Cardinal insists he didn’t equate Synodal Way to Nazism

Cardinal insists he didn’t equate Synodal Way to Nazism

A Vatican cardinal has defended himself when Bishop Georg Bätzing, the head of the German bishops’ conference, called his comments on the German Synodal Way a “completely inexcusable mistake.”

According to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, the Swiss cardinal added, “I am replying immediately, but I cannot withdraw my basic argument, simply because I have in no way equated the Synodal Way to a Nazi ideology, and I will never do so.”

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican is led by Koch, a native of Switzerland.

In an interview with the Catholic publication “Die Tagespost,” Koch expressed his disbelief that the German Synodal Way, of all places, was discussing new sources of revelation.

According to Koch, “this tendency also occurred under the National Socialist regime, when the so-called “German Christians” viewed Hitler’s ascent as God’s fresh revelation in blood and soil.

The “German Christians” (Deutsche Christen), a pressure organisation active during the Nazi period, sought to equate Protestantism with the racial Nazi ideology.

The Barmen Theological Declaration of the opposing Confessing Church, in contrast, spoke out against such misinterpretations of Christian doctrine.

They rejected the false doctrine, which held that the church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and in addition to this one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths, as God’s revelation, in their 1934 statement, which was the first article.

In his late-Thursday reaction, Koch stated: “I was troubled to recollect the Barmen Theological Declaration in this setting, since I still think it’s significant today, especially for ecumenical reasons. I have to quickly describe what this proclamation replied to in order to make the information accessible to individuals who read it.

The Swiss bishop said, “By stating this, I was in no way equating the Synodal Way with the attitude of the ‘German Christians,’ and I did not wish to do so.

In the same way as the so-called “German Christians” – thank God – did not include all German Christians, I likewise, in no way, intended for my remark to be seen as referring to all [Synodal Way] participants, but only to those Christians who are said to reflect the claim made in the question. I intend to continue assuming that the Synodal Way does not share this assertion’s viewpoint.

Bishop Bätzing requests apologies.

Bishop Bätzing urged Cardinal Koch provide “a public apology” in light of his comments at a news conference commemorating the completion of the German bishops’ autumn plenary session on Thursday afternoon.

Otherwise, according to CNA Deutsch, Bätzing said he would “make a formal protest with the Holy Father.”

Cardinal Koch’s assertion revealed apprehension that “something will change,” according to Bätzing. But I assure you that something will change, and Cardinal Koch won’t be able to stop it — at least not with such declarations.

The German bishop said, “This declaration, with which Cardinal Koch disqualifies himself in the theological discussion, has been met with horror by the plenary assembly of bishops.”

For long years, the cardinal had made “attempts to delegitimize the Synodal Way,” according to Bätzing.

Koch responded on Friday with a statement that CNA Deutsch published in full.

Koch added, “I regret to anybody who are offended by my comments and reassure them that this was not and is not my aim.

The cardinal from the Vatican said that he had “just presumed that now we may also learn from history, even from a really terrible period. I must admit that, looking back, I was unsuccessful in this endeavor, as seen by Bishop Bätzing and others’ furious response.

The cardinal emphasized, “However, I cannot withdraw my critical question.” “I raised it out of theological concern for the future of the Church in Germany, not out of ‘pure dread that things will change’ or with the purpose of ‘delegitimizing,’ as Bishop Bätzing accuses me of doing.

“My critical statement, therefore, cannot simply be an expression of a fundamentally wrong theology,” Koch said after pointing out that he was far from “alone in my critique of the orientation text of the Synodal Way.”

The “orientation document” was accepted by Synodaler Weg participants in February 2022. It lays up the theological foundations of the contentious procedure, also known as the Synodal Path.

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