German Synod backs down on synodal committee after ultimatum from Rome

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The German Bishops' Conference has backed down after receiving an ultimatum from Rome. Three influential cardinals of the Roman Curia sent a letter to the bishops asking them to stop voting on the statutes of their synodal committee. The Germans issued a statement saying they have accepted the warning.

As the General Assembly of the German Bishops' Conference, we take the letter from Rome very seriously and this is very important to make clear. Therefore, we have not voted on a statute for the Synodal Commission.

This commission was instituted in November 2023, although the statutes had yet to be voted on. The Vatican made it clear that this commission does not align with canon law, so, if the vote had taken place, it would be annulled.

One of the controversies of this synodal committee is that it would call into question not only the authority of the pope, but also that of the bishops. For example, one of its purposes is to ensure the diocesan implementation of the decisions made in the German synod.

The German Bishops' Conference has now assured that the intention is not to limit the authority of the bishops.

We want to do everything possible to respond to the concerns of Rome, expressed in the letter: it is about the position of the episcopate. Synodality does not seek to weaken the episcopate, but to strengthen it. We do not want to limit in any way the authority of the bishop, of the bishops.

The German bishops say that the synod in Rome and the German synodal journey are moving in the same direction towards the development of the Church. They also recognize the need for ongoing communication with Rome and say they will soon resume this dialogue.


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