By Von Heiner Wilmer

Are we going to face a schism in Germany? Will there be a schism in the Catholic Church north of the Alps? A second Reformation? This spectre has been going around the world for several years now. So far, we in Germany have not really managed to dispel this spectre, especially as far as the perception abroad is concerned, but not only abroad.

To be clear: there will be no schism and no bishop in Germany ever pursued it.

Last week, we German bishops met for the spring plenary assembly in Augsburg. Shortly beforehand, we received a letter from Rome urging us not to adopt the statutes for the Synodal Committee at this meeting. Cardinal Pietro Parolin (Secretariat of State), Cardinal Victor M. Fernández (Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith) and Cardinal Robert F. Prevost (Dicastery for the Bishops) reminded us of the agreement to jointly “deepen the ecclesiological questions dealt with by the Synodal Path, including the topic of an interdiocesan consultative and decision-making body, at the next meeting between representatives of the Roman Curia and the German Bishops’ Conference.”

How can we continue? How is it possible to take the Holy Father’s concerns about unity in faith seriously, as Cardinal Christoph Schönborn recently asked? How is it possible not to interpret the Pope’s ministry as a question of power, along the lines of “Rome versus Germany”? Conversely, how is it possible not to reinforce talk of the anti-Roman effect of “Germany against Rome”?





It was right that the statutes of the Synodal Committee were not adopted. It was right that we took the concerns of the three cardinals seriously and therefore also the concerns of the Holy Father. And it was and still is right to reflect together on how we can proclaim the Gospel in our Church, how we can be with the people in the name of Jesus Christ, how we can support people in their life, especially those who are being marginalised and who are at the centre of the Gospel for this very reason. We have understood. We got the message.

Thanks to Communio.
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