Cardinal: The Church in Germany is more polarized than ever before

Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki is extremely critical of the situation of the Catholic Church in Germany.

“I have the impression that our Church in Germany is more polarized than ever,” the archbishop said in a lecture on the dialogue on the reform of the German ‘synodal path’, published on the website of the Archdiocese of Cologne.

“There were tensions before, we all know that. But now they are so strong that I am increasingly worried,” said the German politician. Nevertheless, some impulses of the ‘synodal path’ can be implemented. Cardinal Woelki gave a speech to lay representatives of the Archdiocesan Council.

Moved by the abuse scandal, the bishops and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) started a dialogue in 2019 on reforming the Catholic Church in Germany as part of the so-called “synodal way”. The deliberations of this meeting, which ended in the spring of 2023, focused on sexual ethics, priestly lifestyle, authority and power distribution, and the role of women in the Church.

The synodal path as a threat

Cardinal Woelki regards the unity of the universal Church as threatened by the ‘synodal way’. That is why he voted against on issues where he saw a threat to this unity. “But I also didn’t want to be a pure denier, even though I voted against some issues,” he noted.

He pointed to the “hot potatoes” of the reforms, including the abolition of celibacy for priests, the ordination of women to the priesthood and the revaluation of homosexuality, which must be decided by the pope. He was therefore grateful that German bishops raised these problems and questions during the Synod of Bishops on Synodality in Rome in October. “If, contrary to my theological assessment, the Papal Magisterium reaches a different judgment on these issues, as evidenced by divine revelation, which seeks to lead us to communion with God and perfect joy, and the tradition of the Church, I will like to do that. follow it,” Cardinal assured. Wolki.

According to the cardinal, the consultation on the ‘synodal path’ was unfortunately not always ‘too synodal’. There was not enough time to really understand, listen and analyze the arguments.

Cardinal Woelki also reiterated his opposition to the synod committee. The commission, made up of lay people and bishops, aims to stabilize the debate on reforms in the Church in Germany and prepare the synod council, which was negatively assessed in Rome. “I cannot go against the instructions of the pope or his closest associates,” the cardinal said. Woelki and added: “For me this path leads to a dead end.”

Nevertheless, he sees positive impulses from the ‘synodal path’ that could very well be implemented in the Archdiocese of Cologne – especially with regard to measures against sexual violence and reforms in the formation of priests. For example, Cologne was the first diocese in Germany to introduce an analysis of the psychological potential of each candidate for the priesthood.

Source: Do Rzeczy