German Synodal Path ‘has potential for schism’

German prelates and others attend the third Synodal Assembly in Frankfurt in February (CNS/Julia Steinbrecht, KNA)

Cardinal George Pell is among 74 bishops from four continents who have written an open letter expressing their “growing concern” about the German Synodal Path process and content, warning about its “potential for schism”. Source: CNS.

Joining recent letters of concern by the Nordic and Polish bishops, the “fraternal open letter to our brother bishops in Germany” said “the Synodal Path’s actions undermine the credibility of Church authority, including that of Pope Francis”.

“By its destructive example, it may lead some bishops, and will lead many otherwise faithful lay people, to distrust the very idea of ‘synodality’, thus further impeding the Church’s necessary conversation about fulfilling the mission of converting and sanctifying the world,” the letter concluded.

Signatories included Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, South African Cardinal Wilfred Napier, and United States Cardinal Raymond Burke.

All told, 49 bishops from the United States, four from Canada, 19 Africans, one Italian and one Australian signed the letter. The letter was made public on Tuesday after having been sent to the German bishops on Monday.

The German bishops, responding to ongoing revelations of clerical sexual abuse and how bishops mismanaged such cases, see the Synodal Path process as addressing the exercise of power and authority in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

The German bishops are keenly aware of the concerns of other conferences about the direction their Synodal Path is taking. Limburg Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, has admitted that there were highly divergent opinions on issues such as blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples or the ordination of women as deacons or priests.


Bishops from four continents express concern about Germany's Synodal Path (By Greg Erlandson, CNS via NCR Online)


Bishops sign letter warning that Germany's 'Synodal Path' could lead to schism (CNA)

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