The Dispatch: More from CWR...

German Synodal Way designed to create ‘pressure’ on the Church, founding president says

Thomas Sternberg speaking at a press conference for the German "Synodal Way" on Sept. 30, 2021, in Frankfurt. / Synodaler Weg/Maximilian von Lachner

CNA Newsroom, Dec 2, 2022 / 07:10 am (CNA).

The German Synodal Way was designed from the outset to avoid legal sanctions while simultaneously creating “pressure” on the Church to change Catholic teaching, one of the founders of the process told German media Friday.

Thomas Sternberg, former president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), said the controversial process wanted to achieve changes to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, the ordination of women, and other topics, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Speaking to German diocesan broadcaster Domradio on Dec. 2, Sternberg said the Synodal Way was proceeding “much more successfully than I had thought.”

In light of the Vatican’s interventions against the Synodal Way, he said it had become clear “it was right not to use the form of a synod, as that would have been sanctioned by canon law” and “would have given canon law properly then also the possibility to prohibit something like that.”

From the perspective of canon law, the Synodal Way was just “a nonbinding discussion process,” Sternberg said.

Only in this way could the participants “actually operate freely. Then even prefabricated critical objections that have been raised by Rome come to nothing.”

Together with Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Sternberg launched the Synodal Way in 2019. Acknowledging the process is not a synod, Marx at the time said it was instead a “process ‘sui generis.’”

The pope’s letter to the pilgrim people of God in Germany remained “very important,” Sternberg said Dec. 2.

Like many ZdK leaders, Sternberg is a professional politician. He described in detail some of the political tools and tactics the organizers of the German Synodal Way followed in their pursuit of achieving change, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

On the one hand, he said, it was clear the participants could not “decide the question of the ordination of women or the question of the abolition of celibacy in Germany.”

However, he said, “I am a politician to the extent that I know that processes and developments are needed in order to make topics worthy of discussion in the first place.”

“When you get involved in a synodal process, you also have to reckon with the fact that sometimes you don’t win,” Sternberg said about the one text so far not adopted by the process — which led to tumultuous scenes at the Frankfurt event.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx and ZdK Chairman Thomas Sternberg on July 5, 2019 Photo: Martin Rothweiler / EWTN.TV.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx and ZdK Chairman Thomas Sternberg on July 5, 2019 Photo: Martin Rothweiler / EWTN.TV.

“We have to talk about it, and we have to make demands,” the former ZdK president said of the approach chosen by the organizers. “Only through pressure does real change come about.”

Sternberg specifically mentioned the Synodal Way’s texts on ordaining women to the priesthood, clericalism, and homosexuality.

He said these topics were now being discussed “internationally, not only in Germany,” thanks to the German process.

The Vatican last week published the full wording of its latest warnings over another schism coming out of Germany, raising fundamental concerns and objections.

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

The prefect of the Dicastery of Bishops said the 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.

Sternberg’s successor as president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Irme Stetter-Karp, accused the Vatican of “snubbing” German Catholics on Nov. 21.

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

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 10245 Articles
Catholic News Agency (


