|His Eminence Reinhard Cardinal Marx|
(Photo: Erzbistum München)
In a meeting reported in the German press yesterday, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the German Bishop's Conference, made a rather unambiguous statement regarding how he and his fellow bishops see the upcoming 2015 Synod in relation to their plans for the Catholic Church in Germany:
We are not subsidiaries of Rome. Each Bishop's Conference is responsible for the pastoral care in its own cultural sphere and has its unique mission to preach the Gospel. We can't wait for a Synod to tell us how we here have to go about the pastoral care of families and married persons.
It was Cardinal Marx who made headlines during the 2014 Synod by speaking out in favor of applying the so-called "pastoral law of graduality" to the question of admittance of public adulterers to Holy Communion, telling reporters:
I think it is very important to see that we have ways or that there is a graduality also in the way to the sacrament.
Readers will recall that several Cardinals present at the 2014 Synod, most notably His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke, rejected such an approach as it requires the introduction of a hitherto unheard-of separation of pastoral practice from doctrine - a separation both Cardinal Gerhard Müller of Germany, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, have described as smacking of heresy.
Decidedly unfazed by the clear warning contained in such declarations, Cardinal Marx and the other members of the German Bishop's Conference appear determined to charge ahead, regardless of the actual results of the Synod scheduled to take place in Rome this Fall.