No instrumentalization – the synodal path is about conversion


In an interview with Jan-Heiner Tück, a dogmatist in Vienna, the editor-in-chief of Communio magazine. Cardinal Schönborn, Christopher, has largely criticized the synodal path of the Catholic Church in Germany.. It combines traditional theological reasoning with spiritual reflections on synodality and draws clear boundaries, Synodal path From the cardinal’s point of view, to approach a schismatic, and therefore heretical, phenomenon. The archbishop of Vienna does not need any of these terms, but in summary, the accusation spreads in the air: “It is imagined that the debate on Judaism is ignored by the Torah. And a synodic path is imagined, despite the depositum fidei. It is no more synodality. , it is another way, but certainly not synodality in the sense of the church. “

The context presented was the decision of the Synodal Way to discuss the future of ordained ministry in the Catholic Church. “You can’t negotiate a synod on such an issue. The presidium had to intervene here. It’s not a debatable issue. There are guidelines that are deeply rooted in the Bible and in the church tradition.” In fact, this proposal touches on the limit that Cardinal Schönborn draws with regard to Scripture and tradition. The debate on the proposal made this clear in the Synodal Assembly. Not only was it clear by 95 votes in favor and 94 against that the proposal for discussion would not lead to a decision to relinquish the ordained office in the church. This was evident for two other reasons: First, the synodal path emphasizes that it cannot make dogmatically important decisions that are of general interest to the Church. However, he wants to give impetus to the development of ecclesiastical teaching, which would bring “sensus fidelium” to God’s people. This has to do with the issue of women’s access to the priesthood. It is highly voted for, based on polls from other local churches around the world. Second, it is clear that the synodal path does not seek to leave office. So why discuss what is almost unimaginable?

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The church cannot simply go on

This intervention can be understood in the sense of a performative act of language. It sets the stop signal at a crucial point: taking into account the experience with the Catholic coercive complex, which has a systemic dimension and cannot be reduced to individual priests, the church cannot simply continue. And when it comes to women’s access to the priesthood, the meaning and future of these responsibilities need to be considered. Therefore, the application can also be read as a prophetic sign. He built a break in the processes of the synodal path and self-image so that he could orient himself in the church. It also means redefining the meaning of priesthood service in the worst crisis of existence, that is, in a great loss of credibility. This is very precisely the requirement of conversion in order to find the way of Jesus.

When Cardinal Schönborn uses arguments from Scripture and tradition in this context, further questions arise. There were no priests in the New Testament in the sense of today’s church, but with the collection of the Twelve there are theological opportunities to develop a ministry that has been round and varied since the old church. Ecclesiastical tradition has given it new impetus to this day, most recently with the Second Vatican Council Deacons as well as with the profiling of the common priesthood of all the baptized. The fact that the office of the priesthood was the result, but also – for the bishops and the popes – of the decisive aspect of its development, shows a first-rate theological problem: is it sufficient to state that the duty establishes apostolic dignity? In other words, what is the criterion for following Jesus Christ? What is the apostolic guarantee of inheritance in a ministry that has often involved sexual and spiritual abuse? Isn’t there a need for conversion here too – one that really – in two senses – reveals the theological doubt of this process?

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Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.
Photo: ©KNA

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn practiced …

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