Pope wants German Catholics to discuss issues openly, honestly

Pope Francis has encouraged the German bishops to continue on the Synodal Path and to discuss the questions openly and honestly.

Francis also wants the German church to come to recommendations for a change in the church’s actions says Bishops Conference president Georg Bätzing.

In return Francis received personal assurances from the German bishops’ conference that the Catholic Church in Germany does not want “to go its own way.”

Conference president Bishop Georg Bätzing met Francis privately at the Vatican to pass on his assurances.

“Our conversation focused first on the situation of the church in Germany in light of the processing of sexual abuse cases and the difficult situation in several dioceses,” which have recently or are about to publish reports on the handling of abuse allegations, Bätzing says.

“Pope Francis is well aware of the situation of the church in Germany. He hopes that tensions can be overcome.”

Bätzing also said he “informed the pope in detail” about the status of the German church’s “Synodal Path.”

He says he “made it clear that the rumors that the church in Germany wants to go its own way are not true.”

A number of changes agreed to by the German bishops’ and a national council of laity’s decisions have led some people to comment that German Catholics were ignoring church procedures and were, perhaps, even headed for schism.

Some of the issues they were concerned about include a decision to design an ad hoc synodal process, different from a national synod or plenary council. They were also concerned about the bishops’ and national council’s decision to discuss issues of power, sexual morality, priestly life and the role of women in the church.

“At the same time, he called for the church in Germany to help shape the path of synodality.”

He asked Catholics in every nation to contribute to in preparation for the world Synod of Bishops in 2023.

“I feel strengthened by Pope Francis in my office as bishop of Limburg and in my task as president of the German bishops’ conference,” Bätzing says.

“I am impressed by the balanced knowledge with which he perceives the situation of the church in Germany and puts the problems into words. Pope Francis will accompany the church in our country on the way out of the crisis.”


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