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German bishops in Rome in 2022 (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA)

A delegation of German bishops is expected in Rome today for talks with the Vatican about the German Synodal Way. Source: CNA.

While the agenda is not a matter of public record, the encounter will likely focus on plans to install a permanent Synodal Council to oversee the Church in Germany.

Raising several concerns, the Vatican reminded the Germans ahead of the meeting — in a letter dated February 16 — that the Holy See has not mandated them to set up such a council. 

Addressing Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), Vatican officials told the Germans “that neither the Synodal Way, nor any body established by it, nor any bishops’ conference has the competence to establish the ‘synodal council’ at the national, diocesan, or parish level”.

Previous warnings from Rome have not always been well received, and the February letter, signed by Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Victor Fernández, and Robert Prevost — the heads of the Secretariat of State, Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Dicastery for Bishops — may suffer a similar fate.

“I have the impression that we are not properly understood in Rome,” Bishop Helmut Dieser of Aachen told news agency KNA this week regarding today’s meeting in Rome, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

While hoping for progress, Bishop Dieser, who supports changes in Church teaching on sexuality and gender, also criticised the Vatican: Noting Rome had invited bishops, not laypeople, the bishop said this was “not the style of leadership that we are trying to establish in Germany”.


German bishops to discuss Synodal Way with Vatican amid controversy (By AC Wimmer, CNA)