Cardinal criticizes bishops who publicly denounce the German synodal path

FREIBURG, Germany (CNS) — Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, said he continues to have confidence in the synodal path of the Catholic Church in Germany.

“Perhaps the communication about the reform project could have been better,” Cardinal Grech said in an interview with Anna Mertens, editor-in-chief of the German Catholic news agency KNA, published August 29. But he said he trusted the German bishops “that they know what they are doing.”

The cardinal criticized other bishops for publishing open letters criticizing the synodal path of the German Church. “Brotherly correction and dialogue” was something very positive, he said, but “public denunciation” was not helpful and only aggravated the polarization.

The cardinal criticized other bishops for publishing open letters criticizing the synodal path of the German Church.

The cardinal’s remarks were contained in “Universal Church on the Move: Synodal Paths,” a special publication by the Freiburg-based publishing house Verlag-Herder. It contained essays on the synodal process in several European countries as well as essays by theologians such as Rafael Luciani of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, who also teaches in Venezuela and serves as theological adviser to the Latin American council of bishops. ; Medical Mission Sister Birgit Weiler, who teaches at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru; Christina Kheng, who teaches pastoral theology and leadership at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines; and Thomas Söding, vice-president of the Central Committee of German Catholics. American Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, a prominent speaker and author, also contributed to the booklet.

In a Q&A article titled “We Cannot Not Be Synodal,” Cardinal Grech said he had tried to follow the process in Germany, but it was “one thing to follow what is published. and another thing to follow what is really going on”. on.”

The cardinal said he could not comment specifically on the German synodal path or the Australian plenary council.

“We must respect local churches,” he said. He also said he felt some of the topics discussed in Germany were being discussed in other countries, and he believed the synodal process was “on the right track.”

“We must be faithful to God. At the same time, we need to find the right answers for people today.

“The main goal of this process is to find God’s will and understand it better,” he told KNA. “And 2020 is not 1020, nor 2000. So we have to be faithful to God. At the same time, we need to find the right answers for people today.

The German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics launched the Synodal Way in 2019 following the religious abuse scandal in Germany. The process includes forums in which issues are discussed and assemblies in which people from the forums report back and proposals are discussed and voted on. Certain texts must not only receive the approval of more than two-thirds of all the delegates, clerics and laity, but must also receive the approval of more than two-thirds of the bishops.

Certain texts must not only receive the approval of more than two-thirds of all the delegates, clerics and laity, but must also receive the approval of more than two-thirds of the bishops.

The fourth plenary assembly is scheduled for September 8-10 in Frankfurt. About 230 delegates will discuss 14 documents, KNA reported. These include texts on the sexual morality of the Church, the role of priests, the participation of women and the compulsory celibacy of Catholic priests.

The Synodal Way is due to end with a fifth plenary assembly in Frankfurt in March.

The process has led to growing discord in recent months, with bishops from other countries openly criticizing the reforms being discussed and some commentators speaking of a German schism.

But in an introduction to “The Universal Church on the Move,” the presidents of the Synodal Path said Catholics in Germany have no intention of disassociating themselves from the universal Church.
Irme Stetter-Karp, chairwoman of the Central Committee of German Catholics, and Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, noted that Catholics in other countries were discussing similar issues.

“We, as Catholics in Germany, are not alone in these concerns; the universal church is in transition,” they wrote. “But it gives us courage and hope for real change in a church that credibly proclaims the Good News and genuinely cares about the people, the ‘hearers of the Word’.”

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