The ‘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.

Set to end in October 2021, the assembly, seen as controversial, was extended until February 2022.

Their most recent meeting abruptly ended October 2nd because many left early, meaning a 2/3rds majority vote was not possible, hence the extension.

During their October 1 meeting, about 4/5ths present voted in favor of a document that challenges Church teaching on sexual morality called “Living in successful relationships.” Bishop Helmut Dieser there said sexuality should begin “from the person,” rather than natural law.

In March however, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.

During their September 30th meeting, the majority voted to discuss “the question of whether the priesthood is needed at all.”

Chairman of the German Bishop’s Conference Bishop Georg Bätzin said they discussed “dreams put into words of how we want to change the Church in Germany: a Church that is participatory, gender-equitable and journeying together with the people.”

The Vatican sent no one to the meeting despite being invited.

When asked whether he has “sleepless nights due to the synodal path that the German Catholic Church has begun?” Pope Francis replied:

“I allowed myself to send a letter. A letter that I wrote myself in Spanish. It took me a month to do that, between praying and thinking. And I sent it at the right time: the original in Spanish and a translation in German. And there I express everything I feel about the German synod. It is all there. It is a pastoral desire, but one that perhaps does not take into account some things that I explain in the letter that need to be taken into account.”

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