Featured Image
Bishop Donald HyingShalomWorldTV / Youtube screen grab

MADISON, Wisconsin (LifeSiteNews) –– The Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Donald Hying, has added his voice to those prelates condemning the German Synodal Way’s recent approval of same-sex “blessings,” stating it is essentially a rejection of “fundamental aspects of Church teaching and practice.”

In a statement issued March 21, Hying weighed in against the heterodoxy promoted by the Synodal Way in Germany, teaching that Catholics must bring others “towards a stance of conversion in Jesus Christ.”

“This shocking conclusion is an absolute first in the history of the modern Church — a national conference of bishops essentially rejecting fundamental aspects of Church teaching and practice,” wrote Hying. 

His statement came some days after the conclusion of the meeting of Germany’s Synodal Way, which between March 9 through 11 voted for same-sex “blessings,” for transsexuals to be “priests,” and for female “deacons.” The votes were supported by a majority of the German bishops, who along with lay members, form the composition of the Synodal Way.

READ: German bishops declare that ‘transsexual’ persons should not be ‘excluded’ from priesthood in 38-7 vote

“Strong pressures from various interest groups ardently seek to change Church teaching on the issues of life and sexuality, as if such fundamental components of our Christian faith and anthropology could ever be up for a vote,” wrote Hying, who noted that the bishops proceeded in their decisions in direct opposition to the Vatican.

Hying outlined that Catholic belief and teaching is “revealed by God through Jesus Christ in the Church through the Scriptures and Tradition.”

The Synodal Way text calling for same-sex “blessings” states that the Catholic Church “offers recognition and accompaniment to couples who are united in love, meet each other in full respect and dignity, and are willing to live their sexuality in the long term in mindfulness for themselves, for each other, and in social responsibility.”

However, Hying noted that the Catholic Church “always reaches out in compassion and love to every human person, seeking to help them realize their human dignity as a child of God.” This ministry of “compassion and love” involves “preach[ing] the truth revealed by God in love” as bestowed to the Church in “the Gospel mandate we have received and seek to live.”

As such, Hying wrote that “[w]e do not love people when we simply leave them in sin and error, nor do we love them when we harshly reject them without any compassion or feeling.” He cited Pope Francis in stating that Catholics must instead accompany others “towards a stance of conversion in Jesus Christ.”

Far from the term “accompanying” being interpreted as an opening up of Church teaching to error, Hying noted that Christ provided the example for authentic relationships with those who reject the Faith: “He loved everyone, embraced them in their sinfulness, and led them to the holy freedom that religious and moral conversion brings.”

‘No one has the authority to change Church teaching’

The German bishops’ vote flies directly in the face of Catholic teaching – teaching which was explicitly reiterated in recent times. The president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, was questioned about the groups’ break with Rome on the issue of same-sex “blessings,” but responded that “it is good that we are doing this.”

READ: German bishops’ head says same-sex ‘blessings’ will be implemented regardless of Vatican response

However, Hying condemned such a stance when issuing his statement. “No one has the authority to change Church teaching, as if the truth given is malleable and adaptive to changing cultural norms,” he said. 

Such a path would lead to both error and irrelevance. When people express their dismay to me about the turbulence in the Church and the many conflicting opinions about doctrine and morality, I simply reaffirm that the Faith does not change. 

He pointed instead to “the Scriptures, the Tradition, and the Catechism” as the “spiritual gifts” which provide “the road map, which leads us to Christ, salvation, and happiness.”

The 59-year-old bishop asked Catholics to pray for the German Catholics that “they be unified with the universal Church in truth and love, as we live the beautiful teachings given to us by the Lord through the grace of our 2000-year tradition.”

Hying’s condemnation of the Synodal Way comes in addition to that voiced by his fellow bishop, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who denounced the “schismatic vote” of the German bishops who voted in favor of “blessings” for same-sex civil unions.

Speaking to EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo last week, Cardinals Raymond Burke and Gerhard Müller similarly condemned the Synodal Way’s actions. Burke described the German episcopate as “enemies of the pope,” adding that “agents of the revolution” were pushing human ideologies within the Church.

Müller described the Synodal Way as hoping to “drive” the Synod of Synodality, saying the heterodox German prelates “see themselves as avante garde of the Catholic Church. They were taught to separate themselves from the Church, but they want to [move] the makers and promoters of the development of the Catholic Church in this direction, because they are modernists.”

So far, the Vatican has been silent in response to the Synodal Way’s recent votes.