Vatican City, Nov 21, 2023 / 08:25 am (CNA).
Pope Francis has written a letter to four German Catholic laywomen expressing his “concerns” about the direction of the Catholic Church in Germany.
The following is CNA’s English translation of the full text of the German letter, signed by the pope on Nov. 10 and first published by the German newspaper Welt on Nov. 21:
From the Vatican, November 10, 2023
Dear Professor Westerhorstmann,
Dear Professor Schlosser,
Dear Professor Gerl-Falkovitz,
Dear Mrs. Schmidt,
I extend my gratitude for your kind letter dated November 6. Your concerns regarding the current developments within the Church in Germany have reached me, and I share your concerns. There are indeed numerous steps being taken by significant segments of this local Church that threaten to steer it increasingly away from the universal Church’s common path. This doubtlessly includes the establishment of the synodal committee you referenced. This committee aims to set up a consultative and decision-making body. However, as outlined in the corresponding resolution, its proposed structure is not in alignment with the sacramental structure of the Catholic Church. Consequently, its formation was forbidden by the Holy See in a letter dated January 16, 2023, which received my specific endorsement.
In my “Letter to the Pilgrim People of God in Germany,” I sought not to find “salvation” in constantly evolving committees, nor to persist in self-absorbed dialogues rehashing the same themes. Rather, I aimed to reemphasize the importance of prayer, penance, and adoration. I urged an openness and a call to action to engage with our brothers and sisters, especially those found at the thresholds of our church doors, in the streets, within prisons, hospitals, public squares, and cities (as mentioned in section 8). I firmly believe that in these places, the Lord will guide us.
I commend your contributions to theology and philosophy and thank you for your witness to the Faith. May the Lord bless you, and may the Blessed Virgin Mary keep you. I kindly ask that you continue to pray for me and for our shared commitment to unity.
United in the Lord,
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!