(LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, co-head of the German Bishops’ Conference, said that he wants to promote women’s ordinations during the ad limina visit to Pope Francis.
The German prelate talked to journalists on Sunday during the annual meeting of the Catholic journalism academy “Katholische Journalistenschule ifp.”
Bode, who is also the co-head of the heterodox Synodal Way, said that he wants to promote “more responsibility” for women in the Catholic Church, which would include a female diaconate. The German prelate also wants “open up the discussion” about female priests in the longer term, even though it is a “very controversial issue.”
On November 14-19, the German bishops will be in Rome to meet with Pope Francis during their ad limina visit. An ad limina visit is a regular appointment between the bishops of a country and the Pope, traditionally every five years, where current developments within the regional dioceses are discussed.
Bode named Christian anthropology and the “gender issue,” as well as the relationship between pastoral care and church teaching, as key issues to bring forward during the German bishops’ visit to Rome. He plans to discuss how the “reality of people’s lives as a sign of the times” can affect Catholic doctrine.
According to “Katholische Journalistenschule ifp,” Bode was asked what he would do if he were Pope, to which he replied “I would see to it that there were women deacons. And prepare the priesthood of women.”
Frage an Bischof Bode: Wenn ich Papst in Rom wäre? „Würde ich mich darum kümmern, dass es Diakoninnen gäbe. Und das Priestertum der Frau vorbereiten.“ #ifpjt22 pic.twitter.com/Tec8XqgqRD
— Journalistenschule ifp (@ifpmuenchen) November 13, 2022
The new document from Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality clearly shows that “everywhere around the world people want a different way of treating men and women in the church,” according to Bode.
The controversial synodal document was interpreted as an “encouragement” for the heterodox Synodal Way by German bishops when it was released at the end of October.
RELATED: Vatican’s new synodal document calls for ‘female diaconate’ and ‘radical inclusion’
Bode considers married priests and even priests with a civil profession to be “just as appropriate” as celibate priests. Everywhere across the universal Church the “necessity of differentiated forms of living the priesthood and pastoral care” is evident, according to the German bishop.
The bishop’s call for female ordinations is voiced even though the Catholic Magisterium has already ruled definitively on the matter. Pope John Paul II wrote in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis that the Catholic 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.”
The majority of Catholic bishops in Germany seem to be eager and willing to go against perennial and immutable Church teaching. During the fourth Synodal Assembly in September, over 80% of German bishops voted for a text calling for women’s ordination. They also approved a text that claimed that homosexual acts are “not sinful” and “not intrinsically evil.”
Bishop Georg Bätzing, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, said that the German bishops want to promote and explain these texts of the Synodal Way during their ad limina visit to Rome to “solicit understanding” for them.
READ: Over 80% of German bishops present approve Synodal Way text calling for women’s ordination
Bode in particular has been beset by scandal in the recent past.
A sexual abuse report accused Bode of knowingly promoting abusive priests. The prelate acknowledged his failures but said that he did not deliberately cover anything up. He refused to resign after the publication of the abuse report and is still the sitting bishop of Osnabrück, as well as the co-head of both the German Bishops’ Conference and the Synodal Way.
Bode has made numerous heterodox statements in the past. He claimed that the Catholic Church could start giving Communion to non-Catholics in mixed marriages and publicly supported blessings for same-sex couples. He has also called for the legalization of marijuana. In February 2020, the German prelate made a scandalous statement, saying that “For us, Christ became a human being, not a man.” This led to a public correction by fellow Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who described the statement as “ridiculous & heretical.”
Bishop Bode…I respectfully call you as one bishop to another to return to the truth of the Deposit of Faith for your salvation and for the good of the Church. Your statement that Christ became a human being but not a man is ridiculous & heretical. I cannot stand by in silence! https://t.co/qWPuiuXiWC
— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) February 7, 2020