On the “synodal path”

On the 'synodal path'

Bishops discuss "synodal way" © Uwe Zucchi

Catholic bishops in Germany to discuss further steps toward internal church reforms starting this Monday. The topics to be discussed include power and sexual morality. Will there also already be resolutions?

The bishops of Germany's 27 dioceses and archbishoprics are meeting in Berlin for the consultations. Resolutions are expected to be passed to determine details for the "binding synodal path" initiated by the German Bishops' Conference.

The Berlin Archbishop Heiner Koch had on Thursday before about 6.The bishops, who are meeting in a city that stands for the courage of new beginnings and new departures, told the thousands of faithful in the capital that it was good that the bishops were meeting in a city that stands for the courage of new beginnings and new departures.

Calls for reform grow louder

After an intensive struggle, the 66 bishops and auxiliary bishops decided in March at their plenary assembly in Lingen without dissenting votes and with four abstentions on a "binding synodal way". Several "forums" are to be held on topics such as power, sexual morality and the way priests live their lives.

Another forum on the question of the role of women in the church is under discussion. The bishops want to clarify their positions on these and other controversial ies with the help of lay Catholics and external experts. The abuse scandal has plunged the church into a crisis of confidence, with calls for reform growing louder.

Formal starting point in December

The further schedule foresees that representatives of the Bishops' Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) will discuss rules of procedure and the final number and subject matter of the forums in their joint conference at the beginning of July.

A first major round is to meet in mid-September with a total of about 60 participants to finally define the roadmap, scope of topics and group of participants. As a formal starting point for the synodal process, the first Sunday of Advent (1. December) envisaged.

From the ranks of the Bishops' Conference, Regensburg Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer and outgoing Augsburg Bishop Konrad Zdarsa had recently expressed criticism of the "synodal way". Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne spoke out against reforms modeled on liberal Protestantism, but did not question the adopted path as such.

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Christina Cherry
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