This is the article that appeared in the October 2023 edition of Catalyst, our monthly journal. The date that prints out reflects the day that it was uploaded to our website. For a more accurate date of when the article was first published, check out the news release, here.

Some bishops and lay people from six continents are assembling in Rome for the Synod on Synodality; the laity constitute 21 percent of the participants. It runs from October 4-28.

The Synod is less an event than a process. Begun in October 2021 by Pope Francis, it started with listening sessions in local churches around the world. It will culminate in October 2024.

There will be discussions on many topics, the purpose of which is to consider ways to improve the Church. Some of the more contentious topics deal with homosexuality, same-sex marriage and acceptance of transgender persons.

The Catholic League is officially agnostic: it is not our role to advise the hierarchy on what to do. But we are interested in bringing to the attention of Catholics, lay and clergy alike, the effects of heterodoxy, namely, the consequences to religious bodies when they stray from their orthodox moorings.

On pp. 4-5, there is a report on this subject that illuminates the difference between the way nations with a large Catholic population have fared in following an orthodox and a heterodox approach. The big winners are the orthodox. This is also true of other religions.

Our finding is applicable not only within dioceses and among religious orders in the United States; it is true worldwide. When the hierarchy adopt a heterodox stance—becoming more “relevant”—they tend to become increasingly irrelevant to the flock.

We wish all synod attendees well and hope it is a success.

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