MAIKE HICKSON reports for LifeSiteNews — Prominent German Catholics who are faithful to the Church and her perennial teachings have come out publicly to “oppose” the German bishops’ “synodal path” for its dissent from Catholic teaching on celibacy, clerical authority, the ban on female ordination, contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality, and gender theory.
“Members of the so-called synodal path seem to be almost passionate about the projects they are striving for, ultimately wanting to Protestantize the Catholic Church,” states the “Call to Resistance Against the Synodal Path” (see full document below) that was published this morning simultaneously in German and English.
“Those who want to do so, however, should be aware that this would destroy the substance of the Catholic Church. We oppose this synodal path. We remain Catholic,” states the signers of the document.
Written by Professor Hubert Windisch, a priest and retired professor of pastoral theology (University of Freiburg), the text found the support of some twenty prominent representatives of German Catholicism who wish to remain loyal to the Church’s Magisterium, discipline, and hierarchical structure as established by Jesus Christ Himself.
The faithful German Catholics are calling on Catholics around the world to join them in resisting the bishops’ plan by signing their Call to Resistance.
The signers state that the German bishops’ synodal path is pushing the Catholic Church in Germany “on the way to a division.”
Among the signatories are to be found several professors, journalists, book authors, pro-life and pro-family activists, as well as Catholics of good standing who founded Catholic organizations, such as the Forum of German Catholics (Forum Deutscher Katholiken) and the Circle of Catholics (Katholikenkreis).
Catholic politicians are also represented by Professor Werner Münch, the former Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt, as well as by Willy Wimmer, the retired Secretary of State of the German Ministry of Defense.
Hedwig Freifrau von Beverfoerde and Mathias von Gersdorff are two pro-family activists who are among the signatories. Von Beverfoerde participated in the January 18 Acies Ordinata event against the synodal path in Munich. Von Gersdorff has repeatedly raised his voice against the progressive wing of the Catholic Church in Germany that is destroying the Faith, similar to the Catholic journalist Peter Winnemöller.
Each of the signatories has a good name among Catholic faithful in Germany, and they stand for those Catholics who wish to remain faithful to the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old tradition.
The Call to Resistance signers state that the synodal path is leading the Church in Germany “downhill.” They call upon bishops to leave the path.
Professor Windisch told LifeSiteNews that the Call to Resistance came about after several faithful Catholics, who were concerned about the direction the discussions of the synodal path were taking, requested from him some sort of intervention.
The synodal path, organized by the German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), had its first official meeting at the end of January in Frankfurt. It will host its next in September.
At its first gathering, a majority of the 230 synodal members voted against a proposal that only those votes will be passed on to the general assembly that are in accordance with the Church’s teaching.
Moreover, the preparatory documents of the synodal path indicate clearly the aim of dissenting from the Church’s sexual teaching, her ban on female ordinations, as well as her Apostolic discipline of priestly celibacy.
The Call to Resistance is the first largely lay initiative coming out of Germany against the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany. Previously, the international coalition Acies Ordinata had organized on January 18 a prayer assembly in Munich which was followed by a press conference, at which, among others, Professor Roberto de Mattei (Italy), John-Henry Westen (editor-in-chief of LifeSite, Canada), and Alexander Tschugguel (Austria) participated. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò had also quietly participated in this prayerful event.
Next to a few German bishops – prominently among them Cardinal Rainer Woelki and Rudolf Voderholzer – who oppose the direction of the reform agenda in Germany, there are also some cardinals who have raised their voice of opposition.
First, Cardinal Gerhard Müller – the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – called this synodal path “suicidal” and warned that it might very well “rescind the Constitution of the Church of Divine Right.”
Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, a retired curial cardinal, stated in an interview with the Italian website La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana that “with the ‘synodal path,’ the German Bishops’ Conference has started a very dangerous ecclesial process. De facto, the possibility for a schism is now opened up.”
