“Massive dissent on core issues”

Dominikus Schwaderlapp, Auxiliary Bishop in Cologne © Julia Steinbrecht (KNA)

Cologne Auxiliary Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp partially stops his cooperation in the German Catholic reform debate Synodal Way. In an interview, he announced his withdrawal from the synodal forum "Living in Successful Relationships".

The line pursued there by the majority aims at a change of the church sexual morals, Schwaderlapp justified his decision in the conversation with the Catholic weekly newspaper "Tagespost" (Thursday) in Wurzburg. This way is not his, he said. In the synodal assembly, he wants to continue to be involved "of course".

According to the organizers, the auxiliary bishop of Cologne is so far the only participant who has withdrawn from one of the four synodal forums.

"In a constructive atmosphere"

In the interview, Schwaderlapp states that the discussions in the forum so far have proceeded "in an atmosphere that is by no means aggressive, but rather constructive," despite all the differing interceptions. Nevertheless, "massive dissent on core ies" has come to light. In contrast to current church teaching, the majority of the forum argues that sexuality not only integrates fertility and love, but also other values such as desire and identity.

Accordingly, there is also no hierarchy within these values, which, moreover, do not have to be realized at the same time, Schwaderlapp explained. The intention behind this is to re-evaluate contraceptive measures, homosexual acts, masturbation, artificial insemination and the situation of remarried divorcees. On the basis of the aforementioned basic thesis, he said, the forum wants to continue working.

"Built on quicksand"

He is not concerned with "formally holding positions," the auxiliary bishop said. He said he is convinced that the church's teachings "lead to freedom, love and happiness". The position of the forum majority, on the other hand, is built on "quicksand".

The Synodal Way, initially scheduled to last two years, was launched by the German Bishops' Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK). One goal is to regain trust lost after the abuse scandal.

The central topics of the initiative are to be dealt with in four forums: In addition to sexual morality, these include dealing with power, questions about priestly life and the role of women in the church. The results are to be discussed at the synodal assemblies, the highest decision-making body of the Synodal Way.

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Christina Cherry
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