Pope’s criticism of German Synodal Committee unconcerning

Paul Zulehner

Austrian theologian Paul Zulehner (pictured) is unconcerned with Pope Francis’ recent critique of the German Catholic Church’s Synodal Committee.

Zulehner views the Pope’s reply to four critics of the German reform efforts as a “gesture of respect and courtesy”.

Prof Zulehner noted this in a November 22 post on his private blog.

Recently a letter from Pope Francis was made public.

The letter was addressed to theologians Katharina Westerhorstmann and Marianne Schlosser, journalist Dorothea Schmidt and religious philosopher Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz.

In the letter, the Pope criticised the German path to reform.

He shares the four women’s “concern about the numerous concrete steps now taken by large parts of this local church that threaten to move further and further away from the common path of the universal church.

“The four resigned their mandate because, among other things, they are convinced that a consultative and decision-making body, as it is currently being planned, can’t be reconciled with the sacramental structure of the Catholic Church” Zulehner wrote in his blog.

Changes do not begin unanimously in Rome

Reflecting on the pope’s response, Zulehner perceives it as an attempt by Francis to reassure those who persistently challenge the World Synod, considering it heretical.

“From his experiences with Amoris laetitia, however, he knows that traditional concern will not stop the due developments,” wrote Zulehner.

The theologian also points out that developments in an organisation like the Catholic Church do not begin with all of them being decided unanimously in Rome.

“The grandiose liturgical reform that the Second Vatican Council had initiated exactly 60 years ago was practised by the dissident Pius Parsch much earlier.

“The then Archbishop of Freiburg attacked Parsch for heresy. This is obviously part of the fate of the courageous pioneers.

“It is to be expected and also useful for the committee’s organisation that there will be resistance from those concerned about tradition.

“But that is also a sign that development is beginning at some point in the universal church, which will probably gradually also affect the universal church” said the theologian.



PM Zulehner (Blog.)

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