Regensburg, Passau, Cologne (epd). After the end of the financing of the synodal path by the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference, reform groups are calling for an end to the blocking attitude of the minority bishops. In an open letter on Monday, the lay movement “We are Church” and the lay responsibility of Regensburg called on the four episcopal critics of the reform dialogue to join the majority of the 23 other bishops on the issue of financing the so-called Synodal Committee.
The actions of the four critics represent a “blockade attitude” that makes clear an “increasingly obvious split within the German Bishops’ Conference”, according to the letter sent to the three Bavarian bishops Rudolf Voderholzer (Regensburg), Stefan Oster (Passau) and Gregor Maria Hanke (Eichstätt) and the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. The synodal committee is also prevented with a “refusal of church tax money”.
The further financing of the Catholic reform project initially failed last week due to the veto votes of the four bishops. The principle of unanimity applies to financial matters among the 27 diocesan bishops. The bishops’ conference had announced that alternative financing models were now being sought. The first meeting of the Synodal Committee should nevertheless take place in November. The core task of the committee is to develop a statute for a permanent advisory body between Catholic laypeople and bishops by 2026.