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‘Astonished’ German leaders take issue with Holy See’s latest warning about the ‘Synodal Way’…

They added, “It is not a good example of communication within the Church, if statements are published which are not signed by name.”

While one German prelate, Bishop Bertram Meier of Augsburg, welcomed the statement from Rome, writing the concern for unity was clearly “virulent,” CNA Deutsch reported, the “Synodal Way” organizers accused the Vatican of a lack of willingness to communicate: “Unfortunately, the Synodal Committee has not been invited to a discussion [with Vatican bodies] to date.”

In its statement on Thursday, the Holy See said: “The ‘Synodal Way’ in Germany does not have the power to compel bishops and the faithful to adopt new forms of governance and new orientations of doctrine and morals.” 

The Vatican’s note said it seemed “necessary to clarify” this, in order to “safeguard the freedom of the People of God and the exercise of the episcopal ministry.” 

The statement of July 21 warned: “It would not be permissible to introduce new official structures or doctrines in dioceses before an agreement had been reached at the level of the universal Church, which would constitute a violation of ecclesial communion and a threat to the unity of the Church.”

In reaction to Bätzing’s and Stetter-Karp’s response, the secretary-general of the Nordic Bishops’ Conference, herself a German religious, raised the question whether the controversial process itself suffered from a “communication problem.”

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