View of the Vatican from the Tiber / Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

CNA Newsroom, Mar 23, 2024 / 05:30 am (CNA).

The Vatican and the German bishops have announced they will work together to resolve the controversial German Synodal Way. 

In a joint press release, the two parties on March 22 said further meetings would “develop concrete forms of synodality in the Church in Germany, which are in accordance with the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, the requirements of canon law, and the results of the world Synod, and which will subsequently be submitted to the Holy See for approval.”

According to the press release by the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) and the Holy See on Friday evening, the meeting lasted “the entire day.” It was characterized by “a positive and constructive atmosphere.”

The press release continued: “It was possible to discuss some of the open theological questions raised in the documents of the Synodal Way of the Catholic Church in Germany,” saying “differences and points of agreement were identified.”

“A regular exchange” between German bishops and the Vatican “on the further work of the Synodal Way and the Synodal Committee” was agreed. 

The next meeting is to take place before the summer.

Friday’s statement did not mention the German Synodal Council by name, and it is unclear whether this controversial project has now been scuppered, suspended, or could ultimately be submitted to the Holy See for approval.

On the Vatican’s side, the participants were the prefects of the Dicasteries for the Doctrine of the Faith (Victor Fernández), for Promoting Christian Unity (Kurt Koch), for Bishops (Robert Prevost), for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Arthur Roche), and for Legislative Texts (Filippo Iannone). 

Bishops Georg Bätzing, Stephan Ackermann, Michael Gerber, Peter Kohlgraf, Bertram Meier, and Franz-Josef Overbeck represented the German Bishops’ Conference.

The Synodal Way — “Synodaler Weg,” sometimes called Synodal Path — is not a synod. The event brought together Germany’s bishops and selected laypeople to debate and pass resolutions based on a 2018 sexual abuse study.

Participants have voted in favor of draft documents calling for the priestly ordination of women, same-sex blessings, and changes to Church teaching on homosexual acts.

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