Germany: Cardinal Woelki Warns of a Risk of Schism

November 09, 2020

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne (Germany), is warning his colleagues against the risk of seeing the German Synodal Path lead to “something like a German National Church,” the KNA news agency reported on September 17, 2020. “The worst result would be for this Synodal Path to lead to the division and therefore to the exit of the Church in Germany from communion with the universal Church,” he insists.

The Catholic Church in Germany organized five regional conferences in early September as part of the Synodal Path that it opened on December 1, 2019, which is distinguished by the influence of the ultra-progressive current.

The high prelate recalls: “The Church today must not be considered only as a sociological entity, but as the Body of Christ.” On this point, he criticizes the theological poverty of the proposals put forward, expressing indignation especially at the influence of the thought of the post-structuralist philosopher Michel Foucault in certain documents.

Taking stock of the discussions on the Synodal Path, the cardinal opposes the temptation to give rise to unrealizable hopes, particularly regarding the ordination of women. “We must not pretend the question is open, when the discussion takes place outside the teaching of the Church,” he says.

This is not the first time the Cardinal Archbishop of Cologne has expressed criticism of the development of the German Synodal Path. Returning from a trip to the United States in September 2019, he warned of the danger of “theological pride,” and said he was opposed to a solitary path - an Alleingang - of German Catholics.