The German bishops’ conference initially said that the process would end with a series of “binding” votes — raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge the Church’s teaching and discipline.
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Pope Francis Confirms Cardinal Woelki in Post After Apostolic Visitation of Germany’s Cologne Archdiocese
The Holy See noted that the Pope and Cardinal Woelki had “a long conversation” last week.
The archdiocese said in May that the apostolic visitors would evaluate “possible mistakes” made by its leader, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.
In an exchange with Tobias Winstel, the 94-year-old retired pontiff reflected on the concept of the “Amtskirche,” a German term that can be translated as “institutional Church” and is used to refer to the large number of Church-tax funded structures and institutions in Germany.
In a statement, the head of the German bishops’ conference said the Pope called on the Church in Germany to “help shape the path of synodality” for the upcoming Synod of Bishops for the universal Church.
Cardinal Marx’s Resignation: An Act of Self-Preservation or Penance for the Sins of the Church in Germany?
COMMENTARY: Three precedents that might help explain the abrupt decision by the influential German cardinal to resign.
In his letter to Pope Francis, Cardinal Marx said that the investigations and reports of abuse over the past 10 years consistently showed for him that there had been “many personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or ‘systemic’ failure.”
Organizers held a day of protest on May 10 in response to the Vatican’s recent declaration that the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.
As the closely watched ‘Synodal Path’ in Germany moves forward, scholars in the U.S. say a bolder response from Rome is needed.
The statement, drafted at the University of Münster, described the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s clarification as lacking “theological depth, hermeneutical understanding, and explanatory rigor.”