Dr. Lawrence V. McCrobie, Ed.D.
As of 2023, the relationship between the German Bishops and the Holy See remains complex and strained. The German Catholic Church, which is one of the richest and most powerful Catholic churches in the world, has been at the forefront of some controversial issues in recent years.
One of the major issues that have strained the relationship between the German Bishops and the Holy See is the issue of the ordination of women. The German Bishops have been advocating for the ordination of women to the priesthood, which goes against the official teachings of the Catholic Church. The Holy See, on the other hand, has been against this move and has threatened to excommunicate any Bishop who ordains a woman.
Another contentious issue has been the Church’s stance on homosexuality. The German Bishops have been more open to accepting and welcoming homosexuals [*use of homosexuals is personal preferred word for those who experience same-sex attraction and are sexually active] into the Church, while the Holy See has maintained a more traditional stance on the issue.
In 2021, the German Bishops launched a two-year “synodal process” to address some of the Church’s most pressing issues, including the issue of clerical celibacy, the role of women in the Church, and the Church’s teachings on sexuality. This move was met with resistance from the Holy See, who argued that the synodal process was an attempt to create a parallel Church and undermine the authority of the Vatican.
The tensions between the German Bishops and the Holy See reached a boiling point in 2022 when the German Bishops defied the Vatican’s instructions and proceeded to bless same-sex unions. The Vatican, in response, issued a statement declaring that the Catholic Church could not bless same-sex unions as they were “not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”
This move by the German Bishops sparked outrage from conservatives within the Church and further strained relations between the German Bishops and the Holy See. Some conservatives even accused the German Bishops of heresy and called for their excommunication.
As of 2023, the relationship between the German Bishops and the Holy See remains tense, with the two sides continuing to hold different positions on some of the most critical issues facing the Church. It remains to be seen how this tension will be resolved and what impact it will have on the Catholic Church as a whole.
In response to the tensions, Pope Francis has called for dialogue and mutual respect between the German Bishops and the Vatican. He has expressed his desire to find a way forward that is in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church but also takes into account the realities of the modern world.
Some observers believe that the tension between the German Bishops and the Holy See reflects a larger struggle within the Catholic Church between traditionalists and progressives. The issue of clerical celibacy, for example, has been a point of contention for many years, with some arguing that the Church’s strict celibacy requirement is outdated and impractical.
The synodal process launched by the German Bishops is seen by some as an attempt to push the Catholic Church in a more progressive direction, while others view it as a threat to the Church’s traditional teachings and authority.
Despite the tensions, there have been some signs of progress. In 2022, the Holy See announced that it would allow the ordination of married men in certain circumstances, a move that was seen as a concession to the German Bishops and other advocates for change within the Church.
Additionally, the Vatican has been more open to engaging with the German Bishops on the issue of clerical abuse, with Pope Francis calling for a “zero-tolerance” approach to abuse and urging Church leaders to do more to address the issue.
Overall, the relationship between the German Bishops and the Holy See remains complex and multifaceted, with both sides grappling with some of the most significant issues facing the Catholic Church today. While there are certainly differences of opinion and approach, there are also signs of willingness to engage in dialogue and find a way forward that is in the best interest of the Church and its followers.
One thought on “German Bishops and the Holy See”
It would be more accurate to state (adding the bracketed words): “The German Bishops have been more open to accepting and welcoming [sexually active] homosexuals into the Church, while the Holy See has maintained a more traditional stance on the issue.”
The disagreement is not about whether “all are welcome.” It is about whether the German bishops have the authority to set aside crucial boundaries intrinsic to the created order, the moral vision of the Christian faith, and the historic teachings of the Church on marriage and human sexuality.