In the past four years, the Vatican has used widely-propagated surveys to ask ordinary Catholics about their thoughts and opinions on established Catholic teaching on sexuality, sexual practice and family life.
In preparation for the Synod on the Family in 2014 and 2015, bishops and bishops’ conferences around the world were asked by the Vatican to “consult” their flock, via surveys, regarding their opinions on various aspects of Church teaching and pastoral practice on the family. Embedded within the questionnaire were questions that related to issues on same sex unions, civil unions, cohabitations, divorced and remarried Catholics, sexuality, contraception, and many other “pastoral issues” that are considered settled Church teaching.
“Leading questions” – questions which are meant to solicit a predetermined outcome – were incorporated into the Family Synod questionnaire. Here are some of those leading questions (which eventually led to official changes in Church teaching and practice) included in the questionnaire:
- What questions do divorced and remarried people pose to the Church concerning the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation? Among those persons who find themselves in these situations, how many ask for these sacraments?
- Could a simplification of canonical practice in recognising a declaration of nullity of the marriage bond provide a positive contribution to solving the problems of the persons involved? If yes, what form would it take?
- What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of (same-sex) union?
- In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?
Currently, various surveys are being conducted as well amongst the youth ahead of the upcoming Youth Synod on October 2018, the objective being to ask the youth what they think of Church teachings particularly on sexuality and various hot-button topics such as abortion, contraception and same sex unions.
The “results” of the surveys reach the same (most likely predetermined) conclusion – survey respondents say the Church is “out of touch” with the modern world and therefore needs to change its teaching. For example, a working document for the upcoming Youth Synod released in March that was allegedly drafted by young people called Catholic teaching on “contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation” “especially controversial.” The young people stated that they “they may want the Church to change her teaching.”
We are seeing a completely new – and foreign – approach to Christianity: a “referendum-based” Christianity that bases its teachings on what its flock (who are largely un-educated in the Faith, and many of whom live in objectively sinful situations) feels and believes in. Instead of beginning with the timeless teachings of the Church, and striving to “proclaim the Gospel” to all the nations, referendum-based Christianity adjusts its teachings and practices to a modern-world which consider the Church’s teachings largely out of date.
Referendum-based Christianity follows this devious pattern:
- objectively sinful acts or situations (abortion, contraception, same sex unions, civil unions, cohabitations, divorce and remarriage) are “re-classified” into pastoral issues that needed to be solved
- The Vatican runs a survey amongst its flock to check their attitudes and beliefs regarding these objectively sinful acts or situations
- Survey results show that most of the respondents consider the Church’s teachings on these issues as “out of touch with reality”, not in step with modern times, “controversial”. The respondents strongly encourage the Church to change her teaching on these issues
- A synod is conducted on these “pastoral issues”, and basing itself on the “will of the people” as shown by the surveys, declares that the Church is out of step with modern times, and needs to change its pastoral practices and teachings to adapt itself to the modern world.
- The pope issues a post-synod document that proposes subtle, yet radical changes in the Church’s attitude, teaching and pastoral practice on these hot button issues.
- Radical bishops’ conferences around the world implement these changes. Catholic teaching and practice in effect cease to be universal since various bishops conferences implement contradictory interpretations of these hot button issues. A practical schism ensues.
After the Synod on the Family, controversial changes have been officially made to the Church’s teachings and pastoral practices regarding these issues:
- divorced and remarried Catholics are now allowed to receive communion “in particular situations”
- non-Catholics can now receive Holy Communion (in Germany) provided they “discern” and “consult” their pastor; in an ecumenical event in Rome, the Pope himself encouraged a Lutheran to go and receive the Holy Eucharist
- The Pope has encouraged people living in sinful situations to continue living as they are – he met with and embraced a co-habiting couple in the Vatican; he formally received and warmly hugged in front of media cameras an openly gay man and his male partner during the U.S. papal visit
- The Canonical process is radically-simplified, decentralising this process and delegating it to local bishops. A virtual “Catholic divorce” process has effectively been implemented worldwide.
- The Vatican, and the Pope, remained notoriously silent in the run up to the Irish referendum on abortion
Problem with the Survey Approach to Christianity
The problem with this referendum-based approach to Christianity are numerous:
- In the first place, why conduct a “survey” on established Church teaching and practice? There is no need to “consult” the flock on issues that have already been settled by previous Popes, the Catechism, and the Magisterium. The role of the Church is to teach and proclaim the Truth to its flock – not to adjust its teaching to fit the sinful lives of some members of its flock.
- Why ask questions on “controversial” topics that are considered settled Church teaching already anyway? Asking the questions in effect call into question their settled nature, and give the impression that the Church can still change its positions on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, same sex unions, cohabitation, divorce and remarriage, etc.
If the Church goes down this path, the entire moral edifice of the Catholic Church will come crumbling down. Instead of being a moral beacon of light that proclaims the Truth in a morally-corrupt world, the Church in effect becomes a cheerleader for this corrupt generation: condoning and cheering people on and encouraging them to remain in their sinful situation, instead of calling them to repent.
Paul Simeon, Veritas