Pope Francis has expressed his concern about initiatives individual dioceses and the Church in Germany as a whole are taking, including the establishment of a synodal council, which he said threatens to steer it away from the universal Church. Source: OSV News.
“Instead of looking for ‘salvation’ in always-new committees and always discussing the same issues with a certain self-referentiality,” Catholics need to turn to prayer, penance and adoration as well as reach out to the marginalised and abandoned,” the Pope wrote in a letter published yesterday.
“I am convinced (it is) there the Lord will show us the way,” he wrote in the letter published by the German newspaper Die Welt.
The letter was a response to four German laywomen who had written to the Pope expressing their “doubts and fears” about the outcomes of the Synodal Path, which began in December 2019 and concluded in March 2023.
The women – moral theologian Katharina Westerhorstmann, theologian Marianne Schlosser, philosopher Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, and journalist Dorothea Schmidt – had been prominent participants in the Synodal Path but withdrew their support in February.
They had said the Synodal Path was “casting doubt” on essential Catholic doctrines and teachings, and organisers were ignoring the Vatican’s many warnings, according to a joint statement published Die Welt after their departure.
In his letter, the Pope said, “I, too, share this concern about the numerous concrete steps that are now being taken by large parts of this local Church that threaten to move further and further away from the common path of the universal Church.”
Without a doubt, he wrote, this included the recent formation of a synodal committee to establish a permanent German synodal council, made up of bishops and laypeople, that will make key decisions on pastoral, long-term planning and financial matters.
Pope sees threat of Church in Germany moving away from Rome (CNS via OSV News)