Synodal Path: Reforms Started, Meeting Cancelled

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Synodal Path: Reforms Started, Meeting Cancelled

Status: 02.10.2021 17:31

During their deliberations on the Synodal Way, Catholic bishops and the laity initiated many reform projects, for example in the area of ​​the participation of the faithful. However, the meeting ended prematurely – too many participants left early.

During three-day deliberations on the synodal road, clergy and lay people of the Catholic Church discussed more than a dozen concrete reform proposals at first reading.

A majority of them approved the reform proposal to involve believers in the appointment of bishops. At first reading, the proposal was approved to grant common believers the right to codecision in the drafting of the lists of candidates and the right to be heard before being chosen from the list of candidates.

A final vote on the reform will take place at a later date. Final adoption of the proposal would require a two-thirds majority of the 230 delegates, including a two-thirds majority of its own bishops. The right to appoint bishops generally rests with the Pope.

No quorum by the end of the meeting

However, the second general meeting on the Synodal Road in Frankfurt am Main was terminated prematurely because there were not enough delegates present. There was therefore no quorum for the other items on the agenda. Many participants apparently left early after the lunch break.

Despite the premature end of the deliberations, the President of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, welcomed the progress of the reform process. He spoke of “clear guiding decisions”. He was “incredibly moved” because so much had been accomplished during the three-day meeting. “No text was rejected.”

‘Disappointment affects us all now’

However, Bätzing could not understand the fact that many deputies left early: “I am quite shocked how many people have left here during the day. I would like to ask urgently: that is not possible.” He added: “We are all now disappointed at the end of such a wonderful synodal meeting.”

The chairman of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg, agreed: “We have now come to an end that has frustrated many, many.” At the same time, he pointed out that such a thing is not entirely unusual and often occurs in political proceedings.

In the Synodal Way, clergy and lay people should jointly advise how the church can get out of the crisis of confidence after several abuse scandals. The reform process was initiated by the German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics.

Reform process continues

The Synodal Road will be extended until the beginning of 2023. Another meeting is planned at the end of January or the beginning of February 2023, Bätzing and Sternberg announced. Given the abundance of reform proposals, a new synodal assembly is necessary. This proposal would have to be approved separately by the Episcopal Conference and the Central Committee.

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