Synodal Process has already changed the Church

Synodal Process changed the Church

The head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference said on Thursday that the global synodal process has already changed the Church.

Bishop Georg Bätzing (pictured) said, “After only one year, this Synodal Process has generated a dynamic that has led to a new understanding of the dignity of all the baptised, to a broader co-responsibility of the faithful for the mission of the Church, and to a clearer perception of the challenges we face in the worldwide Church.

“Thus, the Synodal Process has already changed the Church.”

Bätzing, the Bishop of Limburg, is the co-president of Germany’s controversial “synodal way”: a multi-year gathering of bishops and laypeople to discuss four main topics: power, the priesthood, women in the Church, and sexuality.

Bishop Bätzing also welcomed the publication of a new Vatican document guiding the synod on synodality’s continental phase. The document incorporated the wishes and experiences of many local churches.

He said the new Vatican text “makes it clear that the synodal way of the Church in Germany is to be understood as part of a synodal dynamic that has taken hold of the entire Church.”

“The issues we deal with in the four forums and at the synodal assemblies are also being discussed in other parts of the Church,” he commented.

Bätzing added: “The working document can therefore also be read as an encouragement to the Church in Germany to seek dialogue with the other particular churches even more strongly than before, especially with regard to synodality. It is an invitation to listen to one another on the worldwide synodal journey and to walk the next stage together.”

According to the bishop, in many parts of the Church an active role for women in leadership structures, their ministry and a women’s diaconate are advocated.

The document expressly refers to the situation of LGBTQ people and people in same-sex partnerships. “The issues that we deal with at the synodal assemblies are also discussed in other parts of the church,” said Bätzing.

Germany’s bishops are preparing for an ad limina visit to Rome in November. It will be their first in seven years and include a meeting with Pope Francis and prefects of Vatican dicasteries scheduled for 18 November.

Cardinal Mario Grech, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, has lamented public criticism of the synodal way by bishops outside Germany.

“I have trust in the Catholic Church in Germany, in the bishops, I trust they know what they are doing,” Grech said earlier this year.


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