Ad Limina Visit of the German Bishops in November 2022. Photo: Vatican Media

After Pope’s letter that prevented schism in Germany, date announced for meeting between Rome and German bishops

The central topic of these talks will be the Synodal Committee, a point of conflict that has generated disagreements between the DBK and the Vatican.

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 02.26.2024).- The president of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), Bishop of Limburg Georg Bätzing, recently announced at the Spring General Assembly of Bishops in Augsburg that discussions would be held between the DBK and Rome. Now, the specific date for this long-awaited meeting has been revealed.

The date disclosed by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, is March 22. It will be then when these important discussions commence, responding to a specific request. Fernandez confirmed that this initial meeting will be the starting point for a series of encounters that already have established topics.

Pre-meeting tensions

These discussions between the DBK and Rome are taking place amidst tensions and disagreements. Bätzing had previously expressed his frustration with what he considered delaying tactics by the Vatican. He publicly criticized during the press conference at the beginning of the German Bishops’ Plenary Assembly on February 19 that discussions could have taken place much earlier, and that the Vatican’s concerns about the Synodal Path Committee could have been addressed promptly.

The central theme of these discussions will be the Synodal Path Committee, a point of conflict that has led to disagreements between the DBK and the Vatican. The request to cancel the vote on the DBK’s statutes related to this committee was backed by the Pope, based on the instruction regarding ordination reserved to men and the Church’s unchangeable teachings on homosexuality.

Uncertainty about the future

The future of the Synodal Path Committee remains uncertain, especially after the ban imposed by Rome in January 2023. Even the president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Irme Stetter-Karp, has expressed concerns about the viability of continuing joint work between laity and bishops in Germany.

This is not the first attempt at dialogue between the DBK and Rome. Last year, there were two rounds of discussions, but tensions persist. With the date set for the next meeting, it is hoped that both parties can address these differences and work towards a solution that allows for progress in harmony within the Church.

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