In an interview published Wednesday, Pope Francis decried the German Synodal Way as elitist, unhelpful, and running the risk of bringing ideological harm to Church processes.
“The German experience does not help,” the pontiff told Associated Press when asked about the controversial process, explaining that dialogue should involve “all the people of God.”
Francis said on Tuesday that the global synod’s aim was to “help this more elitist (German) path so that it does not end badly in some way, but so is also integrated into the Church.”
While Pope Francis did not delve into details of the demands made in Germany, he plainly described the Synodal Way as perilous.
“Here the danger is that something very, very ideological trickles in. When ideology gets involved in church processes, the Holy Spirit goes home, because ideology overcomes the Holy Spirit,” he said in the wide-ranging interview that also included remarks about the Church’s stance on homosexuality, the loss of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI — and his health.
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, prompting accusations of heresy and fears of schism.
In his interview published Wednesday, Pope Francis insisted: “Always try to unite.”
Just two days earlier, on Monday, the latest Vatican intervention against the Synodal Way revealed that even participants in the process are anything but united: Five German bishops, it was reported, had asked Rome to clarify concerns over a synodal council.
Participants of the German Synodal Way in September 2022 voted to create such a controlling body that would permanently oversee the Church in Germany.
The Vatican stated in a letter published Jan. 23 that the Germans are not authorized to install a permanent synodal council to oversee the Church in Germany. The missive was formally approved by Pope Francis.
Despite all these interventions, the Synodal Way — “Synodaler Weg” in German, sometimes translated as the Synodal Path — is currently still expected to continue as planned by its organizers. The next (and so far final) synodal assembly is scheduled to take place in Frankfurt in March.