German bishop rejects criticism on “liberal” Synodal Path


Central Europe


Georg Bätzing, chairman of the Synodal Path. Photo EPA, Ronald Wittek

Bishop Georg Bätzing rejects all the objections against the results of the German Synodal Path. In the past few weeks, He received many letters with criticism on the liberal course of the Synodal Path.

The Synodal Path is the Roman Catholic body of bishops that organises conferences to discuss societal problems within the Catholic Church, for example, the abuse scandal that caused much consternation.

Recently, the Synodal Path shocked many Roman Catholics with a progressive view on celibacy, women ordination and homosexual relationships.

In reaction, several bishops from all over the world wrote letters to chairman Bätzing. One letter was signed by 74 bishops, Die Tagespost reports. The bishops are from several parts of the world, such as the USA, Canada, Australia and Africa.

The bishops warn for an "inevitably looming schism in the life of the Church." They also predict that the decisions of the Synodal Path will lead to a dead end. Among other things, the letters' signers assert that the Synodal Path undermines the credibility of church authority, Die Tagespost writes. By "authority", they refer to Pope Francis, Christian anthropology, sexual morality and trust in the Holy Scriptures.

Bätzing blames bishops for not mentioning abuse scandal

Georg Bätzing, however, does not seem to be impressed by the letters he received. In his reply, he criticises the bishops who messaged him by pointing out that the Synodal Path was set up to deal with the abuse scandal that played up in the Catholic Church recently. Bätzing's letter is addressed to the Archbishop of Denver, Samuel Aquila. Aquila is one of the signers of the document.

According to Bätzing, the Synodal Path aims to provide the preaching of the Gospel with renewed credibility. "Unfortunately, this occasion and context are not mentioned in your letter at all", he blames the bishops. "Euphemistically covering it up, as you try to do in your letter, does not help. Unfortunately, such abuses of power are not only of the past but also effective in the present."

Furthermore, Bätzing defends the decisions of the Synodal Path in his letter, Die Tagespost and Katholisch.de report. According to the news agencies, Bätzing argues that the views of the Synodal Path do not damage the churches' authority. Instead, he says that they will "give it new acceptance among the people of God." He adds that "no one can claim the Holy Spirit for themselves or deny others the serious attempt to listen to Him."

Moreover, Bätzing asserts that the decisions of the Synodal Path are not secular but based on "the central sources of knowledge of faith: Scripture and tradition, the Magisterium and theology, as well as the believers' sense of faith and those in the light of the Gospel interpreted signs of the times", Katholisch.de writes.

Good conservative

In an interview with Katholisch.de, Bätzing says that he considers himself to be a "good conservative." He says that the structure of the Catholic Church has made the abuse possible and that that is why he propagates changes.



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