The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box

✠Gerhard, Cardinal Müller has called it a “hostile takeover” of the Catholic Church. The late ✠George, Cardinal Pell termed it a “toxic nightmare”. Now, ✠Raymond, Cardinal Burke has written a foreword to a new book denouncing the Synod on Synodality as a “Pandora’s Box” that threatens to unleash grave harm on the Mystical Body of Christ.

The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box, co-authored by José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue, presents readers with a series of 100 questions and answers aimed at informing the general public about a debate they say has been “largely limited to insiders” despite its “potentially revolutionary impact.”

In the foreword, Cardinal Burke says that “a revolution is at work to change radically the Church’s self-understanding.” The American cardinal expresses his fear that the Synod will be heavily influenced by the German bishops, “spreading widely confusion and error and their fruit, division.” He notes that the negative results have “already begun to happen through the preparation for the Synod at the local level.” Cardinal Burke’s foreword appears in the book The Synodal Process as a Pandora’s Box, which uses a question-and-answer format to persuade readers that the Synod will have a “potentially revolutionary impact.” The book’s publication was announced August 22.

Announced by Pope Francis in 2021, the Synod on Synodality is being held in three phases: local, continental and universal. In October, the universal stage will begin with the sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will bring together 300 bishops and laity at the Vatican. A second assembly is to be held in 2024. Earlier this year, Pope Francis took the unprecedented step of granting equal voting rights to both episcopal and non-episcopal members.

Establishing A New Formation House

Feria Quarta Quattuor Temporum Pentecostes

Applications are invited from men keen to explore the possibility of vocation to the sacred ministry in a household-style setting in Brighton, UK where the men share daily Mass, prayer, meals, household responsibilities and volunteer activities under the direct tutelage of ✠Jerome.

Formation Houses

One of the presenting issues for Old Roman vocations has often been the lack of a stable seminary. We have been fortunate that most vocations come from men who have attended traditionalist or institutional seminaries or are graduates in theology from credible academies. But as demand for places at the few traditional seminaries continues to rise following the increased persecution of the Traditional Latin Mass by the institutional Church, a solution needs to be found for Old Roman seminarians.

Before the creation of seminaries, clergy training for the priesthood received academic formation from universities, and spiritual and formational training from religious orders or the bishop’s household. Unlike the traditional seminary training, which primarily focuses on academic education, the House of Formation combines academic formation with spiritual and formational training.

Seminaries can create a rarefied atmosphere that encourages clericalism, which can lead students to develop an exclusive and superior attitude. This can produce an attitude of ingratitude and false expectations of dependency on others materially. As a consequence, subsequent clergy may prioritize their own power and authority over the needs and concerns of the people they are supposed to serve. This can create a culture of elitism and reduce accountability, which can have negative consequences for both the seminary and the wider community.

The household-style setting for vocational discernment is a valuable and innovative approach to nurturing future pastors of the Church who are grounded in the Gospel, formed in community, and equipped for ministry. Though realized in a contemporary context, the household model was used for centuries in the Church before the more recent and conventional seminary setting that became prevalent just 500 years ago. It is a model that can inspire other forms of intentional Christian living and witness in a world that is hungry for authentic spirituality, meaningful relationships, transformative action and true religion. May God bless those who respond to this call and may they be faithful servants of Christ and His Church.

A shared house of formation for traditional Catholic ordinands can be a great way to provide a supportive environment for those preparing for the priesthood. The concept involves a community of men living together in a house, sharing meals, prayer, and study. This can create a strong sense of fraternity and accountability, as well as provide opportunities for spiritual growth and discernment.

This approach allows seminarians to develop a deeper understanding of their faith and their vocation while also gaining the necessary knowledge and skills needed for their future ministry. With the House of Formation, seminarians are equipped not only to become knowledgeable priests, but also compassionate and empathetic pastors, to serve their communities with humility and love.

In such a house, seminarians can learn from each other, share their struggles and, and each other in their journey towards the priesthood. Communal living also allows for a more holistic formation, as ordinands can develop practical skills such as cooking, cleaning, and managing household finances.

Furthermore, a shared house of formation can be a cost-effective way of providing formation for Old Roman seminarians. By sharing the financial contribution among the members of the household, the expenses of rent and utilities can be reduced. Ultimately, a shared house of formation can be a powerful tool in the formation of future priests who are well-equipped to serve the Church and its people.

