Bishop Georg Bätzing: "No direct channel" to the Pope
Photo: Marijan Murat / dpa
The chairman of the Catholic German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, has criticized Pope Francis in clear terms.
This was preceded by an interview in which the head of the Catholic Church clearly rejected the synodal path reform process.
"I consider this way of perceiving church leadership through interviews to be extremely questionable," said Bishop Bätzing of Limburg to the newspaper "Die Welt".
Bätzing referred to the bishops' recent visit to the Vatican in November.
"Why didn't the pope talk to us about it when we saw him in November?" he said.
There was an opportunity, but he didn't take it.
Francis had described the synodal path, in which clerics and laypeople of the German church discuss reform projects, to the AP news agency as an ideological project by elites.
In addition, Bätzing said that he could not understand that Francis had cited the dispute over celibacy as an example of an alleged German ideology.
Whether celibacy should remain mandatory is a question that has been discussed for 60 years.
The Pope himself allowed this debate at the Amazon Synod of the Catholic Church there.
"To call this an ideological debate - what's the point?"
The chairman of the bishops' conference also made public the lack of communication between him and the head of the church.
There is currently "no direct conversation channel," he said.
"That's the point: we had a conversation channel, the official visit of all bishops to Rome in November." They were there for a whole week.
»We sat together with Pope Francis for two and a half hours.
I would say this is the place for the Pope to speak to us.
Then we could have answered.'
The relationship between the German Church and the Vatican had recently deteriorated massively in the dispute over the synodal path.
Most recently, in a statement, the Vatican denied the German bishops the power to set up a synodal council.
This is intended to be a constantly working body of clergy and laity to discuss reforms.
Bätzing publicly defended himself against the veto from Rome.