Faithful Catholics around the world were shocked by the announcement that the German bishops will create a “blessing” ceremony for homosexual “couples” and open the path for female “deacons.” Such decisions were made through what is called the German Synodal Path.
Ever since it began in December 2019, the German Synodal Path has been a cause of grave concern among Catholics faithful to the Church’s traditional teachings. From the beginning, both clerics and laymen involved with it have declared their intention to change the Catholic Church’s teachings on morals as well as destroy the Church’s hierarchical structure.
The Synodal Path is an assembly of 230 members divided equally between clergy and laymen to “discuss” and vote on what it considers pressing issues in the Church. It is a new, parliamentary form of Catholic Church governance that eliminates Catholicism’s hierarchical structure and authority vested in the Pope and the bishops. At their meeting in Frankfurt in February 2022, it passed resolutions that called for the Catholic Church to allow women’s ordination, establish the lay election of bishops, create a blessing ceremony for homosexual “unions,” change the Church’s sexual morality to approve of homosexual acts and end clerical celibacy.
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The leader of this attack on Catholic orthodoxy has been Bishop George Bätzing, the Bishop of Limburg and President of the German Bishops’ Conference. Bishop Bätzing has openly endorsed the same heretical positions and reacted with defiance when other bishops or the Vatican voiced opposition to his proposals to change Church teaching on sexual morality, women’s ordination, and clerical celibacy. In an interview in May 2022, he said that he would like to “turn the Church from its head onto its feet” and said that he might even leave the Catholic Church if he “got the impression that nothing would ever change.” Bishop Bätzing made an ominous statement at a press conference in November 2022, where he said that the German bishops did not want to depart from the Catechism, “but we want to be Catholic in a different way.”
A few cardinals in the Vatican and some German bishops have raised objections to the Synodal Path, but it has faced no serious, organized opposition within the German church. This has contributed to the impression that the vast majority of German Catholics support it. The very idea of “synodality,” in fact, is to “listen” for the indications of the Holy Spirit among ordinary Catholics.
In the context of these heretical statements by the Synodal Path and Bishop Bätzing, Bishop Helmut Dieser of Aachen published on February 13 a shocking post on diocesan social media with two homosexual men performing an indecent act, with the caption “Love is everything.” [Warning: Indecent Content]
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Many German Catholics were outraged and decided to react. On February 16, the German Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) published [in German, click here | in English, click here] a statement titled “A Statement of Protest to Bishop Helmut Dieser: Blessing ceremonies for alternative partnerships contradict Catholic morals, doctrine and unity.” It called for respectful resistance to Bishop Dieser and the German Synodal Path for its promotion of homosexuality, a sin condemned by both the New Testament and 2,000 years of Catholic moral theology. The document said that faithful Catholics have the obligation to denounce such heresy just as Saint John the Baptist denounced the immorality of Herod to his face with the words “It is not licit for you” (Mark 6:18). This reference is especially appropriate because the cathedral of Aachen has the relic of Saint John the Baptist’s decapitation cloth.
Over the next few weeks, the German TFP distributed thousands of flyers with the manifesto before and after Masses at several dozen parishes across the diocese. At the cathedral of Aachen, volunteers distributed flyers before and after every Mass over the weekend as well as the daily Masses.
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The greatest surprise was the level of support for the campaign. “Finally, someone is doing something!” was a common response from German Catholics who received a flyer. Among Catholics attending Mass at the cathedral, approximately 80% expressed support for the campaign. A significant number of priests also expressed their agreement with the manifesto and their opposition to the Synodal Path that is being imposed on them and the German Church from above. On February 28, the flyer campaign ended with a rosary rally in front of Aachen cathedral in reparation for the obscene social media post and to ask God to protect the Catholic Church in Germany from heresy against Her moral teachings. About 100 Catholics participated, opposed by about 50 pro-homosexual activists.
The following week, the group of German Catholic volunteers repeated the same campaign in Bishop Bätzing’s own diocese of Limburg. Over several days, the volunteers distributed tens of thousands of flyers [in German, click here | in English, click here] at over 100 parishes across the diocese, which includes the city of Frankfurt.
Although some parishes in the diocese had rainbow flags and other pro-homosexual propaganda placed in full public view, many others did not. When talking with ordinary Catholics while distributing flyers after Mass, a large number agreed that the German Synodal Path was bad for the Church. To be sure, many supported Bishop Bätzing and his “reforms,” but Catholic public opinion was by no means unanimous. This was especially apparent in the largest parishes of the city of Frankfurt. A significant number of clergy and laypeople supported the campaign.
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Progressive Catholics were furious with the campaign. While distributing flyers outside Frankfurt Cathedral (which had posted a sign proclaiming that “All are welcome”), a Franciscan priest angrily shouted at the volunteers handing out flyers.
On Thursday, March 9 – the opening day of the Germany Synodal Path – hundreds of German Catholics participated in a rosary rally outside the venue where the Synodal Path was meeting. All the German bishops and lay participants of the Synodal Path were forced to walk past the rally, where the faithful prayed in reparation for the heresies and schismatic tendencies promoted by Bishop Bätzing and others.
Although the Synodal Path later approved blessings for homosexual “couples” and support for female deacons, the campaign exposed the deep divisions in the Catholic Church in Germany. German Catholics are by no means united behind Bishop Bätzing and his “reforms.” On the contrary, many lay Catholics and clergy vehemently oppose the Synodal Path’s rejection of Catholic morality. Far from a grassroots, movement, the Synodal Path is a revolution imposed by the shepherds from above on an unwilling flock.
The fight to defense of true Catholic moral teachings in Germany and the world is not over. On the contrary, lay Catholics will continue to stand up, like Saint John the Baptist, and stand for the truth no matter the cost.
Taking a Principled not a Personal Stand on Homosexuality, Homosexual “Marriage” and Transgenderism
As practicing Catholics, we are filled with compassion and pray for those who struggle against violent temptation to sin, be it toward homosexual sin, gender dysphoria or otherwise. We are conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weaknesses and strive to overcome them and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride, and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. However, we pray for them too. According to the expression attributed to Saint Augustine, we “hate the sin but love the sinner.” And to love the sinner, as the same Doctor of the Church explains, is to wish for him the best we can possibly desire for ourselves, namely, “that he may love God with a perfect affection.” (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, No. 49, www.newadvent.org/fathers/1401.htm)