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Reinhard Cardinal Marx told reporters last March that “We are not a subsidiary of Rome. The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

October 18, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — Two noteworthy columns today by veteran Vatican-watchers covering the Amazon Synod:

John Allen of Crux explains how German prelates have outsized influence in the discussions of the Amazon Synod — particularly when the subject is priestly celibacy.

And Sandro Magister of L'Espresso digs into the available statistics on religious affiliation in the Amazon region and discovers a stunning trend: Nearly half the region's population has drifted away from the Catholic Church in the past 40 years!

Put those two insights together, and what do you see? The German Catholic Church, which is hemorrhaging members, is giving “expert” advice to the Church in the Amazon, which is hemorrhaging members. The blind leading the blind.

Meanwhile in the same Amazon region, Magister notes, small Protestant groups have experienced impressive growth while the Catholic numbers have declined. What's the secret to their success? Certainly not an emphasis on the ecological and social-justice issues that German prelates are pushing at the Synod.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.