  1. Thomas Sternberg Card Reinhard Marx preen together happily. For former ZdK pres Sternberg the current pontificate removed his doubts that the Synodaler Weg [Synodal Way] would be able to achieve its mischievous end of altering Apostolic doctrine.
    Finally, Sternberg, a notable witness to the Kabuki theatre of papal warnings, German bishops’ protests – that the Synod on Synodality benefits from the charade. Appointment by His Holiness Card Hollerich SJ as Synod on Synodality relator should have awakened us. Some got the message. Sex dominates the fallen intellect of Man the Germans [the fallen not the few remaining faithful] no different. Women priests, homosexuality top of the Synodaler Weg agenda. Where does it originate, if not at least encouraged if not with former Archbishop Milan Card Mario Maria Martini SJ who invented the perennial open forum synod idea to update Christianity to the world? His devotee then Card Jorge Bergoglio Buenos Aires assumed the task Martini overjoyed when Jorge became Francis I.
    Why sexuality topping the agenda? Why the obsession? Because it’s about the transmission of life created in God’s image. Family, one man, one woman and children are central to love of that image. Corruption of the intellect occurs when we deem our thoughts superior to those laid down [in the soul by God] in natural law and revelation. Assume, then, history reveals this as scientific truth when behavior deviates from its natural predilection. Ironically, the greater the perverse deviation in sexual behavior the greater to the corrupt mind the scientific evidence that ‘God made you that way’.
    Why then do we judge? Who are we to judge anyone who tries in best of his ability to do the will of God? Just add to the travesty someone who does their best to do the will of God and the rest falls into place. Acceptance of the unnatural as nature’s way, God’s benevolent appraisal. That is to consign Christ’s revelation to an outdated historical event. That is to become an apostate.

  2. Germania’s “synodal path” is “designed?”

    A camel is a horse designed by a committee. And, like the trendy German thingy, today’s trendy and high-priced designer-jeans are also full of holes.

  3. Making demands, applying pressure using political tools and tactics… I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding these synodal processes. Invoking Him is just rhetorical cover for progressive power politics. I call that scandalous.

  4. As a postscript to my Dec 2 comment there really is no hard evidence of collusion between the Vatican sponsored Synod on Synodality and the German Synodaler Weg. There is however alluded to in my comment what appears to be a consistency in direction of both the German and the universal Vatican Synod.
    Whether or not ZdK Chairman Sternberg is correct regarding the Synodaler Weg’s immunity to canon law is irrelevant to the Pontiff’s supreme authority and ability to intervene with dramatic consequences for apostate bishops. There’s a difference between alleged discussion and actually proposing heresy as have the German prelates Card Reinhard Marx and Bishop Georg Bätzing.
    At point of issue is the hesitancy of Pope Francis not to effectively intervene. A rationale may be found in Prof Eduardo Echeverria’s recent commentary Signs of Contradiction in TCT, in which Echeverria muses over Francis’ interview with America Mag that “A Catholic cannot think either or and reduce everything to polarization. It’s about both and or, and combining differences.”
    We may study both sides of interpretation as does Echeverria, on the positive for example faith and reason, although on the negative what is doctrinal and absolute and what is increasingly accepted by His Holiness as pastoral and not in sync with doctrine. This is apparent in the similarity of themes in both synods the German and the Vatican.
    Harmony has difference in application. If we refer to accord between Blacks and Whites then it’s racial harmony. If we reference doctrine, it’s not simply theoretical, rather as manifest in practice, since ethics refer to what we do not simply ideas. Now if as Card Hollerich suggests the Church must reconsider homosexual relations, that is actions in context of harmony, the normalizing of those behaviors reduces harmony to difference in behaviors rather than doctrine. As similar to racial harmony. As such, we can no longer speak of doctrinal harmony between different sexual behaviors.
    Normalization between two diverse behaviors becomes equivalence. Doctrinal harmony is effectively made irrelevant. We are either a religious body adhering to moral principles or we are not.

    • Of harmonious blending, such splitting the difference is an expedient mind game of self-deception…

      The smiley-button lunatic who jumps from the tenth floor, as he passes the fifth floor, hollers (as in Hollerich): “so far, so good!” And, farther down, he can always divide in half the remaining distance to solid ground, such that there is always a minuscule margin of never actually touching the pavement. No “polarization!”

      But, the fact is that he makes a very pastoral and absolute mess on the sidewalk. The sidewalk, that real place where the unreal synodal lemmings are “walking together” and who, likewise, never arrive at any weighty conclusions about the gravity of their situation.

      Said another prophet of false “harmony” as opposed to “either/or”, with one hand in ice water and the other on the stove: “on average I feel pretty good.”

