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Leading Vatican cardinals: German vote in favor of synodal council would be null and void

February 21, 2024

» Continue to this story on Vatican News

CWN Editor's Note: Vatican News, the news agency of the Dicastery for Communication, has published its own account of the Vatican’s request to German bishops not to vote on a proposed synodal council of bishops and laity. The request led a removal of the item from the agenda of this week’s meeting of the German Bishops’ Conference.

The letter, signed by Cardinals Pietro Parolin (Secretary of State), Víctor Manuel Fernández (prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith), and Robert Prevost (prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops), “points out that such a Council is not contemplated by current Canon Law; therefore, a decision adopted by the Bishops’ Conference on such a Council would also be null and void because it would have no authority to approve its Statute,” according to Vatican News.

Even as he postponed the vote on the synodal council, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, dismissed the concerns of the cardinals—and by implication, the concerns of the Pope, who wrote in November that a synodal council “cannot be harmonized with the sacramental structure of the Catholic Church.”

“We do not want to limit the authority of the bishop or bishops in any way,” Bishop Bätzing said at a press conference. “We want to place them on new ground because this authority has been undermined by the abuse and scandal we have experienced... And that’s why we need new, binding and transparent advice that really flows into decisions. This is the path we are looking for.”

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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