Featured Image
Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp, auxiliary bishop of CologneScreenshot/YouTube

(LifeSiteNews) – Cologne’s Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp is one of a small minority of the nation’s Catholic bishops who voiced a critique of Germany’s Synodal Way, specifically regarding the landmark document that aimed to alter Church teaching on sexuality, which ultimately failed to reach a two-thirds majority of the bishops.  

In a recent video, he said: 

In my opinion, agreeing to the proposal “Living in Successful Relationships” does not represent an approval to further development of Church teaching, but a breach of it. I promised at my episcopal ordination 10 years ago to pass on the deposit of faith pure and unadulterated.  

Before that, I had already taken the Professio Fidei and there I said: With firmness, I also acknowledge and adhere to everything which is finally presented by the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals. Then I have also taken an oath of allegiance and it says that in the exercise of my office I will avoid all teachings that contradict the deposit of faith. For these reasons and out of conviction, I see myself obliged in my conscience to say no to the proposal. 

Schwaderlapp, an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Cologne, was one of only two bishops that voted “No” on all the proposed documents during the Fourth Assembly of the German Synodal Way which took place in early September of 2022. 

RELATED: German Synodal Way approves text calling homosexual acts ‘not sinful’ and ‘not intrinsically evil’ 

The second bishop who also rejected every single document was Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg. The prelate has criticized the Synodal Way several times before, suggesting that its theologians care only about autonomous freedom, not truth, and reject binding dogma. 

Shortly after the conclusion of the recent Assembly of the Synodal Way, Voderholzer wrote an article for the Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, in which he described two contrary views that exist in the German Catholic Church.  

The first view, held by the progressives, “only accepts what makes sense to one’s own subjective and supposedly enlightened consciousness and autonomous reason.” The theological insights in this view come from the “Signs of the Times” and the “Reality of Life,” he said. The traditional view on the other hand draws its theological insights from Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium and seeks to adhere to divine revelation, wrote Voderholzer. 

RELATED: Over 80% of German bishops present approve Synodal Way text calling for women’s ordination 

Regarding the moderate criticism of the German Synodal Way from the Vatican, the majority of the members of the Synodal Way Assembly have “virtually run over all the stop and warning signs from Rome at full throttle so far,” according to Voderholzer.  

The German prelate pointed out that, via the Synodal Way, German Catholics are on a path of becoming separated from the Universal Church: 

[…] This, however, is not only a “new theology” that begins to dissolve into a philosophy devoid of divine revelation, but also the basis not of a renewed and purified church, but the basis of a completely different and, in this sense, “new church.” 

The two prelates are joined in their opposition to the Synodal Way by Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke, who has also publicly criticized the Synodal Way. In a recent interview he stated that some passages show a “departure from the Christian image of mankind,” especially when it comes to the denial of gender binarity.  

Hanke, who is the former abbot of the Benedictine Monastery Plankstetten, has voted “No” on all the Synodal documents apart from one, where he abstained. That text called for employees of the Church not to have to adhere to the Church’s moral teaching in their private lives.