Archbishop Batzing said he informed Francis “in detail” about the German Synodal Way.
News Desk (27/06/2021 17:15, Gaudium Press) Bishop Georg Batzing, bishop of Limburg and president of the German Bishops’ Conference, was received by the Pope last Thursday in an audience that Vatican sources said was supposed to take place in July but had been brought forward because the Pope will not receive any visitors next month.
According to a statement issued shortly afterwards by the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Batzing said the Pope “encouraged us to continue on the Synodal Path we have chosen, to discuss the issues openly and honestly, and to come up with recommendations for a change in the way the Church operates.”
He also revealed that the focus of their conversation was the issue of the sexual abuse crisis. He also briefed the Pope “in detail” about the so-called German Synod Path, stressing that he had “made it clear” to Pope Francis that rumours that the Church in Germany wanted to “embark on a special path were unfounded”.
In fact, the doctrinal positions of Msgr. Batzing have long been in the spotlight. Following the pronouncement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s on blessings for homosexual unions, the bishop showed his displeasure with this statement saying that the discussions taking place intensely in various places on these matters “cannot simply be eliminated from the world with an argument from authority.” At the same time, Thomas Sternberg, chairman of the Central Commission of German Catholics and at the head of the German synod, stated that the note from the Vatican congregation was included in a “series of disturbances about the German Synodal Way” coming from Rome. So it is not clear whether Msgr Batzing has informed the Pope in detail what is happening in Germany.
The Vatican Press Office has not confirmed the contents of the German Bishops’ Conference statement
According to Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, his media outlet asked the Holy See Press Office if it could confirm the content of the German Bishops’ Conference statement. The Press Office replied that “it is not customary to offer information about the content of these conversations.”
The meeting between the Pope and Msgr Batzing came after Catholics and Protestants met in Germany in defiance of Vatican warnings about participating in the mutual celebration of the Lord’s Supper at the Third Ecumenical Church Congress in Frankfurt last month. The congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had warned Bishop Batzing against such a practice last September, saying doctrinal differences with Protestants were “still very important” and that “mutual participation in the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist” was not possible.
At yesterday’s meeting, Bishop Batzing said he was “grateful to Pope Francis for being able to speak at length about ecumenical issues and the recent Third Congress of the Ecumenical Church, about which I reported and whose impact I explained.” (Gaudium Press / Saul Castiblanco)
With information from National Catholic Register