There are several advantages to a house of formation over a seminary experience. One of the main benefits is the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. In a house of formation, seminarians can work and gain practical experience while also studying for the priesthood. This can be especially valuable for those who may not have a lot of work experience prior to entering the seminary. Additionally, a house of formation can provide specialized pastoral training and practical resources for seminarians, which can help them better prepare for the unique challenges and responsibilities of the priesthood.

It has long been Archbishop Lloyd’s vision to establish local oratories served by clergy living together, ideally located in a town or city, to cater to missions and cells in the area. The Formation House model of clergy houses would be perfect for replicating this setup, as it allows for a community of clergy to live and work together, fostering collaboration, support, and accountability. This model could provide a sense of stability and continuity for the community, as well as a space for spiritual guidance and growth.

As the majority of Old Roman vocations are “bivocational” i.e. clergy support themselves financially, the shared-house model would be perfect for lightening the financial burden on our clergy while providing them with the support they need. In this model, several clergy members share a residence, splitting the cost of living expenses between them. This would allow for more flexibility in their schedules, as well as provide emotional and spiritual support. Additionally, the shared-house model could help foster a sense of community among the clergy, helping to combat the loneliness and isolation that can come with the vocation. Overall, the shared-house model could be an effective solution to alleviate the financial and emotional burdens of bivocational clergy.

Brighton Formation House

The Formation House, located in Brighton & Hove in the UK is where individuals will come to share in the Archbishop’s apostolate of working with the homeless and ministering to the faithful. Life in the Formation House will be based on the four basics of all priestly common life, which are prayer, study, meals, and recreation. The house will offer a peaceful and contemplative environment where individuals can deepen their spiritual life, grow in knowledge, and build lasting relationships with others who share similar interests and goals. The Formation House will be an ideal place for any man who wants to deepen his faith and discern a call to the priesthood.

Brighton is located on England’s South Coast in the county of East Sussex. It’s only an hour away from Central London by train and 30 minutes from London Gatwick, one of the UK’s major international airports. Granted city status in 2000, today Brighton and Hove district has a resident population of about 277,103 and the wider Brighton and Hove conurbation has a population of 474,485 (2011 census). It is ranked the 57th most populous district in England. Compared to the national average, Brighton has fewer children and old residents but a large proportion of adults aged 20–44. Brighton is identified as one of the least religious places in the UK, based upon analysis of the 2011 census which revealed that 42 per cent of the population profess no religion, far higher than the national average of 25 per cent.

In the Georgian era, Brighton developed as a highly fashionable seaside resort, encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent, later King George IV, who spent much time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion in the Regency era. Brighton continued to grow as a major centre of tourism following the arrival of the railways in 1841, becoming a popular destination for day-trippers from London. Many of the major attractions were built in the Victorian era. Every May the city hosts England’s biggest arts festival. Brighton Festival features theatre, music, art and visual media by leading names from around the world. And all year round there are plays, art exhibitions, gigs and events at many of the theatres, pubs, museums and galleries in the city.

In December 2021, new data released by Shelter, revealed that “one in 78 people in Brighton and Hove are homeless”. The report also records the city as having the third highest rate of homelessness in England, with London claiming the top spot followed by Luton. In a previous charity report issued in November 2016, three areas in Brighton & Hove, East Brighton, Queen’s Park, and Moulsecoomb & Bevendean ranked in the top ten per cent nationally for deprivation. Homelessness figures released by Crisis in December 2018 reported a record high in the UK, with figures in Sussex, including Brighton and Hove, reported as being “high”. At a meeting of the full B&H Council on 25 March 2021, Brighton and Hove became the first UK City to adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights.

Brighton is a vibrant and diverse city, home to a wide range of communities and cultures. It is also a city with a high level of social need, including poverty, homelessness, and addiction. For those looking to engage in missionary and outreach work, Brighton presents both an exciting and challenging territory. The Formation House will be an ideal base for those looking to serve the local community and spread the word of God and the traditional Catholic life and faith.


Candidates seeking to enter the seminary or house of formation of the religious clergy, certain qualities are generally considered important. These include a sense of vocation, moral and theological virtues, human and psychic equilibrium, affective balance, and a positive and stable sense of one’s masculine identity. In addition, the candidate should have the freedom to be enthused by great ideals and the capacity to integrate their sexuality in accordance with Christian vision, including celibacy.

