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'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic prelate is calling out the shoddy and misleading underpinnings of the German Synodal Way.
Bishop Robert Mutsaerts, auxiliary bishop of 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, said the creators of the Synodal Way contradict the writings of the Second Vatican Council — despite claiming to follow them. In a recent column on his blog Purple Peppers, the Dutch bishop explained how they blatantly contradict Vatican II and represent "an intentional deception to believers."
Mutsaerts summarily sized up the incompatibility of the two events by saying, "Those who wish to be faithful to the Vatican Council cannot at the same time profess the content of the (German) Synodal Way — the statements are mutually exclusive."
The bishop took a closer look at the inherent inconsistencies in the welter of texts produced by the participants in Germany's Synodal Way.
For example, the bishop noted how the declaration of the synodalists regarding priestly celibacy flies in the face of the council's findings. In "Celibacy of the Priests," they downplay traditionally held beliefs about clerical celibacy, stating, "A superiority of the celibacy life form can no longer be advocated responsibly since Vatican II."
But Mutsaerts pointed out that Vatican II argued the exact opposite. In his 1965 decree on priestly training, Pope Paul VI stated, "The candidates for the priesthood clearly take the primacy of virginity consecrated to Christ" (Optatam Totius, 10).
Paul VI further spells out the council's rationale for perpetual continence:
They [those studying to be priests] are to be warned of the dangers that threaten their chastity especially in present-day society. Aided by suitable safeguards, both divine and human, let them learn to integrate their renunciation of marriage in such a way that they may suffer in their lives and work not only no harm from celibacy but rather acquire a deeper mastery of soul and body and a fuller maturity, and more perfectly receive the blessedness spoken of in the Gospel.
Mutsaerts also made clear how the Synodal Path's position on homosexuality is at odds with Vatican II. In "Magisterial Revaluation of Homosexuality," the synodalists, against Church tradition and teaching, assert that "sexuality of the same sex — realized in sexual acts — is not a sin that separates from God, and it must not be assessed as intrinsically poor."
To their assertion, the faithful bishop replied, "Vatican II nowhere mentions homosexuality, but only because it is clear to the Council that the 'intimate union as the mutual giving of two persons' is legitimate before God only in the marriage of a man and a woman." Mutsaerts added:
The logical consequence of this view is that what yesterday was considered a sin (e.g., homosexual acts) may today be seen as a blessing; that doctrines which yesterday were claimed to be infallible are today considered discriminatory and therefore sinful (e.g., the exclusion of women from priestly ordination). However, such an understanding of permanent change in the content of the faith has nothing in common with the teachings of the Council, nor with divine revelation. What once was infallibly taught remains infallible and is not subject to the zeitgeist.
Mutsaerts further lambasted the synodalists for what he calls their "inconsistency." They "demand" changes to the Catechism of the Catholic Church but gloss over "excerpts from the Holy Scripture, the Word of God, to which the catechism ultimately refers." He says the German bishops behave as though they "know better than the ordained writers."
This is not the first time Mutsaerts has spoken out against heterodoxy and duplicity. In 2022, the prelate said he quit the pope's "damned" Amazon Synod because "God is out of the picture," and "the Holy Spirit" has absolutely nothing to do with it."
And in 2018, in protest of the pope's ineffective handling of the clerical abuse crisis, Mutsaerts refused to take part in the Synod on Young People in Rome.
About the German bishops' latest deviation from orthodoxy, he concludes, "The Synodal Way has divided Catholics in Germany. We have a word for that: schism."