Two of Germany’s top canon lawyers have explained that the German Synodal Path must now end following a letter from Pope Francis to German bishops expressly stopping them from establishing a “permanent synodal council”.
Running to four pages, the letter states that German bishops do not have the authority to establish a permament synodal council composed of lay people and bishops to oversee the local Church.
It has been interpreted as a major intervention by the Vatican to bring an end to Germany’s controversial talks which many fear will tear the Church apart.
The letter, which was approved by Pope Francis in forma specifica, was dated 15 January and published by the German bishops’ conference on Monday evening 23 January.
It was addressed to the president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, and signed by Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, DDF Prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria and Prefect for the Dicastery for Bishops Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
The letter informed Bishop Georg Bätzing “that neither the Synodal Way, nor any body established by it, nor any bishops’ conference has the competence to establish the ‘synodal council’ at the national, diocesan, or parish level”.
Top German canon lawyers Thomas Schüller and Norbert Lüdecke explained what the letter meant in a series of posts on social media.
The “stop sign” from Rome was “final”, Schüller said on social media, posting that the letter had been accepted by the Pope in forma specifica. The letter was therefore a “papal decision” and thus “non-appealable”.
Lüdecke explained that the Pope had taken the matter into his own hands and that it was no longer a matter for Curia.
READ ON BELOW…Vatican issues final ‘stop sign’ on German Synodal Path – Catholic Herald