Eligible candidates

  • will be baptised and confirmed traditional Catholics;
  • will be passport holder UK citizens, or have a verifiable visa or leave to remain in the UK;
  • must agree to participate for a minimum of one year;
  • will provide character references and comply with all background checks including DBS;
  • will be in full or part time employment or education with sufficient financial support (grant/scholarship/income) to cover their share of rent and subsistence;
  • or, if not already apprenticed or studying, must be eligible and prepared to enroll in an apprenticeship, tertiary or higher education course (preferably in theology);
  • or, if already sufficiently academically qualified must be self-supporting financially to cover their share of rent and subsistence;
  • maturer candidates not in education or employment must be financially self-supporting i.e. able to cover their share of rent and subsistence;
  • if not a graduate of theology must be prepared to study theology academically at least to diploma level;
  • must agree to abide by the house rules and participate in the domestic, liturgical and devotional life of the household;
  • must be willing to participate in activities and projects as required and directed to support the pastoral, liturgical and missionary life of the Brighton Oratory.

The duration of the formation will depend on the individual candidate’s discernment and progression. Candidates will progress through the minor orders before major ordination to the subdiaconate, diaconate and priesthood. Candidates already graduates in theology should expect 3-4 years formation, others 5-6 years including minor and major ordinations.

Domestic arrangements

It is hoped candidates will have their own study-bedroom but dependent on numbers and shared finances, shared rooms may have to be considered. All members of the house will be expected to contribute equally towards maintaining the household. This will help promote a sense of community and shared responsibility among the candidates, and may be a good opportunity for them to learn important life skills.

All members of the household will share responsibility for decisions on spending and paying household bills e.g. rent, utilities, subsistence, etc. Monies sufficient to cover household expenses will be paid monthly by members into a household account.

Members will be required to provide their own black cassock, surplice and clerical clothing in approved styles and from recommended suppliers. Otherwise to limit their personal belongings to the available personal space they will occupy (determined by the available accomodation).

The horarium will be prescribed by the observance and requirements of the liturgical office and the commitments of the inhabitants to work, study or duties. Daily Mass, Lauds and Vespers will be offered communally and the evening meal whenever possible.

Exploring Vocation in a Household-Style Setting

The call to the sacred ministry is a noble and challenging vocation that requires a sacrificial and sustained commitment to God and His people. For traditional Catholic men who are keen to explore this path, a unique opportunity will now available in the form of a household-style setting that provides a supportive and immersive environment for discerning their calling.

Under the direct tutelage of ✠Jerome, a seasoned pastor and spiritual guide, these men will share daily prayer, meals, household responsibilities, and volunteer activities, to help them develop the virtues of humility, charity, obedience, and perseverance. By living in community with other like-minded men, they will learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and build lasting bonds of friendship and support.

This household-style setting offers a holistic approach to vocational discernment that integrates spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and social dimensions of the person. The men will be exposed to a wide range of pastoral experiences, including preaching, teaching, counseling, visiting the sick and the poor, and participating in parish life. They will also be given ample opportunities for personal reflection, spiritual direction, and academic formation, which will help them deepen their knowledge of Scripture, theology, pastoral ministry, and human development.

While the journey towards priesthood is not an easy one, the household-style setting offers a safe and challenging context for men to test their vocation, discern their gifts and limitations, and grow in their love for God and His people. The men are not isolated from the world but are encouraged to engage with it in a way that witnesses to the Gospel values of compassion, justice, and peace. They are also supported by a network of priests, religious, and laypeople who share their vision and mission.

Expressions of interest

To initiate the application process interested candidates should first contact Archbishop Lloyd by submitting a detailed curriculum vitae, a covering letter or email, and a brief account of their spiritual journey and vocational discernment in not more than 3000 words. The covering letter/email should clearly state the candidate’s interest and intentions with regards to their inquiry, as well as their eligibility, capability and availability to commence the potential formation program.

The size and location of the initial Formation House in Brighton will be determined by the number of successful candidates, who will be included in discussions concerning the selection of the property and level of rent. The initial set-up costs including the deposit will be covered by the Archbishop’s Discretionary Fund.

A Formation House is a unique opportunity for the Old Roman apostolate. It will be a place where individuals can come together to receive training and guidance in their spiritual journeys. The Formation House will provide a structured environment where individuals can grow in their faith and develop a deeper understanding of the teachings and traditions of the Church. It is an exciting opportunity for those who wish to deepen their relationship with God, discern their vocation and share their faith with others. The formation house can potentially serve as a hub for the Old Roman apostolate in Brighton, providing a central location for outreach and evangelization efforts.