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German bishop calls for Rome synod to discuss German synod

Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg says he is “very much in favour of transporting to Rome, to the level of the whole Church, the insights and decisions that we garner from the Synodal Process – also with regard to [the role of] women and ecclesial ministry.”

Limburg Bishop Georg Batzing, president of the German bishops' conference, is pictured in a 2019 photo. (CNS photo/Harald Oppitz, KNA)

CNA Staff, Jun 3, 2020 / 01:31 pm (CNA).- The president of the German bishops’ conference has called for a synod in Rome that would discuss resolutions of the German “synodal process” at the level of the universal Church.

“What arises synodally must also be clarified and answered synodally,” Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg said, explaining he was “very much in favour of transporting to Rome, to the level of the whole Church, the insights and decisions that we garner from the Synodal Process – also with regard to [the role of] women and ecclesial ministry.”

In an interview with the magazine “Publik-Forum” published May 27, the bishop reiterated his support for the “Synodal Process” currently underway in Germany, and for resolutions providing for “coalitions that set changes.”

Bätzing, 59, who succeeded Cardinal Reinhard Marx as president of the German bishops’ conference in March, also said he had “concrete ideas about what can be achieved in the Forums” of the process.

Resolutions of the synod could include the introduction of a Church blessing for homosexual couples, according to Bätzing. The bishop said that “quite a few suffer from the fact that their relationship does not receive full Church recognition”, adding that those affected were waiting for a positive “signal” from the Church and warned that in his view, the magisterium of the Church, as currently proclaimed, was perceived by people as one of “prohibitive morals.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly emphasized that the Church’s teaching regarding the morality of homosexuality is a matter of doctrine that cannot change.

In 2003, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explained that “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

Despite those things, Bätzing said that in his view “time is running out for us,” and stressed an urgent need for “changes.”

Other changes could include, the bishop told the magazine, the admission of Christians of other denominations to the Eucharist purely on the basis of their decision of conscience.

“Christians can decide with good arguments and according to their own conscience to participate in the Eucharist or Last Supper of the respective other denomination,” Bätzing said, since there was “now so much agreement about what we believe and celebrate.”

In 2018, Pope Francis said that the matter of intercommunion could only be decided by local bishops, and then only with respect for the Church’s norms on the subject.

Bätzing, who has previously voiced his potential support for the ordination of women, conceded that several Popes, including Pope Francis, had emphatically declared that the question of the admission of women to the priesthood was a closed one. However, this could not mean “that the question of the ordination of women is not discussed further,” the German bishop said.

Given the debate over an ordination of women was not going away, Bätzing continued, he supported bringing insights and resolutions garnered on the “Synodal Path” also “to Rome. What arises synodally must also be clarified and answered synodally.”

The German bishops’ conference president also said that in his view, a “lack of priests does not necessarily damage the vitality of the Church”, telling interviewers that he hoped for changes to “certain formulations as they reflect the current state of doctrine in the Catechism” of the Catholic Church.

Whilst the “substance of the Faith” is immutable, Bätzing asserted that in his view, “the self-revelation of God continues steadily.” Furthermore, the Church needs to always seek out the “signs of the times”, and where necessary “develop” its teachings, including those on sexual morality, as CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported.

Catholic teaching on the development of doctrine is complex. But the Church teaches that doctrine cannot develop in such a way that it contradicts itself, and teaches that “no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Prior to his election to the role of president of the bishops’ conference, Bätzing chaired the forum on sexuality of the “Synodal Process.” On May 28, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Cologne announced he was no longer participating in that “Synodal Forum” as it endorsed “polyvalent sexuality”.

In September 2019, Marianne Schlosser, a member of the International Theological Commission, announced that she was no longer available to participate in the process, citing concerns over both the approach and methodology of the “synodal path.”

Schlosser, a professor of theology at the University of Vienna and the recipient of the 2018 Ratzinger Prize, was invited to take part in the Synodal Way’s forum “on women in ecclesial roles and offices” as an expert.

Saying she could not identify with the intermediate report of the preparatory group, Schlosser raised a number of issues, in particular identifying a “fixation on ordination” of women.

Last year the German bishops announced plans for a two-year “Synodal Way,” bringing together lay people and bishops to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

They said the process would end with a series of “binding” votes — raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge Church teaching and discipline.

In June, Pope Francis sent a 28-page letter to German Catholics urging them to focus on evangelization in the face of a “growing erosion and deterioration of faith.”

“Every time an ecclesial community has tried to get out of its problems alone, relying solely on its own strengths, methods and intelligence, it has ended up multiplying and nurturing the evils it wanted to overcome,” he wrote.

