George Weigel is right in describing the German Synodal Way as “liquid Catholicism” and a form of liberal Protestantism. In an earlier article in The Tablet, he noted that the rest of the bishops around the world needed to take the matter in hand and correct their brothers in Germany. (March 10, 2021) They didn’t do that and now the cancer is metastasizing. It is hard to see how any of the recommendations voted on earlier this month have any relation to the Church Jesus built or His teachings. As Mr. Weigel states, the synodal path “takes its cue from the surrounding culture” and thus has become part of this world. The Gospel of John tells us Jesus has called us out of this world. The Letter of James tells us “whoever wishes to be a friend of this world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jas 4:4) St. Paul tells us “Do not be conformed to this world.” (Rom 12:2) Dr. Peter Kreeft consistently states that it is the role of the Church to deliver God’s mail, not to edit it. St. Paul’s Letter to Titus notes that it is the duty of bishops to “hold firm to the sure word as taught so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:9) Cardinal Mueller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, has also weighed in on the secularization of the Church in many places but especially in the German “Synodal Way.” Clearly, these German bishops have become part of the world and apart from the Church of Christ.
Therefore it is time for Pope Francis and the bishops of the Church to rebuke the German Synodal Way, firmly and publicly. If they won’t come back to the Church, for as Mr. Weigel states, they are engaged in apostasy, then sever the tie and wish them well on their new experiment. I predict that they will experience the same decline that many of the liberal Protestant sects have (see also what is happening to the United Methodist schism). Excommunication is not a punishment but an opportunity for conversion. As St. Augustine has said,
“Then when it is necessary let us apply discipline. Otherwise, the evil may grow by the relaxing of discipline.
“If the sin is private, correct the sinner in private. If it is public and manifest, apply the correction in public so that the sinner may be led to betterment and others may conceive a salutary fear.” (New Testament sermon, No. 33)
A link to Mr. Weigel’s column in The Tablet can be found on the “Articles and Commentary” page.