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Pope says German Synodal Path threatens Church unity

November 21, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis has expressed his misgivings about the German bishops’ Synodal Path, saying that the radical changes planned by the German hierarchy could threaten Church unity.

In an unusual step, the Pope voiced his concerns not in an official statement, but in a letter to four German laywomen, which was eventually published in the German daily Welt.

In the letter the Pontiff says that he shares “concerns about the numerous concrete steps that large parts of this local church are now taking that threaten to move further and further away from the common path of the universal Church.” In particular he mentioned the Synodal Council, in which lay people will join bishops in deciding Church policy. Such a body, the Pope wrote, “cannot be reconciled with the sacramental structure of the Catholic Church.”

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