The Year of Our Lord 2023 will likely witness Catholic dramas we cannot predict now; that is the way of Providence. What we can know with certainty about next year is that the German crisis in the world Church will come to a head, because what’s happening in Germany will collide with the first session of the Synod on Synodality for a Synodal Church in October 2023. And the resolution of the German crisis will be, if not wholly determinative, then hugely consequential, in defining the legacy of Pope Francis.
So what is happening in Germany, along its national “Synodal Path”?
Many things are happening: a weaponization of the crime and sin of sexual abuse in order to reinvent Catholicism; the rejection of settled Catholic understandings of human love and its expression; an unconditional surrender to gender ideology and its deconstruction of the biblical concept of the human person; a revolution in ecclesiology that, in the name of lay empowerment, empties the offices of bishop and priest of their full sacramental character; the gradual reduction of the Church to a wealthy NGO, doing good works defined by the politically correct consensus of the moment.
Beneath all this — and here we come to the bottom of the bottom line — is a rejection of the Second Vatican Council’s solemn teaching on divine revelation. And as Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, known by its Latin title Dei Verbum (The Word of God), was the Council’s fundamental achievement, to reject the teaching of Dei Verbum is to reject Vatican II. The German “Synodal Path” is not a development of the Council. It is a rejection of the Council.
Dei Verbum robustly affirmed the reality of divine revelation and its binding authority over time. Drawing on more than a century of biblical and theological reflection on salvation history, Vatican II insisted, against the grain of modern high culture, that Christianity is not a pious myth or a collection of inspiring legends. Christianity is an encounter with the incarnate Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, who brings to fulfillment the self-revelation of who God is, and what God intends for humanity, which began when God spoke to the Jewish people through Abraham, Moses and the Prophets.The German Crisis, the World Church, and Pope Francis – Catholic World Report