Salem Radio Network News Friday, August 19, 2022

World

Vatican warns progressive German Catholic movement not to threaten Church unity

BERLIN (Reuters) -The Vatican said Germany’s progressive “Synodal Path”, a movement which aims to give lay members a say in the running of the Catholic Church, lacks the authority to instruct bishops on doctrine or morality, and warned against splitting the Church.

The movement, a regular gathering of equal numbers of bishops and ordinary German Catholics, has been outspoken in its demands for the Vatican to let women become priests and wants the Church to recognise same-sex relationships with a blessing.

Germany’s Church, though far from the world’s largest, has an outsized influence because of the enormous wealth it derives from publicly collected church taxes. Its largest diocese, Cologne, is wealthier than the famously opulent Vatican.

“It should not be allowed for dioceses to introduce new offices or doctrines that take precedence over agreements of the Universal Church, which would harm the Church community and pose a threat to Church unity,” the Vatican said in a statement issued by the Vatican.

The Synodal Path – its name derived from the synods, or gatherings of clerics and believers that shaped the doctrines of early Christianity – reflects widely held frustration at Pope Francis’ leadership in northern Europe especially.

While the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of women are uncontroversial in much of Europe and North America, a move in that direction by the Vatican risks alienating larger and faster-growing congregations in South America and Africa.

At a congress in February, the movement’s 115 clerics and 115 lay members from the Central Committee of German Catholics also voted in favour of letting priests marry and said sex within a same-sex marriage should not be regarded as sinful.

It also said non-clerics should get more say over the election of bishops – a sensitive demand in Germany, where many of the faithful are disillusioned at clumsy handling by Church officials of cases of child abuse by priests.

More than 400,000 of Germany’s 23 million Catholics formally left the church in 2020.

(Reporting by Phil Pulella in Rome and Thomas Escritt in Berlin; Editing by Alison Williams)

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