When the German bishops launched the initiative, they initially said that the deliberations would be “binding” on the German Church, prompting a Vatican intervention.
In his address, recorded by EWTN - Katholisches TV and reported by CNA Deutsch, the archbishop of Cologne said that the push for female ordination seemed to be a response to the perception that the exclusion of women from ordained offices was “hurtful and unjust.”
“Certainly an answer must be found to this reality of life, but not against revelation,” he said.
He explained that the “reality of life” that had led to the “Synodal Way” in the first place was the damage to the Church’s credibility in the wake of the clerical sexual abuse scandals. But he said that the draft texts did not reflect this.
“If only a marginal paragraph is devoted to this problem [of damaged credibility], I cannot deny the suspicion that this reality of life seems to be only a vehicle to make long-cherished wishes come true,” he said.
Woelki hit the headlines in Germany earlier this month when he said that the worst outcome would be if the Synodal Way “leads to a split and thereby outside of the Church, out of communion with the universal Church.”
In a Sept. 17 interview with the German Catholic news agency KNA, the cardinal said he feared that this would create “something like a German national church.”
His comments were downplayed by Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, who insisted that the Church in Germany is “part of the Universal Church and nothing will change that.”
Woelki was one of the speakers at a symposium bringing together the Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI Circles of Alumni (Schülerkreise) in Rome. The circles consist of an older group of former doctoral students of Joseph Ratzinger and newer members inspired by the retired pope’s theology.
Other speakers included Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who wrote to Bätzing earlier month expressing alarm about an appeal by German theologians for intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants.
In his address, Woelki made further criticisms of the “Synodal Way” process.
He said: “I also cannot deny a further suspicion, namely that it is the tradition and interpretative communion with the universal Church that is called into question here, rather than the concern of finding real answers that do justice to realities of life as well as to the truth of revelation.”
(Story cotinues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
“I would therefore like to emphasize once again: I am willing to engage in a dialogue about the realities of life. I am not prepared to do so against the living tradition of the Church.”
He continued: “This distorts the Word of God. This makes dialogue with God impossible, which should lead us to our actual happiness and to true joy. This blocks the path to communion with Him, which makes us into the person we are truly supposed to be and yearn to be.”