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FRANKFURT AM MAIN (LifeSiteNews) – The members of the Synodal Way Assembly approved a document calling on Pope Francis to allow women’s ordination. Nearly 82% of the bishops present voted in favor of the document. 

The heterodox text calls for a reassessment of Pope St. John Paul II’s magisterial document Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994) in which the Pope confirmed the Church’s constant bi-millennial teaching of an exclusively male priesthood. In his apostolic letter, John Paul II quoted Pope Paul VI in his affirmation of the Church’s teaching on the matter: 

She [the Catholic Church] holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church. (Ordinatio sacerdotalis 1)

 John Paul II added this emphatic declaration regarding the question of priestly ordination for women: 

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. (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4)

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Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, one of only two bishops who voted against all the proposed documents at the Synodal Assembly, expressed his disapproval of the proposal for women’s ordination. Speaking to the Assembly itself, he said: 

The text puts a question mark behind the letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, which was promulgated with quasi supremely binding doctrinal authority, and wants to enlarge this question mark and convey it to the Universal Church, […] this is theologically legitimate, but as a bishop, I cannot subscribe to it in this way. I don’t see my task as enlarging the question mark, but as putting an exclamation mark behind Ordinatio sacerdotalis with good theological reasons, which I am convinced are good reasons. 

The other German bishops who voted against the call for women’s ordination were Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki and Bishops Josef Graf, Gregor Maria Hanke, Matthias Heinrich, Wolfgang Ipolt, Stefan Oster, Dominikus Schwaderlapp, Rupert Stolberg, and Florian Wörner. 

The bishops who abstained from voting were Stephan Burger, Herwig Gössl, Thomas Löhr, Ansgar Puff, and Stefan Zekorn.

Journalist Dorothea Schmidt, who attended the Synodal Assembly, wrote that the Synodal Way departed from Christian anthropology and that it would turn the German Church into a “German-national liberal-feminist gender church.” 

 The Co-President of the Synodal Way, Irme Stetter-Karp, said in an interview shortly after the document on women’s ordinations was approved: “But of course, this resolution is only one step in what we women want”, insinuating that there are plans to put forward more feminist and heterodox proposals and policies. 

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The fourth Assembly of the German Synodal Way was held from September 8-10, 2022 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The Synodal Assembly consists of the 56 German bishops, 69 Representatives of the lay organization “Central Committee of German Catholics” and several other members of clergy and laity. For a text to be approved a majority of the members of the Assembly, as well as a two-thirds majority of the bishops, is needed.