As Church allows for LGBT-employees in Germany, Vatican publishes concerns over Synodal Way

 

German Bishops at Mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls during their visit in Rome, Nov. 17, 2022 / Daniel Ibáñez / CNA

CNA Newsroom, Nov 25, 2022 / 09:30 am (CNA).

The Vatican on Thursday published the full wording of its latest warnings over another schisma coming out of Germany, raising fundamental concerns and objections against the Synodal Way.

Two leading cardinals delivered their theologically argued reservations in direct meetings with the German bishops last Friday, warning the process “hurts the communion of the Church.”

The critiques were published Nov. 24 both in the official newspaper of the Vatican and on the Vatican’s news site.

They included the suggestion of a moratorium on the process — a proposal knocked back in discussions with German bishops in Rome on Nov. 18, CNA Deutsch reported.

Facing the German bishops in Rome, Nov. 18, 2022: Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ, Prefect of the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet PSS, Prefect of the Dicastery of Bishops (from left). Vatican Media
Facing the German bishops in Rome, Nov. 18, 2022: Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ, Prefect of the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet PSS, Prefect of the Dicastery of Bishops (from left). Vatican Media

The main concern is one of union with the Church, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Dicastery of Bishops, explained.

“Several authoritative critics of the current orientation of the Synodal Way in Germany speak openly of a latent schism that the proposal of your texts threatens to entrench in its present form,” he wrote.

The Synodal Way — which is not a synod — risked being not about achieving pastoral innovations, but attempting a “transformation of the Church,” Cardinal Ouellet warned in his statement, published in German by CNA Deutsch.

Ouellet said Synodal Way’s suggestions “hurt the communion of the Church,” sowing “doubt and confusion among the people of God.”

The Vatican was receiving messages on a daily basis from Catholics scandalized by this process, he added.

Inspired by Gender Theory

“It is striking,” the cardinal told the Germans, “that the agenda of a limited group of theologians from a few decades ago has suddenly become the majority proposal of the German episcopate.”

The German agenda, Ouellet said, was the “abolition of compulsory celibacy, ordination of viri probati, access of women to the ordained ministry, moral re-evaluation of homosexuality, structural and functional limitation of hierarchical power, reflections on sexuality inspired by gender theory, major proposed amendments to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

In amazement, Ouellet said, many observers and faithful are asking: “What happened?” and “Where did we end up?”

Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, raised five concerns with the German bishops, including the Synodal Way’s approach to sexuality, power and structure in the Church, and the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Losing an achievement of Vatican II

Firstly, given the Synodal Way is not a synod, Ladaria said, it was not expected to produce a final document. Still, perhaps it should produce one — or something similar —” that can reflect a more linear approach and less reliance on assertions that are not fully substantiated.”

Secondly, the cardinal cast doubt on the Synodal Way’s assumed “connection between the structure of the Church and the phenomenon of abuse of minors.”

Ladaria warned the Germans of “reducing the mystery of the Church to a mere institution of power, or viewing the Church from the outset as a structurally abusive organization that must be brought under the control of superintendents as quickly as possible.”

Such an approach risks losing “one of the most important achievements of the Second Vatican Council,” Ladaria wrote: Namely, “the clear doctrine of the mission of the bishops and thus of the local Church.”

Pope Francis meeting with the German bishops at the Vatican, Nov. 17, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis meeting with the German bishops at the Vatican, Nov. 17, 2022. Vatican Media

On the question of ordaining women, Ladaria reminded the bishops, as he has stated previously: The teaching of the Catholic Church on the impossibility of ordaining women to the priesthood, now or in the future, is clear – and to sow confusion by suggesting otherwise is a serious matter.

Finally, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told the German bishops to recognize their role in the context of the Apostolic succession. “If it is true that the Magisterium is under the judgment of the Word, it is equally true that it is precisely through the exercise of the Magisterium of the bishops, and especially of the Bishop of Rome, that the Word comes alive and resounds vibrantly,” the cardinal wrote.

The terse warnings published this week were not the first intervention by the Vatican against the Synodal Way. In July, the Vatican issued a warning of a new schism arising from the process initiated by Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

German response: ‘Not a stop sign‘

Upon their return from Rome last week, some German bishops commented on the objections to their “reform project,” reported CNA Deutsch.

Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen said the Vatican’s warnings were “not a stop sign for the important and necessary discussions we’re having,” such as the Synodal Way’s vote for women’s ordination.

Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck Photo: Nicole Cronauge / Diocese of Essen.
Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck Photo: Nicole Cronauge / Diocese of Essen.

In short, the Synodal Way — Synodaler Weg in German, sometimes translated as the Synodal Path —is still expected to continue as planned by organizers, with the next (and so far final) synodal assembly to take place in spring of 2023.

In the meantime, German bishops are pushing ahead with making changes across the board to the Church in their dioceses, not just on the Synodal Way: This week, labor laws were amended so that employees of the Catholic Church can identify as LGBT, be “divorced” or not even Catholic.

While clerics and those in “pastoral care” are still expected to be Catholic, the Church — which employs about 800,000 people in Germany — is “enriched” by this “diversity in church institutions,” the German Bishops’ Conference said on Tuesday.

According to a report by CNA Deutsch, the bishops also said that “all employees can, regardless of their duties, their origin, their religion, their age, their disability, their sex, their sexual identity and their way of life,” now be representatives of “a Church that serves people.”


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4 Comments

  1. Luther rejoices!
    Francis has his mind altered, thinking that if he gets rid of the traditionalists, all will be well..
    We’ll look at the mess from the ‘reformers’..
    Many bishops play the game!
    Its a mess..
    Then the vatican tries to reign it all in…
    Dominus flevit!

  2. We read: “Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen said the Vatican’s warnings were ‘not a stop sign for the important and necessary discussions [monologues?] we’re having.”
    “Not a stop sign?”

    Many years ago, a very young nephew of mine, probably two or three years old, would not listen when his Daddy told him not to stick a fork in a light socket. He kept moving in that direction. But then, his older brother, probably six or seven, gave the same advice as Daddy. And the older brother kneweth well of what he spoketh; and it came to pass that the littler lad listened to one like unto himself…and they lived happily ever after!

    The thing about narcissist Germania is that they may need one of their own to deliver the elementary message. But, why listen Cardinal Muller, after all, he’s Bavarian! Or even to Cardinal Kasper who seems to have had a change of heart from his earlier attitudes. Or, has he? Are his current warnings ignored because they are known by insiders to be crocodile tears? Is his only regret that Marx and Batzing didn’t wait until the synodal Revelation (!) of 2023 (now 2024) before announcing from on high that the Catechism is incorrect to contain moral guidance? The stated purpose and fig leaf in Germania is to address the issue of sexual abuse—by mainstreaming and ratifying it!

    So, if not a “stop” sign, how about “no Left turn?”

  3. Cardinals Ouellet and Ladaria would do well to issue similar warning to Card Hollerich SJ, including bishops Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck and others, Hollerich, who as relator of the Synod on Synodality sets the agenda – since the Synod findings, which are now taken up as Synod proposals for deliberation [one a revised anthropology based on current presumed scientific discovery open to the spectrum of transsexualism] are virtually identical to those of the German Synodaler Weg.
    If Cardinals Ladaria and Ouellet desist, it indicates [to those with good reason for wary vision] the Synodaler Weg is a convenient foil to advance the agenda of the universal Synod.

  4. “The Vatican on Thursday published the full wording of its latest warnings over another schisma coming out of Germany . . . ”
    .
    How about a accusation of heresy, full condemnation, and removal from office?

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