of traditional Catholics, distributed to synod participants a guidebook entitled "The Synodal Process Is A Pandora's Box: 100 Questions and Answers."
Conservative authors Jose Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue try to answer many of the questions sure to arise at the rare gathering. These include, Are a Synod of Bishops Conclusions Binding? (they aren't); and Can A Pope Or Synod Change the Catholic Church's Doctrine or Structure? (they can't);
The role of Pope Francis in making the latest synod unique.
Clearly, the fear of secular ideas and unprecedented change being discussed fueled this volume.
"Synodality and its adjective, synodal, have become slogans behind which a revolution is at work to change radically the Church's self-understanding in accord with a contemporary ideology which denies much of what the Church has always taught and practiced," the guidebook reads.
Whatever the outcome of the much-watched event at the Vatican, it's certain that those who feel most threatened by it will, at the very least, have their voices heard and their questions voiced in part with a little help from this book.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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