Finally, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller recently published a detailed analysis of one of the preparatory documents of the synodal path, in which he detected many thoughts similar to the ones of Martin Luther. This church historian and dubia cardinal also warns against a Protestantization of the Church and against the destruction of her hierarchical structure as established by Jesus Christ.
Call to Resistance full statement
Against the Synodal Erring Path of the Catholic Church in Germany, Professor Hubert Windisch, a retired professor of pastoral theology, has written the following statement. The signatories support this appeal.
We Remain Catholic: A Call to Resistance Against the Synodal Path
* The first Assembly of the so-called synodal path gives cause for concern, both in form and content, that the Catholic Church in Germany is on the way to a division.
* When Bishops allow that they receive Holy Communion from the hands of lay people during the celebration of the Eucharist, when Bishops show with their statements that they no longer think much of their oath at the moment of their consecration – namely, to pass on in a pure and unabridged form the deposit of faith handed down by the Apostles, which was always and everywhere preserved in the Church – when documents which do not correspond to Catholic doctrine can be dealt with, then the so-called synodal path has led to a wrong path in one’s Catholic self-understanding, on which you can only go downhill – unless you leave this path.
* In the four discussion forums “Power, Woman, Love, Priests” the course is set for a church that is in tune with the spirit of the times. With regard to all four topics, inner-church machinations controlled by functionaries are to replace Catholic core contents regarding doctrine and practice of faith, which are based on the sacramental basic structure and the Tradition of the Church. It is no longer about “being the Church” but about “making the Church.” In the end, the so-called synodal path has been chosen in order to subject the debate of theological matters to the cycles of public opinion. But then it is also no longer about a deep renewal of the Church in our time, but about how one gets, beyond a personal satisfaction, also public applause for the destruction of the Catholic Church.
* The center of our Faith, the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is fading away. Thus the removal of the pectoral cross by Cardinal Marx and Bishop Bedford-Strohm in front of a Muslim on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in October 2016 was more than an embarrassing gesture. It is a signal with a deep and lasting effect. Looking at our salvation through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and listening to His call to imitate Him on the Cross should no longer determine all areas of our lives, including sexuality. Against the Gospel, the Church becomes politically correct and, subsequently, flat and banal in her pastoral care and proclamation.
* Members of the so-called synodal path seem to be almost passionate about the projects they are striving for, ultimately wanting to Protestantize the Catholic Church. Those who want to do so, however, should be aware that this would destroy the substance of the Catholic Church.
* We oppose this synodal path. We remain Catholic.
- Prof. em. Dr. Hubert Windisch, priest and pastoral theologian
- Bernward Büchner, retired chief judge of the Administrative Court
- Prof. Dr. Hubert Gindert, founder and president of the Forum of German Catholics (Forum Deutscher Katholiken)
- Prof. Dr. Werner Münch, former Minister President of Saxony-Anhalt, Patron of the Forum of German Catholics (Forums Deutscher Katholiken)
- Dr. Christian Spaemann M.A.
- Dr. h.c. Michael Hesemann, historian and book author
- Werner Rothenberger, retired headmaster of the Public Education Authority, Speaker of the Circle of Catholics (Katholikenkreis) in Germany
- Peter Winnemöller, journalist
- Dr. Martin Hänel, philosopher
- Inge Thürkauf, actress
- Willy Wimmer, Secretary of State, Ministry of Defense, (ret.)
- Heinz-Joachim Fischer, Dr. phil., Lic.theol.; publicist and author, Rome Correspondent Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 1978-2009
- Hedwig Frfr. v. Beverfoerde, pro-family activist
- Dipl. Inf. Monika Rheinschmitt
- Franz Albert Paliot, banker
- Dr. Michael Schneider-Flagmeyer, founding member Forum of German Catholics (Forum Deutscher Katholiken)
- Dr Stefan Schilling MD
- Mathias von Gersdorff, author and pro-family activist
- Martin Bürger, Mag. Theol., journalist
- Michael Hageböck, book author
- Dr. Maike Hickson, journalist