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German prelates and others attend the third Synodal Way assembly in Frankfurt in February 2022 (CNS/KNA/Julia Steinbrecht)

The German bishops will not be voting on a step toward a forbidden “Synodal Council” at their upcoming plenary assembly at the Vatican’s request. Source: National Catholic Register.

German Bishops Conference (DBK) spokesman Matthias Kopp confirmed on Saturday that the bishops have removed a vote on endorsing a committee that is preparing the Synodal Council, a mixed body of laity and bishops that would govern the Church in Germany, from the agenda of their four-day meeting in Augsburg, which begins today. 

The development comes after the DBK received a letter from the Vatican on Saturday.

“This letter requests that the General Assembly — also due to upcoming discussions between representatives of the Roman Curia and representatives of the German Bishops’ Conference — not vote on the statutes of the Synodal Committee,” Mr Kopp told Germany’s KNA.

Although it had not been explicitly on the publicly available agenda of the DBK assembly, a vote on approving the committee preparing the Synodal Council had been widely expected to take place in Augsburg.

The DBK’s co-sponsor of Germany’s “Synodal Way” reform project, the Central Committee of German Catholics lay lobby (ZdK), had previously approved the statutes of the preparatory committee on November 25, and is likely to harshly criticise the bishops for not following suit.

The removal of the vote on the synodal committee from the bishops’ agenda marks perhaps the first time that Vatican pressure has caused the DBK to balk from moving forward with a Synodal Way priority since the reform effort began in 2019. 


German bishops halt move toward establishing a synodal council, at Vatican’s request (By Jonathan Liedl, CNA via National Catholic Register)