German Episcopate Put on Notice by the Vatican

Source: FSSPX News

In a letter sent to the German bishops on September 4, 2019, the Holy See expressed an urgent warning regarding the future German synod which is purporting to change the discipline of the universal Church. The German episcopate is clearly being accused of “violating” canonical norms.


The next German synod intends to deal with particularly sensitive subjects: access to the priesthood by married men, the place of women in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, reception of homosexuals, communion for the “divorced-remarried,” etc.

The Holy See intervened on September 4, 2019 through Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops. The latter wrote to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the German Bishops’ Conference, to inform him that the next Synod of the Church in Germany had no mandate nor power to change anything to do with matters relating to the teachings or the disciplines of the universal Church.

The prefect of the bishops has attached to his letter a “legal assessment” signed by the President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Mgr. Filippo Iannone. He notes that the schemas of the German synod “violate applicable canonical norms.”

Cardinal Ouellet’s letter stresses finally that the assembly chosen to participate in the synod is “not ecclesiologically valid,” since the episcopate across the Rhine intends to partner with a lay group that has take public stances against several irreformable teachings of the Church.

In June 2019, the sovereign pontiff had already issued a “discreet” warning to the German bishops, enjoining them to respect the “universal communion of the Church”—in vain. A high ranking official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) told Catholic News Agency on September 12, 2019 that in the Vatican “there is a widespread impression among Vatican officials that the German bishops, led by Marx, are largely indifferent to Vatican interventions.” And then lucidly added, “the pope himself has already written to the Germans and they ignore him. If they can ignore the Holy Father, they will ignore anyone else in the Curia for sure.” 

The current situation is really not surprising. It is the consequence of the collegiality invented by the Second Vatican Council. 50 years ago already, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre alluded to the “open schism of episcopal conferences.” We are there now.