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Cardinal Reinhard Marx Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch

FRANKFURT-AM-MAIN, Germany (LifeSiteNews) — Following a setback, progressivists dominating the German Synodal Path are shocked, speak of “disaster” and “treason,” and bemoan that some bishops are “secret blockers” who “do not say openly what they think.”

Yesterday, on the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, the entire Catholic world was surprised when, during the fourth Synodal Path assembly, 21 German bishops voted in a secret ballot against a document that aimed at changing the Church’s moral teaching on homosexuality, contraception, and gender identity. 31 of the 60 bishops present approved of that document, while 21 voted against it. Others abstained. The document needed the vote of two-thirds of the bishops to pass, and thus the minority was able to block it as an official document of the German Synodal Path.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the former head of the German bishops and a member of the Pope’s Council of Cardinals, said he was “very disappointed” by this voting result.

The German Synodal Path, an association of lay people and bishops, was started in 2019 under Cardinal Marx as the then-head of the German Bishops’ Conference. His successor in that role, Georg Bätzing, was shocked by yesterday’s vote, but insisted that the text be sent anyway to Rome at the upcoming ad-limina visit of the German bishops with the Pope and submitted to the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome. Most importantly, he announced that, from now on, voting will take place by a show of hands, which means that every bishop who wishes to defend traditional Church doctrine will be put under public pressure.

READ: German bishop denounces Synodal Way for exalting ‘autonomous freedom’ over truth

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Liberal bishops around the world continue promoting heterodox views on homosexuality, female priests, divorce, contraception, and more — advancing anti-Catholic positions that jeopardize the salvation of souls.

Such bishops often sideline, ignore and even persecute traditional Catholics who simply ask that the Faith be preserved and passed on to their children.

But traditional Catholics cannot be silenced any longer, which is why we are uniting in this international boycott of modernist bishops and dioceses until the deposit of Faith is upheld by the hierarchy again. 

SIGN: We will not fund modernist bishops or priests who undermine the Catholic Faith, but rather direct our contributions towards faithful clergy and orders that work for the salvation of souls.

There are countless examples of bishops working against Christ's Church in calling for divine law to be ignored in favor of sexual, doctrinal and liturgical deviancy, even trying to clamp down on Catholics who practise the Faith. 

Just last year, Cardinal Cupich banned traditional prayers after Mass, and more recently has curtailed the Traditional Latin Mass in his diocese. 

The attack on the Faith is out in the open, with modernist bishops causing scandal in countless ways:

We have seen enough. Now is the time to show true Catholic unity against those who undermine the Faith - do not be bullied into submission by these men who would disfigure Christ's Church.

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Photos: Pope Francis. Flickr. Long Thiên; Cardinal Cupich. Flickr. Goat_Girl; Collection Plate: Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock

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Fully eighty percent of the total Synodal Path assembly voted in favor of the revolutionary text that approved homosexuality, contraception, and the claim that people can have a binary identity. From the beginning the conservative wing of the Catholic Church in Germany has been intimidated, something that became obvious after their vote against the liberalizing document on sexuality yesterday. The website of the German Synodal Path posted numerous comments of participants of the assembly expressing their indignation over the resistance of one third of the German bishops who are loyal to the Church’s teachings.

As far as the document is concerned, their fidelity was in vain. Because the leaders of the German bishops in Germany wish to continue their “path of destruction” (in the words of Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer), they decided to make use of this rejected synodal text anyway and to send it to Rome.

This move was remarked upon by Peter Winnemöller, a German Catholic journalist, who wrote on Twitter: “The agenda has long since been set and the synodal Punch and Judy show is just window dressing. It no longer matters who votes and how.”

The German Synodal Path has long been a scandal in the Catholic Church, with 70 bishops rejecting it in public and entire bishops’ conferences raising their voices in alarm. Laity are also concerned. Irme Stetter-Karp, the Vice-President of the Synodal Path, was recently rebuked by German Catholic lay people for endorsing abortion and for demanding “that the medical intervention of an abortion should be made possible across the board.”

The Synodal Path’s heterodox working documents – which included the endorsement of blessings for homosexual couples – provoked two Vatican statements, one rejecting the blessing of homosexual couples, and the other stipulating that the Synodal Way “is not authorized to oblige the bishops and the faithful to adopt new forms of governance and new orientations of doctrine and morals.”

