The following article is an interview of Mathias von Gersdorff, member of the German Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), by Julio Loredo.
What is the German Synodal Path, and why is it so important for the universal Church? We asked Mathias von Gersdorff of the German Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a scholar of the Synodal Path.
Why is the Synodal Path so important?
The so-called German Synodal Path worries Catholics worldwide, and rightly so. It is pushing the Church in Germany towards schism and the establishment of a heretical new Church. In addition, it could adversely influence October’s World Synod in Rome.
Therefore, it is essential to analyze events in Germany. I have been closely observing the Synodal Path for some time. I frankly hope that criticism of it will increase because it represents a great danger to the Church. The only way to force the bishops, starting with Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the Bishops’ Conference, to back down is to make them hear the harsh criticisms of the faithful.
When did this “journey” begin? Is this a one-time event or a process that, once started, never ends?
The Synodal Path has two aspects. The first is the Synodal Path itself. It started in 2019 as a platform for permanent discussion. Everyone was to have total freedom to contribute their opinions about the Church. It was a disaster. Everyone felt entitled to say the most absurd and heretical things. This phase ends in March.
In the course of this open discussion, many documents were produced. Supposedly, these contained the proposals of the faithful, but they were actually created by progressive minorities. These proposals will now be presented to the dioceses. In principle, the bishop would be free to apply the proposals or not, but the Vatican has set some limits that cannot be crossed. This presentation is the diocesan phase of the Path. Not all the bishops favor the Path. Thus the situation is quite complex.
On the other hand, many, especially within the more progressive sectors of the German Church, desire to perpetuate the synodal journey indefinitely. They propose to create a Synodal Council. This Council would be made up of bishops and lay people, who would apply the proposals made during the Synodal Path. This Council would have no deadline and thus make the Synodal Path something permanent.
The Vatican put a stop to this second proposal. In a letter signed by Cardinals Ladaria (Doctrine of the Faith), Ouellet (Dicastery for Bishops) and Parolin (Secretariat of State), Rome declared that this Synodal Council cannot be created. The German bishops do not have the right to change the constitution of the Church by creating new forms of government.
Bishop Bätzing replied evasively to this prohibition. He assured the Vatican that he did not intend to provoke a schism. Further, he argued that the Synodal Path is not a definite course but an evolving process. This has triggered a sort of ping-pong dialogue between the Vatican and the German bishops, the vast majority of whom desire the creation of the Synodal Council.
What is the stated purpose of the German Synodal Path?
In theory, the Synodal Path was established to solve problems related to abuse in the German Church, especially in the sexual field. Scandals exploded in 2010. Since then, meetings, commissions and working groups have multiplied without ever reaching any concrete conclusion. Consequently, nothing was done.
The progressive sectors chaffed under this inertia. Led by some bishops, together with the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), these progressives took the problem in hand. They proposed a permanent platform for discussion, which became known as the Synodal Path.
It must be said that his Central Committee is really fake because it does not represent German Catholics. It represents established movements that have long taken a frankly leftist turn. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger accused the ZdK of “wanting to create a sort of anti-Magisterium.” In recent decades, the ZdK has dedicated itself to promoting subversion in the Church. It systematically contests anything that comes from the Vatican. These are precisely the people the bishops have chosen to start the Synodal Path.
While most German bishops have enthusiastically embraced the synodal project, some have kept silent. In my opinion, they are silent because they think nothing will come of it, and they don’t want any hassle. Very few have openly criticized the Path.
Here I want to mention a crucial point. From the beginning, it was clear that the Synodal Path was a way for progressives to open a Pandora’s box. They want to go far beyond the discussion of sexual abuse. They intend to question the hierarchical constitution of the Church, its Magisterium, its morals and so on. In other words, the progressives see the Synodal Path as a tool for promoting the Revolution in the Church.
We can see the Synodal Path as introducing the Sexual Revolution of May 1968 into the Church. The promoters have the same agenda: sexual revolution, weakening of the family, gender ideology, homosexuality, feminism, cancel culture and so on.
How do the majority of German Catholics see this process? Is there a broad consensus? Or does support only come from active minorities?
The Synodal Path promoters initially thought big. They wanted to involve large masses of the faithful. They engaged in a massive media campaign to market the idea. Leftists thought that German Catholics would welcome it with enthusiasm, the dawn of a longed-for era of freedom.
However, since the public sessions started, it has been a total flop. Very few are interested. The media understand that it is not a topic of general interest. For example, an online petition in support of the Synodal Path obtained just twelve thousand signatures. It was a ridiculous result considering the millions of German Catholics.
So, the Synodal Path is a project of radical but very active minorities. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important. On the contrary! Since the seventies, extremist sectors, despite various metamorphoses, have never abandoned the dream of subverting the Church. They believe that, perhaps, the right time has come. They can see the perfect tool in the Synodal Path. They want to take advantage of the indifference of most Catholics to go ahead with their subversive designs.
We must also remember that these minorities have significant support in the episcopate. They possess a functioning propaganda machine. Therefore, they have a tremendous destructive capacity. We absolutely cannot underestimate the danger.
Thank God, opposition to the Synodal Path has been increasing. A growing number of people publish articles criticizing the Path, make videos, create Facebook groups and so on. The affirmations of the progressives deeply affect them, and therefore they are beginning to react. It is increasingly clear that the promoters of the Synodal Path want to stage a coup d’état in the Church, leading toward schism and heresy.
I also notice a certain desperation in these radical minorities. Most of them are veterans of 1968 who can’t find young idealists to whom they can pass the baton. Their age means this is their last opportunity to implement the Revolution in the Church. Hence they persist.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller has declared that the Synodal Path would drag the Church to destruction if taken to its extreme.
Absolutely, yes! Anyone who criticizes the Synodal Path only for its schismatic character is almost doing it a favor. It is a Path toward heresy and destruction.
Let us not forget these radicals also have their extreme fringes. There are those even further to the left than supporters of the Synodal Path. These fringes act as trailblazers. They offer ideas and proposals that not even the Path promoters can accept. In light of these fringes, the Path may even seem moderate. It is tempting to conduct a complete analysis of the roles of “extremists” and “moderates.” It is a trap that we must avoid. We must not fall into the deception of “giving in so as not to lose.” We cannot give in a little bit to avoid losing everything. Such a process means that step by step, we’ll end up giving everything away.
I close by sounding a cry of alarm. The Synodal Path, and all it stands for, has already wreaked havoc in the Church in Germany. If this spreads around the world in the wake of the General Synod, I believe it will be a real disaster. It is the moral duty of Catholics to reject the Synodal Path and everything it stands for. We must alert our brothers in the Faith! We are called not only to spread the Truth of the Gospel but also to defend Holy Mother Church when attacked.
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