Maike Hickson

Blogs

German priests: ‘Synodal path’ is a ‘theological disaster full of falsehood and lies’

The priests state that the promoters of the synodal path 'want a church other than the one founded by Christ.'
Featured Image
Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the German bishops' 'synodal path' assembly, Jan. 2020. Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch
Maike Hickson By Maike Hickson

February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A German group of priests called Communio Veritatis has issued on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Our Lady, a new statement addressing the organizers of the German “synodal path” which just had its first synodal assembly over the weekend in Frankfurt. The authors of the text state that the promoters of the synodal path “want a church other than the one founded by Christ” and they call the synodal path a “pseudo-theological disaster full of falsehood and lies.”

The priestly group criticizes that the different preparatory discussion forums of the synodal path already contained many wrong ideas. The German priests reject, for example, the married priesthood and female ordination, as well as a blessing for homosexual couples, as proposed by the synodal path's documents. 

The group writes: “Since you have obviously lost sight of the Imitation of Christ and of the perspective of eternity, you also do not understand the necessary priestly sign of total surrender to God. As was to be expected, according to your will the Amazon should flow above all through Germany. Therefore you ask: 'Is celibacy the only form of life appropriate to the nature of the priesthood?'”

The authors also remind the organizers of the synodal path of the fact that Pope John Paul II has already, in a definitive manner, ruled out the priestly ordination of women. 

The priestly group also addresses the organizer’s attempt at weakening the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church and at strengthening the influence and power of lay people. Here, the group reminds us of what the Catechism teaches on the fact that the ordained ministers of the Church are the ones called to teach, sanctify, and govern. 

The Catechism states: “The ministerial priesthood is intrinsically different from the common priesthood, since it confers a sacred authority to minister to the faithful. Consecrated ministers exercise their service to the People of God through teaching [munus docendi], worship [munus liturgicum] and pastoral direction [munus regendi]” (CCC 1592). 

Discussing the claims of the organizers of the synodal path about homosexuality, the German priestly group writes that “these desolate demands are in blatant contradiction” to Holy Scripture and the Catechism.
“Based on clear Biblical testimony, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church calls homosexual acts 'a grave depravity' (CCC 2357). Such practices belong to the grave sins that seriously offend chastity (cf. CCC 2396) and are vehemently rejected by Holy Scripture (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:10).”

After their forceful analysis of the grave errors of the organizers of the synodal path, these priests tell the initiators of the synodal path: “You are not servants of truth, but moderators of division! Your agenda is not determined by the light of Christ and His Church, but by the altar of the spirit of the times! Your aspiration is not to devote yourselves to the Kingdom of God, but to build a horizontal man-church!”

The priests conclude their statement with their own commitment to the Church's teaching and with their firm devotion to Our Lady, saying: “All the more we want to be faithful to Christ the Lord, serve the Permanent Magisterium of the Catholic Church and entrust ourselves to the guidance of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God Mary.”

The priestly group Communio Veritatis was founded in 2018 in light of the Church's crisis, and they expressed, in the same year, their resistance against the Archbishop of Paderborn and his decision to permit Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion. They continue to issue statements against the dilution of the Catholic Faith. For example, in January of 2019, they called upon Cardinal Reinhard Marx to resign, accusing him of “abusing your spiritual office by obviously considering the Church's Sacraments as your personal property which you sacrifice at your own whims on the altar of the Zeitgeist.” Father Frank Unterhalt, the speaker of the group, wrote for LifeSiteNews an essay about the important role of Our Lady in this crisis, pointing out that in his experience as pastor, a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother always fosters a strong faith, frequent confession, and a resilience in these times of disorder.

***

Full text of the statement of the priestly group Communio veritatis:

The Synodal Path Downwards: A Monitum to the Initiators and Participants

The so-called synodal path is a pseudo-theological disaster full of falsehood and lies. The initiators obviously want a church other than the one founded by Christ.

In the working paper of the preparatory forum on “Power and Separation of Powers in the Church” (status of 20 Jan. 2020) it says: “A decisive task is not to bind the power of leadership and decision-making exclusively to consecration and to isolate it from the community of the faithful (communio fidelium), but to situate it well in the whole of the Church, which in all its members is the priestly People of God” (p. 17).

These words show the pernicious hubris with which you regard the Church of the Lord as your own property. Your arrogance expresses the exact opposite of what the Permanent Magisterium of the Catholic Church says:
“Christ established the ecclesiastical hierarchy to feed the people of God in His name. For this purpose he has given it authority. The hierarchy is composed of the ordained ministers: bishops, priests and deacons. By virtue of the Sacrament of Orders, bishops and priests, in exercising their ministry, act in the name and person of Christ the Head” (CCCC 179). “The ministerial priesthood is intrinsically different from the common priesthood, since it confers a sacred authority to minister to the faithful. Consecrated ministers exercise their service to the People of God through teaching [munus docendi], worship [munus liturgicum] and pastoral direction [munus regendi]” (CCC 1592).

