Like the Church in most Western countries, the Catholic Church in Germany is in deep trouble. Last year 221,390 Germans renounced their membership in the Catholic Church, and in the past three years more than 700,000 people have exited. Other statistics are just as grim: fewer Baptisms, fewer First Communions, fewer Confirmations, fewer Catholic weddings, and fewer parishes. The only statistic rising is the number of Catholic funerals. The Catholic Church in Germany is literally dying.
In response, the president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said the declining numbers reflect that “many have lost confidence” in the Church. He then proposed one possible solution: “I very much hope that the Synodal Way can make its contribution to building new trust.”
What is the Synodal Way? As the Catholic News Agency explains, “The ‘Synodal Way’ is a multi-year process bringing together bishops and lay people to discuss four main topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.” In other words, it’s years of committee meetings to discuss and debate teachings that are already settled.