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Cardinal George Pell speaking to EWTN, 2021.EWTN / YouTube

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal George Pell has issued a public call to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to “intervene and pronounce judgement” on Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich and Bishop Georg Bätzing, for their “wholesale and explicit rejection of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual ethics.”

Cardinal Pell, the former Archbishop of Sydney, urged the CDF to take action against the two prominent clerics in a March 11 interview on German Catholic television agency K-TV. He then followed up his comments in a statement released March 15, as reported by Ed Pentin.

Cardinal Hollerich, the relator general of the current Synod on Synodality, has publicly supported married priests, female “priests,” as well as pushing the abortion-tainted COVID jabs. Hollerich recently described the Church’s condemnation of homosexual acts as “false,” urging instead a “change in teaching.”

Meanwhile Bishop Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, is forging ahead with radical attempted changes to Church teaching in Germany via the Synodal Way, looking to “change” teaching on many areas of sexuality, including opening the door to approving “practiced homosexuality,” female deacons, along with advocating masturbation and contraception.

Such “erroneous teaching” from the two prelates, wrote Pell, “not only rejects the ancient Judaeo-Christian doctrines against homosexual activity, but undermines and rejects the teaching on monogamous marriage, the exclusive union of a man and a woman.”

Church requires ‘unity on major elements in the hierarchy of truths’

Addressing Germany’s Synodal Way in particular, Cardinal Pell warned against a synodal movement whereby “unity” in the Catholic Church would be lost, referencing a need for unity on “major elements in the hierarchy of truths.”

“The Catholic Church is not a loose federation where different national synods or gatherings and prominent leaders are able to reject essential elements of the Apostolic Tradition and remain undisturbed,” Pell stated. 

“This must not become a normal and tolerated situation,” he added. “Catholic unity around Christ and His teaching requires unity on the major elements in the hierarchy of truths.”

Pell referred to the innovation and revolution of doctrine proposed by Germany’s Synodal Way as a “rupture, not compatible with the ancient teaching of Scripture and the Magisterium, not compatible with any legitimate doctrinal developments.”

Change in doctrine is ‘path to self-destruction for the Church’

Faced with a decline in the numbers of practicing Catholics in German-speaking churches, Pell said that instead of rejecting Catholic tradition in an attempt to replenish the pews, Germany – and the wider Church – must not attempt to change doctrine. 

The only suitable response to the problem is to “rediscover the promises of Jesus.” Bishops must embrace more closely the “undiminished deposit of faith,” rather than looking to “follow the changing dictats of contemporary secular culture,” he said. 

To do otherwise would be to continue along “a path to self-destruction for the Church,” stated Pell, who served as the first prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, 2014 through 2019, although was absent from 2017.

While the bishops of Scandinavia wrote to the German bishops – along with the head of the Polish Bishops Conference – expressing “the almost unanimous rejection by bishops around the world of these innovations,” more decisive action was needed, said Pell. 

“A clear Roman reprimand, following all due process, is needed,” in light of such “erroneous teaching” from Germany, argued Pell.

‘Not one of the Ten Commandments is optional’

Doubling down on his critique of synodal innovation, Cardinal Pell rejected the idea of having morality differing from country to country. 

“Not one of the Ten Commandments is optional; all are there to be followed, and by sinners. We cannot have a special Australian or German version of the Ten Commandments,” he said. 

“Nor can we follow Bertrand Russell, the English atheist philosopher who suggested the Ten Commandments might be like an exam—where only six out of ten questions need to be answered. Christ welcome and mixed with sinners, but He called us to repentance.” 

Pell also appeared to make reference to Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s recent Mass for the Munich Queer Community, which took place two days before Pell’s written statement was released. The Australian cardinal defended holding Masses for particular groups, without specifying what kind of groups, but also gave a caveat:

So a Mass for special groups can be a good thing, provided Christ’s teaching is presented regularly, the need for repentance is preached, and the Sacrament of Penance, Reconciliation regularly available.

In releasing this statement, Pell – who spent 405 days in prison after having been wrongly convicted of child sexual abuse – is echoing comments he made in spring last year, warning of the “ominous” direction of Germany’s Synodal Way. “I think that there is a percentage of the German church which seems to be resolutely heading in the wrong direction,” Pell said. 

Indeed, Cardinal Pell has a history of being skeptical of synods during Pope Francis’ pontificate, calling for a renewed emphasis on doctrine after the “tendentious and incomplete” controversial interim report from the 2014 Synod on the Family, suggesting openness to homosexuality, divorce, and cohabitation.