Sources in Germany say that the campaign against Cologne’s cardinal archbishop is aimed at removing him so that the synodal path can proceed without resistance.
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Although his retirement was announced last year, Father Hans Langendörfer delayed his departure due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising confirmed its preparations to advance Wili Graf's cause on the anniversary of his death.
The “Synodal Way” is a process bringing together German lay people and bishops to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.
The proposed text states, “Even same-sex couples and other couples who cannot give birth to a new life have the potential for a fertile life.”
The instruction, called “The pastoral conversion of the parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church,” set out guidelines on reforming parishes and restructuring dioceses to better serve their “singular mission of evangelization.”
Amid an ongoing debate about the role of lay people in the German Church, the country’s bishops responded to the Vatican instruction with both praise and criticism.
In a July 14 letter to archdiocesan staff, Archbishop Burger described the proposal as an “adequate response to the challenges facing our archdiocese.”
The survey follows the release of official figures last month which showed that a record number of Catholics formally left the Church in Germany in 2019.
The Holy See reportedly began to receive reports from alleged victims of the priest in the early 1950s, and dispatched an apostolic visitator, or Vatican observer, to assess the situation.