Pope and German Cardinal in constructive dialogue over binding synod

Cardinal Reinhard Marx has held talks with Pope Francis and Cardinal Marc Ouellet about the German bishops’ plans for a “binding synodal path.”

Their meetings followed correspondence earlier this month in which Ouellet told Marx earlier the proposed synodal process could not begin without the pope’s approval.

Ouellet included a four-page legal assessment of the synodal plans with his letter, which concludes the proposed synodal assembly is “not ecclesiologically valid”.

The legal assessment also says the synodal plans aim to treat matters of universal Church teaching and discipline which “cannot be the object of the deliberations or decisions of a particular Church without contravening what is expressed by the Holy Father in his letter.”

Despite this, Marx, who is the president of the German Episcopal Conference, was positive about the meetings.

“In both talks, a constructive dialogue took place, which will feed into the deliberations of the general assembly of the German Episcopal Conference next week.”

Marx said he Francis and Ouellet discussed the draft statutes for a “Synodal Assembly” that the German bishops plan to form in partnership with the Central Committee of German Catholics.

The final plans for the process are on the agenda for the conference’s meeting in Fulda this week.

If implemented the German process is likely to involve the conference and the lay Central Committee leadership engaging in a two-year partnership which would begin in Advent.

The conference’s new direction was driven by an independent study about the extent of clerical sexual abuse in Germany.



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