  5. How the Descendants of Ephraim, “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.”, hijack the Catholic Church.

    The evil German Bishops are a huge part of The Book of Revelation’s ‘Harlot of Babylon’. Here is why Babylon, which fell 60 years after the exile of the House of Judah, is actually destroyed upon the Second Coming of Jesus. God labels the Descendants of Israel as ‘The Harlot of Babylon’, upon their exile from the Promised Land. The ‘beast’ the Harlot of Babylon rides represents world dominant power.

    Revelation 17:3
    Then he carried me away in spirit to a deserted place where I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names, with seven heads and ten horns. The woman was wearing purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held in her hand a gold cup that was filled with the abominable and sordid deeds of her harlotry. On her forehead was written a name, which is a mystery, “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her I was greatly amazed.

    When Pope Benedict XVI abdicated the papacy, the Cardinals ‘wanted’ to find our next Pope from the Continent of Africa. I was elated! After having the Descendants of Ephraim dominate the Chair of St. Peter for 1300 years, as well as dominate the college of Pope voting Cardinals, it was at last time for a non-Descendant of Ephraim to lead our Church! I thought! Turned out that the Descendants of Ephraim, pope voting Cardinals, could not find anyone on the continent of Africa, ‘with the right qualifications’. The next thing I heard was that the Descendants of Ephraim pope voting Cardinals had found our next pope in South America. Well that works! When I first saw Pope Francis, I exclaimed, ‘He sure looks like a Descendant of Ephraim to me!’ Pope Francis is a Descendant of Ephraim, of Italian descent.

    Because Abraham was faithful to God, God Blessed Abraham’s descendants above other descendants. The ‘Blessing of Abraham’ (Genesis 22:16-18) is: Will have Myriads of descendants (Joshua 17:14); Will have great wealth (Deuteronomy 33:13); Will have world dominant Power (Genesis 17:15); Will grow to become a multitude of nations (Genesis 48:17).

    Jacob/Israel bypassed his twelve sons, and placed the Blessing of Abraham on his beloved wife Racheal’s grandson Ephraim. In this way Jacob bypassed his other three wives, Leah (Judah’s mother), Bilhah, and Zilpah’s, descendants of Israel. It is through Jacob’s beloved wife Racheal, through whom all the myriads of descendants from the Blessing of Abraham flow. Jacob Israel’s true love Racheal led a life of painful childlessness, due to the attempted murder of her son Joseph, by Joseph’s brothers from other mothers. Posthumously, Jacob romantically made his true love Racheal to be the mother of all the, Blessing of Abraham myriads of children, who grow to become a multitude of nations.

    Europe originally had indigenous black people. It is the Descendants of Ephraim, exiled from the Promised Land due to their massive sinfulness, who immigrate into Europe to become a multitude of nations, which makes Europe a multitude of white nations, bearing world dominant power.

    BBC: Cheddar Man: DNA shows early Briton had dark skin.
    A University College London team analyzed the genome, and the results were used for a facial reconstruction. It underlines the fact that the lighter skin characteristic of modern Europeans is a relatively recent phenomenon. No prehistoric Briton of this age had previously had their genome analyzed.
    quoted from:

    Due to their massive unrepentant sinfulness, Ephraim’s descendants, presently ruling the world, due to their possession of the Blessing of Abraham, are set to be decimated, by God, in the near future Apocalypse. Jesus’ locutions to St. Faustina in the 1930s, indicate this event will be upon us very soon! Please receive Jesus’ Gifts of Divine Mercy, this coming Divine Mercy Sunday.

    Penance! Penance! Penance! Fellow Descendants of Ephraim.

    Matthew 8:11
    Mark what I say! Many will come from the east and the west and will find a place at the banquet in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while the natural heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the dark, Wailing will be heard there, and the grinding of teeth.

    Hosea 5:9
    Ephraim shall become a waste on the day of chastisement: Against the tribes of Israel I announce what is sure to be.

