German “synodal way” votes for blessing homosexual unions; defends contraception, masturbation

The document was approved by the Synodal Way in a 168 to 28, vote with five abstentions; sixty-nine of the Synodal Assembly members are German bishops.

The co-presidents of Germany's Synodal Path project, Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops' conference, and Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, speak to women during a protest by Maria 2.0 and We Are Church outside the Synodal Assembly in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 30, 2021. (CNS photo/Julia Steinbrecht, KNA)

The “Synodal Way,” a conference consisting of German bishops, priests, religious, and laity, on Friday approved a draft document that appears to undermine Catholic doctrine on fundamental points of sexual morality, offering a defense of homosexual relationships, “self-stimulating sexuality,” contraception, and civil divorce and remarriage.

The document, titled “Living in Successful Relationships – Living Love in Sexuality and Partnership,” is described by Vatican News as giving “a clear rejection to so-called conversion therapies for homosexuals” and as pleading on behalf of “homosexual partnerships as well as remarried divorcees ‘to be able to see themselves under the blessing of God expressly granted by the church.’” However, the document reaffirmed the doctrine that sacramental marriage is only between a man and a woman.

The document also “moves away from a radical condemnation of masturbation,” notes Vatican News.

The document was approved by the Synodal Way in a 168 to 28, vote with five abstentions. Sixty-nine of the Synodal Assembly members are German bishops. Another sixty-nine are members of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), a prominent organization of Catholic laity that has a history of dissent from Catholic doctrine and practice. The remaining 37 members are elected representatives of German priests and those in religious life.

No tally identifying the votes of individual members has been published by the Synodal Way.

The ZdK’s history of dissent includes a 2015 declaration that endorsed the blessing of homosexual unions, and a study commissioned that concluded that the Church’s condemnation of homosexuality had contributed to the sex abuse crisis.

The powerful influence of the ZdK appears in the document’s unexplained claim, made in the preamble, that “the Church’s sexual ethics has also favored the crimes of sexual abuse in the Church. We sincerely ask for forgiveness of all people who have suffered from the effects of church teaching on sexuality.”

The preamble of the document also claims “knowledge of the human sciences” should be the basis for ensuring “a change in the teaching and practice of the Church in dealing with human sexuality.” Elsewhere in the document such changes are characterized as different forms of “accentuation” or emphasis, rather than a change in doctrinal content.

The basic text criticizes the Catholic Church’s condemnation of contraception and its insistence in affirming the procreative function of the sexual act, claiming that most people see the teaching of the Catholic Church on the immorality of contraception as “a misunderstanding of the human significance of human sexuality for every person and as an implausible imposition.” 

It also defends masturbation as opening up “the possibility of discovering and experiencing oneself physically” and experiencing “pleasure, identity and transcendence,” and claims that homosexual relationships “should always be recognized without reservation” if they are characterized by “love and compassion.” 

Homosexual orientation should not be a “basis for exclusion” from ordination to the clergy, the text states, claiming that homosexuality “is not a risk factor for sexual abuse,” nor an illness.

The document remains in draft form and must be approved a second time when the Synodal Way meets again in early 2022 before it is made official. It will then be presented to the Vatican for approval, according to Synodal Way organizers.

Other draft documents approved for future review reportedly questioned priestly celibacy and applauded the notion of ordaining women to the priesthood, something that Pope John Paul II said the Church had “no authority whatsoever” to do, decreeing in 1994 that “this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

The endorsement of blessing homosexual unions by the “Synodal Way” was made in defiance of repeated admonitions made by Pope Francis and his allies among the cardinals, who have warned the Synodal Way against radical departures from Catholic doctrine not endorsed by the pope.

In particular, the document appears to be a direct contradiction of a recent declaration by the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith repudiating blessings of homosexual unions and other “partnerships” involving extra-marital sexual activity. Pope Francis approved the declaration, which appeared as a “dubium” or answer to a question submitted to the congregation, in February of this year.

