Referendum-based Christianity? How surveys are being used to potentially alter Church teaching

synod2018In 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?

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Youth Synod

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.”

Referendum Christianity

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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


  1. You are on the money there, Paul. Referendum Christianity will be the ruin of the Church if it continues. For example, they could run a further ‘Synod on the Family’ again in a few years time, ask the same leading questions, and still come up with disgruntled ‘Catholics’…who say over and over and over…’the Church needs to change’. As you rightly say, all these questions of morality have been answered, finally and decisively…by greater minds (and the Holy Spirit’s influence) than ours, centuries ago. No need to go back to the drawing board. The Vatican just needs to find it’s way back to God’s Holy Truth…and teach that. Period. People have always gathered around those who have taught the Truth through the ages. Why? Because that is God’s Plan.

  2. The truth will set us free our Catholic Church is leading and instructing by the Holy Spirit in all means so to apply the people’s negative opinions is the church to be leading by the world not The Holy Spirit

  3. I thought God. Sent the flood because people had become evil and depraved. Didn’t, God also destroy Sodom and Gomorrah ? I wonder what He will do to us, .He gave the Ten Commandments not the Ten suggestions,.

  4. An excellent article Paul. On top of which I would add that the respondents are a carefully chosen group or age range (narrow representation) and as well as using loaded biased questions, rigging the results and revealing only what they want us to know. How about survey God and his angels instead? Maybe the saints in heaven even? Oh wait! That’s been done. We have the answers already; in the Bible, church teaching, the words of Saints. This is the destruction of doctrine and the denial of doctrine so the faithful stray in confusion.

  5. God is and always will be, he already knew this was coming. Jesus said that evil will never prevail against his Church and rightly so.

  6. Collegiality was a buzzword in the 1990’s when it was being promoted in all the Limex classes,theology masters programs, DRE training, and diaconate studies, etc. It’s not only not new with Francis, it was planned centuries ago w the Protestant Revolution, oops Reformation, founder of church based “Referendum Christianity.”
    The jjolting kickoff was in 1789 w the French Revolution, then the liberal modernism push of the early 20th century and Vatican II accelerated the agenda.
    Humanist Francis is the mop-up man. The Catholic Church as we knew it is gone. The Roman Catholic Church is in schism. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is ignored or twisted in favor of humanism. Nefarious forces are driving this; a cabal is in the wings ready to usurp and inhabit our institutional church. For all this to happen, the Curia was infiltrated long ago by non-believers, putting it mildly.
    Yes, PRAY.

  7. Even as they keep their basis on referendums instead of the Bible & Cannons 2Thessoalanians2 :10- 11 states of the manner “Cause they have not the love of the truth in them, God sends a strong delusion so that they belIeve a Lie”. but reveals Romans 1: 24:27 —–SODOM (out of the holy cow). Any wonder why even the Pope, utters words like there is no hell/Who am I to Judge/ god made you this way etc ?

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