    Isaiah 10:20
    The Light of Israel will become a fire, the Holy One, a flame, That burns and consumes its briers and its thorns in a single day. And the glory of its forests and orchards will be consumed, soul and body, and it will be like a sick man who wastes away. And the remnant of the trees in his forest will be so few, that any child can record them.
    On that day The remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no more lean upon the one who struck them; But they will lean upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. Though your people, O Israel, were like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant of them will return; their destruction is decreed, as overflowing justice demands. For the Lord, the GOD of hosts, is about to carry out the destruction decreed in the midst of the whole land.

    Isaiah 17:14
    The fortress shall vanish from Ephraim and dominion from Damascus; The remnant of Aram shall become like the glory of the Israelites- oracle of the LORD of hosts. On that day The glory of Jacob shall fade, and his full body shall grow thin. Like the reaper’s mere armful of stalks, when he gathers the standing grain; Or as when one gleans the ears in the Valley of Rephaim. Only gleanings shall be left in it, as when an olive tree has been beaten-Two or three olives at the very top, four or five on its most fruitful branches-oracle of the LORD, the God of Israel. On that day people shall turn to their maker, their eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel.

    Hosea 6:10
    In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing:
    there harlotry is found in Ephraim,
    Israel is defiled. For you also, O Judah,
    a harvest has been appointed.

    Revelation 18:21
    A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone and threw it into the sea and said: “With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down, and will never be found again.

  6. I love the mystic side of the Church, the daily work of the Church and the times the Church has fought actively and decisively against the enemies of God and humanity. Every enemy of God will directly be a dangerous enemy of humanity. Even admitting the errors and sins that human Catholics will undoubtedly committ, I am never ashamed of the Crusades or Lepanto because they did what they had to do against an anti-Real-God enemy and many lost their one and only life doing so.

    We must do, as Jesus commanded, lose our lives to keep our lives, walking away from the cowardice of so many Clergy today and into the battle against PRESSURE, as they admitted, of the German sinful mob, Francis the pretend Pope, and all their associates in parishes everywhere.

    We grow holier and stronger in facing against this diabolical pressure and must transform our fear into humble invincible courage through prayer. We must defeat at the same time our internal enemies: naivete, hyper-feminization (lethal to both men and women), false respect, false charity, false forgiveness, false heart-centeredness and false hybrid New Age Catholicism. Trying to be “nice” is Satan’s gospel to make us voluntarily consent to evil and therefore give it the Catholic spiritual power that God is giving us. Time to stop trying to make the Devil Catholic and feeding and empowering him with the grace that we are being given from God. The Devil’s triumphs are being fed by us. Starve him!

  7. Below is a quote from an article I wrote:

    To accomplish his 100-120 plan to destroy the Church, Satan follows a plan of attack revealed in Revelation 2:12-17. He plans to de-moral-ize, and thus weaken, the Church. His plan specifically points to virtues and vices — specifically vices tied to the lusts of the flesh. It is Satan’s desire to weaken the members of Church Militant by destroying their moral underpinnings; the very thing that makes us strong. This approach is actually explained in Revelation.

    St. Hildegard of Bingen (a Doctor of the Church) is informed by God thus:
    “And falling thus from disobedience into death, when they [Adam and Eve] knew they could sin [thanks to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—SML], they discovered sin’s sweetness. And in this way, turning My rightful institution into sinful lust, although they should have known that the commotion in their veins [i.e., hormones] was not for the sweetness of sin but for the love of children, by the Devil’s suggestion they changed it to lechery; and, losing the innocence of the act of begetting, they yielded it to sin. This was not accomplished without the Devil’s persuasion; for that purpose he sent forth his darts, and it did not come to pass without his suggestion; as he said, **‘My [Devil’s] strength is in human conception, and therefore humanity is mine’!** [St. Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1990), 80-81]”

    In Rev. 2:12-17, we read about the church at Pergamum. The people of this church are told, “To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.” So, what was it that the Spirit wanted this particular church to conquer? The sin of the church at Pergamum was fornication and/or adultery, both of the flesh and of the spirit (idolatry); both are rampant in the twentieth century. Interestingly, none of the other churches were promised a white stone should they succeed in conquering their particular brand of sinfulness.

