ROME — The liberal Catholic Church in Germany seems to be taking steps toward a schism with Rome under the banner of “synodality,” according to veteran Vatican observers.
Under the leadership of Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising, “the Church in Germany is poised to pursue a radical ‘binding synodal path’ that seeks to dislodge settled Church teaching in the name of ‘synodality,’” warn the editors of the U.S.-based National Catholic Register Sunday.
In open opposition to Pope Francis and senior Vatican officials, the German Church has pushed a controversial plan that includes the creation of a “Synodal Assembly” in close partnership with the Central Committee of German Catholics, “a lay group that has demanded the ordination of women, an end to clerical celibacy, the blessing of same-sex unions by the Church and rethinking of all Catholic teachings on sexuality,” the editors state.
In response to the German scheme, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, declared that the proposals for the proposed unilateral synodal process are contrary to the pope’s stated instructions and are “not ecclesiologically valid.”
The editors note the extreme irony that while liberal Catholics toss around accusations of “schismatic intentions” against faithful U.S. Catholics, the real threat of schism lies in Germany, not in America.
This irony has not been lost on other Vatican experts either as a recent televised conversation between prominent Catholic journalists revealed.
Last Thursday night, Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s The World Over, discussed rumors of a purported schism brewing among American conservatives with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register and Damian Thompson of Britain’s The Spectator magazine.
While liberal journalists and sycophantic Pope Francis cheerleaders fantasize about an American schism, the German bishops are openly defying the Vatican by staging an illicit synodal assembly that challenges the Church’s teaching on sexuality, priestly celibacy, and women’s ordination, they said.
“I am aghast at the lack of criticism from the same parties who are coming up with these tall tales and fabulous sagas of conspiracy theories in the United States and a well-financed cabal,” Arroyo said.
“But they completely ignore this German actual usurpation of papal power and authority,” he continued.
“They are becoming their own magisterium, and nobody is saying a word about this, even here in America.”
The narrative regarding an “American plot” against the pope comes from people close to Francis, Edward Pentin argued.
“It’s a complete slander and smear, and it’s complete lies that are coming out from around the Pope,” Pentin said. “I’ve never seen this before. I mean, it’s incredible to me.”
“Everything they say about this whole plot is a complete myth.”
In point of fact, American Catholics “love the Church,” Pentin said. “They love the papacy. They love the Pope, but they’re concerned about the direction that the Church is going down, and that’s all it is.”
For his part, Damian Thompson said that the American plot narrative expresses the anger of liberal papal flatterers in the face of “vigorous” orthodox Catholicism while liberal Catholicism is “moribund.”
“It is there to distract attention from first of all the chaos over the Amazon Synod, which I think really embarrasses people like Austin Ivereigh and Massimo [Faggioli] who are reasonably well-educated and young enough to recognize this as antiquated 1960s nonsense,” Thompson said.
And “everybody wants to detract attention from what looks like an actual schism situation which is which is happening in Germany, where the German church, which already has the unofficial authority to give communion to divorced people and Protestants, is now demanding some sort of binding national synod of bishops and lay associations,” he said.