Pope is provoked by decisions German Synodal Path


Central Europe

Klaas van der Zwaag, RD

Photo Maximiliaan von Lachner

The Roman Catholic platform, the Synodal Way in Germany, voted for the consecration of women, acceptance of homosexuality and abolition of celibacy. An overwhelming majority was in favour of these issues. Critics protest: “This is a goodbye of 2,000 years of revelations. It is the beginning of a new church.”

The Synodal Way, the German version of the international consultation of the base that pope Franciscus currently carries out, made the decisions quickly between Thursday to Saturday. Their conclusions will put the world church to the test. While Protestant denominations worldwide install women in offices more and more and increasingly accept homosexuality, this is contrary to the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. It does not see itself as competent to make changes concerning these issues.

On Saturday, a large majority of Synodal participants (169 votes in favour, 30 against, and 6 blank votes) voted for changing the Catholic doctrine concerning human sexuality. Sexuality is no longer connected to the context of marriage between man and woman. Homosexuality is “ethically and fundamentally no different from any other sexuality”, the Synodal Way concluded. A large majority also argued in favour of the ecclesiastical blessing of “couples that love each other.”

“Homosexual practices should be banned from list of deadly sins against chastity”

In addition to couples of the same sex, this statement also refers to civilly remarried divorced people and even unbaptised couples. The majority of the gathering says that denying a blessing is “merciless and discriminating.” Moreover, homosexuality may no longer hinder serving in an ecclesiastical office and priestly ordination.

The blessing over homosexual relationships is part of the ecclesiastical practise in many churches in Germany already. A situation of “ambiguity and inconsistency”, the Synodal Way concluded. Therefore, participants find that it has to be overcome. Homosexual practices should consequently also be abolished from the list of “deadly sins against chastity.”

The text turns itself against conversion therapies. The Synodal Way pleaded for changing the parts of the Roman Catholic Catechism that speak about homosexuality (calling it one of the ‘deadly sins against chastity”), marital fertility and birth control. Both resolutions are directly addressed to the pope because they are about the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Synodal Way also finds that husbands and wives should be free in choosing a method of family planning in “mutual respect and personal conscience.” On Thursday, the assembly voted in favour of abolishing priestly celibacy.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx was delighted that the Catechism is not the same as the Koran and constantly changes, for example, about the issue of death sentences. Contrary to the question of death sentences, the conservative bishop Rudolf Voderholzer stated that the new changes are “no further development of doctrine, but a paradigm shift.”

Ordination of women

A large majority of the Synodal Way – both members and bishops – voted for allowing women to partake of the sacrament of ordination. The assembly ordered a request to the pope for opening up the office of deacon – not further than that – to women as well.

However, there are also some critical voices from Roman Catholics. The hope for ordaining women in German or other places, as deacon, bursts as a bubble, Peter Winnemöller criticises in Die Tagespost. “It will not happen. What resounded so loudly in Frankfurt will not even be a whisper in Rome. Again, the clergy creates unrealistic expectations. The fact that bishops agreed with this text can be seen as deliberate deception. Disappointments can be expected and will become clear in statistics of exits from the church.”

Theologian and blogger Margarete Strauss sees the Synodal base text about female ordinations as the product of a “through and through liberal exegesis with many fundamental ideological assumptions.” She criticises that God is no longer leading in the document but that members of the Synod interpret the Holy Scriptures through their agenda.

Headed to a schism

The German Roman Catholic Church is quickly headed to a schism, says news reporter Dorothea Schmidt, partaker of the Synodal Way. “A new church is constructed, and a goodby is said to 2000 years history of revelations. The Synodal Way has disconnected itself from the universal church and shakes the foundations of the Catholic faith. From day one, it could have been expected that there would be a majority of 80 to 90 per cent, looking at the assembly's composition. It is a complete misconception that more people will come to church now. The Roman Catholic Church will become an everything-is-allowed huggable church, but not the church of Jesus. I miss every reference to Christ, who is our Saviour.”

This article was translated by CNE.news and previously published by Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad on February 7th, 2022.



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