Pope Francis decries German Synodal Way as ‘neither helpful nor serious’


Cardinal Reinhard Marx and fellow bishops from Germany meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Nov. 17, 2022 / Vatican Media

CNA Newsroom, Jan 25, 2023 / 15:41 pm (CNA).

In an interview published Wednesday, Pope Francis decried the German Synodal Way as elitist, unhelpful, and running the risk of bringing ideological harm to Church processes.

“The German experience does not help,” the pontiff told Associated Press when asked about the controversial process, explaining that dialogue should involve “all the people of God.”

The 86-year-old pontiff contrasted the German event, which is not a synod, with the universal Church’s recently extended Synod on Synodality.

Francis said on Tuesday that the global synod’s aim was to “help this more elitist (German) path so that it does not end badly in some way, but so is also integrated into the Church.”

While Pope Francis did not delve into details of the demands made in Germany, he plainly described the Synodal Way as perilous.

“Here the danger is that something very, very ideological trickles in. When ideology gets involved in church processes, the Holy Spirit goes home, because ideology overcomes the Holy Spirit,” he said in the wide-ranging interview that also included remarks about the Church’s stance on homosexuality, the loss of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI — and his health.

Since its launch by Cardinal Reinhard Marx in 2019, the German Synodal Way has courted controversy.

Participants have voted in favor of draft documents calling for the priestly ordination of women, same-sex blessings, and changes to Church teaching on homosexual acts, prompting accusations of heresy and fears of schism.

Concerns have been publicly raised by Church leaders from Poland, the Nordic countries, and around the world.

Fears of a “dirty schism” from Germany have increased over the past few months, as organizers of the Synodal Way in November refused a moratorium on the process suggested by the Vatican.

In his interview published Wednesday, Pope Francis insisted: “Always try to unite.”

Just two days earlier, on Monday, the latest Vatican intervention against the Synodal Way revealed that even participants in the process are anything but united: Five German bishops, it was reported, had asked Rome to clarify concerns over a synodal council.

Participants of the German Synodal Way in September 2022 voted to create such a controlling body that would permanently oversee the Church in Germany.

The Vatican stated in a letter published Jan. 23 that the Germans are not authorized to install a permanent synodal council to oversee the Church in Germany. The missive was formally approved by Pope Francis.

Despite all these interventions, the Synodal Way — “Synodaler Weg” in German, sometimes translated as the Synodal Path — is currently still expected to continue as planned by its organizers. The next (and so far final) synodal assembly is scheduled to take place in Frankfurt in March.

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 6517 Articles
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)


  1. While Pope Francis’ decries against the German Synodal Way, there doesn’t appear to be a remarkable difference with the subject matter considered for ‘pastoral advancement’ with the papal endorsed Synod on Synodality.
    Except for forum, at non prejudicial glance one appears to provide a ‘template’, as a distinguished observer remarked for the other. So what’s the point? It does appear to draw interest away, for example the Nordic bishops’ complaints from the great Synod to the lesser German Synod’s like doctrinal transgressions. Or, is the ‘Dirty Schism’ [NatCathRegister] of Der Synodale Weg more dirty?
    If the purpose of the anomaly is also to provide a convenient goat to assuage feelings of distrust, impotence, perhaps guilt as the great Synod seems on the verge of careening off the cliff dragging the Church with it then it may have purpose.

  2. The Vatican continues to talk around this subject and not address it head on, as it should. In point of fact they should have stepped up long ago, before things got to this point. The German Bishops should be called in, told their position is invalid and heretical,and informed they must recant or they will be excommunicated. At that point they can be whatever flavor of Christianity they wish, but they and their followers will no longer be Catholic. Continuing to let them poison the church in the way they have been doing is cowardly and dishonest. Its astonishing to me that Francis refuses to exert his authority in this area. Someone else will always be willing to step into a power vacuum and in this case,with the German Bishops, thats extraordinarily dangerous for the future of the church. The suggestion has been the Pope secretly supports these radical liberal moves, his statements about homosexuality always having been problematic and coy at best. Funny that the Pope has no issue hammering down devout supporters of the Latin Mass but when it comes to protecting the REAL beliefs and morality of church teaching, he cannot find his voice. If at his current age and state of health he is unable to appropriately fill his role as the leader of the church in order to protect it, it may be time for him to follow Benedict’s lead and retire.In any case, something must be done very soon before the situation goes any farther.

    • I think it’s safe to say that Pope Francis either supports the radicals, or that he is a culpably gullible leader who witlessly surrounds himself with sycophants, hacks, heretics, predators and people who cover for predators.

  3. The Synod on Synodality’s aim is to make sure the Synodal Way “does not end badly in some way, but is also integrated into the Church.”

    And that’s…good?

    Calling the Synodal Way “ideological” is a statement so broad and vague – especially coming from Pope Francis – that it means practically nothing. If he believes the Synod on Synodality will somehow set right the nonsense coming out of Germany (and elsewhere), he should read the Working Document. The Holy Spirit is no excuse for magical thinking.

  4. Wondering if Germania serves as a decoy?
    Cardinal Marx’s resignation should have been accepted when it was offered, or even if it had not been offered. Also his red hat. Very hard to stop the train after letting it leave the station.

    The best way to curb novelties in Germania and elsewhere might be to remove Luxembourg’s Cardinal Hollerich from the tautological/echo-chamber Synod on Synodality, and to replace Cardinal Radcliffe (as in rad!) as the subliminal message-master. Drain the swamp.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. FRIDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

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.