It might have been these statements that encouraged the few faithful bishops in Germany to vote against the proposal to change the Church’s moral teaching. At the same time, however, Pope Francis himself is encouraging such synodal paths around the world, having himself initiated a “Synod on Synodality” that is to take place in 2023 and that has already now provoked more heterodox statements from the world’s bishops. Therefore, Bishop Georg Bätzing argued before the ongoing September 8-10 Synodal Path meeting in Frankfurt that this process is willed by the Pope and that the discussion results will all come together at the Synod on Synodality in 2023.

READ: Catholic lay group in Germany expresses support for woman who tried concelebrating Mass

LifeSite reached out to two German Catholic journalists, Petra Lorleberg and Mathias von Gersdorff, and a German Catholic priest for comment on the surprise event of yesterday at the Synodal Path assembly.

Petra Lorleberg is the editor-in-chief at the German Catholic online newspaper “,” a theologian and author. In her statement, she thanked the 21 faithful bishops:

Twenty-one bishops have declared their faith in Catholic doctrine, even though they know that they will be met with the full fury not only of the mainstream press, but also of all those dissenting Catholics who have not only abandoned fidelity to Christian doctrine, but also, in the majority, no longer believe in Jesus Christ, Man and God, Savior and Redeemer. There were also three abstentions. Other bishops apparently simply refused to vote in order to escape the predictable agitation against them, [but] these also contributed to the fact that it was not enough for the required two-thirds majority. THANK YOU to all the bishops who found the courage to remain faithful to their consecration vows. To those 31 bishops who gave their ‘yes’ to the policy document, my question is: why should faithful Catholics actually follow unfaithful shepherds?

Mathias von Gersdorff is an author and a pro-life activist. He noted both that the rejection of the document was “unexpected by many” and also that progressives are seeking away around it by proposing to do away with unity in the Church.

 The rejection of the foundational document, which envisions a new ultra-liberal sexual morality, a new image of marriage and family, and introduces gender ideology into the Magisterium, generated outrage and anger among supporters. Apparently, the rejection was unexpected by many. In the run-up, however, some may have suspected that it would come to this and feared turmoil and a breakdown of the synodal assembly. Since the synodal assembly in February 2022, criticism of the Synodal Path has become louder and louder and the public debate more and more irritated. It is likely that this state of affairs has caused quite a few auxiliary bishops to reflect.

One thing, however, is particularly striking: In the press conference the day after, Bishop Dr. Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, quickly conjured up the idea of a Church with “different church images and speeds.” Specifically: each bishop should decide for himself how to deal with the rejected texts. This leads to a destruction of the unity of the Church and to the formation of national churches at the diocesan level.

Father Karl-Heinz Bökelmann, a parish pastor, told LifeSiteNews that he was surprised that the document failed to get the necessary votes, especially given the attempts to intimidate “possible opponents” into going along with it.

I had not expected that. After the many pro-statements of various bishops, it became clear where the journey was going: Clear vote for the text and all the others! I only wanted to know which really Catholic bishops were left.

Now the pro-side is facing a shambles. They had skilfully tried to intimidate or even silence possible opponents. Bishops, like Voderholzer, were not to be given the right to speak at all. So the other opponents kept silent and then simply voted “no”. Cardinal Wölki also did not say a word yesterday.

The now “disappointed” are the victim of their own machinations. Let us hope that the next votes will also be like this. I fear, however, that the defeated laity and bishops will go their German special way in their dioceses.

Update: Subsequent to the publication of this article, German school director and publicist Michael Hageböck also submitted his opinion on the vote, saying it is a “glimmer of hope for the Catholic Church in Germany.” He blames the church tax system “installed by Hitler” for enabling “faith-destroying collaborators” within Germany and blackmailing the Church worldwide:

The rejection of the foundational text on sexual morality at the fourth plenary assembly of the Synodal Way in Germany by a blocking minority of bishops is a glimmer of hope for the Catholic Church in Germany, which suffers from the church tax system installed by Hitler in 1935 because it finances an apparatus of faith-destroying collaborators in its own country and blackmails the Church worldwide through the wealth generated by the German state. In recent decades, courageous bishops in the German-speaking world have been destroyed time and again as soon as they individually defied the media mainstream.

Now, for the first time in 50 years, several bishops together (29 out of 60) have rejected the zeitgeist. This prevented the schism, which according to Freiburg dogmatics professor Striet is already latent, from becoming manifest through an official document. As a Catholic who suffers from the fact that in his homeland all his life the Roman Magisterium was opposed, I ask the brothers and sisters abroad for prayers and fasting, that Germany, once the heart of the Sacrum Imperium and thus the secular protection of Western Christendom, will be converted, its bishops will defy public pressure, will stand united behind the Magisterium, and thus contribute to a renewal of faith.


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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,, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana,, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.