May 2, 2022 (Edward J. Barr) – The devil had returned to the underworld at the end of 2021 after becoming confident that his minions didn’t need his direct supervision. His first venture to a Catholic Church in January of 2021 (See The Devil came to Mass this weekend) led to a series of encouraging events for the head demon. (See The Devil’s year in Review). While there was growing death and destruction across the globe, he continued to receive reports from the demons that prowl around the earth. One piqued his interest.
“What is a Synod on Synodality?” screamed the devil. The squirrelly demon who delivered the news leaned away from the foul stench that emanated from the devil’s mouth. “We don’t know?” “Don’t know,” said the devil. “This report states the Church unveiled the plan in October of 2021. Why don’t we know what it is?” His underling smirked. “No one knows what it is. We have been gathering intelligence from the enemy since we learned of it and wanted to present you with a complete report once we figured it out.” The devil scoffed. “For months you knew about this synod, and you still don’t know what it is?” He pointed a crooked finger at the unfortunate messenger. A ray of white-hot flame shot out from the tip of his pointer finger and seared the demon’s lips together. The other demons viewing the interaction starting howling in laughter. The raucous shrieking quickly stopped when the devil again lifted his finger and pointed it in their direction. “Who oversaw this investigation?”
A gravelly voice screeched out, “The demon of Italy!” Before he could be summoned the demon of Italy materialized in front of the devil. “You bellowed,” he said laughingly. The rest of the demonic host braced for the coming fury. None came. “Excellent,” said the devil. “Someone with some guts.” With those words he reached out with clawed hands and sliced open the demon of Italy’s chest, spilling his guts. The demon just smiled and jammed them back into his half-decomposed chest. “Enough,” screamed the devil, quieting the latest round of howling. “Why don’t we know anything about this synod?” The demon of Italy peered in toward the devil. “It is amazing. It must be a secret plot. Nothing makes sense.” “What do you mean?” asked the devil. “What do they say about it?”
The demon of Italy pulled out his notes. “They say that ‘Synodality denotes the particular style that qualifies the life and mission of the Church, expressing her nature as the People of God journeying together and gathering in assembly.’ They also state that ‘it is the specific modus vivendi et operandi of the Church, the People of God, which reveals and gives substance to her being as communion when all her members journey together, gather in assembly and take an active part in her evangelizing mission’.” The devil stared at the demon of Italy with a confused look. “What the hell are they talking about?” “I don’t know,” said the demon. “But listen to this official proclamation. ‘We recall that the purpose of the Synod is not to produce documents, but to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another, and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.” “Enough,” interrupted the devil. “Draw forth prophecies and visions? Are you sure this is from the Catholic Church? Maybe it’s the Mormons, or some new age group we’ve snookered.”
The demon of Italy shook his head. “No, it’s the Catholic Church.” The devil asked, “Amazing. Are you sure we didn’t have anything to do with it?” The demon shook his head. “No, but the demon of Germany is trying to take credit for it.” At that moment a whirling flame appeared in their midst. From the flame there gradually appeared a pompous looking demon wearing a shoddy tweed coat. “Of course, it was me!” the newly formed figure said arrogantly. Look what I’ve done to the German Church.” The demonic onlookers gave him a round of applause. The demon of Germany had been the toast of hell for his success in steering the Church in Germany to oppose the teachings of Christ’s church through their own synodal process.
When the cheering had ceased the devil spoke. “Are you telling me that you are in charge of this Synod on Synodality? That you are directing this effort without telling me?” The arrogance on the demon of Germany’s face turned to fear. The demon of Italy piled on. “Yes, what are you doing behind our prince’s back?” All hell listened intently for the next words to be spoken. “No. What I meant was my work in Germany inspired the synod,” said the demon of Germany sheepishly. The devil turned to the demon of Italy. “What do you think?” He nodded. “Yes, that could be true. Most of the church leaders who are faithful to the Gospel have expressed some concerns over what this synod stands for and how it is being organized. But they aren’t in positions of power. It could be those who are trying to undermine Church teaching are trying to take advantage of the Vatican not stopping the German Church from promoting heretical teachings. The Cardinal responsible for providing a comprehensive outline of the synod’s theme and for summarizing the speeches of synod members has said that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is wrong and should be changed.” The devil put up his hand to stop the discussion. “Fascinating. Simply fascinating. Such confusion. Such dissension. Such disunity. A synod that no one can define to discuss topics that make no sense, run by churchmen that oppose Catholic teaching. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this before, but I don’t think I could have done any better!”
Cheers shook the foundations of hell. Sickening smiles broke out on all the deformed faces of the demons. The devil reviled in the fiery stench of his dominion for several minutes. Then he held up his hand to silence his troops. “How can we guide this synod for our benefit?” The demon of Italy smiled. “They are asking for comments.” “They won’t take our comments,” scoffed the devil. “Yes, they will!” said the demon. The Vatican has stated that the key process of the Synod on Synodality will be based on listening to people who have left the practice of the faith and on inter-religious dialogue. We have left the faith and we want to dialogue with the enemy. I am sure we qualify to provide comments.” The devil smiled crookedly. “Then comment we shall.”
Edward J Barr is a Catechist and public speaker in Florida. He earned a Master of Theology degree from the Augustine Institute. Mr. Barr is a contributing writer for the Roma Locuta Est blog (www.RomaLocutaEst.com)