To the question, “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” the Congregation answered, “Negative,” explaining that “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”

“The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan,” the Congregation added, noting that such blessings “would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony,” and quoting Pope Francis’ statement that “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

The leadership of the German bishops appeared to have little concern for potential conflict with the Vatican. The Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference and President of the Synodal Way, Bishop Dr. Georg Bätzing, was quoted as saying: “There were texts debated that are not just texts, but dreams put into words about how we want to change the church in Germany: a church that is participatory, gender equitable, and journeys with people.”

Bätzing reportedly lashed out at the Vatican last Monday, according to Francis X. Rocca at the Wall Street Journal, decrying “warning words or clarifications from the Roman Curia on questions that have long been answered in our enlightened and freedom-loving society,” and adding that the prohibition of blessing homosexual unions had provoked “indignation and head-shaking among many people.”

The Synodal Way’s Vice President, Dr. Franz-Josef Bode, Bishop of Osnabrück, hailed the completion of this year’s Synodal Way session as “a decisive step for a growing synodality,” and expressed hope that the synod’s decision would be incorporated into the “worldwide Synodal Way,” and that there would be a “real dialogue soon” with the Vatican and Pope Francis.


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About Matthew Cullinan Hoffman 22 Articles
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman is a Catholic essayist and journalist, and the author and translator of The Book of Gomorrah and St. Peter Damian's Struggle Against Ecclesiastical Corruption (2015). His award-winning articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, London Sunday Times, Catholic World Report, LifeSite News, Crisis, the National Catholic Register, and many other publications. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary, with a focus on Thomism.

71 Comments

  1. The synod is falling on its sword, finally. And what we hear is the sound of a escaping quorum. We also read that the synod “moves away from a radical condemnation of masturbation.” Indeed, the entire synod is an breathtaking exercise in ideological masturbation.

    And as for Batzing’s two-faced clarification that “There were texts debated that are not just texts, but dreams….” Dreams! A waiting world discerns that, except for the spelling, there is little difference between sexual abuse and the synod’s textual abuse.

    Well, now, the horse and the horse’s ass is out of the barn, and surely the synod can figure out what to do with that too.

  2. Why doesn’t the German Catholic church quit turning their backs on Christ,
    as well as quit tormenting faithful Catholics by just going ahead with their apostasy and join the followers if Luther? Let’s all stop pretending that they are One with the Catholic Church.

    The same goes with all the other apostates: find any one of dozens of protestant churches to join that will allow you to believe whatever lies you want to.

  3. “…the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer. […] Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.”
    Pope Pius X

  4. Bishop Batzing – “. . . questions that have long been answered by our enlightened and freedom-loving society”.
    That says it all IMHO.

  5. Our question, that is those of us holding fast to Apostolic Tradition, is will the reptile that slithered out of Amazonia to Germany be decapitated by Rome, or will there be further Kabuki theatre? If so what does that hold for the great Synod on synodality? Dr Bode and Bishop Bätzing are unified on their “dream” of a progressive, free German church. Free to masturbate both physically and intellectually, that is, morality and theology as is now practiced. “Knowledge of the human sciences” is the intellectualist rather faith based premise that gives sanction to the morally obscene, as if return to pre Christian pagan morals was actually progress. Freedom in Germany likened to Liberty in America determines what is morally good. So is then, is “the church in Germany: a church that is participatory, gender equitable, and journeys with people [the model for a] worldwide Synodal Way”? If Christ is effectively jettisoned in Germany, Pope Francis is thoroughly obligated to act decisively. Words and letters of warning will not suffice. Otherwise, the Amazonia creature [a true beast from Hades] will find an endless feeding ground, bishops topping the menu in the vast yet to be explored expanses of the great Synod of synods.

    • Jennifer, thank you. You summed up all the other comments in one word. The Catholic Church in Germany has gone completely nuts.

  6. Ah, I see. The Church has had it wrong for 2,000 years.

    The purpose of sexual congress has nothing to do with children.

