Pope Francis greets Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State (File Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media)

    Letter #71, 2023 Wednesday, March 15: Parolin    

    Just two months after the first German Pope in the modern history of the Catholic Church was laid to rest, Church officials in Pope Benedict’s native land on Saturday, March 11, voted overwhelmingly to further the cause of transgender ideology and women’s ordination. (link and link)

    The document that was passed contradicts a Vatican declaration published two years ago today (March 15, 2021) that “the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex,” by calling on bishops to “officially allow blessing ceremonies in their dioceses for couples who love each other but to whom sacramental marriage is not accessible or who do not see themselves at a point of entering into a sacramental marriage.” (link)

    The German-born Pope Benedict XVI was a Pope who actively championed tradition in many different respects, and though Joseph Ratzinger did not deserve the moniker “Panzerkardinal” that some pinned on him, it is hard not to wonder if the Church in Germany would have gotten this far if the German Pope were still on the throne of Peter.

    In any event, the German Synodal Way (“Der Synodaler Weg”), led by Bishop Georg Bätzing, 61 (link) of Limburg, has forged on.

    Still, Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, 68 (link) who, like Francis, began his tenure in 2013, continues to express the mind of Rome: disapproval.

    Parolin reiterated this two days ago, saying: “The Synodal Path has taken decisions that do not correspond exactly to what is currently the doctrine of the Church,” as reported by the French Catholic journal La Croix (link).

    Here is a summary (link) of what the German Church delegates voted for on March 11; further below is the complete La Croix report on Cardinal Parolin’s response.

    The German Church delegates vote on March 11:

    “Delegates voted by 176-14, with 12 abstentions, for a five-page document called ‘Blessing ceremonies for couples who love each other.’

    “Of the German bishops who voted, a total of 38 were in favor of the text and nine were against, while 11 of them abstained.

    “The document request that bishops ‘officially allow blessing ceremonies in their dioceses for couples who love each other but to whom sacramental marriage is not accessible or who do not see themselves at a point of entering into a sacramental marriage.’

    “It says: ‘This also applies to same-sex couples on the basis of a re-evaluation of homosexuality as a norm variant of human sexuality.’

    “The synod also voted overwhelmingly to accommodate the ideology of gender into the Catholic Church, including the changing of baptismal records to reflect a person’s preferred self-identified choice.” (link)

    See below for the response of Cardinal Parolin.—RM


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    Parolin accuses German Catholics of veering from Church teaching (link)

    Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s Secretary of State, says delegates of the “Synodal Path” in Germany have approved measures that “do not correspond with Catholic doctrine”

    By Loup Besmond de Senneville | Vatican City

    March 15, 2023

    The No. 2 official at the Vatican has warned the Catholic bishops of Germany that they must not deviate from Church teaching, following controversial decisions that were made at the conclusion of their country’s ecclesial reform process known as the “Synodal Path”.     

    “The Synodal Path has taken decisions that do not correspond exactly to what is currently the doctrine of the Church,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s Secretary of State.

    The 68-year-old cardinal made his remarks at a conference in Rome on Monday, just two days after German bishops and lay representatives concluded the fifth and final assembly of Der Synodale Weg, as the reform project that has spanned more than three years is officially called.

    The question of blessings for same-sex couples Parolin, who was speaking on the sidelines of a conference on Vatican diplomacy at the headquarters of La Civiltà Cattolica, was particularly critical of the German bishops’ acceptance of the Synodal Path’s proposal to bless same-sex couples.

    “It seems to me that the Holy See has already expressed itself very clearly on this matter with the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document,” the cardinal said. “This is Rome’s position,” he added.

    The doctrinal office issued a statement exactly two years ago — March 15, 2021— that the Church “does not, and cannot, have the power to bless” same-sex unions.

    A discussion between German Catholics and Rome

    “A particular, local Church cannot make this type of decision, which involves the discipline of the universal Church,” the Italian cardinal continued. He stressed that there must be “a discussion (of German Catholic leaders) with Rome as well as with the rest of the Churches in the world” in order to “clarify the decisions to be taken”.

    He said these discussions will have to take place within the framework of the Synod of Bishops’ two assemblies on the future of the Church, which will be held in Rome this coming October and then in October 2024.

    “Even if (the Germans) say that all this takes place in the current canon law, we will need to see and discuss this,” Cardinal Parolin insisted.

    This is the first reaction from the Vatican since the Synodal Path was brought to a conclusion on March 11 in Frankfurt. Delegates of the Synodal Path, who held their first assembly at the end of 2019, adopted several key measures last Saturday at the fifth and final session. They approved Church blessings for divorced-remarried couples as well as for same-sex couples. In September they also drew a negative reaction from Vatican officials when they passed a measure to set up a permanent “Synodal Council” in Germany, which they hope to finally establish by March 2026.

    [End Loup Besmond de Senneville article from La Croix]

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