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German Priests Do Not Support Synodal Way, New Study Finds…

Researchers contacted all of the 847 priests who were ordained between 2010 and 2021 in Germany to take part in the study. “In total, a representative sample of 17.8% took part.”

Among other findings, more than 70% of those surveyed said that silent prayer was where they discovered their vocation. “So where do we create such places of silent prayer in our pastoral landscape?” asked Bishop Michael Gerber of Fulda, who heads the bishops’ vocations commission.

Lead author Sellmann voiced concerns that priests were more interested in being a pastor and the liturgy than performing as a supervisor or team leader, which was not in line with the role they were expected to play “as managers of ever-larger and more resource-rich complexes.” 

Another critical concern identified by the study, according to Sellmann, is that the priest occupies a particular and idealized position in “Roman theology,” reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner. 

This also required addressing and change management, the German theologian demanded: “What is needed is a determined, consistent, and both spiritually and theologically well-founded will to change course.”

It is unclear whether any course changes will provide for priests who support the Synodal Way, however — or indeed priests in the future: As Sellmann admitted, vocations are likely to dwindle even further, given priests tend to come from faithful families with many children, a source that was “drying up.”

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