    It’s all about orgasms.

    Nice.

    • Right. They figured out that they are smarter than God who is so stupid, He couldn’t figure out how to give guidance to humanity on how they should order their lives together until these smartypants prelates and theologians showed up to correct God’s incompetence.

  7. According to these Bishops, there appear to be NO sexual sins at all. At least, not if “love” is involved or one makes a determination with their own “conscience”. Can we assume that means adultery is no longer prohibited as long as the parties involved still love each other? What about singles living with unmarried partners, often in serial monogamy, with many different people over the years?? You know, “trying out” being married. What about multiple partner relationships? Where does this stop? Are we to believe that allowing women priests, or a married priesthood, would magically erase all clergy homosexual advances to seminarians? That seems improbable, since such men are not interested in women at all. The Pope should have stopped the direction of the German Bishops long ago. He either lacks the will, or agrees with their statements.In either case, at this point it would appear that he has failed to protect church teaching. Regarding “conscience” ( or secular popularity)as the sole guide by which to make decisions, it has been my observation that humans have a great capacity for self-justification, even if that involves twisting both truth and reality. Disgusting, overall.

    • Despite how or whether women priests or married priests would help to prevent sexual abuse, one method should work: to welcome openly gay priests. If a gay man is called to the priesthood, and his moral mandate is celibacy, there is no time like the present to promote this complementary goal!

      Although, it must be true that today many fewer gay men remain traditionally Catholic or closeted.

      The secrecy, shame and–quite likely–emotional immaturity of young matriculates has surely contributed to gay priests abusing boys. Many more factors come to mind…This is a complex issue that the Church hasn’t seemed to tackle head on. Am I correct?

      • No, you are completely wrong. A priest stands in persona Christi capitis and represents Christ the Bridegroom to the Church within and without the liturgy. It is, obviously enough, intrinsically impossible for a homosexual to do so. In fact, I would argue that no homosexual can be validly ordained since his disorder renders him incapable of receiving Holy Orders

      • You are badly mistaken. You are the victim of much-parroted “conventional wisdom” and pop psych that defies the actual science as well as common sense not tainted by ideology. Careful research (e.g, the investigations of Fr. Paul Sullins, PhD sociologist with the Ruth Institute) has made it painfully clear that the child sexual abuse problem in the Church is primarily (80%) a problem of homosexual men pursuing teens or teens and young men. As to true pedophiles (not including ephebophiles and those sexually preying on teens and young adults), any child protective service social worker can tell you that the predilection for molesting children is set well before they reach college age, the earliest that candidates for the priesthood can enter a seminary in Western nations. Psychologically, the lack of shame in pedophiles is a serious problem; if they felt more guilt and did less rationalization there would be far fewer abuse victims.

    • Hear, hear Deacon Peitler! I would add that they a) take only their personal items with them, B) change into their street clothes, c) leave the Church buildings built by the CATHOLIC CHURCH and d) NO LONGER call themselves Catholic, because they are not Catholic. I pray, however, they see the light of Christ and repent of their ways but each day my hope sinks more and more. I am so ashamed of them!

  8. Why pretend that it’s primarily a German problem? It exists throughout the entire Western Church, admittedly to a less publicly notorious degree. The fact is that the German Catholic Church is not Catholic. To pretend that traditional Catholics are in communion with German “Catholic”-Lutheran heretics is a farce. Yet this same farce continues in France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, and the United States where vast majorities of “Catholic” bishops and laity do not believe or practice Catholic doctrine or morality. The Western Catholic Church is disintegrating into a sea of heresy and schism of which the German situation is model and emblem.

  9. Ohhhh…..you’re all much too pessimistic! Never fear, my fellow Catholics, this is why we have a Pope, yes? To stamp out this sort of hanky panky before it gains traction. Even now, as we speak, the Holy Francis is preparing to put a stop to this apostasy and we can be completely confident that he will do so, right?………..right?……….hello??

