German bishops’ offensive at the Vatican

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

A number of leaders of the Catholic Church in Germany have been in Rome the past several days

German bishops’ offensive at the Vatican

By Loup Besmond de Senneville | Vatican City

The Catholic Church in Germany has launched a quiet, but very real, offensive at the Vatican.

Just a few weeks before all the nation’s bishops were due to arrive in Rome for their “ad limina” visits, a number of Catholic leaders were in town for a series of meetings with the cardinals of the Roman Curia and even with Pope Francis.

The objective was to calm rising tensions between Curia officials and the German bishops, who are engaged in a synodal process that many in the Vatican fear could lead to a schism.

Germany’s three highest Catholic officials – Bishop Georg Bätzing, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode and Dr. Beate Gilles, respectively president, vice-president and secretary general of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) – made their way in and around St. Peter’s Square, going from one dicastery to another.

Their meeting on the morning of October 4 with Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, was the only one that resulted in a statement, quite remarkable because of the apologies it contained.

Several days earlier the Swiss cardinal had infuriated the German bishops by drawing a parallel between the method of reflection they and their people are using during the Synodal Path and the theories of a Protestant group in Nazi Germany.

There was also the opportunity for two other high-ranking German Catholics to see the pope.Francis met with Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne at the end of his October 5 general audience. Then the next day the pope had a private meeting with Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich who is also coordinator of the Vatican’s Council for the Economy.

Finally, the German Embassy to the Holy See hosted a lecture on the afternoon of October 4 by Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof, vice-coordinator of that same council and, above all, an active member of the Syndol Path.

She explained how this synodal process was being conducted and assured the priests and diplomats who attended her talk that Catholics in Germany had no intention of separating themselves from Rome.

All these meetings were an effort to convince the Holy See of the benefits of the German approach to synodality.

They were also an attempt to calm the disagreements and the growing impression in Rome that the Vatican and the Church in Germany are two continents that are constantly drifting apart.

Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/vatican-diary/german-bishops-offensive-at-the-vatican/16717

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