Polish Catholic Bishops’ Head Questions Course Charted by German Synodal Way
In a letter published Feb. 22, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki questioned whether the initiative bringing together Germany’s bishops and laypeople was rooted in the Gospel.
The president of Poland’s Catholic bishops’ conference expressed “fraternal concern” about the direction of the “Synodal Way” on Tuesday in a strongly worded letter to his German counterpart.
In the almost 3,000-word letter published on Feb. 22 on the Polish bishops’ website, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki questioned whether the initiative bringing together Germany’s bishops and laypeople was rooted in the Gospel.
“The Catholic Church in Germany is important on the map of Europe and I am aware that it will either radiate its faith or its unbelief to the entire continent,” he wrote to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference.
“That is why I look at the actions of the German ‘Synodal Way’ so far with concern. Observing its fruits, one can get the impression that the basis for reflection is not always the Gospel.”
Archbishop Gądecki’s intervention is likely to intensify the debate about the Synodal Way, a multi-year process addressing the way power is exercised in the Church, sexual morality, the priesthood, and the role of women in the wake of a devastating clerical abuse crisis in Germany.
At a meeting earlier this month, participants voted in favor of draft texts calling for married priests in the Latin Church, the ordination of women priests, same-sex blessings, and changes to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
In his letter, Archbishop Gądecki addressed the votes and appealed to Bätzing to resist pressure to seek to bring Church teaching in line with public opinion.
“Faithful to the teachings of the Church, we should not yield to the pressures of the world or to the patterns of the dominant culture, since this can lead to moral and spiritual corruption,” he wrote.
“Let us avoid repeating worn-out slogans and standard demands such as: the abolition of celibacy, priesthood for women, Communion for the divorced, or blessing of same-sex unions.”