In September, the Vatican sent a letter to the German bishops declaring that their plans for the synod were “not ecclesiologically valid.”

After a back and forth between the bishops’ conference and Vatican officials, the first synodal assembly took place in Frankfurt at the end of January. The second meeting is expected to go ahead, though in a changed format and at a later date, due to coronavirus restrictions.

Initially, the process was scheduled to be completed in October 2021.

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  1. Bishop Batzing has learned quickly from very recent history. Now that he has an infectious pandemic—-a “binding synodal process”—-on his hands, he wants to go viral as with COVID-19, exporting it from Germany (read China) to the entire universal Church. He wants a Rome synod to inhale the German synod!

    Batzing is right about one thing: “’time is running out for us,’ and [he] stressed an urgent need for ‘changes’.” But Luther has been dead for nearly 500 years. How about a real change by washing your hands of his overplayed poker hand, and dropping the modern-day fascination with theological necrophilia?

    Instead, social distancing, anyone?

  2. Tell me what’s wrong with this comparison. Imagine a group of people who are in poor physical condition telling others how to train for and run a marathon. Why would we follow their advice? Is the Catholic Church in Germany a vibrant example of what the rest of the Church should be? Are other Christian denominations in Germany that embrace what the German bishops propose vibrant and growing? Of course, true belief is at the core but this watered down “Christianity” doesn’t even pass the test of attracting an enthusiastic following.

  3. Synod 1 this is Batzinger Synod 2 we’re cruising nicely approaching the Line of no Return. Synod 1 Vatican Control Tower we hear you. Excellent Synod 2 we don’t expect to hear from you again. Others are preparing for departure need to go. Happy Trails. Over and Out.

  4. We as Christians must understand the these poor souls inflected with same-sex attraction are sick and should be taken care of on a medical and psychological manner. The world as a whole must stop thinking that homosexual behavior is acceptable just because “everyone else does”. It is clearly against the natural law, and not how human being were meant to live. This is plain to anyone who has the will and the intellect to think about it from the beginning of mankind untill now. What other conclusion can anyone come to?

  5. My cat and dog were both blessed individually last Spring at the feast of St. Francis so… I wonder if the German priests would be willing to bless their marriage as well. I realize it is a cross-species marriage but they do love each other, and like a homosexual marriage there is no chance of progeny so why not, right?

    Let us hope that The Sacred Heart has great plans for all involved , as in the above occasion , that in this 100th year anniv. of birthday of St.John Paul 11, his prayers too would help all to take in better the truth of the TOB teachings as to how The Spirit ,as The Blood , flows through The Body , for each part to do its best – the Heart as the Heart , the liver to help purify , the loins to be sacred grounds ..
    that every pagan spirit and its influences will be driven out through powerful focus on ministry of deliverance .
    Same in turn , to help , like the three measures of leaven through the generations of false teachings as psychology , that negate the power of The Spirit and instead sowing self pity and cynicism .
    Thus , the Fatherly blessing of The Holy Father , such as on Pentecost would bring forth good fruits of Oneness , unlike in the warring families of the pagan gods , with its contempt for life and its roles and sacredness ..
    that the sufferings and trials of the Holy Father too , from a life devoted to the less privileged , would be richly blessed even more , as it has been , such as on the occasion of having been chosen to be a witness to the Eucharistic Miracle of Argentina .

  7. What compels a group to adhere to a name while abandoning the principles which constitute the ontological reality named? Why would the men who inhabit the German episcopate pour their energy into mutilating Roman Catholicism into their own confection instead of striking out on their own?
    They reveal themselves as shallow individuals attached to garb, purloined pedigree and lucre, unable to create anything of substance on their own. A pitiful collection of the disoriented, unintegrated, cowardly protracted adolescents. Only those submerged in the depths of self-deception would ask for a wider stage to exhibit their mendacity. Why would anybody provide such an ear about anything at all, let alone the mysteries of the faith?

  8. It’s a shame the Congress of Vienna destroyed once and for all the Catholic principalities of Europe like Bavaria, for example, to create an artificial behemoth called Germany, while not doing anything to dismantle the other great anti-Catholic behemoth, France by allowing the Catholic principalities in the south of what is now France to remain under the french yoke. Indeed, the New World Order has been planned and implemented for a long time now…

  9. Breath
    Apostasy very deep and wide, growing from Lutheran seeds thrown in their territories in the XVI century. These seeds are trying to snare and infect the Catholic Church, from her headquarters.Illusion out of pride.

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