The German ‘Synodal Way’ is an assembly of laity, academics, clergy and bishops in Germany discussing four topics: power in the Church, the role of women, the priesthood, and sexual morality.

In the past they’ve voted on same-sex blessings and the necessity of the priesthood, backed an initiative demanding change to Church doctrine on sexuality and gender, and making priestly celibacy optional.

Pope Francis has since shared his dramatic concern about the situation unfolding in the Church in Germany. The Holy See also recently saw it necessary to publish a statement warning the ‘Synodal Way’ not to fall into schism.

After the warning by the Holy See, the leaders of the ‘Synodal Way’ released a statement saying it was “a source of astonishment for us.”

The presidents of the German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics accused the Vatican of being unwilling to communicate, saying they “regret with irritation” that they have been unable to find “direct ways of communication with the [Vatican.]”

“In our understanding, a synodal Church is something else! It is not a good example of communication within the Church, if statements are published which are not signed by name.”

The Secretary General of the Nordic Bishops’ Conferences, Sister Anna Mirijam Kaschner, commented on the transpirings between the Church in Germany and the Holy See.

She asked why “there are so many problems understanding the direction and content of the Synodal Path?”

“Have neither the Vatican nor the bishops in other countries, nor critical voices in Germany [understood] what the synodal path is and what it wants, or is not and doesn’t want? If that is the case, one may certainly ask whether the synodal path might have a communication problem?” 

The ‘Synodal Way’ leaders say “the Church in Germany will not follow a ‘special German path'” but “we see it as our duty to clearly state where we believe changes are necessary.”

Sister Kaschner said “[nevertheless,] the impression was obviously created that the synodal path wanted to change the teaching of the church after all, or that it was going a special way: abolition of celibacy, women’s priesthood, changes in sexual morality, etc.”

“If such and similar demands are not contradicted, if they are tacitly tolerated or even supported, it is certainly no wonder that the central themes of the synodal path are apparently so misunderstood. Instead of astonishment and irritation, there should be clearer communication that doesn’t shy away from countering exaggerated views and demands.” 

🙏 Pray for the Church in Germany!

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