Published March 16, 2023
Synodale Weg, the “Synodal Way”: a self-constituted, radical form of church legislative assembly that, while including the German bishops, was composed primarily of lay Catholics. That pathway reached its terminus on March 10, when the Synodal Way approved a series of resolutions that would fundamentally alter the structure of authority in the German church by circumscribing the bishops’ governing power. At the same time, the Synodal Way decided by overwhelming majorities—including a majority of bishops—to rewrite the Catholic Church’s sexual ethic and sacramental practice by authorizing the formal, liturgical blessing of same-sex unions and calling for women to be admitted to holy orders.
All of which brought to mind Pope Francis’ remark to Bishop George Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, in June 2022: Germany already has a Protestant church, the pope observed, and “we don’t need two.”
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Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies