Objections to "Synodal Path": Pope criticizes reform plan of German Church

The German Catholic Church is on a reform course.

Objections to "Synodal Path": Pope criticizes reform plan of German Church

The German Catholic Church is on a reform course. With the "Synodal Path" a lot should change, especially for women and homosexuals. Pope Francis has little to gain from the proposals. There is already a Protestant church - "We don't need two of them," criticizes the pontiff.

Pope Francis has openly criticized the reform process in the German Catholic Church, the "Synodal Path". "There is a very good Protestant church in Germany. We don't need two of them," said the head of the Catholic Church in an interview with the Jesuit magazine "La Civiltà Cattolica". He said that to the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Georg Bätzing. The desired reforms in the German Church, such as women in clerical offices or the blessing of homosexual couples, are sometimes heavily criticized in the Vatican.

"The problem arises when the synodal path springs from the intellectual and theological elite and is influenced a lot by outside pressures," Francis said. There are some dioceses in which the synodal path is slowly being developed with the faithful, i.e. the church people. Apparently, this type of approach finds more approval from the 85-year-old Argentine.

Francis also referred to an earlier letter in which he commented on the synodal path of German Catholics. It took him a month to write the letter and he deliberately wrote it without the involvement of the Curia - the Vatican's central administration - he said. However, the letter was formulated in such flowery and ambiguous terms that both supporters and opponents of the reforms have referred to it ever since.

In the interview, Francis also addressed Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne. He said: "When the situation was very turbulent, I asked the Archbishop to go away for six months so that things could settle down and I could see more clearly." The wording is interesting because Woelki claimed the time-out was his own idea. Francis continued: "When he came back, I asked him to write a letter of resignation. He did that and gave it to me. And he wrote a letter of apology to the diocese. I left him in office to see what happened would, but I have his resignation letter in hand."

The decision as to whether he accepts the request may still take a while: "What is happening right now is that there are many groups that are putting pressure on, and under pressure it is not possible to judge." That's why he only wants to make a decision once the pressure has subsided. There is also an "economic question" in the Archdiocese of Cologne, and in this context he is considering sending a financial team. What exactly the Pope meant by that remained unclear.

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