By Vatican News
The Holy See intervenes on the German "Synodal Path" in a statement issued early Thursday afternoon, on 21 July.
"In order to protect the freedom of the People of God and the exercise of the episcopal ministry, it seems necessary to clarify that the 'Synodal Path' in Germany does not have the faculty to oblige bishops and the faithful to assume new forms of governance and new approaches to doctrine and morals. It would not be lawful to initiate in the dioceses, prior to an agreed understanding at the level of the universal Church, new official structures or doctrines, which would represent a wound to ecclesial communion and a threat to the unity of the Church."
The statement goes on to cite the words of Pope Francis contained in his Letter to the Pilgrim People of God in Germany, "the universal Church lives in and of the particular Churches, just as the particular Churches live and flourish in and from the universal Church. If they find themselves separated from the entire ecclesial body, they weaken, rot and die. Hence the need always to ensure that communion with the whole body of the Church."
"Therefore," the statement concludes, "it is hoped that the proposals of then path of the Particular Churches in Germany will converge into the synodal path being taken by the universal Church, for mutual enrichment and a witness to that unity by which the body of the Church manifests its fidelity to Christ the Lord.”