The long predicted announcement by the German bishops that they are setting up a “Synodal Way of the Catholic Church in Germany” has been made. The Synod, it appears,, will address and clarify key issues such as: ‘authority and separation of powers,’ ‘sexual morality,’ ‘the priestly mode of life,’ ‘women at the service of ecclesiastical offices’.
Already Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Köln has expressed concerns that the Synod would create tensions between the German church and the Church Universal. Pope Francis has issued similar warnings. Cardinal Reinhold Marx, naturally, dismisses such claims.
But he is being disingenuous. The fact is that liberal Catholics are becoming impatient at the progress being made by Bergoglio (their preferred candidate for the Papacy). Their policy now is to force his hand by addressing liberal concerns at the national level, and daring him to repudiate the results. If a new German Synod – involving lay participants – authorises women priest, adulterous communion, married clergy and doctrinal revisionism, will Francis denounce and outlaw the actions of the richest church in Europe? The gamble is that he will have neither the guts nor the inclination.
This bold attempt to Anglicanise the Roman Church, with the Germans in the role of the Episcopal Church USA, is bold and daring; but the stakes are equivalently high. You have only to open Pandora’s Box once.