“The problem arises when the synodal way comes from the intellectual, theological elites, and is much influenced by external pressures,” the pope said.
Bätzing, who serves as president of the Synodal Way, is also a signatory to the “Frankfurt Declaration”. This petition demands German bishops should declare their commitment to implementing resolutions passed by the process, CNA Deutsch reported.
On Sunday, Kasper decried this push for “commitment”, saying it was "a trick and, moreover, a lazy trick."
"Just imagine a civil servant who allows himself to be appointed, then renounces the exercise of his legal obligations," the cardinal said. "He would be sure to face proceedings under civil service law. Ultimately, such a self-commitment would be tantamount to a collective resignation of the bishops. Constitutionally, the whole thing could only be called a coup, i.e., an attempted coup d'état."
The Church can never be governed synodally, Kasper stressed: "Synods cannot be made institutionally permanent." Instead, he said, a synod constituted "an extraordinary interruption" to ordinary proceedings.
The Synodal Way, also referred to as Synodal Path, describes itself as a process bringing together Germany’s bishops and selected laypeople to debate and pass resolutions about the way power is exercised in the Church, sexual morality, the priesthood, and the role of women.
Participants have voted in favor of draft documents calling for the priestly ordination of women, same-sex blessings, and changes to Church teaching on homosexual acts.
Cardinal Kasper has repeatedly expressed concern about the process.
On Sunday, Kasper used the close-sounding German words Neuerung (“renewal”) and Erneuerung (“innovation”) to say one could “not reinvent the Church,” but rather one should contribute to renewing it in the Holy Spirit: "renewal is not innovation. It does not mean just trying something new and inventing a new Church."
Instead, Kasper continued, true reform was about "letting the Spirit of God make us new and give us a new heart."
Analogously, he said, the term "reform" applies to bringing the church back "into shape," "namely, into the shape that Jesus Christ wanted and that he gave to the Church. Jesus Christ is the foundation, no one can lay another (1 Cor 3:10 f); he is at the same time the capstone that holds everything together (Eph 2:20). He is the standard, the Alpha and Omega of every renewal."
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