You put up for negotiation God's Commandments and want to decide for yourself which morality you consider to be acceptable to the majority, up to date and reasonable.

In doing so, you even invoke a “liturgical appreciation” of same-sex relationships (see working paper of the preparatory forum on “Life in Succesful Relationships”, status of 7 Jan. 2020, p. 19). The bishops, who have on several occasions spoken up in favor of the blessing of homosexual partnerships, receive media-effective support from the left-liberal Politburo of the ZdK-Functionaries [Central Committe of German Catholics, the lay organization which co-hosts the German “synodal path”]. These desolate demands are in blatant contradiction to Holy Scripture and the Catechism:

Based on the clear biblical testimony the Magisterium of the Catholic Church calls homosexual acts “a grave depravity” (CCC 2357). Such practices belong to the grave sins that seriously offend chastity (cf. CCC 2396) and are vehemently rejected by Holy Scripture (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:10).
On your website synodalerweg.de you can also read the hypocritical assertion that the personal significance of sexuality has not been given sufficient attention so far. If one had adopted the Theology of the Body and the doctrine of the Communio personarum of Pope St. John Paul II, one would have to admit the opposite. It is precisely from your ranks that in particular the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio has been deliberately ignored and fought against.
For the Church of the Lord, the nature and meaning of marriage and sexuality do not derive from the spirit of the world, but from God's Revelation:

“Created as man and woman, he has called them in marriage to an intimate communion of life and of mutual love” (CCCC 337). “The conjugal union of husband and wife, founded by the Creator and endowed with its own laws, is by nature directed to the communion and good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children” (CCCC 338).

Since you have obviously lost sight of the Imitation of Christ and of the perspective of eternity, you also do not understand the necessary priestly sign of total surrender to God. As was to be expected, according to your will the Amazon should flow above all through Germany. Therefore you ask: “Is celibacy the only form of life appropriate to the nature of the priesthood?” (working paper of the preparatory forum “Priestly Existence Today”, status of 12 Sep. 2019, p. 3). You sometimes feign a fundamental appreciation of celibacy, only to then actually overturn it by introducing the so-called viri probati [morally proven married men].
In this way you deprive the Church of the precious gift of grace, which the Lord Himself exemplified and entrusted to her, as Pope Benedict XVI confirmed in an impressive manner for our time:

“In union with the great ecclesial Tradition, with the Second Vatican Council and my Predecessors in the Petrine Ministry, I affirm the beauty and the importance of a priestly life lived in celibacy as an expressive sign of total and exclusive dedication to Christ, to the Church and to the Kingdom of God, and consequently confirm its obligatory character for the Latin tradition” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, 24).

The divisive intentions of the initiators are also clearly evident in the area of the ordination of women. In the working paper of the preparatory forum “Women in Ministries and in Offices in the Church” (status of 23 October 2019) it says:
“In view of the question of the ordination of women to priests and bishops the theological arguments are to be reflected upon which are presented in the already existing documents of the Magisterium. Here [...] must be certainly taken into account also the binding character of these doctrinal documents” (p. 12).

With this you suggest that the question of ordination has not yet been finally decided and is, as it were, the subject of a possible negotiation.

It is correct, however, that the answer to this question has already been given irrevocably:
“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Ordinatio sacerdotalis, 4).

Even the doubts you deliberately spread about the binding nature of this doctrinal statement have already been emphatically dispelled:

“In view of the Pope's clear teaching act, which is expressly addressed to the whole Catholic Church, all the faithful must give their consent to the teaching contained therein. In this regard, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with papal approval, has presented an official response on the nature of this consent. It is a completely definitive, that is, irrevocable, consent to a doctrine infallibly presented by the Church" (CDF, Response on the doctrine presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis).

On this Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, on which Christ our God is carried into the Temple in the arms of his Immaculate Mother Mary, we say to the initiators of the synodal path:

You are not servants of truth, but moderators of division!

Your agenda is not determined by the light of Christ and His Church, but by the altar of the spirit of the times!

Your aspiration is not to devote yourselves to the Kingdom of God, but to build a horizontal man- church!

All the more we want to be faithful to Christ the Lord, serve the Permanent Magisterium of the Catholic Church and entrust ourselves to the guidance of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God Mary.

Paderborn, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord 2020

Priestly group Communio veritatis


Finished reading? Want to make a difference?

You depend on our news reporting. We depend on you. Make an impact today.


Share this article

Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.