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LIMBURG, Germany (ChurchMilitant.com) - The head of Germany's Church is pushing for the ordination of women despite popes having condemned it.
Bishop Georg Bätzing, head of the German Bishops' Conference (DBK), is reiterating in a new interview his support for the ordination of women to the priesthood.
Bätzing claims in the January 2021 issue of Herder Korrespondenz — a German Catholic journal — there are "well-developed arguments in favor of opening the sacramental office also for women."
He goes on to note that despite the fact Pope John Paul II "unequivocally" condemned it, the question "is on the table."
Bätzing, the bishop of Limburg, was appointed head of the DBK in March, taking the place of papal confidante and fellow theological leftist Cdl. Reinhard Marx.
In February 2020, the German bishops began the "synodal way," a two-year process of re-evaluating and reinterpreting Catholic teaching regarding the priesthood, human sexuality and intercommunion with Protestants.
In meetings leading up to the synod's start, Bätzing approved a preliminary document calling for the Church to approve homosexuality, masturbation and contraception.
It spoke positively of sodomy, stating, "Homosexual acts also realize positive meaningful values, insofar as they are an expression of friendship, reliability, loyalty and support in life." The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches these acts — not the people experiencing homosexual urges — are "intrinsically disordered" because they are "contrary to the natural law and close the sexual act to the gift of life," which proceeds from "a genuine affective and sexual complementarity."
Regarding masturbation, the German document claimed, "The joyful experience of one's own body (self-sex) can also mean a responsible approach to one's own sexuality." The Catechism identifies masturbation as an "intrinsically and gravely disordered action" because it occurs outside "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."
In opposition to Church teaching on artificial contraception — which holds as immoral "positive refusal to be open to life but also ... a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality" — the document declared, "Not every sexual act must remain open to procreation."
It continues, "the principle of responsible parenthood is extended to include the element of family planning through the free choice of a means of contraception appropriate to the respective life situation."
Bätzing and the majority of bishops, however, have not gone unopposed.
Retired Vatican doctrinal chief Cdl. Gerhard Müller slammed Bätzing's comments, asserting, "The so-called synodal path of the German dioceses has no authority to introduce a doctrine and practice that deviates from the binding doctrine of the Catholic Church in questions of faith and morality."
Müller called decisions reached by the synod that are contrary to Church teaching "null and void," adding "the disciplinary power of the bishops must never serve to enforce heretical doctrines or immoral acts."
Despite encountering severe criticism by faithful Catholics and the Vatican, the majority of German bishops are seeking to push the ordination of women to the priesthood, the blessing of homosexual so-called marriages and allowing Protestants to receive the Holy Eucharist.
In September the Vatican rejected the DBK's document, "Together at the Lord's Table" — a declaration calling for Lutherans to be able to receive the Holy Eucharist. The document was composed by Bätzing and a prominent Lutheran minister.
The Vatican slammed the document, declaring it "undervalues apostolic succession as indispensable for the priesthood" and the reduction of the Mass as a mere "community meal."
It adds, "the doctrinal differences are still so important that they currently rule out reciprocal participation in the Lord's Supper and the Eucharist."
Vatican official Cdl. Marc Ouellette slammed the synod in September, saying it's "not ecclesiologically valid."
Pope Francis, however, has sent mixed signals regarding the German synod. In June, Bätzing claimed the pope gave approval to the synod, stating, "I feel encouraged by the intensive exchange with the Holy Father to continue on the path I have chosen."
He added, "The pope appreciates this project, which he connects closely with the term 'synodality' that he coined."