The wild Amazon river, gushing forth uncontrollably is an appropriate symbol for the forces proposing change in today’s Church. With waves of paganism, syncretism, corruption, all threatening to engulf the Bark of Peter, we may, like the Apostles, feel like shouting out: “Lord, save us, we perish”. (Mt: 8:25)
Quoting Pope Francis, the preparatory document for the synod claims that “it is necessary to allow ourselves to be evangelised by them – the inhabitants of the Amazon – and by their cultures”. Yet, in the mission to the Yanomamis in Brazil, for example, not one person has been baptised in 53 years. How can this remote, romanticised land of the “noble savage” be the model of evangelisation for the Christian world? Rather, we urgently need to turn from the Amazon to the Jordan and the baptismal waters, which call the world to conformity with the Church, not the other way around.
The synod working document has prompted unprecedented levels of criticism from well-known defenders of the faith. Cardinals Brandmüller and Burke called it “apostasy”. Archbishop Viganò simply noted that “the figure of Christ is absent”. An exclusive interview with Bishop Schneider, discussing the synod, can be found in this issue of Calx Mariae.
A Church with an “Amazonian face” is not a Church with the vultus Christi, the image left by Our Lord on the Veil of Veronica on His way to Calvary. This is the true face of the Church – it is the face of Him, Who, in the words of St Bernard, “has bought the whole of me with the whole of Himself”.
Veronica, literally “true image” (vera icon), also reminds us to be true to the image in which God has created us, male and female. Amid politically correct proposals for “equality” in the Church, Catholic women today need to remain faithful to their mission in the Church and in the world. “Equality” is not the same as “dignity”. In fact, one can suffer a loss of dignity by pursuing what the world considers equality. In this issue of the magazine, more is discussed about the role of women in nurturing and guarding our Christian civilisation.
In the turbulent waters of the Amazon, one may wonder if resistance has any value at all. One year after the “Viganò testimony”, three years after the “dubia”, we may feel that respectful resistance is ignored and therefore meaningless. At the same time, every day brings more discouraging news – the destruction of the John Paul II Institute, the Vatican-approved higher committee to promote the Abu Dhabi declaration, which claims that a “diversity of religions” is “willed by God” and reports that two thirds of US Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence, to name a few. Has resistance not become meaningless?
Certainly not. While the value of faithful resistance is not ours to measure, it is our duty to continue to counter the attacks on the truth of Christ. St Louis de Montfort, the ardent promoter of true devotion to Mary, outlines the ways her children will need to fight in the latter times: “These great souls, full of grace and zeal, shall be chosen to match themselves against the enemies of God, who shall rage on all sides; and they shall be singularly devout to our Blessed Lady, illumined by her light, … they shall fight with one hand and build with the other… By their words and their examples they shall draw the whole world to true devotion to Mary. They shall bring upon them many enemies, but shall also bring many victories and much glory for God alone.”
So we must resist, but we must fight as the children of Mary. Voice ofthe Family is holding its own event on the eve of the Amazon synod – which everyone can join online. Click here for details and sign up!