The German Synodal Committee Is Authorized by Rome

Source: FSSPX News

Bishop Georg Bätzing and Cardinal Pietro Parolin

This is what came out of the joint press release of the Holy See and the German Bishops’ Conference on the discussions held in Rome on March 22, 2024, between the representatives of the German episcopate and a delegation from the Roman Curia.

The German Bishops’ Conference was represented by Bishop Georg Bätzing, President of the German Bishops’ Conference, and Bishops Stephan Ackermann, Michael Gerber, Peter Kohlgraf, Bertram Meier, and Franz-Josef Overbeck, leaders of various commissions of the episcopal conference. Not to mention the Secretary-General, Dr. Beate Gilles, and the Press Spokesman, Matthias Kopp.

On the Roman side: Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State; Victor Fernández, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith; Robert F. Prevost, O.S.A., Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops; Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity; and Archbishop Filippo Iannone, O. Carm., President of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts.

Impatience is growing in Germany, after the various failures suffered since the fifth and last synodal Assembly, held a year ago now, with the culmination of Rome’s frank and clear opposition to the formation of a Synodal Committee--at least as it had been planned--tasked with implementing the decisions of the Synodal Path.

Eyes were turned toward Rome, which hosted a meeting between German bishops and prelates of the Curia “to continue the dialogue begun during the Ad Limina visit of the German Bishops in November 2022 and which had already been the subject of a first exchange on July 26, 2023,” according to the press release.     

It continues by indicating that the meeting was “characterized by a positive and constructive atmosphere.” In particular, it allowed particpants to discuss “some of the open theological questions raised in the documents of the Synodal Path of the Catholic Church in Germany.”  But “divergences and points of agreement were identified, as in the Synthesis Report of the world Synod of October 2023.” The reference is not reassuring.

The statement continues: “It was agreed to have a regular exchange between representatives of the German Bishops’ Conference and the Holy See on the continuation of the work of the Synodal Path and the Synodal Committee.” This is a crucial point: the Curia has therefore accepted the formation of the famous Synodal Committe, although it had been forbidden until now. On what conditions?

The only information given is that “the German bishops clarified that this work will serve to develop concrete forms of synodality for the Church in Germany, in accordance with the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, the provisions of Canon Law, and the results of the Synod of the universal Church, which will then be submitted to the Holy See for approval.”

This means, in concrete terms, that the Church of Germany can continue its synodal momentum, on the condition that it respects the ecclesiology of Vatican II and current Canon Law. The Synodal Path will therefore soon be able to elect its Synodal Committee for the continuation of its work. One could wager that it will not be encumbered by the conditions which were given to it.

Thus, in Germany, diocesan committees are still working to develop liturgical formulas for the blessing of homosexual couples, arguing that Rome is not fundamentally opposed to it, and betting on a change in the doctrine on homosexuality, loudly demanded by German synodality.

“’We must act quickly,’ was one of the mantras in Frankfurt [editor’s not: where the 5th Assembly of the Synodal Path was held],” recall Matthias Altmann and Benedikt Heider in an article published on, the unofficial site of the German bishops, which recounts the failures that have been suffered by the German Synodal Path for a year. The mantra has remained the same beyond the Rhine.