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Cardinal George Pell, prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the EconomyMichael Dodge / Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal George Pell in a new interview blasted the dissident drift of the Church in Germany and said that the pope “will have to speak” against the pro-homosexual “Synodal Way” and reaffirm Catholic teaching.

“Undoubtedly, the Holy Father will speak, will have to speak on this matter to clarify and reiterate the Tradition,” he told Dr. Gavin Ashenden, a Catholic convert and former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, on the Catholic Herald’s Merely Catholic podcast on Thursday.

“The Catholic Church, unlike the Orthodox and the Anglican communions, we have an instrument we believe ordained by God: Peter, the rock man,” said Cardinal Pell. “The special role of the papacy is to maintain the purity of the Apostolic Tradition and to maintain the unity of the Church around that tradition. So, I’m confident that the Holy Father will speak.”

“I have great confidence in the successor of Peter,” he said.

The conservative Australian cardinal and prefect emeritus of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy strongly condemned the German Synodal Way, a multiyear “renewal” process launched amid Germany’s clerical sex abuse crisis that seeks to overhaul Catholic teaching, including on female ordination and sexual morality.

A document approved by participants in a 174-22 vote earlier this year calls for a “re-evaluation” of Church teaching against homosexuality and revision of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, claiming that homosexual acts are “not a sin.”

The bureaucrats “dominating the Synodal Way” and most German bishops, Cardinal Pell said, “think that by adopting the teachings of the world around them, they are going to help Church.” “They’re heading and facing in the wrong direction, they’re making a bad situation worse.”

“We appeal to Christ, we appeal to Revelation, to our Judeo-Christian tradition, not to sociology or medicine,” the cardinal stressed.

At a more fundamental level, and “especially our German brothers studiously ignore this,” he said, it’s not only about agreeing or disagreeing with the Catechism. “It’s a question as to whether you believe we stand under the Apostolic Tradition or are its masters.”

“Do we feel free to reject the teachings of St. Paul, what was obviously the views and the practices of Jesus, almost unanimous tradition, not just amongst the Jews, but amongst the Christians?” he continued. “Do we feel able to do that, or does Revelation, do the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles have a special authority for us?”

“It’s a basic challenge to face.”

Fraternal correction of German bishops, ‘encouragement’ of Pope Francis

Cardinal Pell highlighted a recent “fraternal open letter” to the German bishops signed by him and more than 80 other prelates from five continents warning that the Synodal Way will “inevitably” lead to “potential for schism.” The bishops of Scandinavia and the president of the Polish episcopal conference have issued similar letters.

The fraternal correction letter, which Cardinal Pell called “an enormously important initiative,” aims to encourage both the faithful and the pope to uphold Catholic doctrine, he said.

“It reminds our people, that, for example, on the question of women priests or homosexual activity, the situation is not muddy and unclear, where people can choose from a variety of options,” the Australian cardinal asserted.

He cited a conversation reported by an Italian friend in which one Italian grandmother told another that her grandson had entered into a homosexual partnership. “Ah, yes, but even the Church now says that that’s OK,” the other grandmother responded.

“Well, we have to speak to make it clear that that is not the Christian teaching,” said Cardinal Pell.

“The letter is also designed to encourage the faithful German Catholics,” in addition to the “overwhelmingly majority” of people in Europe and the English-speaking world who “still want to have men marrying women, bringing up children,” he added.

Most people in the West “lament marriage breakdowns, they lament fatherless children, and we need to give a clear doctrinal help to people to hang onto that,” the cardinal said, emphasizing that heteronormativity is “absolutely necessary for the health of our society.”

“And, also, this letter is an encouragement to the Holy Father and perhaps the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” he continued. “This letter reassures [Pope Francis], of course, that the overwhelming majority of Catholic bishops throughout the world stand with the Tradition. That will be an important reassurance for him.”

In reiterating “basic teaching,” the signatories’ message is fundamentally “one of love,” explained Cardinal Pell:

We believe that the Christian teaching, which often in many areas say, for example, on forgiveness, is a very, very tough teaching, but it contributes to human flourishing. And in an attempt to be sympathetic, sentimental to people, to muddy the waters on what is doctrinally correct or not, in the long run, it increases the suffering.

‘Explicit heresy’

Cardinal Pell once again slammed Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, whom Pope Francis tapped to lead the Synod of Synodality and who recently claimed that the Church’s millennia-old condemnation of sodomy is now “false” because “the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.”

In a March 15 letter, Cardinal Pell urged the Vatican to censure both Hollerich and Bishop George Bätzing, the head of the German bishops’ conference, for their “wholesale and explicit rejection of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual ethics.”

“I can’t see how it’s possible that a man who teaches explicit heresy, for example, on sexual morality, could possibly be the relator, the principle driver of the synod,” Cardinal Pell told Ashenden.

“It would be absolutely unprecedented in Catholic history for a man who’s explicitly heretical on some particular point to have a position like that.”

“Undoubtedly, the evil one, the devil, will be at work in the synodal process to take it off the paths,” the cardinal cautioned.

The sexual revolution and ‘disintegration’ of the West

Much of the “disintegration” of society, Cardinal Pell also remarked, is rooted in the breakdown of the family, particularly due to the “revolutionary social consequences” of the birth control pill.

He praised Pope St. Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical against contraception, Humanae vitae, as “in many ways … a prophetic document, because it foretold these difficulties.”

“I was around at that time,” the Australian prelate noted, recalling claims that birth control would result in only “wanted children” and would “stabilize family life” and “help marriages.”

“Its been the complete opposite of that,” Cardinal Pell said.

As woke, radical secularist forces ramp up attacks on Western civilization, the Catholic Church serves as a “bulwark” for “explaining and defending our inherited culture,” he added. “We’re outnumbered. Metaphorically speaking, we’re outgunned. And that’s the general context in which he find ourselves.”

But revival hinges on “fidelity to the teachings of Christ and the Church,” the cardinal said, reflecting on his experience of months-long imprisonment over discredited abuse charges:

The teachings of Christ work. Our strength is in fidelity to the teachings of Christ and the Church. If I didn’t have faith in a good God, if I didn’t have faith in Providence, even if it was only in the next life that things would balance out, that justice and love would prevail, if I hadn’t believed in the reality of redemptive suffering – and that’s absolutely crucial to us as Christians and because we believe we were saved, especially through the suffering and death of Christ.

Catholics “have an enormous advantage over the secularists when we approach suffering,” Cardinal Pell observed. “They can’t escape it either, but they’ve got no explanation, nothing good for them can come from suffering” or “the Christian teaching of forgiveness.”

“As the society drifts away from Christ, it will become a harder, more ruthless, unforgiving society,” he concluded. “Forgiveness of others, believing God has forgiven us, can be very, very difficult things, but forgiveness is liberating.”