Bätzing was referring to the abuse crisis that has shaken the Church in Poland in recent years, leading to Vatican disciplinary action against a series of mostly retired bishops accused of negligent handling of abuse cases.
The 60-year-old bishop said that German Catholics were pursuing the Synodal Way as Pope Francis had asked them to in a 19-page letter in 2019.
He added that the initiative was a “spiritual path” that was open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“In this, we are always looking for the next, hopefully right, step,” he wrote.
Responding to Gądecki’s suggestion that the Synodal Way was placing too much emphasis on psychology and the social sciences, Bätzing referred to the initiative’s orientation text, which sets out its underlying theological principles.
“In this, it becomes clear that the Synodal Way is by no means simply dependent on current developments in psychology and the social sciences,” he argued, “but rather that Holy Scripture is the highest guideline, but that alongside this, living tradition, the signs of the times emphasized by the Second Vatican Council, the sense of faith of the faithful, the Magisterium and theology in mutual connection are also fundamental.”
Bätzing included with his letter the draft texts endorsed at a Synodal Way meeting in February.
Members of the Synodal Assembly, the supreme decision-making body of the Synodal Way, voted in favor of documents calling for married priests in the Latin Church, the ordination of women priests, same-sex blessings, and changes to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Bätzing told Gądecki: “I would be interested in a real theological exchange with you about the argumentation of these texts, since they try to pave ways to make evangelization possible. This must be our common concern.”
“In the Lenten penitential season, we can look at this together. Despite all guilt, entanglements, and shortcomings, the Church has a great message to proclaim, but one that cannot make her arrogant: the message of our God who allowed himself to be crucified to save the world.”