For three years, the leaders of the Catholic Church in Germany have been involved in their “Synodal Way,” a process of conversation and decisions among the bishops and laity, regarding Church doctrine and practice, which culminated recently in three days of voting on particular issues.
The majority sanctioned the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of women, and transgendered people, a fundamental change in the governing authority of bishops, and a radical rewrite of Catholic sexual morality.
Despite the Holy Father’s warnings and disapproval, this German body went forward with its deliberations and decisions.
This shocking conclusion is an absolute first in the history of the modern Church — a national conference of bishops essentially rejecting fundamental aspects of Church teaching and practice.
Strong pressures from various interest groups ardently seek to change Church teaching on the issues of life and sexuality, as if such fundamental components of our Christian faith and anthropology could ever be up for a vote.
What we believe, teach, and practice as Catholics are revealed by God through Jesus Christ in the Church through the Scriptures and Tradition.
As disciples of the Lord, we have the opportunity and duty to be well-formed in the faith, to have a well-developed conscience, and to witness the treasure of Catholicism to the world.
The Church always reaches out in compassion and love to every human person, seeking to help them realize their human dignity as a child of God.
The Church loves everyone and wants every soul to encounter Jesus Christ and to ultimately be saved.
To preach the truth revealed by God in love is the Gospel mandate we have received and seek to live.
In Jesus Christ, we view the perfect fusion of love and truth.
He loved everyone, embraced them in their sinfulness, and led them to the holy freedom that religious and moral conversion brings.
We do not love people when we simply leave them in sin and error, nor do we love them when we harshly reject them without any compassion or feeling.
As Pope Francis reminds us often, disciples lovingly accompany others towards a stance of conversion in Jesus Christ.
No one has the authority to change Church teaching, as if the truth given is malleable and adaptive to changing cultural norms. Such a path would lead to both error and irrelevance.
When people express their dismay to me about the turbulence in the Church and the many conflicting opinions about doctrine and morality, I simply reaffirm that the Faith does not change.
We have the Scriptures, the Tradition, and the Catechism.
These spiritual gifts to us are the road map, which leads us to Christ, salvation, and happiness.
We pray for the Church in Germany, for her bishops, priests, leaders, and lay faithful.
May they be unified with the universal Church in truth and love, as we live the beautiful teachings given to us by the Lord through the grace of our 2000-year tradition.