‘We need time,’ Synod on Synodality organizers tell German-language media

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich Cardinal Mario Grech Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg (left) and Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

A key organizer of the Synod on Synodality says the issue of the ordination of women in the Catholic Church was not the main topic of the world synod on synodality. However, if “synodality comes through,” there may be “other decisions to be made in the future,” Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, told German diocesan media. 

Speaking Sunday after the European Continental Assembly meeting in Prague Feb. 5–12, Hollerich said that if “this synodality comes through,” we will have “a way” of “making decisions in the Church,” CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language partner agency, reported

The archbishop of Luxembourg — who serves as the general relator of the synod — stressed the world synod was about synodality and “not a synod on women’s ordination, nor a synod on homosexuality.” 

Another key organizer made similar remarks in a separate interview on Sunday, reported CNA Deutsch. 

Cardinal Mario Grech — who serves as secretary general of the world synod — told the German-language Swiss media outlet kath.ch that synodality was “a gift of the Holy Spirit for the Church today” and that there were “no taboo subjects.” 

Grech added: “As a Church, we think about how we can become more synodical. Once we are more synodal, we can better address certain issues. And I’m convinced: A synodal Church gives better answers to existential questions.”

In the same vein, Cardinal Hollerich told German Domradio on Feb. 12: “We need time. The Holy Spirit can work very quickly, but we mostly need time to understand, comprehend, and perceive the action of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in the world.”

With a view to the meeting in Prague, Hollerich said: “It was the first time in Europe that we could speak so freely and that everyone could present their view and be heard with respect by others.”

Referring to the German participation at the continental assembly, the cardinal said: “The German [delegation] naturally tried to present the Synodal Way. Some countries discovered common ground, others were quite shocked.”

Hollerich said: “It was good for the German delegation to see the diversity of opinions; that we are in this particular situation and have to go together.” He added that “one should calmly proceed. And if something comes from the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will bring it to a breakthrough.”

Pope Francis in January contrasted Germany’s “Synodaler Weg,” sometimes translated as the Synodal Path or Synodal Way, which is not a synod, with the universal Church’s Synod on Synodality. 

The controversial German process is still expected to continue as planned by its organizers. The next, and what is anticipated to be the final, synodal assembly is scheduled to take place in Frankfurt in March.

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