German bishops seek common line in dispute over reforms

The Catholic bishops in Germany will be seeking a common line in the dispute over Church reforms in the coming weeks.

At their spring plenary assembly in Dresden from Monday to Thursday, the Catholic bishops in Germany will discuss how the Synodal Path reform project should continue and what positions to adopt as they head into the final Synodal Assembly from March 9 to 11.

In January, the Vatican had significantly restricted the scope for Church reforms in Germany. In a letter, it opposed the planned establishment of a Synodal Council in which bishops, priests and laypeople are to discuss and decide on fundamental issues and financial resources.

Rome’s “No” came in response to a letter from the local bishops of Cologne, Augsburg, Eichstaett, Passau and Regensburg who had asked the Vatican whether they were obliged to participate in a Synodal Committee whose purpose is to prepare the Synodal Council.

The bishops are also at odds about “dealing with gender diversity”, which is the title of a text to be adopted at the final Synodal Assembly in Frankfurt. A minority is against upgrading alternative forms of unions besides the marriage of man and woman. This also concerns blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples, which are already possible in many parishes.

Many other topics are on the agenda of the bishops’ plenary assembly. These include the reappraisal of sexual abuse in the Church, preparations for the World Youth Day in Lisbon in August and the situation in Ukraine one year after the start of the Russian invasion.

The bishops will also learn about the current situation in Madagascar. Cardinal Desire Tsarahazana and the Secretary General of the Malagasy Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Gabriel Randrianantenaina, from the African island state are expected to attend the assembly.

Originally reported by KNA Germany. 

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