    We know this because of the reference to the “teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak” (Rev 2:14). What was it Balaam taught Balak? Balaam knew that the Churches strength came from God. Balaam knew that without God, they would become weak and vulnerable. In order to make God angry at the Israelites, Balaam taught Balak to place stumbling blocks before them. To put that teaching into action, Balak employed some of the most beautiful women in his kingdom to lure the men into unclean fleshly and spiritual acts, i.e., sexual intercourse and idolatry [Ken Ham, “Millions of Years and the ‘Doctrine of Balaam,’” Answers in Genesis, : June 1, 1997].

    The stumbling blocks were the DNA/salt/dust/stone bodies of beautiful and desirous women. Accomplishing his goal to destroy the domestic Church required getting rid of the openness to life in the sex act, thus destroying the likeness of the Trinity in the family. The German’s, with their Synodal Way, have joined forces with Satan. They have fully breathed in the smoke of Satan; The smoke which entered the Church when it failed to support and teach the doctrines contained in Humanae Vitae.

  8. The sexual stuff they are pushing is disgusting and flies in the face of 2000 years of Church lore. If the Germans continue down this path, they will find themselves in schism. It will result in their having only a handful of believers, whose probable monetary resources will not be enough to keep these Bishops in the style to which they have become accustomed. I assume things like physical churches and rectories are the property of the OFFICIAL Roman Catholic Church , of which they will no longer be a part.I believe things will go sideways financially for these schismatic Germans rather rapidly, unless they have a George Soros deep pockets type hidden among their supporters. If Francis lacks the gumption to stop these people, the reality is that at some point he will pass the baton to another Pope. Hopefully that one will choose to remain true to the church of Christ.Excommunication for this bunch and their supporters should be the penalty.

  9. I am not surprised. But this rot isn’t confined to Germany. The fact that it is tolerated shows that the issues are much higher up, and likely much more widespread.

  10. Ungodly men in positions of power show themselves to be limbs of Satan in due course. They have been rebuked and warned repeatedly and now they need to be replaced and put out of the church.

    1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

    Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

    Matthew 18:15-20 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. …

    Titus 3:9-11 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

    Action must come from Papa. Pray for him!

  11. Pope Francis: ““A Catholic cannot think either or and reduce everything [?] to polarization. It’s about both and or, and combining differences.” What, still, about those special and irreducible cases like, say, Genesis 2: to not eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”? A binary “polarization”? (And, we can also take note of another endangered binary of man and woman.)

    Yours truly is fascinated by the eclipsing of binaries/contradictions under what sometimes is too much a flaccid ideology of “combining differences.” The universal solvent! The same suspension of elementary logic was noted by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) in his encounter with the early 20th-century Bedouin tribes. Here’s Lawrence: “…Sometimes inconsistencies seemed to possess them at once in joint sway; but they never compromised: they pursued the logic of several incompatible opinions [!] to absurd ends, without perceiving the incongruity [!]” (“Seven Pillars of Wisdom”).

    What is the difference, then, between the principle of “incongruity” and abrogation embedded in Islam and the ecclesial “paradigm shift” now being graffitied onto the Church?

    It’s almost as if the 7th-century Bedouin tribes discovered the “paradigm shift” long before our postmodern, 21st-century tribe of clericalist, cut-and-paste mimics of Thomas Kuhn (“The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” 1962). Strange bedfellows, too, with the natural religion of Islam (and Pachamama)—the combining of differences?

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. German Synodal Way designed to create ‘pressure’ on the Church, founding president says | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.