The German bishops will discuss priestly celibacy and sexual morality, leading to an as yet undetermined ‘binding’ outcome
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising has announced that the Catholic Church in Germany is embarking on a “binding synodal process” to tackle what he says are the three key issues arising from the clerical abuse crisis: priestly celibacy, the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, and a reduction of clerical power.
Speaking at the conclusion of the plenary session of the German bishops’ conference on Thursday, Marx told reporters that the bishops had unanimously decided these three topics would be subject to a process of “synodal progression” that could lead to a binding, but as yet undetermined, outcome.
“The Church needs synodal progress,” the president of the German bishops’ conference asserted. “Pope Francis encourages this.”
The German bishops held their plenary session in the German town of Lingen from March 11 to 14.
Addressing journalists on the final day, Marx said the Church’s teaching on sexual morality has yet to account for significant recent discoveries from theology and the humanities. Also, he said, the significance of sexuality to personhood has not yet received sufficient attention from the Church.
Bishops “feel we often are unable to speak on questions of present-day sexual behavior,” Marx said.
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