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Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich arrives for the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By C C Pecknold, Catholic Herald,

The Church in Germany today is going far beyond where modernizers once dared to tread

In the 1940s, a Jesuit theologian named Henri Bouillard proclaimed that a theology which is not “up to date” is a “false theology.” At such arrogance, the French Dominican Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange pounded his fist, and his pen, to insist that it’s not the eternal truths which should be conformed to a changing world, but a changeable world which must be conformed to the Unchangeable One.

The Church in Germany today is rather in the position of Henri Bouillard, demanding that a theology that is not up to date is false. The German bishops have proposed a controversial new approach to synodality, partnering with an influential lay group of progressives who are well-known in Germany for their dissent from Church teaching, especially on matters of human sexuality. The proposed Synodal Assembly was not submitted to Rome for approval, but was announced last week by the German bishop’s conference. It has sent shock waves around the world.

The Synodal Assembly led by Cardinal Marx will be composed of 200 members, with the bishops in the minority, and the “Central Committee of German Catholics” (ZdK) in the relative majority with 70 voting members. The key issues they have identified for their “binding synodal process” are clerical celibacy, the Church’s teaching on human sexuality, and the role of women in the ministries and offices of the Church. The soviet-sounding “Central Committee” (ZdK) is the most prominent voice of culturally-conformed Catholicism in Germany. They have a history of vigorously advocating for an “updating” of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and women’s ordination in particular. Senior members of ZdK have publicly insisted that the clerical abuse scandal requires a radical break in Church teaching on human sexuality, and that part of that must mean a change in the “ecclesiastical tabooing and pathologizing” of homosexuality. ….

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