Vatican’s top cardinal says growing concerns over Germany’s ‘synodal path’ are justified – Catholic World Report

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, seen speaking in a photo from March 2017. (CNS Photo/Jens Schulze, Pool via EPA)

Vatican City, April 15, 2022 / 11:15 a.m. (CNA).

A senior Vatican cardinal has confirmed Pope Francis’ apprehensions over Germany’s ‘synodal path’, telling EWTN in an exclusive interview that critics have raised ‘legitimate concerns’ over the controversial reassessment of teaching of the Church on sexual morality and other critical issues.

“I sincerely hope that the German bishops will not just defend themselves but actually enter into a dialogue. Because there are legitimate concerns behind this that need to be taken seriously,” Cardinal Kurt Koch said Thursday.

The Swiss cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, spoke with EWTN’s Vatican office chief, Andreas Thonhauser, for an upcoming broadcast of EWTN’s news magazine “Vaticano.”

In the same conversation, Koch also touched on the situation in Ukraine, affirming Pope Francis’ view that any religious justification for war is “blasphemy.”

Regarding the synodal path, Koch referred to a growing chorus of concern expressed by Church leaders around the world over his call for sweeping changes in Church teaching on homosexuality and sexual abuse. ‘other questions.

Koch recalled the “fraternal concern” expressed by the Polish Catholic bishops, the alarm of the Nordic Episcopal Conference, as well as the recent “fraternal open letter” signed by four cardinals and more than 80 bishops warning that the ongoing process in Germany could undermine the credibility of the Church and lead to schism.

Koch called for a dialogue on “what the Holy Father and what the German bishops each mean by the synodal way,” adding that these are two separate meanings.

“I don’t see them as the same. For the pope, synodality is… a spiritual event. That is, he invites us to listen to one another and, in listening to one another, to listen to the Holy Spirit for what he wants to speak to us,” Koch explained.

“In Germany, I have the impression that synodality consists in taking care of the structures, which Pope Francis has already insisted very strongly in his “Letter to the People of God” in Germany, that it is not a question not above all of structures but of spirituality. And second, that the synodality as a whole should serve evangelization, as the pope has now also established in the Apostolic Constitution for the Roman Curia.

Pope Francis spoke directly to Catholics in Germany in a landmark 28-page letter in 2019. In it, addressing what he called the “erosion” and “decline of faith” in the country, the Pope called on the faithful to convert, pray, and fast – and he urged them to proclaim the Gospel.

The proclamation of the faith is the first and proper mission of the Church, and therefore this must also be the goal of a “synodal journey”, exhorted the pontiff then.

Koch told EWTN that Pope Francis places the highest priority on this proclamation of faith.

“In this context,” the cardinal said, “one must also understand his letter to Germany, which I don’t feel was really fully considered.”

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