Group of Faithful in Germany Rejects Synodal Way: ‘We Want to Remain Catholic’

The spokeswoman for New Beginning called on ‘the Catholic Church in the world to intervene in Germany.’

The cross of the German Synodal Way.
The cross of the German Synodal Way. (photo: Maximilian von Lachner / Synodaler Weg)

Birgit Kelle, spokeswoman for the German lay group Neuer Anfang (New Beginning), in a May 29 interview with EWTN Noticias explained that its members reject the Synodal Path initiated by the Church in Germany because they want to “remain Catholic.”

This lay initiative was started two years ago, when the bishops and various lay leaders in Germany had already embarked on the controversial Synodal Path.

Organized by the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) and the German Bishops’ Conference, the Synodal Way began in 2019.

In March of this year, it approved measures to incorporate gender ideology into Catholic teaching, the ordination of women as deaconesses, the blessing of homosexual unions, the normalization of lay preaching at Mass, and a request that the Vatican “reexamine” the discipline of priestly celibacy.

Kelle told EWTN Noticias that her association seeks to raise their voices, focusing “on a true new beginning in Germany,” as they represent “many orthodox Catholics who are concerned about the Synodal Way and its decisions.”

The spokeswoman for New Beginning also pointed out that “the lay officials who were part of the Synodal Path were appointed to represent the normal laity, but they do not.”

“Normal Catholics who sit in church on Sundays are not involved in this process, so we were not heard,” she explained.

“Therefore we’re not ‘against something’ but we are trying to ‘educate about something’ based on [what Jesus teaches] and on the unity of the Catholic Church especially,” she added.

“We’re not following the decisions and guidelines of the Synodal Way because we want to remain Catholic,” she stressed.

“The debate, the papers, the decisions, everything confirms our fears that they [the Synodal Way] do not want a reform in the Church but a new doctrine of the Catholic Church. And that leads us in Germany to a break with the rest of the Church,” the spokeswoman lamented.

Kelle recalled that in January her group gave a letter with their concerns to Pope Francis and that last year they brought him a manifesto they prepared in this regard.

Regarding their activities, Kelle said: “We hold conferences in the academic field but also special conferences for priests, because we experience daily that there are Catholics who do not want to implement the Synodal Path and its resolutions in the communities.”

However, she lamented that these Catholics “face a lot of pressure when it comes to activism to not implement things that are clearly against Catholic teaching.”

The spokeswoman for New Beginning called on “the Catholic Church in the world to intervene in Germany.”

She said: “We want to be part of the Catholic Church worldwide, and we are confronting bishops and lay officials right now who reject all [of our] objections to what goes against Rome, the Pope and the Vatican.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne attends a German Synodal Way assembly on March 9, 2023.

Four German Bishops Resist Push to Install Permanent ‘Synodal Council’

Given the Vatican’s repeated interventions against the German process, the bishops said they would instead look to the Synod of Bishops in Rome. Meanwhile, on Monday, German diocesan bishops approved the statutes for a synodal committee; and there are reports that the synodal committee will meet again in June.