ROME – Germany’s bishops now have delivered to Rome the long-awaited results of their “synodal path,” a controversial national consultation of the country’s Catholics, and anyone with a passing familiarity with German Catholicism over recent decades won’t find many surprises.
In broad strokes, Germany’s Catholics seem to want more empowerment of laity, especially women, including a say in the selection of pastors and bishops as well as a preaching role for lay people. They also favor greater tolerance for disagreement with official church teaching on hot-button issues such as contraception, gay marriage, celibacy and women’s ordination.
Calls for such changes are linked to declines in both Mass attendance and church membership, with the suggestion being that German Catholics are abandoning ship in frustration over what they see as a church that’s “encrusted, overly hierarchical, and old-fashioned.”
RELATED: German Catholics want expanded lay…