  10. Catholics who love the Vetus Ordo are treated with contempt. But blatant heresy and Schism like this does apparently doesn’t even warrant harsh words from the current Vatican leadership. If this were a sane world, all the German Bishops (barring Voderholzer, Woelki and the few other remaining faithful ones) would have been laicized and excommunicated, along with the “Central Committee of German Catholics”.

  11. Somewhere I read that this group believes that they need to walk with the people. Yes, walk with them but let Christ lead the way. Their way leads not to the heavenly home but to Hell. Right now, it seems that you want to take millions of your fellow country men and women to a very bad place. I pray that you do not go down that path, and if you do, then I pray that nobody follows you.

    • They are following the Sankt Gallen Madiz, Mal. Bergoglio charged his C6 politbureau member Cardinal Marx to well and truly Synodise the Vicar of Christ’s fatherland as he watches on in silence. Germany is being well and truly Bergoglioed.

  12. Pray for Pope Benedict XVI, who, no doubt, has been silenced by the apostates, but continues to Pray for Holy Mother Church.

  13. What is left to say? These people are no longer Christians, if they ever were. No Catholic in Germany should seek communion with them, even if they number bishops among their group. They possess the churches, the schools, the properties, but they are schismatics. If the Pope accepts (or “receives”) any of this trash, he is schismatic as well. There is no point – and no virtue – in denying the state we are in.

  14. Well, this looks a lot like the 93rd, 94th and 95th theses being drafted for nailing to the CDF’s door. I’m thinking these bishops and their followers would be much happier in a different faith tradition. My hope is that the CDF works swiftly to help them find one.

      • Thank you, Deacon. On an administrative note: This is my first time posting on a CWR story. LexOrandi is the screen name I picked. It’s certainly possible another person used that screen name before me, in which case I could be confusing you by using someone else’s screen name. Let me know if that’s the case, and if it is, I’ll use a different screen name for any future posts.

        • “Lex orandi” was the screen name of a truly orthodox person who used to weigh-in over at Crisis before they ceased entertaining reader comments. But, that said, no one has ownership rights over any adopted screen name. Welcome to CWR.

          • Many thanks, Deacon. By your description, I can only aspire to the “original” LexOrandi’s orthodoxy and holiness. To avoid confusion, I’ll use a different screen name for any future posts.

  15. I’m certain that the likes of Father James Martin are giddy about what’s happening in Germany.
    At the same time, I’m still waiting for discipline, if not excommunication, proceedings from the Pope/Rome. Should I be holding my breath?

  16. CNA also has reported that the German synodalists voted 95 to 94 to abolish the priesthood!

    Evidently, ‘in persona Christi’ isn’t something the majority of synodalists prefer to be. Consider that no one coerced or forced their career choice. Consider that nothing and no one prevents such fools from walking away from their jobs today. That would be the honorable course; only malice or stupidity outweighs such common sense.

    If past behavior predicts future performance, the Roman shepherd will eventually shine a shaft of ambiguity toward the mortified sheep in order that they loosen up and not remain so rigid. See?

    I

    • In the wonderful utopia of nonrigidity, let those who seek nonpriestly priests have nonpriestly priests and those who want priestly priests can have priestly priests. Problem solved. Only the rigid think anything else needs to be said on the matter. Nothing ambiguous. Francis need not go down that rabbit hole. He can return to addressing plastic straws on the beach and planning this year’s new Christmas Nativity Spectacular that will top last year’s that had baby Jesus as a coil spring from a railroad freight train.

  17. It would be laughable if not so damming to their souls. Welcome to the democratic, protestant, secular catholic church! A majority rules, no sin, an individual interpretation of the Bible, no magisterium needed. Do not apply if you believe in Christ’s (remember Him) Teachings found in the scriptures, Tradition, and the Magisterium.

    • I beg to differ slightly…
      Bergoglio was unleashed on the Church, and the Sankt Gallen Mafia are in full control.

      • I strongly differ. Pope Francis is the one that our Lords wants as his Vicar at this critical time. You still push your myths.

