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Full Text: Pope Francis’ letter expressing concern about German Synodal Way

Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 29, 2023. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

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,


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  1. Too little too late or is this enough of a finger in the dike to stem a looming disaster? Continuing dissent from erring synodalists should receive clearly restrictive and unambiguous consequences. May dissenters continue to skate around the words in the letter as they’ve skated around the millennial teachings of Christ and the Church for years?

    In the tale within the tale of Hans Brinker, the boy CONTINUES, all alone and despite the cold, to plug the hole with his finger, ALL NIGHT. He suffers until the villagers arrive the next day to relieve him, to repair the dike and save the country.

    Will Francis and Vatican friends continue actions to repair the damage, enforce strictures, or impose sanctions in the event of recurrence? Or is the response too little, too late?

  2. If he was really concerned he would have given them the Bishop Strickland treatment months or years ago.

    Fake letter and fake news.

  3. Or simply made it clear to The German Bishops that their denial of The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, has left them, ipso facto, outside The One Body Of Christ.

  4. Surely, since the Strickland debacle, the proverb “actions not words” should be operative.
    Bishop Strickland is a profoundly faithful and devout Roman Catholic. The German episcopate has manifested itself to be clearly, boldly and enthusiastically not.
    Give the German episcopate the Strickland treatment and correct the scandalous injustice rendered to Bishop Joseph Strickland now.

  5. “I sought not to find ‘salvation’ in constantly evolving committees, nor to persist in self-absorbed dialogues rehashing the same themes.”

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read the above!

    The Synod on Synodality to find a synodal way for a synodal Church and all the other preliminary SINods were nothing but “constantly evolving committees, and persisted in self-absorbed dialogues rehashing the same themes” of women priests and the normalization of homosexual acts and other immoral behavior!

  6. Everything Pope Francis says here is true. What is absolutely necessary is for Francis to back up his words with action, that is, if there’s no compliance within a specified time. A time limit is required here because of the history of duplicity.
    If the familiar pattern of verbal chastisement followed by tolerance repeats itself, it can be discounted. Catholic Christians need be aware of the difference between oration and practice. The latter will save us. Of itself the former not [words and faith alone may have been fine for Martin Luther, not for the tradition left by Christ for the Apostles, and the long sacred history of witness by our saints and martyrs]. Words can be used as deceitful weapons to anesthetize and render inert.
    Certainly we hope for favorable response and resolution. Although can we reasonably bracket the Bishop Rey, Fréjus-Toulon, France neutralization by placing a coadjutor bishop with full authority to reform a very successful priest’s formation plan because it was too conservative?

  7. Bergoglio’s actions do not meet his words. He has no credibility. His Peronist stunt of saying one thing and doing the opposite is so evident after more than 10 years of his abominable claimed papacy that he needs to be called out for the liar and hypocrite he is. Sorry, but it’s true.

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