Vatican curbs progressive German Catholic movement

Vatican curbs progressive German Catholic movement
Written by admin

Pope Francis speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters at the Vatican on July 2, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

VATICAN CITY, July 21 (Reuters) – The Vatican curbed a progressive German movement aimed at giving ordinary Catholics a voice on doctrinal issues such as homosexuality and female priests, saying it risks causing a split in the universal Church.

A short but harsh statement said that the so-called “Sinodal Way” could not assume that it had the authority to instruct bishops on doctrine or morality. The co-chairs of the movement, on the other hand, expressed their surprise, saying that they did not make such a claim.

The movement, where equal numbers of bishops and ordinary German Catholics met regularly, was outspoken in its demands that the Vatican allow priests to marry, women to become priests, and that the Church should bless same-sex relationships.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

The Church of Germany, though far from being the largest in the world, has enormous influence due to the enormous wealth it derives from publicly levied church taxes. Cologne, its largest diocese, is richer than the Vatican.

The movement, which was not signed but experts said it could not be published without a green light, “does not have the faculty to force bishops and believers to adopt new forms of government and new approaches to doctrine and morality.” Pope Francis.

“It will not be lawful in dioceses before an agreed understanding at the level of the Universal Church initiates new official structures or doctrines that will cause a wound to the parish and a threat to the unity of the Church.” he said.

The movement alarmed conservatives and moderates in the Church in Germany and around the world, who feared it could lead to a major disintegration similar to what has happened in the Anglican and Protestant Churches after they introduced similar changes in recent years.

“The Church in Germany will not go its own ‘German Way,'” Bishop Georg Baetzing, chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, and Irme Stetter-Karp, chairman of the Central Committee of German Catholics, said in a joint response. they had a duty to say what they thought changes were necessary.

They said they were “surprised” at the Vatican’s decision to address them with an “unsigned statement” instead of engaging in dialogue; they said this is evidence of poor communication within the Church.

At a congress in February, the movement’s 115 clergy and 115 German Catholic Central Committee members also voted in favor of allowing priests to marry, saying that sex in same-sex marriage should not be considered a sin.

The Catholic Church teaches that priests must be celibate, women cannot become priests because Jesus chose only men as his apostles, and homosexual acts are a sin, although same-sex attraction is not a sin.

The German Synodal Path also says laymen should have a greater say in the sensitive demand of appointing bishops in a country where many faithful are frustrated by the inept handling of clergy sexual abuse cases by Church officials.

The statement said there was a risk of “weakening, decaying and dying” if national Churches went their separate ways.

The proclamation noted that any possible change should be part of the universal Church’s own synodal path, referring to the consultations currently taking place around the world ahead of a bishop’s meeting in Rome next year. The German movement said in a statement that they would express an opinion on this issue.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

Thomas Escritt reported from Berlin; Editing Alison Williams and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

About the author


Leave a Comment