Rorate Caeli

German Church declares independence before the 2015 Synod: "We are not a Roman Subsidiary"/ "We will preach the Gospel on our own."

The Lutheran Spirit: "Here I stand: I can do no other."

[NOTE: This article quotes statements by Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Chairman of the German Bishops‘ Conference, and Bishop Bode, Bishop of Osnabrück, thus two of the three bishops chosen as delegates for the synod. They were made to journalists during the spring meeting of the German bishops’ conference. Below are its main excerpts, with emphases added by us. The main point seems to be the new German Bishops' attitude of moving on alone, which could indicate that they foresee that they will not be able to "guide" the Synod as easily as they had thought possible. Blackmail is in the air in the German Conference... ]

Regina Einig
Die Tagespost
February 25, 2015

... Reinhard Cardinal Marx underlined in view of the family synod in autumn the bishops' attempt to "go down new paths" and to "help that doors be opened". In the universal church there were "certain expectations" of Germany. He hoped that some questions could already be tackled before the synod, Marx told journalists in Hildesheim on Tuesday [Feb 24].

The synod would have to find a text that would "further encourage" discussion and find a common position in fundamental questions. Doctrinally, one would remain within the community of the [Universal]Church, but in detailed questions of pastoral care "the synod cannot prescribe in detail what we must do in Germany”. Therefore, the bishops wanted to publish their own pastoral letter on marriage and family after the synod. It was not the duty of the bishops to wait for permissions.

"We are no subsidiaries of Rome. Each conference of bishops is responsible for pastoral care in its culture, and must, as its most proper task, preach the Gospel on our own. We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and family here".

According to the German bishops' position, the reality of life constitutes an important factor for the doctrine of the Church. "We also learn from life in doctrine," underlined Cardinal Marx. Franz-Josef Bode, Bishop of Osnabrück, called in this context the synod "historically important." According to his view the participants do not only debate questions of marriage and family, but the possibility of a paradigm shift.

The basic question was, are only Scripture or Tradition sources for theological understanding, or are [such sources] also "the reality of men and of the world." [Bode,] The chairman of the pastoral commission of the bishops' conference reminded his audience of the "dialogical structure" of reality, which had already been mentioned in the pastoral constitution "Gaudium et Spes" of Vatican II, and quotes this conciliar document: "there is nothing truly human, that has no resonance in their hearts." Thus Bode concludes: "Not only does the Christian message have to find resonance with men, but also men must find resonance with us." Bode stated that it was important for him that the Sacrament [of the Eucharist] was not only a sign of unity, but also a means to unity, and could contribute to healing.

Cardinal Marx announced a bishops' statement on the synod that should be published within the upcoming weeks.

(Source, in German - excerpts translated by reader "K." for Rorate)