German bishops fail to approve Synodal Way’s call to change Catholic teaching on sexual morality
September 09, 2022
CWN Editor's Note: 33 of 57 German bishops voted to approve the Synodal Way’s call to change Catholic teaching on sexual morality—five votes shy of the two-thirds majority required for the motion to pass.
The proposed statement won approval by more than two-thirds of the voters, but the voting system required a two-thirds majority of the bishops for final approval.
The 30-page document said that it is “urgently necessary to overcome some of the restrictions in questions of sexuality, for reasons of sexual science as well as theology.” It called for changes in Church teaching on homosexuality, and said that “it will not be possible to reorient pastoral care without re-defining the emphasis of the Church’s sexual teaching to a significant degree.”
Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, decried his brother bishops’ failure to approve the motion and said that it created a “crisis-like atmosphere,” and showed that “synodality has not gone far enough.” He indicated that he plans to present the statement to the Synod of Bishops despite the absence of approval.
Irme Stetter-Karp, the lay co-chair of the Synodal Path, complained that “there are bishops in this assembly who are not prepared to voice their opinions,” suggesting that some bishops voted against the measure despite their personal support for the proposed changes. She said that the setback made her question whether her commitment to the cause of change in the Church “is the right investment of time.”
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