In a June 2019 letter to German Catholics, the Vatican expressed its concern about the “synodal path” of that nation’s bishops. The spirit, although not all the conclusions of the German “Weg” or path proposes a new “model” that Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the German Synod of Bishops, calls a Church in a state of “permanent synodality”
This “synodal way” model will give birth to a new “synodal Church” inspired by a new “spirituality of synodality.” “Having a synod is not enough, you have to be a synod,” Pope Francis once reiterated.1
Progressivists around the world enthusiastically embrace this model of permanent synodality that undermines the present hierarchical structure of the Church. These Catholics refuse to recognized that the current ecclesiastical crisis was caused first and foremost by the German Church. After decades of mismanaging the situation, Cardinal Marx and his colleagues deflect blame from themselves, asserting that the crisis is not their fault, but due to “systemic” causes. They attribute their failures to a supposed abuse of authority in the Church. This characterization provides them with a pretext to present the Church with a new and more democratic profile, insisting that it would be more acceptable in the eyes of contemporary society.
The scope of their failure is immense. In 2021 alone, 359,338 Catholics left the Church in Germany. For the first time in the country’s history, Catholics are a minority. Declaring himself “shocked by the very high number of people who are leaving the Church,” the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said: “The numbers testify to a profound crisis, there is no other way to say it.”2
This steep decline involves many more people than previously non-practicing Catholics. According to Bishop Bätzing, “There is growing feedback that people previously involved in the parish are also taking this step.”
According to the president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Irme Stetter-Karp, the numbers reflect a fundamental change in society. “The power of churches to interpret religion is no longer a matter of course, unlike many decades, even centuries ago.” Translated from the language of politics, her message is that the Church is no longer heard, and perhaps not even believed.
Since the Second Vatican Council, so much been done in an attempt to “bring the Church closer to the faithful.” In the process, the progressivists strip Holy Mother Church of everything that could represent sacredness and hierarchy.
Thus, the more the Church becomes desacralized, more faithful abandon her. Isn’t it time to draw some lessons from reality?