          • Just because you do not want to accept Pope Francis as the Vicar of Christ, I am not going to change my view that the Holy Spirit is guiding the proceedings.

        • What I think is not the issue. The issue is what theologians and Church leaders have thought and taught about the Holy Spirit. That is what I shared with you.

          God has granted us all freedom to hold onto any erroneous or unreasonable opinion at odds with learned leaders if that is our choice. You are surely free to believe whatever any wish about me, whether true or false, with or without charity, with or without bias or prejudice. Knock yourself out.

          • “The term “Christ” means “anointed,” and Jesus is indeed the one anointed by God’s Spirit. One of the titles commonly given to the Pope is the “Vicar of Christ.” Becoming Pope, therefore, will involve a special outpouring of the Spirit.” https://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=2061
            The Cardinals present might not personally experience something supernatural, but the Holy Spirit’s influence is always there. His gifts are many.

        • Mal, it is a fact that Bergoglio has relegated the title “Vicar of Christ” to the footnote on his biographical in the Year Book published by the Holy See. It states “historical title…” as in no longer in use. The title does, however, still fully apply to the holder of the Munus who gives valid Apostolic Blessings from the bottom of the Vatican Gardens. We both believe there is a Vicar of Christ in Rome. One of the two Popes still believes in that title.

          • Mike, it is indeed a fact. However, that was done only in one publication, and that too, once. It was done by the Diocese of Rome in a document that listed all those who were associated with that diocese. Pope Francis was listed there as Bishop of the diocese and not as Pope of the Church.

        • Pope Francis is the one that our Lords wants as his Vicar at this critical time.

          You lack the necessary acumen to accurately discern and definitively state that the election of Bergoglio was in fact the ordained will of Almighty God and not simply His permissive will. You continue to poorly exercise your free will by promoting your own myth.

  18. These now open heretics aren’t Catholic. However, as mentioned above (by Paul) they are only “the worst.” Other so-called “Catholics” exist outside of Germany.

    In this context, it is best to be reminded of what the Catholic Church is.

    “Q. 489. What is the Church?

    A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible Head.”

    http://www.baltimore-catechism.com/lesson11.htm

    So those who maintain, for instance, that abortion isn’t murder, or that sodomy, “self-abuse,” or contraception isn’t wrong aren’t Catholics. There have been popes in the past who have given great scandal, but they haven’t taught that their immoral behaviors were moral. For those in authority to tolerate heresy or other immorality is to be an accessory to the sin.

  19. To add injustice to heresy, German Catholics have to pay a church tax, which presumably pays the salaries of these clerics who believe that God has changed his mind about sin.

    • Let’s not forget that the German Church Tax was criticized by PPBXVI who said it was outdated and needed scrapping. He was ridiculed, just as his request that the German Novos Ordo translation of the words of consecration of the precious blood be corrected to make it valid was flatly rejected by Cardinal C6 politbureau Marx.

    • Unfortunately, the German Catholic Church (and probably other taxpayer-supported denominations) are little more than social welfare organizations.

  20. All starting with the footnotes in AMORIS LAETITIA and the German Church, along with Austria and Malta, ran with it. And the Pope confirmed that was the way.

    What Pope refuses to clarify his own Encyclical???

  21. All that I love is falling apart before my very eyes! I feel so abandoned and alone! Where is the Church I love? Where are the teachers I so much admired and learned from? Where are the voices that are supposed to speak for Christ and God’s Plan. I cannot live without the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church! Nor do I want to! I cry to the bottom of by soul! Sweet Jesus, please help us!

  22. Since practised homosexuality/sodomy has been their favourite theme for some years now many of us ask why they just don’t come out of the closet instead of hiding behind a false compassion.
    How many of those Bishops and priests will soon be seen photographed with their same sex ” marriage ” partner? The same with many lay people.
    Just wait and see.
    Do these Bishops and priests, lay people have any other interests than ” masturbation”, ” homosexuality ” ” remarriage ” ” divorce “?
    They have already excommunicated themselves Heretics.
    But God is not on their side.

