Home News Pope Francis addresses concerns over German Church’s synodal path

Pope Francis addresses concerns over German Church’s synodal path

Pope Francis has reiterated his concerns about the direction of the Catholic Church in Germany, responding to a letter from four German women who withdrew from the national synodal process due to reservations. 

In a letter dated November 10, the Pope expressed apprehensions regarding the German Church’s potential deviation from the universal path, according to Vatican News.

The letter, addressed to moral theologian Katharina Westerhorstmann, theologian Marianne Schlosser, philosopher Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, and publicist Dorothea Schmidt, acknowledged the concerns raised in their November 6 letter about the outcomes of the German Synodal Path.

The synodal process, involving 230 delegates, covered contentious issues such as the blessing of same-sex couples, changes in sexual morality, priestly celibacy, clerical power, combating abuse, and the role of women, including the possibility of a female diaconate and the priestly ordination of women.

The four delegates specifically raised concerns about the proposed establishment of a synodal committee to prepare the introduction of a directive and decision-making council.

Pope Francis emphasized in his response that such a body, as outlined in the decision text, is incompatible with the sacramental structure of the Catholic Church. He reminded the women that the Holy See had explicitly prohibited the establishment of such a committee in a letter dated January 16, 2023.

The Pope also recalled his 2019 Letter to the Pilgrim People of God in Germany, urging Church leaders to adhere to the Gospel path without succumbing to functionalist drifts or ideological reductions.

- Newsletter -

He reiterated that the synodal process lacks the authority to make doctrinal decisions and expressed hope that the proposals from the German path align with the universal Church’s synodal journey.

Expressing gratitude for the women’s theological contributions and their “witness of faith,” Pope Francis concluded the letter by urging them to continue praying for him and the shared concern for unity within the Church.

In relation to the synodal path, a meeting took place on July 26 in the Vatican between Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, heads of Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and representatives of the German Bishops’ Conference.

This meeting, a continuation of discussions initiated during the German bishops’ ad limina visit in November 2022, focused on theological and disciplinary issues stemming from the Synodal Path.

A year ago, 62 German bishops held a week-long meeting with the Pope, addressing concerns and emphasizing their commitment to Catholicism. Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg clarified that the German bishops have no intention of initiating a schism, stating, “We are Catholic, and we intend to remain so.”

The November 2022 meetings with the Pope and the Curia aimed to address concerns on both sides and reaffirm the commitment to the unity of the Catholic Church.

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support Our Mission

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.