German Synodal Assembly Calls for Change Amidst Division

According to the organizers, the German Synodal Path aims to revitalize the church and restore trust following a September 2018 church-commissioned report. It details thousands of cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy over six decades. While some Bishops advocate free choice for priests between celibacy and married life, other Bishops point out that “the real problem of the past decades has been that clergy have adapted too much to the spirit of the times.”

Newsroom (07/02/2021 12:35 PM, Gaudium Press) On the First Day and after many hours discussing Church issues, the third German Synodal Assembly adopted two texts. Delegates hope to bring change and more democracy to the church.

in Frankfurt, a vote on the election of bishops was delayed until the second day of the Feb. 3-5 meeting. All resolutions must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of all delegates present, plus two-thirds of all bishops must approve.

The session was the third of five assemblies of the Synodal Path. The process aims to revitalize the church and restore trust following a September 2018 church-commissioned report. It details thousands of cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy over six decades. 

Assembly delegates seem under pressure to produce change.

During the plenary session, Cardinal Reinhold Marx of Munich and Freising said, “It is important to recognize the signs of the times and tread new paths.”

An emotional Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, the bishops’ representative for questions of sexual abuse in the church, said the primary text on the division of power was holding up a mirror for bishops. Meanwhile, another delegate, Father Werner Otto, stated: “We are at a crossroads. I don’t want to think what will happen if this text does not pass.”

More by Gaudium Press  Easter Vigil: Flourishing of Faith Across Catholic Churches in China

Regensburg Bishop, Rudolf Voderholzer repeatedly disagreed with other bishops in the plenary session. Voderholzer published a statement on the diocese’s website, part of which he repeated in the assembly. He “would like to see a scientific examination of the prerequisites and secret agendas of all the (sexual abuse) studies repeatedly cited here.”

“And suspicion arises that the real problem of the past decades has been that clergy have adapted too much to the spirit of the times” while not maintaining a clear stand, “fed by the church’s teaching of the belief of God-given sexuality in marriage between man and woman. However, the reforms of the Synodal Path are [to a great extent] obvious adaptations to the spirit of the times and a dilution of our profile.”

Earlier, the president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, declared at a pre-assembly news conference that he favours allowing priests to marry. Citing examples of Eastern Catholic parishes, he said that priests should have the free choice between celibacy and married life.

Bätzing also announced the executive committee of the Synodal Path would hold regular discussions on the content and structures of the church reform process in Germany. Discussions will include Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the Vatican Synod of Bishops.  

During the news conference, Osnabrück Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, vice president of the Synodal Path, expressed optimism that the German Catholic Church’s major reform project was heading in a good direction.

“In this Synodal Assembly, we see that for the first time all forums are bringing to the table not just basic texts of general orientation, but also action texts meaning concrete changes,” Bode said.

More by Gaudium Press  European Monastery With No Shortage Of Vocations

“The Synodal Assembly is an important visible step of a church struggling with itself and searching for perspectives in a profound crisis. The current convulsions threaten to paralyze church life. The Synodal Path wants to provide answers,” he concluded.

The assembly typically consists of 230 members — including laity, academics, clergy and bishops — but due to COVID-19, the body consists of only 213 delegates. The Synodal Path is divided into four forums discussing the position of women in the church, future management and division of power, Catholic sexual morality and priestly celibacy.

Compiled by Saju Harmukh

 

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

280FansLike
560FollowersFollow
spot_img

Latest Articles