  23. I have to echo Paul and Shawn above that Germany is not alone. It is only the most publicity-attracting to us here in North America.
    I’m guessing that Belgium, a country of particular interest to me, and others are pretty much on the same page.

  24. We seem to be forgetting the fact that what we hear or read is merely the opinions expressed by various groups involved in this early stage of the process. Undue prominence is given to the voices that are startling. But, as Pope Francis told the Germans, this is not democracy but a spiritual journey. In the end, the Bishops will take all these views into consideration and then make their decisions known. They have already indicated that they will not go against the teachings of the Church. So, yes, we need to pray for them at this time.

  25. Obedience to bishops is owed only in so far as they are obedient to Scripture and the teachings of the Church. These clowns don’t realize that they’re undermining their own authority. They’ve made themselves completely irrelevant.

    I don’t know what I’d do if I was a Catholic living in one of these dioceses. TLM, Eastern Catholic…SSPX?! What would be a viable option?

    • You are right, IMHO, Andrew, that obedience to Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium Triumphant is prior over obedience to heretics and men who declaim “This is rupture” or “I do not believe in a Catholic God.” A Pope who denies the Incarnation and the Trinity in textual submission to Allah is not to be followed blindly into “Synodisme” The Catholic Church has a Synod. It is the college of Cardinals. Bergoglio spurned it and created a small politbureau of Cardinals – C9 reduced to C6 – who – like himself – have difficulty even leaving an airport if they dare to land in their home countries. 2000 years of Sacred Tradition or Modernism? Catholicism or Bergoglioism? You are right to choose TLM. It is the Mass of Saints and Martyrs.

  26. Spiritual unilateral disarmament in action. The behavior of the German hierarchy suggests that the historic Catholic faith is not worth fighting for. No wonder the Church in Germany is in such sad shape.

  27. “No wonder the Church in Germany is in such bad shape”.
    To repeat, it’s not just the Church in Germany.
    Bishop Bonny of Antwerp seems to be pretty much on the same page.

  28. The Passion meditations in Divine Will mention the desire / intent to adore The Lord in every tabernacle , to also make reparations for the ooccasion when persons abandon the Divine Will – http://www.preghiereagesuemaria.it/DV-inglese/THE%20HOURS%20OF%20THE%20PASSION%20FINAL%20EDITION%202014.pdf

    Seeing not just oneself but others too in the act of adoring The Lord in every tabernacle – good means to have the sense of sacredness of the persons around , even of the little ones since their souls too in the Heart of The Mother capable of same , in union with all ; all such vivid means of making reparations as narrated in the above meditations , trusting how same can bring lot more into lives even in the here and now instead of the feared for depravity – the Holy Father in allowing to proceed with the Synod very likely have such an intent .

    The logo of the Synod , with the shining sun and the tree over the people as well as the place of honor that the Pope Emeritus have given to the St.Anibale at the Vatican , with him being one who is linked to Luisa as well all could be pointing to such a plan and thus ? to make up for the past negligences of the devotion too for its promised fruits .
    The recent sad case of a newly ordained who fell into evil as well as the victims too – hope some of the answers including in prevention would be in the above realm .

    Same would then be the remedy for the warning of Bl.Mother at Fatima on sins of the flesh , giving the struggling laity too to trust that there can be freedom from such slavery as well as good means of prevention .

    FIAT !

    • Thank you for the 282 page pdf book, JPG on the Passion and the Divine Will. One cannot help but see PPBXVI’s Act of Sacrifice of the Active exercise of the ministerium in the light of this. One is ever reminded too that Judas played a Major role in the Divine Plan a plan greater by far than his own.

  29. Being compassionate does not mean that any wrongdoing must be ignored or even embraced. People living in sinful relationships need our prayers, not our blessings. This applies also to individuals who have the urge to act sinfully.

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