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Bishop Peter KohlgrafDiocese of Mainz

(LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of the diocese of Mainz condemned the critics of the Synodal Way in a homily, saying that their criticism “cannot be Catholic.” 

“In all the polemical and critical comments on the topics of the Synodal Way, Christ does not appear as a friend, as a teacher, as a model,” Kohlgraf said. “This cannot be Catholic.” 

Kohlgraf gave his homily on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Mainz. 

The bishop of Mainz said that some groups who criticize the Synodal Way have clear answers to what being Catholic means. They would, for example, determine the Catholic faith of someone solely by whether they live in a heterosexual relationship, reject the ordination of women, or draw a clear line between clergy and laity. 

“I confess that by now these positions not only tire me but downright infuriate me,” the German prelate said. “I don’t have the solutions to all the questions, but what is Catholic identity?” 

“Catholic university does not mean: We prescribe traditional gender roles, we divide the Church and the world into above and below, into right and wrong, into sheep and shepherds. Catholic must once again become a sign of quality.” 

The German bishops recently adopted a new labor law that allows Church employees to openly live in homosexual relationships or other forms of relationships that are condemned by Church teaching. 

RELATED: German bishops adopt new labor law allowing Church employees to live in same-sex relationships 

Accordingly, Kohlgraf said that “[t]he Catholic identity of an institution is no longer imposed on the way of life and certainly no longer on the relational status of an individual staff member,” the institution rather has to “account to itself in terms of what makes it Catholic, what identity it wants to live out in witnessing to the Gospel, what demands can and should then be placed on staff members.” 

He invited the Catholic University to address the question of what it means to be Catholic “in a good sense.”  

“Of course, this includes a common faith, the invitation to celebrate the sacraments, solidarity with the universal church and its experiences, a common foundation of values, the question of God, and an interest in Jesus Christ and his model of life.” 

Kohlgraf’s statements appear contradictory, as he condemns orthodox Catholics for having “clear answers” for what it means to be Catholic but says that their critique “cannot be Catholic,” therefore espousing clear beliefs for what it means to be Catholic himself. 

Furthermore, Kohlgraf’s views on the priesthood and homosexuality stand in obvious contradiction to Church teaching: the priesthood, which is derived from that of Christ the High Priest, is open only to men, and homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, contrary to the natural law.  

“They close the sexual act to the gift of life,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches. “They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” 

The continuing calls by German bishops for female ordination ignore the definitive ruling against the imposition. 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.” 

John Paul II gives clear instructions in his letter that the exclusively male priesthood is to be definitively held by all Catholics, therefore invalidating Kohlgraf’s claim that one can be a Catholic and demand women’s ordination. 

Moreover, Kohlgraf’s statement that being Catholic does not mean that “we divide the Church and the world into above and below, into right and wrong,” is refuted by Scripture. 

There are numerous clear references to heaven and hell and people being separated into “above and below” in Scripture. 

In Matthew 3:12 John the Baptist says about Jesus that “he will thoroughly cleanse his floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” In Matthew 25:45-46 Christ says “Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of the these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.” 

Kohlgraf is a proponent of the heterodox Synodal Way, which produced documents that call for a change to immutable Church teaching on homosexuality and women’s ordinations, among other things.  

The German bishop of Mainz said in the past that homosexuality is not a sin and set up a “queer-sensitive pastoral ministry” in his diocese, which prompted a letter by a group of faithful lay Catholics, calling for Kohlgraf’s resignation. 

READ: ‘Incurring the wrath of God’: German Catholics demand bishop resign for launching pro-LGBT ‘ministry’